Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Using Available Resources

AmishIn How Technology Purchases and Policies Failed My Students from The Tempered Radical, Bill Ferriter shares,

“What really sets me off is that our entire campus is blanketed by wireless access points.  I can take my teacher laptop ANYWHERE and get online.

But teacher laptops are the only wireless devices—outside of our two outdated, slow, badly-vandalized-yet-always-reserved mobile laptop carts—in the entire building.

Worse yet, students aren’t currently allowed to connect their own wireless devices—laptops, netbooks, iTouches, handheld gaming systems—to our school’s network.”

This is a great example of how we don’t use available resources and waste taxpayers’ money!

It just makes sense to allow students to bring their own laptops, netbooks, itouches, or use cell phones with teachers permission and supervision in the classroom. Think of all the money that would be saved from buying these things for the school. The money saved could be used to pay for more bandwith which would be used at the school. Actual relevant learning could take place.

Let’s face it, computers are here to stay and is a part of everyone’s life every day. Why we continue to ignore this in the classroom is beyond my comprehension. To constantly complain about allowing students to do this is unsafe is just plain hogwash. It is an excuse and nothing else. Sure there are sexual predators out there in cyberspace but they are also in real life. Does that stop us from letting our children go out with their friends to the mall or to the movies? No. We teach them to be safe. We protect them with knowledge. We don’t hide them away and keep them ignorant.

This would be like teaching about horse and buggies as the main mode of transportation in today’s world. We would teach the rules of getting around in horse and buggies and ignore the fact that everyone is driving cars. We would teach students how to take care of the horses and repair the buggies but none of that is relevant to our students!

There is so much creating and collaborating going on and we need to make sure our students have access to the right tools in order to move forward. It is no wonder to me that other countries are moving ahead faster than we are. They are providing the necessary tools for their students and encouraging them to learn to be productive in today’s world. We are too busy holding our students back using obsolete tools and hiding our heads in the sand while the world around us leaps forward.

This is so frustrating to me whenever I think about it. I talk about it endlessly to other educators and parents who get the picture. I guess that is like preaching to the choir. We need to contact our legislators and administrators to impress upon them the simple solutions that are out there. We have to stop letting them take the easy road by not rocking the boat. Someone needs to start the ball rolling!

Does your school allow students to bring in their own tools? If so, how effective is it? If not, how can you get your school to allow this?

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Looking Back...' by: Cindy Seigle


sijagur said...

nice info.. thanks for share

Sioux said...

I agree wholeheartedly. We are expected to prepare students for the current world--and the world today is "connected" in every possible way--yet we hold them back.

In the business world of today (and tomorrow) will they use encyclopedias to do research? Will they write down notes for a meeting on a legal pad? Will they---when they want to contact a colleague quickly--walk over to their desk and dial the phone?

Ummm...I think not.

We need to let the reins loose instead of constantly reining them in.

loonyhiker said...

@Sijagur Thanks for your comment
@Sioux I love your comment about the encyclopedias! Thanks again for commenting!