11.19.2006

Teaching and technology

I teach in a magnet program and have a classroom with 25 workstations. I have run Moodle (a web based content delivery and evaluation system that has just about everything you could ever ask for) for a bit over four years in the classroom and teach a curriculum that includes Science and Society mixed with information architecture lessons and content creation. The educators still insist on calling it "Web Design." Yes, I have all the bells and whistles.

That said, I have a terrible time even communicating my vision of one hundred dollar thin clients and web services for all students to administrators. They think computers are huge honking things that cost two thousand dollars just to light up and that a school of twenty-five hundred students can run with a handful of labs. Nor do they understand that administrating it would be easy as pie. No moving parts in the computer. No software to purchase for every seat. Just a browser, a calculator, Google, Open Office and thee.

When you speak of the value of computers, it should be in a real context of efficiency. The discussion about whether children can score perfectly on the SAT and not have a computer is irrelevant. Just engaging in the discussion is like having an argument with a creationist. Remember, computers are just tools. On the other hand, the network is almost alive and keeping children away from it may turn out to be a *very* bad idea.

For this reason and others, I declare the digital divide to be situated INSIDE schools, not outside.

OTHER REASON: Since you can buy a computer for under two hundred dollars and get an Internet connection for about ten dollars a month, the lack of computers for children is an adoption issue, not a money issue.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, but if you make all of our computers into thin clients, I won't have any feasable way of boosting my Folding @ Home rank :)

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