Schools never have enough money. Or so they say. So walk through the wardrobe with me for just a second and let’s pretend we’re in a land where someone wants to give you money. Essentially, a blank check. Now, what do you do with it?
For me, I’d use it to fund an educational technology initiative. But what exactly? Would I just buy hardware like iPads? More computers? eReaders like the Nook or Kindle? Digital Cameras? Money can get spent pretty quickly if you’re buying hardware, not to mention the ancillary equipment also needed.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get swept up in purchasing as many new and flashy gadgets as we can in the hopes that will improve education. The best way to improve education, to me, is better teaching. So while a teacher may have access to better classroom technologies, if they don’t know how to use it (or use it effectively) it becomes a waste of time and money. Lately I’ve been thinking that it might be time to throttle back on consuming hardware, and start thinking about increasing staff support and the proper teaching of even basic skills to students. So many students lack in basic computing skills and knowledge, does it really benefit them to use an app they might only use once? Beats me. I guess this is a content vs. skills question at its core. In some cases (in a perfect world) you could do both easily. Although I love iPad’s, I struggle to see a future where one of my student’s ability to get into college or get a job will hinge on whether or not they know how to operate an app.
So….back to the original question: someone gives you a bunch of money at your school. What do you use it for?