Some schools are jumping ship from the technology train.
After getting an unexpected windfall of stimulus money from Washington D.C. a few years ago, a junior high school in Hoboken, NJ is closing the door this summer on laptops for students.
One reason is that the tech support staff was unable to handle the numerous requests for repairs. Another is how the teachers were unprepared to positively utilize the new laptops. An unexpected consequence was how thousands of people would be on the wifi network, rendering the internet unusable.
There are many ways to be ready for the digital age at your school. Here are three tips:
1) Prepare a plan
- How are you going to use laptops? What programs will be installed? What purpose will they serve and when can students use them? In what particular classes will they be utilized?
2) Prepare your staff
- Make sure teachers know the ins and outs of every program that’s relevant to their material. They should be ready to integrate the technology into their curriculum before the first day.
- It’s harder to teach when your students aren’t focused, especially when you can’t figure out how to get their attention during class. What should the consequences be for using a laptop in class and visiting off topic websites?
3) Start with a sample size
- You may have a whole school’s worth of laptops and iPads to give out. If you’re testing an elementary school, start with 5th graders for the first year. This will let you see how tech support staff handles those issues, as well as giving teachers and administration a chance to see how students behave with their technology.