School Districts and Modern Technology, or, Things That Make Me Bang My Head On My Laptop

Technology is fantastic only when two things simultaneously occur:

It is used correctly.

It works correctly.

I have no scientific data to back me up on this, but I would hazard a guess that that there is failure in the first item more often than the latter.  When taking into consideration how many times folks have to call a help desk or tech support for their “damn machines,” my current working hypothesis is that people fail to use technology correctly about 90% of the time.

Hypothesis is a great word. Especially when written in colorful,childlike letters!  (Image courtesy of peoplelearn.homestead.com)

I am hardly a “techie,” but I do realize that for every website, app, and piece of hardware that we see and use, there is a slew of technological “stuff” that goes on behind the scenes. I’ve heard the nasty campfire horror stories about what happens after something as seemingly innocuous as a semicolon is omitted from a critical line of code.  My question is simply this:  Why are the people who are charged with designing and forging the hardware and software into reality rewarded for their time and efforts by having us, the users, mishandle the very products they poured their time and efforts into delivering?  Yes, the very products that we desire–nay, DEMAND–are constantly mistreated, abused, and/or not utilized in such a way as to reach their full potential.

You see a smile, but I die a little bit inside every time you play “Farmville.”  (Image courtesy of englishexercises.org)

It’s like having a programmable coffee pot and never programming it so that you have freshly brewed java upon waking.  It’s like being in possession of a DVR to record all of your favorite programs and then turning around and complaining about all the commercials.  It’s like owning a Smartphone and only using it to (GASP) CALL PEOPLE.  You may as well just throw it against the wall until it is just so much shrapnel and use a freakin’ land line.

Why won’t this thing send texts?  (Image courtesy of jamesestateservices.com)

Since we just had an election, I am going to talk about just one group of users–the school districts.  No doubt that numerous school districts around the country asked the people residing in their districts for a tax increase for “upgraded technology.”

Where I live, we were not asked for a tax increase this time around, but we have been hit up for increased cash flow in the past.  Our school district constantly boasts about the fact that they use technology in the classroom. To the point of annoyance and nausea.  And it’s true–the Tweedles’ homework these days is mostly done “online.”  When I walked into various classrooms on Teacher Conference Day, a Smartboard was present in most of the rooms.  On the school’s website, you can do everything from checking your student’s grades or the event calendar, to putting money into their lunch account.  Each Friday, the principal of the school sends out a mass email, detailing events of the past week and informing parents of upcoming important dates.

This is all well and good. Theoretically, anyway.  This is where my hypothesis comes into play–that people fail to use technology correctly about 90% of the time.  And while I lack the actual data because I have no control group or experimental model to actually confirm or deny my guess, what I do have is scads of anecdotal evidence, which, face it, is so much more fun than simple, raw data.

Oh, hush up.  (Image courtesy of toolsforchangingtheworld.com)

Anecdotal Tale #1–The Tale of the Abused Smartboard

When Tweedledee was in 6th grade, she marveled over the fact that her math teacher’s Smartboard remained intact, despite the fact that he repeatedly pounded on it with his fist.  I didn’t think too much of it, other than surmising that if he was that angry about math, he might want to consider teaching a different subject.  (For example, creative writing can be rather forgiving.)  Two years later, Tweedledum has the same math teacher.  Tweedledum has informed me that said teacher, “beats the crap out of his Smartboard all the time.”  Now I am thinking that eventually, this teacher’s Smartboard is going to break under the strain of his physical abuse.  As a taxpayer, I don’t especially want to be on the hook for “upgraded technology,” if all it is going to be used for is a high-tech punching bag for an angry math instructor.

Put down the bullwhip and step away from the Smartboard. (Image courtesy of webweaver.nu)

 

Anecdotal Tale #2–You Don’t Really Want Us To Come to The Football Game, Do You?

The last Friday update I received from the middle school principal arrived in my inbox at 1:53 PM.  On this email, it informed us parents that the high school football team was taking part in a Big Important Game on Saturday–you know the kind, where School Spirit and Team Pride is on the line, so please, please, please come out and support our Fabulous Football Team!!  The kicker was that activity passes would not be honored, and that tickets could only be purchased up through the final lunch period on Friday.  The final lunch period on Friday ended at roughly 12:30 in the afternoon.  D’oh!!

