My gadget world is complete. I now possess the tech troika of a MacBook Pro, an iPad, and an iPhone. The laptop belongs to the Hopkinton, NH School district, the iPad was a present for my 50th from my family, and the iPhone…well, it’s a early Christmas present. This love of technology comes my way genetically, at least in part from my father. But there’s something about holding a gadget, seeing it operate, and not knowing exactly what wonders it shows until I hit a button or flip a switch.
Clearly, education has embraced technology for many years. Those in positions of influence have longed for gadgets to change the academic world but despite everyone’s best intentions technology has not dramatically improved student learning for many schools. Why is this?
- In many cases, districts spend thousands of dollars on technology without setting realistic goals for the equipment and not engaging in serious professional development for teachers.
- There is a temptation to exalt the gadget over its usefulness. Having a one-to-one iPad initiative or a school full of interactive white boards makes for a wonderful press release.
- Teachers can’t be fooled. They can sense when an administrator has gadget fever. I have said early on that any technology we utilize has to support the academic values we already hold.
With new teachers on board at HMS who are closer to being digital natives than most of us, I will have to hold true to my maxim above and fight gadget fever.
Meanwhile, with my college aged kids home for the holidays, I look to my right and my wife is on her iPad, my two oldest are on the MacBooks, Jake is poised over the ol’ iMac keyboard, and I’m punching this blog entry out on my MacBook Pro. Don’t worry. We talk a lot too. Face to face…not over Skype.