Carnival time

The Carnival of Education is in full swing at An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog.

In Stories from School, Travis looks at technology and teaching.

. . . computers sit in most classrooms collecting dust, used for basic internet research and word processing, two activities that do have their purpose, but could be achieved with computers many years old, and in the case of word processing, decades old.

Why do we insist on using up-to-date, expensive computers when they are not used as such? Is it because the computers are a status symbol or the classroom, the school, and even the community?

You’d think by now administrators who buy technology and teachers who use it would have figured out what’s worthwhile and what’s doomed to be “the exercycle of the classroom.” But apparently not.

Check out the blarney edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling at Homeschool Cafe.

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  1. “…the exercycle of the classroom”

    The last classroom I substituted in DID have an actual exercycle!!
    I guess the teacher didn’t have room for it at home.

  2. Love the metaphor (exercycle)….HA! Thanks for the prominent post. I am off to the Carnival.

  3. You’ve got it wrong – it’s not the teachers who insist on the newest, shiniest computers – it’s the IT departments. They don’t want to have to work with a variety of non-standard computers. Teachers don’t have administrative privileges to add hardware, so, if something (like a mouse) doesn’t work, it can be MONTHS before IT arrives to do a 10-minute fix.

    Think I’m kidding? I’ve been waiting for 4 months to get a mouse installed. When the old one died, I tried swapping out for a new mouse. No go. I didn’t have the rights. Our 2 computer teachers didn’t have the rights. Our IT guy on campus didn’t have the rights. 3 repair tickets have gone in, and I’m still waiting.

    They’ll be cutting back in our district next year – one of the departments slated to get reduction is IT. God help us all.

  4. Physics Teacher says:

    It’s not just IT types. In ed school most teachers-to-be as well as the professors insisted that kids need years and years of training with the latest “technology” so they’ll be able to deal with the technology that’ll exist when they graduate. Apparently, creating PP presentations will teach kids how to build nuclear power plants someday.

    One way to win brownie points during an observation is to use technology. Have kids multiply two numbers together on a graphing calculator and you just got some points for using graphing calculators. The fact that no graphing even took place escapes admin types. Happened to me.

  5. “Is it because the computers are a status symbol or the classroom, the school, and even the community?”


    Also, because frequently the “value-added resellers” who sell equipment to the school district have, mysteriously enough, family or business relationships with the school boards or administrators.

  6. If the school board, or PTA, buy computers and other tech devices for the classroom, that means they Care About The School. It means it is a Good School.

    That is how we face the specter of whiteboards in every classroom, and 35 students in a class, in my opinion. The budget is not infinite. Something must go. We have a school board member who likes to rhapsodize about individualized education via computer. Those of us who would prefer human teachers for our children are dinosaurs. I’m not certain why teachers are cooperating so enthusiastically with the power looms which will replace them. I guess that people have forgotten that the Luddites had a reason to object to machine looms.

    In 1984, Stephen Kindel, Forbes’ technology editor, predicted, “it is the poor who will be chained to the computer; the rich will get teachers.”

  7. Douglas2 says:

    “basic internet research and word processing…could be achieved with computers many years old”

    Schools should be using the latest internet browsers for safety. Having the latest browsers will require having a computer OS that is still current. Having a current OS with obsolete hardware is just asking for service problems, maintenance headaches, and increased costs, in my view.