In the Classroom: Technology, Teaching, and Policy Makers

Having a new laptop “is not my favorite idea,” said Sam Hunts, a sophomore in Ms. Rosenbaum’s English class who has a blond mohawk. “I’d rather learn from a teacher.”

That’s from “Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools,” an article that describes yet another top-down situation where technology is being seen as the salvation with teachers being barely attended to.  Like many of the teachers quoted in the article I use technology when it appears to fit, not because I’m pushed to do so. And especially not because it is “preparing” students for the work place. That is one of the reasons that always annoys the hell out of me because technology and workplaces change too fast. Whatever the kids are doing may not signify by the time they are in the work place. Better they can problem solve, think, and so forth with or without technology.

I’ve been involved in the educational use of technology since the 70s when I got my first master’s in Technology in Education and was dealing with main frame computers and folk who thought deadly multiple choice programs were the way to go.  Later I was happy to be involved with more developed ideas and have used much of it in my own teaching. But I’ve also seen over and over and over what happens when ideas and stuff are shoved at teachers and schools.  Like many of the teachers in this article I like using technology, but as I see fit. I’ve also taught online courses and think it makes sense only (like all technology) in some situations.  For kids to do online courses because they are supposedly being prepared for the workplace,  hogwash. I’ve read enough about the use of such courses in high schools to know it is being used to save money, to cut down on flesh and blood teachers.

Every time I read of another situation that imposes something on good teachers like Ms. Rosenbaum I get sad and frustrated and wonder — when is the pendulum going to shift. When?

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