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Technologies in School: Just Ask the Students!

What is the future of technology in the classroom? We often ask this question to educators, policymakers and academic experts, but rarely to the ones really concerned: the students.

Katie Ash, Christopher Powers and Jennifer Neidenberg chose a different approach to bring in student perspectives to the decision making process. They made an insightful video asking three questions to US high school students from Maryland and Oregon.

  • What technologies do you use to communicate with your friends? – “Facebook, facebook, facebook, and my cell phone …”
  • What technologies do you use during school? – “We don’t really use technology …”
  • What technologies would you like to have in school? – “More wireless internet. More (really) accessible computers …”

The answers are far from unexpected but could help to adjust the debate on technology use in schools. I was especially surprised that even though the filmmakers asked “what”, students were more concerned about “how” technologies are used in school. Watch Edweek’s new video or read the full length article.

(Thank you edweek.org)

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No need for paper

(c) Staff photo by Fritz Busch (www.nujournal.com)

Do you remember the era of the writing slate? Maybe your Grandma does. Paper was too expensive and too rare to be used in schools. Well, that changed over time and everyone who left school in the last 50 years should be aware of the amount of paper used in classrooms. While it’s hard to say that all paper is wasted, every single school can certainly cut down on the volume. Much of the paper that is carried home in students’ backpacks ends up unread in the recycle bin.

Now comes the iPad and with it new ways of thinking about paperless schools. One example is the purchase of 320 iPads in one Minnesota high school. The school district allocated $267,748 to its technology fund to become what is believed to be the first school in the country to have the devices at a cost of $479 each. The money will be used to buy 320 iPads with extended, two-year warranties for students and staff, create Wi-Fi infrastructure and provide staff training. According to an article on NUjournal.com Students like using iPads in school.

“One of the first things we have to do is determine what iPad applications best fit classroom curriculum.” said High School Principal Jeff Bertrang. “Students won’t have to buy $100 calculators anymore either,” he added. Imagine the paper savings over time, not to mention the cost savings as textbooks will be digitized in future.

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