Sunday, February 22, 2009

Technology on a Budget

Like many teachers and schools across the country, we do not have enough money in our budget for adequate technology resources. I am actively pursuing other options for funding. However, I know that my students bring the latest technology to school every day. Most of their cell phones have greater computing power than the personal computers we owned 10 - 15 years ago. While I can understand the concern that students may use cell phones for personal texting during class or cheating during a test, I believe that it is possible to take advantage of this "free" technology for instructional purposes. It wasn't until this past Christmas that I "caught up" with my students in terms of cell phone technology. They often laughed at my previous phone and its limited capabilities. I am still discovering new features on my phone and it has been exciting!

Imagine what you could do in a classroom where everyone had their own computer, every day. Currently, I am lucky to get my classes into the computer lab four days each school year! Yet, every day, my 8th grade students walk into each of their classrooms with the technological power to send voice and text messages; record still pictures, audio, and video; surf the Internet; employ GPS; solve mathematical calculations; send and receive electronic files through BlueTooth connections; check weather conditions around the world; communicate globally using tools such as Skype; follow breaking news stories; get up-to-the-minute statistics on sports, the stock market, gas prices, or any other data that is gathered electronically. Imagine the possibilities for using this technology in every subject: Math, Science, Social Studies, ELA, Music, Art, etc. Doesn't it make you wonder why schools go to great lengths to ban these devices?

As teachers, it is our job to prepare our students for 21st century careers. We cannot do that if we do not embrace 21st century technology in our schools and in the classroom.

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