Friday, September 30, 2011

The Newest Thing!

I found this commercial embedded in a blog post by SAISD Instructional Technology Director Miguel Guhlin on BYOD in schools.

As the new Kindle Fire is released and Apple about to announce the "next big thing" next week in terms of iPhone and probably some other iDevice, it is difficult for so many of us to feel like we can keep up with technology as these roll out.

And as these roll out, the conversation among many of my peers and colleagues is an attempt to figure out which one device is the best device to use with students.

Because technology is about change and in the education circuit, educational technology is about changing education, I fall out of the conversation about which one device is the saving grace for revolutionizing learning.

I don't believe a device, a gadget or one resource will revolutionize education. Real change does not come in the form of piece of hardware. And we are inundated with products all the time that promise to change how we live, work, entertain ourselves and accomplish a multitude of tasks. But we have to force these "revolutionary" products into a system that is not revolutionary.

The state recently changed funding rules in Texas to allow districts to eliminate the word "textbook" from the state funding source and use money to purchase "instructional materials" including technology.

I have to say I am somewhat tempted to tell the state to keep their money and use it to enact real change in education because the devices aren't helping us. The instructional materials aren't changing a flawed system. Sure they make learning more fun and interactive when used with engaging teachers and engaging curriculum. But are computers and devices really changing education?

In 1981, the IBM computer began making its way into Texas schools as the drill and kill system for labs. It's been 30-years of technology in education. 30 years of technology available for students to use in schools. How has the foundation of education changed in 30-years for the better?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your perspective somewhat. It should always be about the learning and not the device. However, when the device does not function well it can inhibit learning when the plan was to use the device to engage students. I am incorporating BYOT/D in my classroom and find that the students with their own stuff tend to be engaged quicker and stay on task longer than those that are using the district laptops. District stuff stinks verse kids device they manage - they work. It seems to be about the ownership since the device is setup to that kids preferences. The district laptops that over four minutes to load and get the student logged in; not need on a BYOT device. The students own device is usually up to date with the latest versions of software and browsers vs the district stuff still running older version that are not working. My 5th graders are using their own nooks, itouches, ipads and netbooks to conduct research, manage email, read their books, write collaborative book reviews and many other "learning" things. It is time for us technology people to walk the talk, lead by example, and do whats right for kids. I still see tech departments trying to rule the classroom on kinds and versions of devices "alllowed". Lets find the device that works for that kid and helps him to learn and think. It should always be about the learning! Kids need ownership of the learning and the devices. This is my take on learning and technology no matter what age the learner is. Adults do better as well when they own the learning and device. So what are we doing to help get teacher to own their learning and devices in a way that will carry over into the classroom?