Today’s students face an ever-changing world of technology that it is no wonder that this technology makes it into the class room. Jase and Lexie’s school is by no means cutting edge, but they aren’t falling behind either.
In Jase’s shared classroom, there are four computers and nine iPads to be shared by the 45 students. I believe Lexie’s class has two computers and maybe two iPads for the 22 students in her class. Of course, the students also have access to two different computer labs.
Now another newer school in our district has an iPad for every student. (They don’t take them home. The devices are for class work only.) The district seems in no hurry to move all the other elementary schools to that same level.
Our school strives to update our technology, but the finances aren’t always there. I know many schools are dealing with the same issues. Technology isn’t cheap, and you have to keep it up-to-date and be able to maintain the infrastructure. To help out our school, last year our PTA gave 14 iPads to the school.
But even if every kid had a computer or iPad at the school, it really wouldn’t necessarily make everything “better.” Technology is just a tool. It isn’t the technology that is going to make a difference in their learning. It is still the teachers and how they use this tool.
I do, however, like that the kids are instructed on computers and tablets as I think it helps prepare them for the future. And it gives children who may not have access to these devices valuable exposure. I also see that using these tools allows kids to unleash creativity in new ways.
Bringing devices to school
Now to combat the cost of providing all students with a laptop or tablet, many schools are allowing students to bring their own device to school. I know that our principal brought it up as an option for fifth graders last year. In middle school and high school that is already an option. In fact, from what I heard (I don’t have a child at those schools) it is almost expected that kids have a smart phone or tablet in class.
At first, I was hesitant about this idea. I mean you don’t want kids texting each other in class or anything like that. But these schools have students’ sign agreements about when and where they can use their devices, and these agreements are strictly enforced. The kids realize the importance of abiding by the agreement, or they lose this privilege.
As part of our kids’ Christmas gift this year, my husband and I are planning on getting the kids their own tablets. With Jase only being two years away from fifth grade, we are keeping in mind that he will probably be bringing this tablet to school at some point.
We are looking to get them the best device we can afford. We don’t want the oldest model out there as it will become obsolete too quickly. We need to ensure we get a device that will run the apps required for school – not just for today but for a few years at least.
And it just isn’t in school that the kids will be using technology…it also shows up in their homework assignments which is my topic for next week.