Day 28 – #AprilBlogADay – Tech in the Classrooms – The Good and the Bad

The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Technology in the Classroom

Just a few random thoughts on today’s #AprilBlogADay topic.

I’ve had some really great experiences with technology in the classroom, and a forward-thinking private school district that supplied laptops for as many students as they could afford.

When I started at Spalding in 2006, YouTube was blocked. To get to watch a video for class, I had to send the URL to the tech person and she would unblock it for just the period I needed it.

Over the seven years I was there, we came a long way. And I do mean WE–in those seven years, I grew the most of all. The administration and parents grew along with the staff, always open to possibilities. We were encouraged to participate in local and state tech conferences. We were allowed to use money for online subscriptions to blogs and other platforms instead of spending it on textbooks.

One bit of advice we got during those years was to go one-to-one with iPads, which I thought was bad advice. Instead, the decision was made to keep the MacBook laptops. I was happy with that decision. I continue to think laptops are better and more versatile than tablets (but maybe some people think that’s old school!)

On Twitter, just today, I followed Dr. Adams from Coachella Valley Unified School District in California. His profile says:

CVUSD – First in Nation to rollout iPads for all 20,000 students from Preschool through High School – Preparing Students for College! Career! Citizenship!

When I first read it, I thought of our topic today, and my experience thinking iPads were bad advice.

Dr. Adams and his district would say their investment in iPads was a good decision. He proudly tells the world on his Twitter account.

However, technology in school is not the answer for transformation. Just ask the Los Angeles Unified School District. Someone gave them bad advice to buy iPads loaded with Pearson software for all their students. They have now cancelled the program and are seeking reimbursement from Apple and Pearson. On Edutopia, Sam Gliksman offers 5 Critical Technology Integration Lessons we can all learn from the LAUSD iPad Initiative.

It’s hard to compare LAUSD, with 600,000 students, and Coachella Valley, with 20,000. Regardless of the number difference, I wonder if LA Unified sought advice from Dr. Adams and the CVUSD, just 130 miles east. I’m sure Coachella Valley could have told LA it’s not just about the devices. Vision, training, and student-empowerment are keys to transformation. You can’t just buy everyone iPads.

Watch these two videos to see more of the transformation that CVUSD has gone through. That didn’t happen just because the community voted to buy iPads. A visionary leader, committed staff and community, and empowered students are transforming the school district.

Congratulations to Dr. Darryl Adams and the whole district!