Chill out, Charlie Brown. Nobody saw it. I only sent the email out two hours ago.  (Image courtesy of free-extras.com)

Anecdotal Tale#3–A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Clutter With Too Much Information

In that same Friday update, the parents of the school district were informed that all of the students were offered a sample of butternut squash.  This information came complete with a statistical breakdown of how many students in each grade had not tried it before, how many liked it, and how many did not like it.  What would be more useful as a parent is knowing how many students are offered veggies in their school-purchased lunch, and then throw it away in the garbage at the end of the lunch period.  According to the Tweedles and their various friends who visit, the amount of food that is wasted could conceivably go a long way towards feeding a third world country.  But that is a subject for another post.

In a horrific turn of events, all of the squash that got thrown away formed a militia and devoured the students in the lunchroom. They then sent out an email informing us that while they had never had student before, 73% of them enjoyed noshing on middle schoolers.  (Image courtesy of twoeatphilly.blogspot.com)

Here I could put Anecdotal Tales #4, 5, 6, and upwards of infinity, but you get the point.  I’m thinking that they really shouldn’t waste their breaths telling me how technologically advanced they are when they do not even utilize the most basic of technology in the manner for which it was purposed.  They’d be better off going back to mimeograph machines and sniffing the ink.

Smell me! G’head! Do it! You know you want to!!!  (Image courtesy of opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)

92 thoughts on “School Districts and Modern Technology, or, Things That Make Me Bang My Head On My Laptop

  1. Oh, you nailed it! ( Love that Tee shirt…need some to send to some education think tank researchers…)
    Schools aren’t utilizing technology well….I don’t consider having each student push a button to answer A, B, or C for a question during a lecture really helping to develop higher level thinking skills ( but you can get a print out of data! And we can make charts! You can document: progress monitoring AND use of technology in your lesson plans ) UGH
    Educators are pushed by the public to modernize.
    Edu companies push school to buy inappropriate products and pay even more for “training and support” (Whoo hoo! big profits – and the fed/states are more willing to provide grants/funding for technology)
    Many teachers (not necessarily all the older ones) still have “print/textbook/multiple choice” brains. (Oh, the edu companies can provide teacher’s scripts for that…and training….and progress monitoring for teacher skills)
    Obviously some principals are required to document they are using technology to improve parent-teacher-school admin. communication. (Yes, squash! Check off the box and put down the date to document.)
    Just sad. Such potential wasted.
    Even more sad, I’ve been saying this since 1976. (yes that long…left the classroom to try and force changes from outside….(so discouraging to see the vultures feeding on the education money that could be better spent and educators stumbling around pretending technology is working…and tax funded research groups collecting all that data to justify their existence – not to help kids)

    • Yes, and folks who “reply all” when the message that has been replied is only intended for the original sender of the email. I think I’ve mentioned that before. Hmmm… Haha!!

  2. As a teacher, I get frustrated when an administration pushes technology just for the sake of technology, without actually focusing classroom needs. I’m an English teacher, so I think it’s so much more important to make sure I have enough books for all my students before I get a SmartBoard or document camera. Please don’t try to force the latest tech on my classroom until you’ve purchased enough books!

    • I hear that! And not just because I love books! My son’s English class is actually pretty neat with their use of technology. They read quite a lot, and the students keep a “book blog.” Pretty clever! :) Happy teaching! English was always my favorite class!

  3. As an educator, I was highly disappointed recently when I was asked to speak to other educators on a new technology (that shall go unnamed) – particularly on a model that was meant for them to use for instructional planning. Unfortunately, a large majority of them weren’t interested in this – they wanted, instead, to be shown new apps they could “play around” with. Without theoretical intent and lesson design, the use of those apps would be a waste of resources (time, dollars spent on the apps and the time spent using them, time wasted pulling students away from activities that were based on a theoretical design, etc.). Technology (of whatever chosen type), as you’ve aptly pointed out, is nothing more than a tool – and should be used as such – the right tool for the right job by the right person, trained in the right way to use it.

  4. The current push to give every public schoolchild a laptop or tablet for school is a huge boon for the tech company providing the contract. As for the effect on the classroom… Most teachers ban cellphone use in their classrooms, why would we give them an iPad to play with? I can guarantee there will be an app available within 12 hours that will allow the kids to bypass the control filters so they can play games during class.

  5. I like technology and would not like to go back to mimeograph machines. Perhaps taking a course on some of this new technology might be in order for some. What do you think?

    • Like I said, I think technology is great when it is used correctly and it works. If the schools want to use it to the advantage of the students–instructing them on the actual subject matter–while using technology properly, that would be fantastic. Similarly, if they want to set up an online system where parents can go in and check their student’s grades, that is fantastic also. But it is only as good as the people who are using it. If the teacher doesn’t update the online grade book, it is useless. If they don’t update their website for weeks on end, it is useless, because nobody is expecting anything to show up there and eventually stops checking it. Technology simply for the sake of technology serves no good purpose for anyone.

