God knows there is more advice on the web and educational servers about great things to use in the classroom or things to stay away from and I am certainly not here to advise either way. I believe, as most experienced educators would agree, that the most important tool in the classroom is the teacher and his/her relationship with their students. Technology cannot fix a broken or ineffective teacher. A recent blog discussing Learning Management Systems does a good job of reviewing some of the choices available, and he is an advocate of Google app systems that have been recently released titled Google Apps for Education.
Most technology sections in county central offices are staffed with either a part time individual stuck with the job, to a moderate section with several staffers often with little training. The main function of the technology section is often to block progress rather than work with teachers to improve educational technology. Their first (and often the only one needed) wall of opposition is that of inappropriate use of technology. Always crying wolf and it rings a bell in the ears of the older less technologically informed county leaders, they often are successful at arguing against any new advancement/app/program leading teachers to use older technology or hiding their use of technology from supervisors. I visited a county recently where they were still debating letting teachers message each other! As I introduced several apps, websites, programs that they could use to enhance lessons, encourage more dialogue with students, they admitted they use some of them but they do not tell anyone because they “county administration would have their jobs.”
I’ve been on my soapbox recently about educating administrative leadership at the county/main office level, but technology is an area that ignoring the possibilities offered through the use of technology, often for absolutely no money ( Scribus, Gimp, Libreoffice ) is the opposite direction we need to be going in education. Perhaps it’s the perceived threat to technological advisors that they either refuse to allow new technology into schools, or the fear that their ignorance of new and developing educational programs will be revealed. I’m not sure but I do know one thing: Students already use the technology and are looking for educational leadership to help them make informed decisions.
Until we catch up in education with the technology used by our students and we can provide solid educational guidance on technological programs and equipment, we are failing our students.