Conversation piece: What technology is needed in Alameda's classrooms?

Conversation piece: What technology is needed in Alameda's classrooms?

Michele Ellson

As a companion to today's piece on Alameda schools leaders efforts to draft a new technology plan for the district's classrooms, I wanted to reach out to readers to ask you what you think the district and its students need in terms of tech. Do Alameda's students need an iPad at every desk or are pencil and paper okay until a certain age? Let us know what you think by offering your comments beneath this post.


Submitted by Donna Eyestone on Wed, Nov 28, 2012

WiFi - fast and reliable and open
Ability to stream events live from campus
Video conferencing software to bring in guest speakers to classrooms (and record it)
Video conferencing of classes to students stuck home due to illness
Audio and video recording equipment for students and teachers
CommonSense Media to teach digital literacy and digital citizenship.

Please ask the teachers -- I personally would not want a so-called "smart board" in my classroom and would be sad if $x were spent on that rather than something I could use to get technology into the hands of students.

Teacher training should be included as part of this plan!

And I think laptops are more useful (but also more expensive) than iPads -- iPad have their place --but they are so much harder to CREATE content on than an laptop. iPads are great to consume content -- so ebooks, websites, videos (even making videos) -- but I think file management with iPads is a bit of a nightmare in a shared iPad situation (in my experience).

Submitted by Marty E. on Wed, Nov 28, 2012

I think that the grade of the classroom factors into what technology is going to be effective. I don't think that k-2 necessarily need iPads. They need to learn how to use pencil and paper and get basic computer skills, since they are exposed to computers at home.

I think we need new PCs in the classrooms with touchscreen capabilities at those grades, so they are more interactive. That combined with Smartboards for teachers, so they can save and share the whiteboard content to the PCs would be great at that grade level.

At higher grades, I think iPads or ebook readers would be great enhancements to the classroom. Our kids all use them already and it would provide a more exciting and stimulating experience for the kids and give them wider access to info.

That said, I think a WIFI upgrade at all schools will be critical.
Also, AUSD should negotiate with a PC provider to get new equipment and maintain it on a normal refresh cycle. PCs are getting very cheap and the OEMs give deep discounts to education. If there is going to be a Plan, then they should do it right.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Wed, Nov 28, 2012

Thanks, Marty. The district is upgrading schools' wifi this month and next, and I should also note that the draft plan does include as a goal having computers on a five-year refresh cycle.