Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom: Technology in the Classroom

It’s September 1st, so seems like a good time for another edition of the Avocado’s occasional education discussion.

About 5 years ago, the LA Unified School District spent about a billion-with-a-b dollars on ipads for about a 650,000 students. The idea being that ipads are great and poor kids need technology and we’ll partner with an education company and the test scores will go up.

It…didn’t go that well.

http://www.govtech.com/education/What-Went-Wrong-with-LA-Unifieds-iPad-Program.html

The roll out of the program was poorly planned and rolled out quickly. The software was spotty, there wasn’t a lot of internet connectivity in schools for kids to use in school or at home, and SHOCKINGLY, lots of kids figured out how to bypass security features and play games, look up porn, etc. There were also a ton of questions about the no bid contract and the money.

All of which probably sounds familiar to educators.

I think we can all agree that technology has a place in curriculum and instruction. It’s the how and why of it that’s important. A “use of technology”  box will have to be ticked when a district approves of a curriculum , when a parent wants a kid to learn the cyber, when a teacher is getting an observation…without any real rhyme or reason to why this program and this use of it.

Lots of rich Silicon Valley type parents  enroll their children in Waldorf  or Montessori or private schools that eschew screens in favor of good old paper, pencil, wood and play, especially in the beginning years. They find that children develop better thinking skills when they experience playing and talking to others and all sorts of  other “cutting edge” activities. ( And there’s research you can look up)

So, let’s discuss. What is your opinion of how technology should be used in instruction? Does your school use it wisely? Do you  feel the teachers have adequate training opportunities for what they need to use? How do you “get around” some of the requirements that you need to to benefit your students? Is it all too much? Are there elements of racism and classism in the way technology is used in the classroom?

 

Do tell.