Life was better…

…before sliced bread.  But, walk into any grocery story with a bakery and you’ll see that unsliced bread appears prominently on display.

In fact, in our local store, you have to walk past it in order to get to the sliced stuff.  It’s tough because they bake the best Italian bread ever.

Around our house, we sometimes have a mixture of both.  There’s nothing like a slice of freshly cut bread to go along with supper.  However, our slicing skills are really tested if the goal is to slice them thinly and uniformly enough to fit in the toaster.

Such thoughts were brought on as I read this article recently.  “Why banning technology is not the answer“.  The article is an interesting read by itself.  I don’t think that there really is a need for me to explain my personal feelings on the topic.  A quick read through this blog and the content that I’ve posted for a long time now should speak for that.

What I found most interesting was to follow the articles ultimately recommended as additional reading.

The second article, by Julie Lindsay comes as no surprise.  I’ve been a follower and agreer of her logic and approaches for a long time.  I’ll confess though to spending more time reading the other side of the article.

I think it’s easy to say that the headmaster of the school is wrong for his opinions.  That was my immediate reaction.

It still is – with an explanation.

It really grinds my gears when the ultimate determining factor in discussions like this is performance on tests.  In Ontario, we’re not immune.  “Elementary school students will get 1 hour of mandatory math a day in September: province“.

It’s always revealing to see the public comments on stories like this.  I often wonder if politicians read these first.

A solution, in Ontario, is posed in providing supports and extra professional learning for teachers.  I’m sure that there will be much discussion about this as it rolls out.

But, back to Sydney Grammar.  The one piece that’s missing from the story for me is “was technology ever an option”?  They have a “computer lab” and teachers may request an interactive whiteboard.  That was the implementation around here maybe 20 years ago.  As time, technology, and our understanding of it has matured, the classroom has changed.  We’re fond of saying “technology at the point of instruction”.  In this scenario, students would be withdrawn to use a lab and they may end up using laptops at home.  If a family can afford the $30K+ tuition, I’m sure that they’re financially quite capable of providing the technology at home.

I can also see the logic in the different ways that technology is used in schools and it’s a reminder to administrators that not all classrooms are the same with the same needs.  If a student moves from a classroom where technology is just another tool and used effectively as needed to another where it’s seen as a reward or indeed a distraction because it’s not used correctly, then there is some logic in banning it.  It certainly levels the playing field.  But is that a good thing?  Shouldn’t progress be slanted in the direction of supporting the best teaching and learning? 

I really found both of the articles so interesting to read and contemplate.  They’re truly at both ends of the spectrum.  In our real world, for most schools, I suspect that they’re somewhere in between.  Provide professional learning and support on the effective use of technology and you head one way on that spectrum.  Don’t provide it and remove access and you head the other way.

Certainly, the parents with the big wallets are voting in one direction.

I guess when the day is done, you’ll have your bread to eat. 

One thought on “Life was better…

  1. Alan says:

    Great post. When I started teaching in the UK in the late 1990s, the government introduced the same thing – literacy and numeracy hours each day. I believe that the current thinking in education is to weave more math into all lessons, as this is how it occurs in everyday life. Technology should be taught the same way, introduce skills and technology into all lessons where possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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