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Technology as a Building Block

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Gas and food prices are rising. Expendable incomes are decreasing. Every spending decision is inspected more thoroughly, and our schools consistently ask for more money. The costs of education are continuing to rise and school boards are faced with difficult decisions regarding spending cuts. Where should technology appear in the hierarchy of spending priorities?

Kids are much more tech savvy and adapt to new technologies easier than the previous generation, so should districts appropriate expenses into technology that changes rapidly and kids seem to innately pickup anyway? I suggest that they should.

Technology is more than window dressing material that can be taught with the 'old book and chalkboard'. When presented correctly, technology is a tool to teach multiple life skills beyond that of the technology itself. Such as adapting to new stimulus, collaboration, problem solving, and extending comfort zones. All these skills can be fostered through technology instruction while also covering traditional course content and the teaching of the technology itself.

As this blog continues, incorporating worthwhile technologies and effective use of them will be inspected. Also providing information to ensure instructional technologies continue to be money well spent. Without a partnership between school boards, teachers, and administration, there are many pitfalls that lead to money being wasted while spent on technology. Let's create a dialogue to ensure that doesn't happen.

Years ago, before I got into education, I was a salesman for Pagenet. This company sold pagers to individuals and businesses. It was a cool technology where one would be notified if a person called your pager and left a voicemail, or wanted a call back. The pagers themselves were made by Motorola.

Motorola wasn't in the "pager" business, but the communication business. They are recognized as an industry leader and brand name for many communication devices including cell phones and headsets. Imagine where they would be if they just produced pagers.

Educators must look at technology the way Motorola looked at pagers; a great communication tool but not the end product. Teaching the technology itself is just a part of the lesson. Teachers must incorporate the skills students need for future success in the lessons of teaching technology. They must provide the skills that lead students to adaptations of what is coming next and challenge them to be the creators of the next level of production.

Technology can be used as a building block for the next level of communications. Just as the pager was a step before the cell phones we use now.

The Northeast Ohio Educational Technology Integration Conference will be held in Akron at the Quaker Square Inn, 135 South Broadway tomorrow. The conference is designed for teachers, administrators, technology staff and



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