      • You are SO right. I am an IT tech for a school system (public) and have become increasingly frustrated with technology for technology’s sake, and end users who either don’t understand, don’t want to understand, actively dislike to hate technology, refuse to implement technology, or just flat out abuse it. Your child’s statement about the teacher beating the crap out of the board–that happens wayyy more often than you’d believe. SmartBoards are great–if utilized correctly, and there is enough IT staff to support them.

        Our department is so under utilizing us this year it isn’t even funny–people in place all day in one location when other locations are in desperate need of assistance, but that is another post. Technology rocks, if the end user is willing to learn and care for their equipment. IT rocks if there are enough of us to not be stretched thin and expected to pull miracles out of thin air.
        Loved your post, you gained a new follower!

      • I love my computer and this year I have an iPad to use with my students (I’m a speech pathologist). But I totally agree with you. In special education, the iPad is the new demand by parents. Not necessarily because it is needed for communication or supports learning. They are in demand because they are simpy the newest “best thing ever.” Unfortunately, parents are disenchanted when their children with disabilities cannot use the equipment as intended or they get dropped and cracked.

        PS: I would kill to smell a good mimeograph again. Do you have a hook-up???? ;-)

      • No, no mimeograph hook up, unfortunately. I have heard a lot of good press recently about children with autism working with certain apps and programs on iPads and similar devices. Do you think that sometimes parents just hear stories like this and then get it into their heads that if it works well for a handful of children, then certainly it will be just as wonderful for their own–never mind the special education needs of the individual child or the level of learning, etc… ??

  6. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who has a programmable coffee pot and has never used that particular function. Two reasons for that, one: the ‘program’ button doesn’t say ‘program’ and of the five buttons on the whole coffee pot, I have no idea which would be used in place of the ‘program’ button. and two: I have Asperger’s Syndrome and years ago, I was in a house when it was burning to the ground. If I can’t be there to watch it, I don’t leave it on. This goes for my washer, dryer, dishwasher and slow cooker too.

    And I wish my husband would stop buying me smartphones, they just make me feel stupid. I hate technology and it hates me and we get along well in our mutual dislike of each other. :D

    • Well, given what you have been through, it is certainly understandable the unwillingness to leave a place with things “on.” I like my smartphone, I just hate everyone else’s, haha! ;)

      • I enjoy that other people can do cool things with their smartphones. I, for one, pay for shared minutes (with my husband) and texting and data. My husband is deployed to Afghanistan right now so his phone is inactive, I have 700 minutes a month all to myself and last month, according to my billing statement, I used 180. So far in the last 15 days, I’ve used 9 minutes LOL I’m convinced if I got rid of my cell phone, nobody would notice :) I never use the thing

      • my husband doesn’t use it either. I don’t even know why we have it. It’s just the two of us on the plan (our kids are still too little), but the problem with plans is that they don’t have any smaller ones than the one we have, without “pay as you go”. If I had a home phone, I don’t think I’d have a cell phone.

  7. Yeah…
    I agree.
    My school, a french private school, has been… investing?… in a fair amount of technology – they have replaced all the computers in the school 3 times in the past 6 years already – A laptop (for the teachers) in each classroom – connected to a Smartboard, the teachers were also all given/lent a macbook pro. The school also has 2 rooms full of I-macs, and 5 carts with Macbook pros, .and 2 with i-Pads. And most isn’t used.
    There is always 2-3 laptop carts unused, and I have never seen the i-pads being used… (Teachers can request them, to use with a class (And only teachers, or administrators etc.)
    Furthermore, most of the teachers hardly know how to use the Smartboards, often relying on us students to help them – which works fine when it is a class which students like. However, if the students dont like the class… well – why would they know?
    Instead of buying all this extra equipment, why doesn’t the school buy training (hire trainers or whatever they are called and pay the teachers) for the technologies?

    I could go on and on with this, but I will sum it up with a specific resonse to an example in your text:

    Anecdotal Tale #2.
    A teacher did that to us the other day… After Sandy caused us not to have school all week (but we did friday) she emailed the class telling us to drop off the HW assignment that had been due Thursday at the administration office by 4PM – she would have a folder there for it.
    Except she sent the email at 11AM that same day.
    The students are at school! Most people (Everyone but me :P) don’t check their emails many times in the day – especially since our school forces the teachers to only send emails to student’s school emails (InitialLastname@myschool.org), which students rarely check – cause teachers rarely send emails to it.

