Magazine article Technology & Learning

Grade Incomplete

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Grade Incomplete

Article excerpt

An educator speaks out about the potential problems of this well-intentioned national effort.

So what's not to like about a nationwide event that brings businesses and community members together for an activity that will benefit school kids? I really hate to be a Grinch, but I am not convinced that NetDay wiring parties are the answer to solving our schools' needs for technology. And I am concerned that NetDay may have actually undermined efforts to establish an adequate technological infrastructure in our nation's schools. If we truly expect our schools to prepare our children adequately for life and work in the next century, then we, as a nation, as states, and as communities, need to understand that this is going to require the investment of real dollars. We need to realize that "bake-sale" equivalent activities are not, and will never be, an adequate substitute. Instead, it will take comprehensive planning, done by professionals, along with adequate, ongoing funding for equipment, implementation, technical operations, and professional development.

I have the following concerns about NetDay:

* Are NetDays encouraging or discouraging real investments in technology in our schools? NetDay may have brought key leaders in the community to work in partnership with schools to obtain the necessary funds for technology. But NetDays could also be having a very negative impact. They might have created the perception that NetDay has (or could) solve the school's technology needs and no further investments are necessary! Because of national news coverage, this perception might have been created whether or not there was a local NetDay event. It is important for districts to conduct NetDay public relations follow-ups that clearly communicate to the local community what their current and projected needs for technology really are.

* Will wiring completed during NetDay meet the requirements of the schools? If the school had a comprehensive technology plan, with a building-wide LAN wiring plan developed by a certified network engineer who understands the data communication needs of education, and NetDay volunteers, under competent leadership, completed a portion of this wiring plan, then the school is probably in good shape. (One hopes the volunteers also complied with regulations concerning asbestos.) But the NetDay planning materials I saw did not advocate this approach. They suggested that each school "come up with a technology plan" that could be "as simple as an agreement on which rooms to wire." They suggested that a computer teacher or a technical volunteer could design the network and direct the implementation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.