Asumag 2490 Susan 2013v4 0

Editor's Focus: Oh, Brother

March 1, 2008
Today's students have the latest technology at home, and they expect it in school as well.

I'll admit it. When I was in college, I had the most popular room in my residence hall. Not just because I had a single room or a brand-new six-disc CD changer. It was my Brother word processor. Some of my dorm-mates felt lucky to have an electronic typewriter, but this machine had a screen and a printer. I actually could edit my work without whiteout or retyping a whole page!

It goes without saying that times have changed. My “archaic” word processor would be laughed at if I still had it today, and I would be laughing the loudest. Or worse, students might look at it and wonder what on earth it was used for.

Today's students have the latest technology at home, and they expect it in school as well. The challenge lies in what technology to buy, and when to buy it for the best return on investment (ROI).

One of the questions we asked on SchoolhouseBeat: The Blog recently centered on that question: Do you invest and put into practice the latest technology without question, or are you reluctant to put new technology in the hands of staff who may not know how to use it effectively?

One interesting answer was from Gregg: “My experience, especially as a security consultant, has been that schools go all out for any technology that is cutting-edge without regard to real-world applications. Often, administrators want to compare their school system to a business, but never figure what the ROI will be. I see many schools having systems that most businesses have elected not to use yet due to cost and the return they expect from that investment. Most of the overdoing is because of ‘experts’ telling the administrators they need it without the administrators ever questioning if it is going to improve the education process.”

Another interesting answer was from Doug: “Technology is a delivery system. Its best uses come only after the curriculum has been designed to use it effectively. Technology is not something to just be layered on top of an already existing curriculum.”

Is your institution on the technology bandwagon, or do you have more of a “wait-and-see” attitude?

Lustig is executive editor of AS&U.

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