    In any case, I completly agree with what you say, and will stop my comment here :)

    • Thanks for the response! I agree that training would be beneficial for everyone. As far as checking emails in school, one of my kid’s teachers actually suggested that I text message my kid during the day to remind her of things. I said to her, “She is not allowed to text in school. MY rules, and I am certainly NOT going to encourage the behavior.” I think the teacher was quite put off!! Is your school currently up and running again after Sandy?

  8. Your blog entry makes me salivate. I have a desktop that works. which is pretty much a miracle. For the first time this year, I also have an LCD projector, but only because my predecessor had some big important extra jobs to do that she was able to prove she needed it for.. Last week, I was given a laptop to use with said LCD projector–until now I have provided my own. I have been promised a document projector. I expect to get this when hell freezes over. If they gave me a SmartBoard, I might die of happiness.

    I would like money for graph paper in my math class. And dry erase markers. And to pay for enough custodial hours that he had time to mop the floor. Oh, and tissues for the kid’s snotty noses during cold season would be fantastic.

    Your teachers live in technology heaven. I feel they should probably be informed of that.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you. Especially since we parents are on the hook for tissues, graph paper, and dry erase markers. Good luck getting your document projector!!!

  9. I am also baffled when people are unable to find things online. To me, finding information on any subject, from how to fix a plugged fuel filter to how to train a teacup poodle, is a quick Google search away. The search doesn’t even have to be particularly well-phrased to work. And yet people can’t seem to find where to buy a pair of jeans!

    By the way, congrats on making Freshly Pressed!

    • Brilliant!! I bite my tongue a thousand times a day because I am not allowed to ask them “Did you try Googling it?” It’s the only thing life as a former librarian and now a tech girl has taught me–Google, or another search engine, ALWAYS has the answer..and if it doesn’t, you’re probably screwed anyway! :-)

  10. Your post couldn’t be more true. It seems as if new technology is always being used incorrectly. For example, buying a brand new iPhone 5 because it’s slightly bigger than the previous ones and the software runs a little different. I don’t know if that counts as using technology incorrectly or just using money incorrectly. I guess it could go either way.

  11. Hilarious. I deal with the same shenanigans in my district. You are not alone in the madness. (Sounds of head bashing….with my old laptop…..not the new MacBookPro!)

    • Aaah, a Smartboard is a magical and beautiful thing, but only when used correctly. ;) (And I’m not sure one is completely necessary in a 4th grade classroom, but I’m just a parent…what do I know??!!) Glad you had a laugh!

  12. It is funny how many distractions are in today’s society…simply reading an article online is a task with all the distracting ads on the side bars

    • Oh yeah, the ads are the worst. Or the videos that come complete with a 30 second commercial you cannot fast forward through… especially when the video in question is 10 seconds or so. I wonder how much time we just waste sitting in front of our computers??

      • It’s all a strategy…there’s no escape! The media wants to own you!

        The human mind is developing to adapt to abnormally and unnecessary fast processes; everything needs to be faster–our phones, computers, etc. The commercials delay this and further frustrate people. But why should you even complain when you have everything in the palm of your hands?! It’s not necessary to have email on a cell phone, but it’s not even possible to waive that option for many phones now!

        I didn’t even know what a SmartBoard was…I had to look it up and felt old. I was in India earlier this year, and the respect that teachers are shown is incredible. Such a difference. One would imagine with such a rich society as ours, with these endless resources and technologically advanced — everythings (I mean whiteboards?! Come on!), our spoiled students would have an advantage over those who only have access to desktop computers during one hour of school. But no, we fall far behind in studies. Students talk back to teachers and choose not to come to class.

        Overseas, the students rise at the entrance of any teacher, without being asked. They choose to come to school. No one tells them. Students are segregated by gender and wear uniforms.

        I know this is off track a little but … just something that bothers me so much! Something needs to change.

        ~Join Me~ http://missjessedeol.wordpress.com/
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  13. Oh, technology in school. None of my teachers are particularly good at using a smartboard, and it’s rather painful to see. Sometimes they need the technician just to put it on and there’s half an hour of class gone. >.<

  14. Enjoyed reading your post!
    Technology is growing, but very few use it in the right manner. Smartphones are definitely the best examples. Why keep it, if you can text and call using the good old nokia phones? And I have seen people with tablets and smartphones, putting neither of them to good use. So why buy them? I would say, for showing off.
    And congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  15. As technology has been the prime part of my 30 year working life it amazes me how many people throw their , mouse and carry on like the technology is the issue and the majority of time it is their poor practice. Great and interesting post, thank you.

