Can a School be TOO High Tech?

If we could only have a computer in the hands of every child, a data projector in every classroom, an Interactive White Board if every room, Student Response Systems, ultra high speed internet access, on-demand printing abilities, etc. then we would have it all, right?

Not so, if you believe this opinion piece in Sunday’s Washington Post. According to the opinion author, nothing could be further from the truth. Moral is low because of the “technolust” of an administrator responsible for the decisions made.

As a proponent for the use of technology, I found the article difficult to read and even harder to envision. Of course, you can’t take any opinion piece word for word for truth value. But, you can step back and realize that at least in the eyes of the writer, this is how she/he perceives it.

Personally, I can’t believe that a school would be that single minded in its focus. Technology typically has a shelf life of from 3-5 years. A school is a physical plant that’s around for a lot longer. To spend $98M on a school is just so hard to picture as well. That buys a lot of computers and data projectors.

So, where is the truth? More probing questions need to be asked. Were teachers forced to teach in that environment? Was there professional development provided to ensure that students and teachers were positioned for success? Is there a sustainability plan for the technology? Do they have a football team? Do they have a band? Do they offer Advanced Placement classes? Is technology truly the singular focus?

We need to remember that schools are about students and community and should be places to learn. Technology is great, even crucial, but it’s not the only thing.

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