Sunday, September 23, 2007

If You Give a Teacher a Computer

On his Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson wrote "Give a Teacher a Computer," patterned on Laura Numeroff's If You Give a Mouse a Cookie children's book. I love it! And what he writes is so true for many Keystone teachers.

Keystone teachers are asking for projection devices permanently installed in their classrooms. They want to use the Internet, digital videos, and other resources to enhance their instruction. And they want to do it without hauling equipment from the other end of the building (provided someone else hasn't already signed it out) and spending valuable time trying to hook it up. They want the equipment in their classrooms so it can be used for those unexpected and unplanned "teachable moments." They don't want to have to plan for those moments two weeks in advance so they can borrow the equipment during a particular time period on a particular day.

We've been fortunate through grant writing to be able to install projection systems in the 7th and 8th grade core classrooms. Those teachers love their projectors! Also, soon 9th and 10th grade teachers will have projectors and interactive whiteboards in their classrooms, thanks to the CFF grant. And if the state legislature comes through, the 11th and 12th grade teachers will get the same equipment next year through CFF.

Demand for projection devices is increasing at Keystone Elementary as well. Systems were recently installed in the library (thanks to the Keystone Education Foundation) and Lab 210. We've budgeted for devices called Aver QuickPlays, which will allow teachers in some of the quads to project their computer screens onto their televisions. Our goal is to have a projection device conveniently accessible by teachers in each quad. This will do until we can get our hands on more projectors!

Although every classroom at Keystone has at least one computer (the teacher's computer), the staff is beginning to ask for mini-labs in their rooms. They want their students to have more access to technology for remedial work, writing, and research.

CFF will add about 100 laptops on carts for use by 9th and 10th graders. I told the School Board recently that some day every student at Keystone will have his own computer. We're headed toward a 1:1 implementation. I don't know if I'll see it during my career, but it will happen.

As Doug Johnson so eloquently ends his story,

Give a teacher tech,
And then she wants all her kids to have it too. And the skills to use it well.

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