Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Latest Technology is not always the Greatest

I get caught up in the latest technology.  It is cool.  It is slick.  It is a little magical.  I remember the first time that I saw an I-Pad in operation.  Whew.  That was nice.  How about the time you saw your first SMART phone in operation.  The power they have.  AMAZING. 

Now, the problem with the latest technology is that we try to translate that to the classroom.  There are some major problems with transferring the latest technology to the classroom.
1.  MONEY!
2.  Professional Development
3.  Up front student learning time.

Here is an example of a technology that I'm not ready to buy into.
The TI-NSpire
1.  This device commands a lot of money.  It would be difficult to work without a classroom set. 
2.  We had a 2 hour professional development session on the inspire.  I'm a techie and I thought the calculator was confusing.  I can imagine a teacher that is required to use this and really being frustrated with the amount of learning that has to go into it before they can feel comfortable with it.
3.  I thought about my students learning a whole lot of useless technology and receiving a very small amount of curricular value.

Here is an example of a technology that I'm sold on.
The Flip Video Camera (or a similar inexpensive video camera)
1.  Under $100 for 1.
2.  Teachers can learn the technology in a 15 minute sitting.
3.  Students need to know NOTHING before they use it. 

How are these different?
Video Camera technology has been around a long time.  When a technology has been around, it improves it's user friendliness.  It also improves on price.  I think I bought a video camera about 22 years ago for $1000.  It was very complicated and clumsy.  This flip video camera is a snap to use.  The fancy new calculator needs to come down in price and in ease of use before I try to use it with my students.
Here are two blog entries that I have made previously.

I don't want to avoid technology.  But for the most part I won't hop on the technology bandwagon until I can reach these three points of using technology.
1.  Students like it and benefit from using it.
2.  There is a low up front learning curve for student and teacher.
3.  The cost is reasonable.