Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hardware instead of Software: A better way to spend our money?

A friend and colleague of mine at a workshop asked the question:
"When will be get past the idea of needing to purchase a product in education to solve our problems?" 
The question has stuck with me all summer. I've been thinking about it when I go running and each time when I see the latest on Twitter.
Let me first say that this has been a shift in thinking for me and I am still in process of where this is going.
The place the question has taken me to right now is a problem that I see in my own classroom. I have so many electronic resources available and in use as a classroom teacher but so few ways of accessing them for my students in class. With web resources what they are today, if you can think of an instructional need in the classroom there is probably a tool already out there only a Google search away. What's more is that the product is probably free or very cheap. If I were an educational software company this would make me very nervous, as it should.
What I would love to see is a move toward investing in hardware to access these resources for our students and a move away from finding a digital product for purchase. There may be an amazing super-teacher tool out there but if the tool is only used by teachers I think we are missing the mark of educating our students to be participants in this digital age.
One final question and implication of my thinking: How about we replace textbook adoption processes with technology adoption initiatives instead?


  1. This is why I like the idea of the Chromebooks. It forces the teacher and students to use the web and not a piece of software.

  2. I work for a school district with over 94,000 students. We have an office that deals specifically with technology grants. I went to the office and explained what chromebooks were. They formed a committee and decided NOT to add chromebooks to the allowed technology list. What is wrong with people?! I plan on stopping in their office every week this Fall until they change their minds.

  3. Love the chromebook idea...but wait, are you suggesting there are cheaper more powerful products than Apple?