  16. Yes, my girls have smart boards at their schools as well. Whatever happened to inhaling that lovely chalk dust? They haven’t had a teacher bang on the smart board, but when I was in school there was a band director who threw his baton at students. I didn’t take band for a reason.

    I agree about the school lunches. The concept is a good one – kids need more veggies, so put more on the trays. But without parents breathing down their necks, how many kids will really eat them? Mine certainly wouldn’t.

    What’s really funny is that along with the modern tech you can still find those purple inked pages every once in a while.

    • Lucky! I haven’t seen one of those beautiful purple pages in quite some time. Yeah, kids do need more veggies. I should inquire as to how they are prepared in schools–are they prepared in an appetizing and healthy fashion or are they boiled to death so that all of the nutrients leaked out? Hmmm…curious…

  17. I’ve been out of teaching for seven years now. I taught from 1975 – 2005 and was there as technology started to become a tool used by teachers to teach or for students to learn.

    For example: The high school where I taught, in the early 1990s, used a grant from IBM to install a reading lab at no expense to the school district or tax payers, but it didn’t last long. The students in the reading lab were the poorest readers and they hated reading so the students started to sabotage the IBM computers by shoving soft freshly chewed gum (or other disgusting things) into the disk drives.

    Soon, the IBM lab had to be shut down. The school’s tech person, the teacher and her adult assistants could not keep up with the damage caused by students that were not interested in learning anything. The only reason they were in school was because the law made them be there or else. The reading teacher (it wasn’t me) returned to using the old fashioned boxed kits for the SRA Reading Lab. The IBM lab was shut down and the computers stored away to gather dust for the next few decades. I wouldn’t be surprised that those systems are still in storage—long forgotten.

    Then in 1991, I volunteered to be the Journalism advisor and teach one period of journalism in addition to my English classes. The computers that the high school students used to produce the student newspaper were hand me down Macintosh computers from the 1980s and were even outdated by outdated systems. There was no money for new computers. To keep those repaired and running the students sold ads that were printed in the school newspaper and we used that money to buy parts and/or repair those old systems. At the end of each year, if the students had a balance left in the advertising account, it was used to buy one more used Macintosh computer because we could not afford to buy new ones. Tax payers never paid a dime for the computers we used in that journalism class and those students won regional, national and international awards and recognition for their work in the high school student newspaper.

    In addition, the journalism class was filled with the smartest kids on campus and several were computer geeks that kept the system working. And it crashed and froze often causing student editors to go screaming from the room in frustration. Due to those antiquated, problem prone systems, I would often arrive at school at 6 AM to meet the student editors and stay until 11PM so we could produce the high school newspaper. It wasn’t uncommon at 9:00 or 10:00 PM to hear an editor that was a senior scream as her computer crashed and she lost an entire day’s work.

    To upgrade, I applied for a grant from a private company and got it. That allowed d us to buy a few new computers, a scanner and a much better printer. The printer that came with the class I inherited from the previous journalism adviser was a hand-me down dot matrix printer from the high school office that often jammed or broke.

    Then there is the grant that paid for a computer lab that was installed in the high school library. The librarian was sent to workshops to learn how to run the lab, teach students how to use it for research and also how to repair systems that broke.

    But students often were caught surfing the internet and visiting porn sites that had slipped by the program that was supposed to keep them from doing that. When caught, those students lost their library computer lab privileges.

    I never had a smart board but they were starting to appear before I retired.

    • You, sir, have had quite the adventures in teaching! Do you miss it? I admire the dedication and can only imagine the frustration of the journalism students putting out that paper and working on a worse-than-outdated system.

  18. As a school board president of a rural school district, I can say that much of this is true. Regarding the veggies, we do not have much of a say in the matter. This mandate comes down from the USDA. We must offer the veggies and we throw out thousands of pounds of good food. Forget about other starving countries; much of that food could be sent to the overcrowding homeless shelters here in the US.

    • Thanks for weighing in! I agree about the homeless shelters here in our own backyards. I think it is sad that there is really nothing we can do about what amounts to mandated waste.

  19. Awesome post. I’m a Canadian parent and share the same frustrations you guys are experiencing! Nothing more frustrating than teacher websites that aren’t updated, and emails to teachers that aren’t ever answered!!!! Come to think of it…the old-fashioned phone messages aren’t even answered.

