Machine Language.

Science can be mean.  And sort of useless at times.

Science can be mean. And sort of useless at times.

Wednesday…the day of this post, is supposed to have a morning based on technology training…again. This is the end all, be all trend in education. If it was a good lesson before, it MUST be better with a smartboard or an iPad. Why wouldn’t it be? Also…why spend all that time building a model of something, when you can just used the creator mode of Minecraft to make your diorama? Seriously, I have seen this more than once as a legit work product in classrooms. While I’m not taking a total shot at the idea of building a complex virtual model…isn’t there still some validity in a real model?

Still…I might be speaking too soon. Unlike the past two days, this day of training has a vague agenda at best. It might not actually happen as planned, instead, teachers might be “working on their room environment.” That’s pretty interesting to me, since my team and i are moving back into the Five Hundred Building, which is now free of toxins that were a hazard to both staff and students alike. Under the agreement that brought about the initial move, and forced health renovation, the District needs to hire movers to bring us back to our “home classrooms.” If all goes to plan, that will happen beginning at Seven, an hour before I even walk in. Ideally…I sit at a tech training, while all my stuff is put upstairs.

Apparently…those fancy iPads that my students got last year? They are being replaced this year, with iPad Air units…and no one seems able to tell me what will happen to the old ones. In addition…once student units have been issued, apparently my own district iPad will be swapped out for an Air. If I don’t want that to happen…well, tough. It gets swapped out anyway.

So let me put this in perspective: the District was overcharged by about 100 percent per unit on this controversial expenditure…and the following year, that technology, at least at the school sites that have been using them, is removed and replaced. It seems to me that you would leave the tech in place where people have become familiar with it, and if you need to introduce more iPads…introduce new units at the Phase Two schools. That makes logical sense.

Apparently, as usual, what makes sense is not the way it is being done.

It got me thinking of the GI Joe Cartoon, where knowing was HALF the battle. The other half was equal portions of red lasers and blue lasers, by the way. In the GI Joe cartoon, Cobra (a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world) eventually invests in Battle Android Troopers. These BATs are robot soldiers that they go through in droves only to purchase more from Dr. Mindbender and Destro, who own the patens and the factories respectively. Cobra is getting kind of shafted on the deal, while Mindbender and Destro get rich.

Sounds a whole lot like Apple’s deal with the district. Hence, this second piece of art.

That guy in the back can't play piano either.

That guy in the back can’t play piano either.

Really, what this post is about, at its heart, is a failure to plan. Schools and districts buy “technology” because it sounds good. Unfortunately, “technology” without a plan for using it isn’t all that useful. For all the talk of “implementation” and “integration”…there isn’t really a smooth curriculum set up. The course content isn’t there, and most of the good teachers that I know are very skeptical of that. There are certainly activities that you can do, but they are more “projects” and “events” that need to be thoughtfully constructed….and there is no top down guidance for that?

How could there be? Many administrators and even school board members have little interaction with either students or iPads. How could there be any real thought of the utility of one to the other?

It’s as bad a plan as building a robot that loves piano…and only developing metal mitten hands for him to use.

Next Issue: Moving Day!

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