Monday, February 8, 2010

It takes more than money to do technology in the classroom right

Fortunately, this $1.25 million mess didn’t happen in Kentucky, but there are lessons here for us.

The Jennings School District in Missouri purchased thousands of Palm T/Xs to give to every student in the system, grades three to twelve. The plan included spending $200,000 for teacher instruction on how to incorporate these hand-held devices into daily class work.

The high tech gamble never panned out.

Now, the Missouri taxpayer is going to take another hit because another education fad idea lacked real insight and follow-through. The Palms aren’t being used, and most are still in a warehouse. They are going to be sold or given away as this $1.25 million fad chasing plan crumbles.

There are lessons here for Kentucky school systems that are rushing to put computers in kids’ hands – think it through carefully.

Work out a good plan, first, about how the technology is really going to be used. If you don’t already have some teachers on staff who really know what is going on, be especially careful.

Since most of your teachers probably will need training, be sure that training will work for them.

Most importantly, be sure the plan has a high probability that it will work for kids.

Otherwise, you may just become the next school system to waste a big chunk of ever more precious tax dollars.

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