Not where we should be spending our technology dollars?

Last week, a tweet from Mark Brumley (@markbrumley) showed up in our Twitter feed:

Really cute video about technology in the classroom!

I followed the link to what appears to a be a contest webpage for the 2011 Classroom Makeover through eInstruction. The winner gets eInstruction products, such as the Mobi Interactive White Board and clickers for a classroom.

Yes, the video was cute (though I’ve have “Firework” stuck in my head for about the last 48 hours because of the video). But as I watched I was struck with the thought that this school is chasing down technology dollars earmarked in the wrong direction.

Granted, I’ve not used a Mobi or even a Smart Board or clickers, and I’m sure that I would find great use for them (though I get along quite well with my laptop and a projector), but I’m more and more convinced that those are not the kinds of technology we should be seeking first for our classrooms.

The problem with these devices is that they are not the sort of technology that students will need to navigate their world in their futures. Literacy with a clicker helps for a future class that might ask them to use a clicker, but literacy with a computer (and all the emerging information and communication applications accessible from a computer) will help students prepare for life.

I want my students to have hand-held devices, but not clickers. Computers. In their hands. At their desks. If they all had computers I could better harness the powers of free software out there (such as the suite of google apps) as an instructional tool. And at the same time, I would be certain my students were honing the vital literacy skills they will need to navigate their future world.

One-to-one computing is where we need to go–all our tech dollars should be dedicated toward that goal. This is most important for our students who don’t come to our school doors from homes where they have access to computers. If the only technology these students get their hands on in the classroom is a clicker, school is NOT providing them the opportunity to develop what I argue is today’s basic literacy.



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