More on Leaking Schools

I keep relapsing into old topics, pulling reader comments to the surface. I’m simply amazed at what others have to say, both in support and opposition to my positions. It’s the nature of the great conversation, and if change is happening five years from now, it will be because we were talking about it today.

A teacher in Downers Grove (Downers Grove Summit) commented on one of my recent articles, Our Schools are Leaking. He says…

I see the same things you observe. Students are more “connected” than ever. Still, I had an email yesterday from a counselor here at DGS (site of this summer’s tech summit) in which she explained that one of her students was extremely worried about not having access to a computer at home, and that the student was considering dropping my chemistry class because of it.

Shock horror! I require my students to view and use my class website daily!

The greater majority of my students value and use my blackboard (c) powered website. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the extra mode of communication with my students and their parents.

I do worry a bit about those without the tools and access at home, yet I still require the use of technology here at DGS because it is so readily available here in classrooms, computer labs, library etc. I think I would be short sighted if I didn’t require the use of technology.

I agree that we owe it to our children and their future (as well as our future) to integrate the use of digital networked information into the learning activities of your students. But this doesn’t solve the problems of students who do not have convenient access to the tools they need to properly engage in those learning activities.

I would suggest that you (the school) explore ways to get a computer and Net access into the hands of that student. But this is not to say that this is a school problem. It isn’t. It’s a national problem. During most of that student’s life, virtually all of the information that he or she needs on a daily basis, will be networked and digital. Anyone who does not have access to digital and networked technology and the skills to use those tools, may as well not know how to read. We’ve decided that every child should know how to read. For the same reason, we should be making sure that every child has access to information and communication technologies.

The commenter continued…

The world of technology is changing. The types of work and types of careers that will be available to my students in their lives after school are becoming more and more technology based. I submit, that any and all students need to be given access to technology, and further, should be required to learn how to use it effectively and appropriately. Ultimately, any other course of action greatly limits their options in the future.

A few months ago, I was talking with the principal of my son’s high school. I was shocked to learn, after a rather lengthy conversation, that the school no longer offers auto shop. They can’t afford it. Auto Shop was a staple of my high school experience. I didn’t take it, but I lot of kids did, and there is no smaller need for automobile mechanics today, than there was in the 1960s. What else are we going to drop, because we can’t afford it, and what price will our future pay?

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