Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Playing "Texas Deny 'Em" Down In The Lone Star State

Take a look at what Science and Technology teacher Mike has to put-up with when his district issued Palm Pilots to students but not to the teachers teaching them:
My school district is involved in a pilot program with a private company to provide Palm Pilots to schoolchildren and provide them with training and software. My school has one class that is involved, a 2nd grade class that has already received theirs. There are plans to provide our entire 4th grade class next year with them.

I had hoped I would also receive one, after all I AM the school’s technology instructor and the person most likely to answer the kids’ questions as quickly as possible, but the powers that be didn’t think it was necessary. I was a little put out about the whole thing until I found out the network administrator didn’t receive one either. Let me repeat that: the network administrator, the person responsible for ensuring the network (and presumably the Palm Pilots too) work correctly, did not receive one either.

To top it all off, the company came in and installed two wireless routers. My school already had one, available for use by the IT dept. only. The Palm Pilot people managed to locate the two wireless routers with 75 feet of each other and the other wireless router. There is a triangle, centered about on the front office, where the signal strength is excellent. Wander outside that triangle and the signal drops to almost zero.

Our 2nd grade kids now have $400 toys that can only work properly within a small area of the school. In addition, the company involved is re-thinking its strategy for providing meaningful activities on the machines, as someone pointed out they can’t just grab anything from copyrighted programs and library books and digitize for use on their machines.

They haven’t exactly asked me for help in ironing out the kinks. I guess I’m just a teacher so what would I know?
The sad thing is that by denying teachers the technology tools that they need in order to serve students in the classroom, the district is hurting children.

I wonder why they can't figure that out?
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