Sunday, June 19, 2005

The real gateway for computers in the classroom

... soapbox please... Helping my fiancee and my future sister-in-law-to-be clean up their classrooms yesterday, it dawned on me that the priorities of so many schools are really out of whack. There are schools that are sending money on computers (hardware only) without getting software, support or PD time for teachers. This is "bad", but in the grander scope there is another problem that is out there. It's not in the computers, but it's in the kids. Schools are cutting janitorial programs to pay for other operating expenses. These are the people who make sure the very foundation for good learning and working are maintained... these are the people who clean the floors and the rooms to help ensure that the environment doesn't get in the way of learning. Think about it... if desks are so dirty that kids don't want to sit in them, if computer stations are crusted over with sludge... what sort of learning can really go on there? The second thing that came to mind, especially for low and lower SES schools is a hot lunch program. If kids are hungry, they are not learning and no amount of whiz bang technology is going to change that. Even if it's just the 20cent inchiban, it's better than nothing. It would be great if we can get every preservice teacher to the point that they can use the tools that they have available to them via technology to help their kids prepare for tomorrow, but in many places, unfortunately, there are bigger fish to fry and real bugs to kill.