This quarter I’m taking two classes simultaneously which is a new experience for me. I’m surprised by how much the courses overlap with the content and I find myself occasionally referencing material mentioned in the wrong class.
The overlap that seems most significant to my professional life right now is the idea of bringing laptops into classrooms at a 1:1 ratio. What I’ve gathered from our class sessions so far is that technology in the classroom is no more than a very expensive notebook substitute without proper professional development and effective teaching behind it. This has come up in my other class as well as we think about the purpose of 1:1 laptops. If our goal is just to “put technology in classrooms”, that’s all we’re going to achieve.
As a teacher within the Everett Public Schools, this is a topical issue for me right now. We have an upcoming bond and levy initiative this month that is being voted on. Part of the funding being approved would support 1:1 laptops for every student in the district, beginning in the high schools. I’m realizing how relevant this conversation is not just for me, but for all the teachers in my district. 1:1 laptops is daunting for many teachers and there’s one quote that stuck with me from a fellow teacher. When the topic of laptops came up she announced:
“Only 2 of my 6 desktop computers work in my room! I’m teaching second grade! Can we just focus on getting my current technology to work? Why do my second graders each need a laptop?”
These are the questions I’m hearing as we move ahead with this initiative. As a district and as teachers we need to be very intentional moving forward. How are we going to use these laptops to help our students learn?
Let’s not spend thousands of dollars on digital notebook substitutions. Please.