Monday, July 16, 2007

Technology means money

I have been thinking about the trouble I am having with this class with slow dial up and non up to date equipment. It seems clear to me that my students would have to have access to plenty of money in order to use the technology in the classroom. I don't feel that is fair and would leave some students feeling left out. Not all students will have computers in the home and not all schools have computers in them, though more schools have them I expect.

I don't have much money so I don't have the new computer and I can not afford satellite to get high speed so I can see where my students might have trouble. Myself, I do not want anyone to feel singled out by not being able to afford a computer to use at home and I don't feel this is something that should be pushed into the classroom. I think it should be available for students who wish to use it but not mandatory and not for the whole class because there will be students who can not use the computer or lack skills because of their family backgrounds and as an educator I would never make those students feel uncomfortable in my classroom.

Students with limited finances are going to find this very difficult because they will not have had a computer in the home to develop skills nor will they be able to access the sites from home, if the school chooses to go with the information online.

I think we need to keep in mind that not everyone has a computer and not everyone can afford this stuff.

Also, as a single mom in full time university working three part time jobs - I find this extremely time consuming and frustrating. I would never blog without this class or set up all those feeds because I have no interest in that sort of thing. What about my students who have no interest and no time? I would not make this mandatory in my classroom - it does not allow for the "whole child" concept incorporating everyones unique differences. Not everyone wants to learn by computer.

I do see the purpose in learning about it myself, though because for my students who are using this, it will be helpful to keep in touch and monitor them and as an educator, I need to keep up with the changing times............even though I am kicking and screaming about it.

It is just another media for my students and in the long run - the more options for my students the better - but never forget - know your students and don't hurt anyones feelings or make them uncomfortable.


Mr Harrington said...

While I very much agree with some of your arguement re: students who can't afford to have the technology at home. In my area in Wales UK- in my class only 19 out of a class of 29 have regular access to a computer at home also some pupils do not want to communicate using computers, I agree. However the freedom and the huge power of blogging for example to give my young pupils a voice and an audience (I timetable blogging lessons as Literacy!)has been a real spur to those who were until recently reluctant writers - they now want to blog and comment on other people's work. True not all of them can blog from home, but when they have the opportunity believe me they make the most of it.
Paul H ( Wales UK)

Mr. Kuropatwa said...


This line caught my eye:
"I think we need to keep in mind that not everyone has a computer and not everyone can afford this stuff."

Quite right. That's precisely why teachers have to advocate for their students and insist that schools and school divisions provide equal access to educational resources.

In schools all over the world, many in Canada, teachers are leveraging a suite of online tools to enhance and deepen their students learning. More and more students are learning more and more deeply than ever before as result of teachers carefully orchestrating their class' online presence. These students are acquiring a skill set and knowledge base that puts them at a distinct advantage vis a vis their peers who do not have these experiences.

It is the job of the public school system to level the playing field. To make certain that all students have equal access to high quality educational experiences and materials.

You're right, some of your students may not have internet access at home (although I think you might be surprised at how many of them do). That makes it doubly important for you to learn how to effectively leverage the use of tools like blogs, wikis and podcasts. So you can help them become deeper learners while advocating at the school or district level to ensure they have equal access to the resources they need to learn and be competitive in the future.

You're teaching and preparing them for jobs that don't yet exist; to solve problems that we don't even know are problems yet, using technologies that haven't been invented yet.

When do you think would be a good time for your students to start getting exposure to web 2.0 tools and learning? While they're still in school ... or afterwards?

If this comes off a little strident let me apologize now ... you hit a nerve. ;-)

Darren Kuropatwa

Red Neck Girl said...

Hi there,
thanks for your comments to my blog. I appreciate the feed back. Actually, I think the school systems could better spend their money on other things instead of the top of the line monitors and computers with upgrades every year. Books and literacy for instance.

Personally, I would like to see the kindergarten and grade ones learn to use the library and social skills that involve imagination and a different type of creativity.

They are going to learn it though and you are right - most preschoolers will know more about computers than most educators by the time they start school.

I just like to look at the other side !

Shareski said...

I don't think it's a matter of either or that is books or computers. Kids need both. But really what is a book? Ideas that happen to be on a printed page. Having them in digital form not only allows for traditional reading but the hyperlinking and connecting that cannot exist on a printed page.

Again, I'm not saying a printed book isn't important but we shouldn't hold to an idea simply because we are comfortable. The students that enter school this year will graduate in the year 2020. What will that world be like? What skills will they need? I don't know but based on the changes we've seen in the past few years, it's going to require a vastly different way of education than we currently have.

Thanks for the conversation.

Red Neck Girl said...

Hay guys,
thanks for the posts. Maybe it's the mom in me but you know its really hard to snuggle with a computer on your lap !! I want my children to continue to snuggle up to me for a good book. Of course theres a bit less snuggling done in the class room but stories are so much fun and I can use my voice inflection to make the words pop of the page and the kids jump and spook and laugh and giggle.... thats what a book is.

Nickster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nickster said...

Hmm... I've been reading these comments, and I can’t help but think that you are being a little close minded. I understand what you mean about the connectedness that comes with reading a book out loud, and the power that can have. However, rather then seeing computers as a cold, distant tool....think of them as a new way to connect with students. Did you take a look at the digital story telling? Think of the possibilities that could have in language arts. You mentioned something about how reading books aloud enable us to bring expression, and words pop out in a story. Well imagine students creating expression with their own voices and bringing stories to life in a digital story. Then imagine them sharing it with classmates, families, etc. Overall, I think that technology is not the answer to everything but why do we always have to look at it as two completely separate ways of teaching.

smytheg2001 said...

Hi Ronda!
I see you have already had a few comments on this one, so I'm a little behind but after reading your blog and the other thoughts, I wanted to comment as well. I can see where you are coming from. It is frustrating when programs aren't working, computers are slow and when we have to buy new things to keep up. I can relate to the lack of time to check your RSS feeds because right now I find it WAY to time consuming. BUT, I think for people like us, who are disgustingly busy, it is not something we can use just to surf for topics of interest. I think that this practice with exploring education sources will be so good for when you are in the classroom. You really have to embrace this tool. Right now, you feel frustrated, but you will have access to faster computers with better internet connections when you get into the school and you need to be able to use them.
As for the idea that it is not good to use technology because of those who don't have access at home, I think the school is a way to make sure that all students are able to gain experience in this area. The computer really is a literacy tool. I know you said in another blog that most children would not choose to go on a computer but I think you might see different in time. I've seen my four year old take herself to the computer at home and preschool more then once. At the same time, she loves books and cuddling up to read. We should be introducing books as babies anyway so by the time the child is ready for a computer this love of 'stories', whatever form, should already be there. They too will love the connection they have when they snuggle up on our laps, so we shoudldn't have to boycott the computer to keep it.
You never know where you will end up teaching and even if you don't believe in its use in K-1, you might find it to be the only motivating tool you have for that child you can't seem to connect with!

Brian said...

Yes I agree and disagree with you R.N.G. First when you do start it is frustrating, but the more times you do it the easier it gets. And I have on occasion measured to see if my computer box would fit out the window so I could through it to its death. But if you persevere you will get it and so will the kids. I do believe it is imperative that we teach through technology because todays student will feel worse out there in the world with no computer skills than the will with them. It has to be a part of daily teaching otherwise I feel we are doing an injustice to our students. Brian Nenson

Kelli said...

People should read this.