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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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How Much Does Your School Use Its Technology Pool?: Chances Are, Not Enough

Jim Moulton

Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant

It is summer, and I am trying to get back to Maine from a conference in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, storms have caused Atlanta's airport to shut down for an hour or so at just the right time to mess up my travel. Ah, well, it is summer, and this is the southeastern United States. Such things happen.

As we circled Atlanta before heading over to Columbus, Georgia, to refuel, I looked down at the houses, highways, and farmlands and noticed one feature of the suburban neighborhoods we were flying over: swimming pools. Behind so many big, brick houses, there were swimming pools, and each looked blue, cool, and inviting.

But I suddenly realized they were all empty. Each one. I said to myself, "Hold it, Jim. Have you ever seen anyone in a swimming pool in any of these neighborhoods you've flown over?" I had to admit I had never seen a single person in a backyard swimming pool -- and I fly a lot.

Conversely, there are pools like the one at the hotel I'm staying at right now as I wait to restart my travel tomorrow. This pool is jammed with what looks like an extended family enjoying a reunion. There are kids and adults playing, talking, jumping, splashing, dunking, floating, throwing balls, and relaxing in deck chairs. They are having a blast and using the dickens out of that pool. What a difference from those beautiful show pools I see in relatively affluent backyards across the United States.

This observation prompted me to compare the use of technology in schools to these swimming pools. Some schools acquire and use technology because of a strong desire to further the knowledge and skills of its students. But if a school implements new technology simply to follow suit with neighboring schools, there is a good chance the technology will be underused like the pools I saw from the air earlier today.

So, here are some questions for you: How much does your school use its technology? Is it in demand like the pool at my hotel -- perhaps even insufficient to meet that demand? Are things just right, with plenty of technology available and widely used across all curriculum areas by students and teachers to support teaching and learning? Or is it like the swimming pools I see in those backyards -- unused because of scheduling challenges, curricular rigidity, or other school-specific issues?

Hey, the water's great. Jump in and let me know what the technology pool is like at your school.

Jim Moulton

Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant
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Comments (62)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

adam leszczynski's picture

In our school, some teachers take advantage of the technology while others still stick to old methods of teaching, which arent bad, but are outdated and somewhat not as useful as using newer technolgy. In todays world the computers should be used to connect to the students more easily. My school is probably just right because we do have computer related classes that use new technology.
It ispointless to have the technology and not use it though because its just a waste of money and good equipment that could be used somewhere else.

Matt Hirst's picture

My school does a fairly well job of implementing technology. The computers we use may not be the most advanced or efficient but they are good enough for what the students of my school need to do. Mainly the computers are used for projects but they are also used in our JAVA programming class. There are always open computers in the school so there is never a problem with finding one. The problem is not all of the computers work and that is the only flaw in my school's tech.

Matt Hirst's picture

My school does a fairly well job of implementing technology. The computers we use may not be the most advanced or efficient but they are good enough for what the students of my school need to do. Mainly the computers are used for projects but they are also used in our JAVA programming class. There are always open computers in the school so there is never a problem with finding one. The problem is not all of the computers work and that is the only flaw in my school's tech.

Jay Roberts's picture

In my school technology is put to moderately good use with the amount of computers and other technology aloowed to us. Our educators make sure we get the most out of our work and what is necessary. Our school administrators are even in the process of trying to recieve more computers in the school. I believe our school is on the right track with using our computers and will continue to fully strive in the field of our technology.

Joseph Lee's picture

In our school, technology is used mainly for the purpose of taking notes. A powerpoint presentation is put on the projector, and we copy into our copybooks. Technology could be used much more in our school to include interaction between the students and the information they are learning. Technology has such great potential and very little of it is being used in my school today.

Damien Turchi's picture

A multitude of uses of technology is incorporated into our school. They teach programming, computer maintenance, basic understanding, and many other technology courses here.
Our pool is filled much more than the average school, we take the utmost advantage of our technology. By incorporating technology so much the students here are better prepared for the modern world than if they were not educated in technology. Other schools should involve technology similar to the way mine does. If all schools do this our world would have much more people of whom are coherent in these matters

Patrick Baranowski's picture

Technology at my school I believe is overused; everywhere you look there is a teacher or student misusing technology. I believe that technology is a good thing if you know how to use it properly, and if you don't you make it harder to use for everyone else. Right now I am sitting in my Java class behind a new computer because the previous one was probably misused and now the school had to put out the money for the new ones. I believe that if we were not so dependent on computers and other technology our daily life would run much easier. Now don't get me wrong I do love being able to sit behind a computer 45 minutes each day, but I don't like it when a computer is not working properly and a teacher can't teach you because he or she were depending on it.

James Granja's picture

Our school utilizes our technology in a good way and a bad way. We have computers but they are not new and most of the time some of them have problems. We have projectors and one classroom with a smartboard. I think our school is still good with technology and if we can get some upgraded computers then we will have very good technology.

Roberto Somers's picture

Our school takes full advantage of the technology we have. Although, our computers are not very updated, the school still makes the best of it. We have two computer labs that are used every day, a library that are, of course, full of computers, and we have to JAVA programming classes for those interested. Everyday basically relies on these computers and the other technology we have in school. Our math classes heavily relies on the utilization of the calculator. As I mentioned before, the computers are not very updated, leading to several problems such as internet connectivity, logging on into a computer, and, sometimes, simply not working. Our school should continue its technological advances and hopefully make using the computer more efficient.

Bruce Stover's picture

I believe my school does a great job with keeping up with the latest tchnology and actually using it. I know from experience that the computer labs and library are always jam packed with students and classes using all the technology features they have to offer. Although some of the equipment is slightly aged and somewhat slow, it still gets the job done. However, with the economy the way it is you cannot expect the school to have all of the new cutting edge devices that you see on the TV and Internet. So i must say that my school does a pretty good job with using its technology pool.

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