BEFORE BUYING TECHNOLOGY, ASKING ‘WHY?’
BY ROSS BRENNEMAN, EDUCATION WEEK TEACHER | HTTP://BIT.LY/1MZSR3D
—Ross BrennemanPublished Online: June 18, 2014 /Includes correction(s): July 15, 2014 :: District leaders and other advocates of personalized learning frequently say that the approach isn't about technology. But that’s easy for an administrator to say when every child in his or her district has a school-provided computer.
The record of spending certainly seems to suggest districts believe that one requires the other.
First, consider the nearly $400 million given out by the U.S. Department of Education for its Race to the Top district competitive-grant program in 2012, created to spur on personalized-learning initiatives in low-income areas. And then there’s the subsequent $120 million the department gave out in 2013 during the second round of that competition.
Out of the 21 total school districts to receive funds through those iterations of Race to the Top, almost all created 1-to-1 digital device plans. Even some of the districts without 1-to-1 ambitions in their applications, such as the Carson City, Nev., and Houston school districts, have nevertheless been working on getting laptops to their students.
Districts without such federal funding have also been entranced by 1-to-1 programs: In Arlington, Va., the district is piloting a 1-to-1 program among 2nd and 6th graders that will cost $200,000, before eventually expanding. The Madison, Wis., school system recently embarked on a $28 million 1-to-1 initiative that hints vaguely at personalized learning. Maine began implementing a statewide 1-to-1 initiative over a decade ago under former Gov. Angus King, although current Gov. Paul LePagealmost shut it down over concerns about cost-effectiveness. That program has poured millions of dollars into Apple MacBooks for students.
Some districts may have comprehensive instructional plans to go along with their technology purchases, but it's not like Apple—or hundreds of other technology 4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: BEFORE BUYING TECHNOLOGY, ASKING ‘WHY?’: