Going 85 mph…Back to the Solomon’s Four Precepts

I take a look back at Solomon’s for precepts in chapter 1 and phaedrus’s blog I’m trying to be more critical of the text.

#1: “Access to up-to-date hardware, software, and connectivity.”

The best way I know how to convey my opinion of the first precept is to use the metaphor of buying a car.  The purpose of a car is to get you from point A to point B.  When you go to the car lot, you go in with a plan of what you are looking for.  Have kids, you’ll probably decide on a min-van or SUV.  Transporting stuff, you’ll probably buy a truck.  However, once you get to the car dealership and see what there is to pick from you can’t help but notice the luxary and sports cars.  Sure, these cars are fancy, fast, and very expensive, but are something that is somewhat impractical and overkill for what you really need.

The message behind this metaphor is simple.  You may not be able to get the best of the best in technology, but there is always a way to get around the financial issue of technology.  Last semester, I was introduced to portable applications that can go onto a USB flashdrive and eliminate the issue of trying to find a computer with Word or PowerPoint on it.   There are all kinds of interesting things in the technological world that make us go, “Wow!” but we have to ask ourselves what do we want to do with the technology first before deciding upon the hardware and software we need.

#2: “Access to meaningful, high-quality, and culturally responsive content along with the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge base represented in online content.”

Are you kidding me?  This is the Internet we’re talking about here.  The electronic infrastructure to the world.  Someone might say, well how does a student who can only speak Spanish read text presented in Englis?  Well, you simply change the Language to Spanish and problem solved.  There are a number of website that support multiple languages as well as include many different cultures to which students can relate to when browsing the Internet.

#3: “Access to educators who know how to use digital tools and resources effectively.”

This one bugs me.  History is a good example here.  When studying history, we often use it to be a predictor of the future.   Education’s environment within a classroom has always continuously evolved from the days when school was lit by the moonlight to classrooms of today.   Over time, the classroom’s look as change significantly and with each change teachers have adapted to them.   Even technology such the overhead projector was equivalent to the computer of today when it was introduced.  Not to say that it had some functions, but it was new.  Teachers never used it before and maybe didn’t want to, but they adapted it and still use it today.  So, why can’t do the same with computers and technology?  What makes it so difficult for someone to keep an open mind and try to learn something new provide a better experience for students of today?  If it is the frustration of trying to learn something new, then maybe those individuals should refer back to their school days when they first started to learn math or even the alphabet.  Struggle at first, but eventually succeed and feel good about themselves knowing they didn’t give up.  Whether we like it or not, technology is here to stay.  Might as well have an idea of what’s going and maybe use our creative minds to think of ways to properly implement it.

#4:  “Access to systems sustained by leaders with vision and support for change through technology.”

While I don’t think it would be fair to say that all schools have leaders who do not see anything particularly interesting about technology, it is definitely something that is put down lower on the list of priorities.  Some may have a good reason to do so, while others may just be ignoring the idea of “21st century needs” for students.  But, this thing is for real and providing the means to prepare students is necessary.  It is a sad thing to see some districts not providing the same education as others who have technological goals.  Inequality is something that has existed over time, but things are motion now to try and change things to get schools back on track for the future.

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