  20. I will testify to the fact that half my teacher who have expensive, budget draining technology in their rooms either “don’t know how to work these new fangled gadgets” (that’s a direct quote) or “don’t give a tiny rat’s ass. That’s what whiteboards are for.” (another direct quote.) The other half spend the school day beating the crap out of said high-end cutting-edge technol, trying to get their presentations to work.
    Instead of all this high-end cutting-edge technology we should invest in some quality stress balls for our teachers. Or therapy.
    Trust me, lot better.
    Great post though!

  21. Oh was this fantastic. I just argued with a teacher that the problem is not the union, but the administration that doesn’t clear out the “bad” or “lazy” teacher. Document, document, document. I would say that would be a great use of technology…. I so love the Smart boards that are used as a bulleting board by taping signs on them. I loved mine when I was a teacher, and we didn’t pound it, but I wish that I would have had more room to let more students use it to solve grammar problems….and wrote fun stories.

  22. Hilarious post. I have suspected all along that the huge truckloads of money we throw at education every year is wasted on frivolous adventures by the bureaucracy called management. Even with the First Lady promoting healthful school lunches the kids waste food. Even with Superintendents providing technology to blow your mind away, it is wasted by staff who don’t know how or why they need to use it.
    What ever happened to bring your own lunch to school? What ever happened to teachers who did the job without smart books and iPhones? Its a different world, evolving into a giant mess of cerebral mush.

    • Interesting points you raise–and definitely thought provoking. I don’t blame the onslaught of cerebral mush on technology itself, but on the decision makers who decide to install it into places where it is not necessarily needed, and in some cases not even wanted. Of course, there are oodles of policies like that, not just with technology.

  23. The it is used and it is working correctly part is especially so true! Too often I see technology being misused, underused, and problematic in the education setting. And I often have trouble with technology, it being slow/out of date, especially in schools as well.

  24. Technology in the classroom can have a positive effect on learning outcomes. The computer can support students in many ways as we know everyone learns differently and the computer can support students and the way they learn for an example it supports students who learn by doing and being engaged (hands on learning). Technology can help teachers present things and show students things that are not possible to show on paper. There are programs that can help students learn and support their learning in a way the teacher maybe can’t. Technology offers us the experience to participate and learn from learning communities. Without technology it would not be possible for us to converse globally and learn through sharing information with others as well as reading and learning from others globally. I believe technology in the classroom can change learning for students in a positive way. Technology will continue to advance as time goes on as we know it have a negative effect but if we learn how to control technology and practise using it in school i think it can enhance learning in the classroom as well as help teachers.

  25. Reminds me of the Danish/Swedish expression “Fejl 40″ – the infamous “Error 40″. It refers to situations where the error is located 40 centimeters from the computer screen. ;)

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  26. It’s funny you wrote this because it’s exactly the inspiration for my entire site. I work in a “technical” field and I’ve written software applications. Whether it’s something I’ve created or something like Excel or Word, people have no interest in learning how to use anything anymore – they think it should just do what they want.

    Technology makes our life easier, but only if we take the time to LEARN it. Are there programs/services out there that are inherently crappy? Yep. And those are just as unforgivable.

    Thanks for the post – I feel much better!

  27. My husband is an Elementary Ed teacher in a school that has increased their technology quite a bit! Unfortunately, because the admins are apparently idiots, teachers are left on their own to make sure everything works right and figure out how to make sure they can all still work as their grade-teams while utilizing the equipment as best as possible. My husband’s team worked it out, and is actually pretty efficient with better classrooms because of it. Others, though, not so much because there’s no one to fully teach the technology to them until someone else figures it out first and has the availability to show someone else.

    It’s unfortunate, because the teachers WANTED the technology so they COULD really get into the best ways to use it to help their students (for example, the “press A, B, C, D” thing with the smartboards? If used properly, that aspect can be used as a game show type setting making it fun for the students and thus increasing their retention of the content. My husband has seen student performance increase when he can make the learning fun like that).

    What really sucks, though, is that it has to be the administration’s idea of necessary technology at all times. The husband and his principal have been trying to get e-readers into the classrooms, because there are so many ways they can be used with the students that would help to increase their understanding of the guided reading assignments! Unfortunately, despite him having managed to get a grant and a nice number of e-readers to test the usefulness out, the people in charge refuse to work with him and are basically setting it up to fail.

  28. Pingback: School Districts and Modern Technology, or, Things That Make Me Bang My Head On My Laptop | One Change a Day

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