I’ve recently started reading a couple of online blogs about education, and I’d like to find more. Anyone have any suggestions. Also I’m thinking about starting my own, specifically to address the problems of technology in a private school.
The image of private schools is that we have unlimited budgets and all sorts of fancy toys for the classroom. While that is true at some schools, it’s by no means true of all schools, and certainly not true of mine. It’s telling that we have a SmartBoard, which is a nifty piece of technology, provided that it’s used correctly. However, ours has an inadequate computer running outmoded software attached to it to make it work, so that it’s slow and unmanageable. Currently, the projector that makes it work with photographs or Keynote or PowerPoint presentations is assigned to a different classroom, and the cable that allows it to record drawings on it is missing.
In other words, great idea, doesn’t work.
By contrast, the upcoming PicoProjector could do amazing things in the classroom. In theory they’d be cheap enough, and portable enough, for five or six teachers to have one, and reliable enough that they could be carried from classroom to classroom. They could also be used for impromptu demonstrations in the hallways, in the dining hall, in the dormitories and elsewhere. You could even use them during study halls to show movies, educational programming, and more.
But there’s no budget, and there’s no curriculum plan for how these technologies will be used, and who gets to have access to them. And many of my colleagues have given up on computer technology to create learning experiences because the tech is unreliable (broken machines, buggy software), difficult to get at or use (locked doors, problematic security software, limited access to tech support in-school or through outsourcing), subject to student misuse (inappropriate browsing online, Internet use, Facebook), and no clear ideas of how to teach technology use despite actual experience (how to teach podcasting when you know how to do it, but don’t have a podcasting lab available, how to teach newspaper layout when you have only one copy of the page layout software, etc). Hmmm.
Clearly this is something in need of solving, either through an incremental process or a change in philosophy. What that change is, though, I have neither the authority to implement, nor the collegiality to create.