Observations From Outside The Classroom

Yesterday I discussed Apple’s squeeze, where Chromebooks at a couple hundred dollars each are becoming “good enough” devices for our classrooms and will crowd out the significantly more expensive Macbooks. Today I wanted to share the teacher perspective.

The demand among teachers at my daughter’s school is extremely high. They are literally jockeying for position to get their hands on laptops and tablets.

What a change from 10 years ago when I was working on handhelds in schools. Back then very few wanted them. The teachers in place were mostly scared of technology and the fact that the students knew more than they did. Not now. The teachers are dieing for them.

In fact the only ones who are still scared of all this seem to be the parents. A few can’t understand how students could possibly be using these devices to deeper their understanding and further their educations. I get the impression too many parents think the kids are using them to play games and give the teachers slack time. My guess is that’s how these parents use the devices with their kids at home, which is a real shame.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I couldn’t be more impressed with the teachers and their desire to utilize technology as an educational device. I think next year I might have to put together a video of what these kids are doing to help the parents.

In the upper elementary grades the students keep blogs on what they are reading, sharing them with other kids who comment and have discussions online. They are all learning to be good online citizens. They produce presentations and even use video to help them practice. They research what they are studying, watch videos of lessons and examples that further their knowledge and understanding of topics.

I’m barely scratching the surface of what they are up to.

In the meantime in ten short years we’ve gone from “why in the world would students use a computer to study” to “of course they need to learn with computers,” at least from our school and educators.

For me, all I can utter is, “finally!” I’m so excited to be so intricately involved in making this happen, and so thankful that the school, educators and parent’s organization are all motivated.