Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pay Attention

There has been much discussion here at Keystone over the past few weeks about Governor Rendell's "Classrooms for the Future" grant. This grant, over the next two years, will make all of our Grades 9-12 science, English, math, and social studies classroom multimedia-capable. Each of these classrooms will have a projector, whiteboard, scanner, a cart with at least 25 laptops, and more. Every core subject area teacher in Grades 9-12 must spend 30 hours each year on technology professional development to learn how to use this equipment and how to integrate technology into his/her curriculum. Although we are way ahead of many districts in using technology as a teaching and learning tool, it's time to go to the next level.

Some are saying, "Why do we have to do this?" This video, entitled "Pay Attention," sums it up pretty well!

Students, what do you think? Click the "Comments" link at the bottom of this post. You will be instructed to create a Google account if you don't already have one.


  1. There is much on the "Pay Attention" video that has merit. If Keystone is approved for the Classroom of the Futures grant, then I have begun thinking of ways my students can take quizzes, submit papers, and interact with me about literature. The one big question I have, though, is if we are not approved for the grant or if the school board decides not to fund it in subsequent years, then how feasible is it to do? Not all students have cellphones, ipods, or computers. In fact, this teacher does not own an internet cellphone nor an ipod. If we could schedule students that have tech equipment of their own all together, that might help teachers be able to incorporate the technology easier. At this point, I'm glad that we're thinking of how to realign our curriculums, but there still are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

  2. I agree with Mrs. Beggs that there are still a lot of unanswered questions about "Classrooms for the Future" and other similar programs. I, too, am concerned about how we will pay for all of this technology. It's going to take time . . . but I think we have to change the way we teach if learning is to be meaningful to our students and if we hope to prepare them to live and work in a global society. I highly recommend Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat, to get perspective on what our students can expect as they enter their professional lives.

  3. Funding is a crucial point. A cheap I-Pod for instance on e-Bay still is over $100. A cell phone contract requires a credit check for the service plan and money up front. That is a large obstacle. Will the school district purchase these items and sign a contract for the students?

    Another issue is controlling cell phone and I-Pod use. You can not filter or centrally manage these devices. You can't monitor them to make sure students are using them just for classroom participation.

    Also, because these are personal devices, they become inherent security risks. Rogue software and media become a problem (Video games, hacking programs, movies, mp3s, pornography, etc.) Viruses and Malware have been written to infect portable devices. You then allow these devices to attach to your network and you have a major security problem. How about Internet enabled I-Pods or handhelds? No antivirus software or filtering. Your bandwidth goes through the roof!
    I think these devices show potential for use in the classroom. The video says "kids aren't listening..." but without proper control (which isn't available) and policies to enforce proper use, the 'classroom of the future' could be a free-for-all with no structure or control. This is just as bad as having no technology at all.

  4. I agree to the comments being made about security and about students not having ipods and cell phones or computers. These are just some ways technology is being integrated across the state, that does not mean that is what we have to do or are we asking everyone to use these items. Right now we are looking to just start using technology as a regular tool in the classroom and to not see it as a special project. There are other items and ways out there that are more secure and will allow for student interaction. We just need to explore.


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