Monday, August 08, 2011

Technology Overload

Okay, this is just my opinion, and my complaining, but after all, it's my blog, so I can whine if I want to. (Brings back a song lyric, "it's my party, and I'll cry if I want to..")
The school where I taught, a middle school consisting of grades 6 through 8, has written a grant and gotten money to allow each and every child who enrolls to have a lap top computer. Along with the purchase of said computers, came the software and hardware the school needs to run the entire program.

This all sounds well and good, doesn't it? And since I am no longer there, I am out of the loop. But, I do know, and I can see it at my own house, that already kids spend too much time in front of a computer screen. I read recently that by the time a male reaches age 21, he will have spent over 10,000 hours just playing video games. I don't know who did this survey, but that is some scary stuff. (I don't know what the girls are doing, this specifically mentioned guys. Girls are probably texting and spending Facebook time!)

My big concerns are that we are making our students lazy. They no longer will have to "write" anything on paper, trips to the library will become less frequent, for there is all the research material they need right at their fingertips. Homework can be emailed to the teacher, etc, etc. And speaking of the teachers, I talked to a few who were complaining about having to spend so much of their summer at school rewriting lesson plans, learning how the new system is working and so on, but what they neglected to add was that they were getting paid handsomely for every hour they were there, above and beyond their usual salary.

Another thing, though the parents had to sign a user contract, and so did the students, I have seen students, especially my "special ed" ones have melt downs and throw their books across the room, and have a "tizzy fit." What happens when they throw the laptop across the room. Oh, there is insurance for damage, and the most a parent can be responsible for is $100.00! Well, since over 50% of our kids are on free or reduced lunch, and tuition, and lots of them have never had to pay anything at all, and have even had library fines excused, how can the school expect them to come up with a damage payment. How about having them pay a $400.00 refundable deposit at the beginning of the school year? Sounds good to me.

It will be interesting to sit back, at home luckily, and see what happens. I have heard of other schools that have had great success, and I really hope this goes well. I hope the teachers take the ball and run with it. I saw "smart boards" come into the classrooms while I was there, and was amazed at some of the teacher's attitudes of not wanting to learn how to use them. Lots of money wasted there, and I sincerely hope, in this day of reduction of spending on education, that these same teachers will at least take advantage of this opportunity. I have seen lots of teachers lose their jobs around our area and across the nation, and I wonder if this "grant" money could have been spent more wisely at this time.

Okay, enough griping, I will shut up now!



Kate_Face said...

This really does seem like overkill to me. When I was at school they introduced smartboards and they were useful in some subjects [for example english] but to be perfectly honest an overhead projector would almost always suffice. These laptops are completely unnecessary and seem like a total waste of money to me. How does the school intend to keep the children of games and social networking sites when they should be doing their work? And how many of them already have access to a computer or laptop to help them with homework?

Jimmie Earl said...

Kate_Face: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I couldn't agree more. I have no answers about the games and social networking, but when I was there, and students were given computer time, it was always a nightmare to keep watch over where they were on the net. Supposedly, the new hard/software they are going to be using will be task oriented only. But kids being kids, and computer savvy they are, they will figure a way around it. You can count on it!