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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waste, Waste and more Waste

I ran across this website and post from Schoolgate. It addresses an often underlooked at problem with all schools. Their half-assed approach to technology. I think every teacher has a war story that deals with the way computers, televisions, projectors, younameit is unfairly distributed in a school.
Schools set up a couple of computer labs and put a bunch in the library. Wow wonderful for the five or six teachers, usually friends of the person in charge of the labs, who get to the list the first day and monopolize them for the whole year. Signing up to take your class to the library? Good luck. Most of the time it's being used for testing!
We have a mobile lap top lab. You can't check it out without proper training, which I have, but they won't let anyone in our portables use them since we have such lousy paving that the jarring in transporting the lab to our rooms would destroy the computers.
Technology in a school always goes to the chosen few. We have some of them at my school. They have ceiling mounted projectors, a smart board, five or more computers for students to use, their own laptop plus desk top for grades and attendance. While 3/4ths of teachers have a chalk board, overhead projector and the desktop for grades and attendance. If the district hadn't mandated computer attendance they wouldn't have the lone computer.
Enter the Technology department. Five years ago they took a teacher allocation to hire one "techie" to maintain and set up all the computers. We now have five, count them five techies, that are boxed in by non-used monitors, and boxes of keyboards, other peripherals and dead cpu's. How many thousands of dollars are now sitting around their office as useless junk?
Meanwhile I had five computers received from a grant that had to be discarded last year because the district would not put the new anti-virus protection on them.
Meanwhile this year I'm teaching economics without the students having a book and no classroom set. We are using three different textbook adoptions of books still in somewhat usable shape for U.S. and world history, NM history doesn't even have a book written for it.
Maybe I'm old school having been around since before the flood, but it doesn't have to be this wasteful.
I recognize that some subjects are worth the cost of computers and software ie Computer Aided Drafting.
  • With a computer and a projector life is much better than a chalkboard or whiteboard. This cost is negligible compared to the cost of smart boards and labs. This should be available to all teachers at the school, not the chosen few.
  • All students need a book. Without it the rest is meaningless.
  • Most work should still be done with paper, pen or pencil.
  • Teaching the subject should be more important that teaching to the test.

3 comments:

Camperrunamok said...

That is an amazing post and a real eye-opener. The kids must see this and wonder what is going on. I agree than that teachers should have more control in the classroom and curriculum matters. Good luck with this.

P M Prescott said...

Thank you for your comment and interest, Camper.

Michael Manning said...

It saddens me that Teachers are handcuffed with so much distraction to the point where the stress levels must be intolerable. I have always admired how you cope with so much.