Friday, March 8, 2013

School Education Administrators Leading the Way in Education - Digital Technology in the Classroom- Are the Strings Attached too Cumbersome by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

School Education Administrators Leading the Way in Education - Digital Technology in the Classroom- are the Strings Attached too Cumbersome By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Many are aware of the great benefits of technology, but that which is occurring in Education with digital technology appears to be shaping up much like it did some years ago with the advent of computers in some schools’ classrooms. The strings attached were simply too cumbersome and not worth the effort in the long run for some schools.

The following short narrative recounts one school’s dilemma, which will follow with three considerations, which I feel School Education Administrators should give serious thought to before hopping on the Digital Technology bandwagon, especially if they do not have wealthy patrons, funders or excessive funding to contribute to their schools and academic and educational program.

Getting Computers

One particular school seemed to have waited an extremely long time before having gotten computers; eventually, grant applications, one after another written by school personnel finally paid off. The Computers were coming and they came. Wait! Crucial components did not accompany them; no training in use of the computers occurred and teachers did not have the knowledge or expertise; nor were they interested in learning with their already busy curriculum schedules. So we went to the classroom set aside as the Computer Lab and sat and sat and looked at the computers. In an effort not to inadvertently break them, they were not touched. After one teacher was relieved of her position because she adamantly refused to learn to operate the computer, other teachers made half-hearted attempts; some at least allowed students to turn on computers and we watched computer screens.

Quite naturally, such did not sit well with the students and having complained did not accomplish much for either students or teachers. I guess no one wanted to admit that the school had been the recipient of computers that did not include necessary components or training in the use of them.

As students will be students and fascinated as to how the computers worked, a few tinkled with them and created horror when they opened one and took it apart having assured us that they could put it back together. Mind you; these were Sixth Graders and they not only put the computer back together, but explained certain aspect in the building of the computer, the students had had no previous exposure to computers. The purpose for which the computers were intended did not take place that year and after a short time students lost interest in the computers. Quietly, computers were deemed a failure at this school without their ever having been given a fair trial or students a chance to succeed with them; they instead became a cumbersome burden on the school and to teachers. However and on a positive note, the computers did serve at least two purposes; some students were introduced to computer hardware and demonstrated to other students and teachers their capability in the area of Technology; here was Technology in S.T.E.M., at work, initiated by Sixth Grade Students.

School Education Administrators before you hop on the Digital Technology bandwagon:

Even though there are a number of things School Education Administrators should consider before hopping on the Digital Technology bandwagon in an effort to obtain and bring  digital technology into your schools’ classrooms, at this point I will place three considerations in the form of questions; they are as following:

1.       Will digital technology meet your teachers and students’ needs and enable them to accomplish the goals and objectives set forth in Education? In other words, does the digital technology for classrooms and your school come with all necessary components (both hard and software) and training in the use of, resources and maintenance?

2.       What is your back-up strategy when students lose interest in the newest digital technology? Should you place all your funding, resources and base your entire curriculum on digital learning and its technologies and will you be able to keep apace and on target academically when students become bored and lose interest in the newest digital classroom technology?

3.        Few even discuss the aspect of Digital technology in the classroom in terms of health and safety, but questions should be raised as to, what mode of transmission will power the technology entering your schools and classrooms and whether you as the school’s leader will/should place limitations on students’ exposure to this transmission, as well as how much time students will spend in front of the computer screen or monitor? With the use of digital technology; you, your staff and students are exposed to some form of transmission daily; it would be best to invest some time in inquiring and learning which form is safest for you, your staff and students.

School Education Administrators, you are expected to lead the Way in Education; digital technology in the classroom is becoming a major and driving force in Education and with the possibility of it entering and increasing in your schools and classrooms, you must determine as to whether it will benefit and be beneficial in accomplishing the goal in Education or will it come with strings attached which will become too cumbersome for you and your school? Digital technology is not the solution in Education; at least not in and of itself or if it does not accommodate your individual schools’ needs; meet the needs of staff and students and include all components necessary to enable those using it in accomplishing your individual school’s education goal(s). Will digital technology assist by helping you accomplish your school, staff and students’ goals in education or come with strings attached which will instead be too cumbersome for you and your school?
Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder
Parents Taking Charge in Education

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