Technology Vs. Textbooks
In today’s world, interactive technology has become an integrated part of our lives. We don’t give much thought at all when we pick up our phones to check the weather or send a letter. Technology impacts our lives as much, if not more, as printed material. Some officials feel like it is time for education to get out of the Stone Age and join the rest of the world in technology bliss.
In a small district in Indiana they are doing just that. The district took the steps this year to remove all math and science texts books and replace them with laptops for all 2,600 students in grades 5-12. The switch cost them $1.1 million in infrastructure alone. The community helped the district by raising half of the $1.1 million to help build the much need infrastructure. The district required an annual $150 laptop rental fee from each student which is the same price from previous years for texts books.
Although the movement doesn’t have any real opposition, many parents and officials are still a little skeptical at best. Many feel too afraid to allow there students to delve in what could be known as the great abyss of the internet. Others are not sure that the cost will return the benefits of conventional textbooks.
Laptops and tablets can run about $300+ per unit not including much needed updates to infrastructure. Not to mention the need to hire more employee to support teachers and students with their new technologies. And of course they would have to train all employees. As you can see it would cost a pretty penny.
As a former Special Education teacher I personally know that I used technology in my classroom on a daily basis to facilitate learning. Many of my former students have been using advance technology for years allowing them to communicate to others and be independent. The use of smart boards and desktop computers allowed me to individualize lessons to the student’s proficiencies and interests. The technology allowed for tactile lessons and allowed for students to do simple tasks like build words from a group of letters or help them study their math facts. But in no way did this replace valuable learning time with a “real” teacher.Continued on the next page