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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
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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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Shawn w's picture

The technology "pool" at my school is more like a double edged blade. At one end, we have a plethora of smart boards and projects that only less than a handfull of teachers use. However, on the other end, we have enough computers to usually support everyone's needs but if they are all being used simultaneously, then it is almost impossible to do anything quickly especially with reguards to the internet. So at times, the technology could be put to much better use than collecting dust but also the technology we use everyday needs a little power boost to get the job done. Imagine 30 adults using a baby pool and then 5 kids swimming in an olympic pool.

Robert Clark's picture

My school probably uses alot of the technology at its command. It probably does not use somethings like the projectors and other different things. For the most part though our school uses the many computer rooms to their fullest extent. So much so that you have to sign up days in advance in order to use the computer rooms. My school could probably incorparate a little more technolgy such as more teachers doing power points and some teachers include the use of smart boards.

Larry's picture

My school is one that I feel does a very good job at using the technology avaible to it in a very efficient and productive way. That's not to say we are using it in the very best and most efficient way possible, but considering the things that we have, we put each different piece of technology through its paces, especially because we are a school that doesn't like to waste money, so in a lot of cases we don't have much of a choice. But that's not to say the tech we have is bad, it's just not the newest and most expensive items on the market, which is ok because the technology we have more than adequately gets us through the day 95% of the time.

Napoleon Bonaparte's picture
Napoleon Bonaparte
Emperor from Corsica

In general, my School's Technology is practically unusable by most standards -it's outdated, it has a host of Technical issues, and it's durned inconvenient.

This makes me recall the time at the Battle of Austerlitz, 1805, when my modern equipment and tactical organization was able to beat the forces of both Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Emperor Francis II of Austria.

They both had old, ineffiecient forces, still rooted in the old ways of the 18th Century, whereas even my poorly trained conscripts were able to smash through their lines through use of the Column formation.

As you can see, even the best the Ancien Regime has to offer is no use against modernization.

What I'm getting at here is that School's tech programs are rapidly becoming antiques, and unless care is taken to modernize our technology, we'll find ourselves as outclassed as the absolutists were at Austerlitz.

Francis Bovio's picture

At my school, there are many computer labs and technology is an important aspect of learning.It is essential to eductate students in the technology field becasue it is always growing and expanding. Technology can help a student express themselves in ways that they cannot do verbally. Also, technology can bring out the creativeness in a student, like when they have to do a power point presentation for a school project. The more technology that a school has to offer, the better the students will perform in and outside of the classroom.

Jeison Barbosa's picture
Jeison Barbosa
I'm a student at Father Judge taking the programming in Java course

I feel my school is not up to par with technology. Even though we are advancing I feel this advancement is too slow. Many a times computers won't work or are too slow to get any real work done. The server it is on always has problems. I am thankful that we at least have computers even though they have much room for improvement they are an aide to the education process. With websites such as gradeconnect or wikis we can keep updated on what goes on the classroom on any computer with internet access. Hopefully this upcoming summer a lot of things are done about our computers and servers. Subsequently next year should be better.

antpallante's picture

My school uses technology each and every day. In every period, teachers show a favoritism to using power point presentations rather than writing notes on the board. My one theology teacher uses a social network to do class assignments. The only bad side to our school is our school lacks the upgrades needed to advance our use of technology.

Garant's picture

As a student i think that my school uses the technology it has and makes it available to the students as much as it can; however, this technology is not that advanced. My school is limited to using its technology by the dim number of classes that require technology in the course. I feel that with more courses availlable that require more advanced technology, my school would have to upgrade its technology and use ti more often. As for how far technologically advanced my school is compared to other schools, i feel that it does compete with schools in the area well, but on a national level it does not do well.

John Herbut's picture

Not every school has state-of-the-art technology, and my school is no different! Nevertheless, my school makes excellent use of the technology it has available. Though the majority of Father Judge's computers are still using Windows XP and older operators but it makes the best of the situation. For example, Father Judge offers a programming class that teaches students how to program in JAVA; such an opportunity demonstrates my school's desire to stay up to date with not only society but also technology. As one walks in and out of the classrooms at Father Judge, he or she will see many Smart Boards, projectors, and a computer in EVERY classroom. As I earlier stated, my school does not have the greatest technology but it makes excellent use of the resources it has available. Father Judge's technology is like a swimming pool in a hotel; it has technology and puts said technology to good use!

matt mcclernand's picture

i find his comparison to pools excellent and clever. Our school for instance has what i believe a sufficient amount of technology that is utilized effectively. I still agree though with his idea that having only what is "sufficient" gets boring and becomes not used as much. It is advantageous for schools to continue to provide new and updated technology so we can continue to learn and remain interested. It is crucial that we do not get careless because our access to technology is a prestigious privigege that we most continue to cherish.

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