Why do I get a computer?

Over the past couple of days I’ve had one simple question that I can’t get out of my head. Why do we believe that every teacher having a computer on their desk will benefit teaching and learning, but giving one to students wouldn’t? It’s a simple question isn’t it? I mean….when I started teaching in 1999 I walked into my 4th grade classroom with a computer sitting on my desk. Not every teacher had one at that time, but the next year, at a new school, every teacher had a laptop. We’re talking the 2000-2001 school year. Every school since has provided me with a computer. At some point, someone somewhere decided that every teacher having a laptop benefited teaching and learning. That this “tool” no matter how expensive had benefits that out weighed the cost. And you can’t tell me that there were not conversations before this happened around: Will they use it appropriately? How are we going to make sure they use it? What if they screw around and get off task? What happens if it breaks? How are we going to measure its effect on learning? How are we going to measure its effect on teaching? and for those of you who were in some of these conversations I’d love to hear the other questions/concerns that were raised. Here’s the best part….10 years later here are the answers to those questions as I see it: Will they use it appropriately? Some will some won’t How are we going to make sure they use it? We won’t, it’s a tool that is there for them to use when they need it to help them do their job. What if they screw around and get off task? They will, it’s a fact, we have teachers updating Twitter and Facebook during the school day, sending personal e-mails, looking up movie times for after school, and booking flights. They screw around on the computer all the time! What happens if it breaks? We’ll keep a couple spares to replace it. How are we going to measure its effect on learning? We won’t but we have a hunch that it does. How are we going to measure its effect on teaching? We won’t but we have a hunch that it does. 10 years later and these are the best answers I can come up with? We have no data, we have...

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