Tuesday, March 15, 2005

More on technology in the classroom

I'm grateful for the comments from Mike and Jonathan last week about technology's potential in schools. Both of them were skeptical.

The Texas House Public Education Committee is considering a technology initiative that will possibly put hundreds of millions into the public schools specifically for technology. Because the House is controlled by Republicans (87-63), it will pass if the leadership wants it to. But there are many ways the bill could be improved.

For instance, it could be written into the bill that a certain percentage must go to training and maintenance, so that not all of the money is spent on hardware and software that teachers don't know how to use and will eventually break down.

I'm looking for other concrete ideas, specifically from people with experience using computers in the classroom.

And if you're interested in the topic, here's a free, online book by Harvard's Larry Cuban. The title: Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom. The $64,000 question (or the several billion dollar question really) is how do we ensure that computers, once in the classroom, are put to good use?

By the way, Ross Perot swung by the Committee's hearings today to lobby for more technology in schools.


Blogger Tom Hoffman said...

This is obviously a big topic, but I'll hit a few bullet points. States like Texas ought to be way more agressive and strategic about driving down technology costs and demanding hardware and software that meet their needs more precisely than the marked does currently.

States should be making lots of noise about moving to operating systems like Linux and applications like OpenOffice. They should be pursing research and pilot programs around these technologies. To not even threaten to do so is negligent. Look at K12LTSP.org for some examples of grass-roots work in this direction.

Hardware is more difficult. Schools need cheaper, simpler, more robust hardware. Texas should demand it, but as far as I can tell, they take what is offered to them.

5:34 PM  

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