I Wish We Were All Moving At The Speed Of Creativity

Wesley Fryer has published the conversation we had (while hanging out in the Blogger's Cafe at NECC) as his latest podcast. It was great to be able to speak with Wesley - I felt like, for the most part, we were on the same wavelength. We talked for about 30 minutes about educational technology, what we can do to help teachers in their technology use, and my plans in creating a follow-up to Pay Attention.

In listening to our conversation again I was struck by how forward-thinking Wesley is (an extremely admirable quality, IMHO) - and how hesitant I can be at times when considering the best next step (I'm thinking particularly about the segment wherein we discuss 1 to 1 computers and our district's responsibility to appropriately spend this year's substantial budget).

Perhaps a better way to describe my attitude toward such panaceatic ideas like the 1 to 1 initiative can be summed up in one word: cautious. Would every student greatly benefit from the use of their own, personal, computer? Absolutely. Every student has their own pencil - shouldn't every student also have access to their own computer? Maybe. But providing a computer for every student simply isn't effective unless the proper infrastructure is already in place. And quite frankly, we're just not there yet in the Jordan School District.

In our district (on the whole), the secondary schools are starving for adequate tech support. Having served as the Technology Coordinator at Brighton High School for several years, I can attest to the fact that we are greatly under-staffed in this area. Consider: 1 school, over 600 computers (half Windows, half Mac), roughly 80-90 teachers and 2,000 students. To maintain such a network, we had (for the majority of my time at Brighton) one person to provide technology support (hardware, software, network - for two paid hours each day), and one person to provide technology integration guidance for our teachers (for one paid hour each day). Now, at Brighton we also had access to the District's thinly-spread technology support team, but an appeal to such resources often took months to transpire. Frankly, if my tech-savvy colleagues and I hadn't spent countless hours above and beyond the call of duty (most days working hours well beyond contract time), then our teachers' and students' technology needs probably would not have been met (if they ever were, indeed, met). Hence, to add additional computers to the mix in our District, at this time, would probably not be the best way to spend a few dollars.

But I digress. To be forward-thinking is good - very good. I just wish it were easier to move at the speed of creativity.

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