I heard this story on NPR. It talks about if the cost of technology. It s about a year old so the numbers may be a bit of but I feel it still makes some good points. Listen to the story and leave your reflections. 

Teaching 2.0: Is Tech In The Classroom Worth The Cost? 
 


Carl Richburg
02/24/2014 09:16

I really liked what they're doing at Westlake HS. I also agree that using different forms of technology will create more interested learners, and that skype lessons are better than every kid in class being on a laptop, because it's easier to monitor your class through skype. Technology just by itself won't have the same effect as really getting into the technology and its different uses like: simulations and real-world projects. If the teachers expect to teach their students through technology, then it's just as important to spend the money to teach the teachers how to properly engage their students through the technology and use it most effectively.

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Kennedy Seifert
02/25/2014 09:43

Carl, I agree that if schools are going to spend money purchasing the technology then they need to educate all of the teachers how to use it effectively in the classroom or else its a wasted effort. The only thing I have an issue with is the fact that technology is expensive and research has shown that there is no statistical evidence that shows improvement in knowledge with the use of technology. Test scores are the same. So it is actually beneficial to come up with a budget for technology if it actually is not showing improvement in the classroom? That is the question schools must ask before moving to this step, especially if they are a small school and do not have the money to be spending.

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Carl Richburg
02/27/2014 09:30

Thats a good point Kennedy. Money is a huge issue, and it can sometimes be hard to justify the huge amount of money spent on technogy if there isn't signifcant evidence showing improvement.

Kennedy Seifert
02/24/2014 13:14

I definitely agree with him. The laptops are not a good source of technology to use because you can not monitor the class. I like the idea of technology but just like they discuss it is expensive. Then they talk about how test scores have not seen an improvement nor is there any statistics showing that students learn better with the technology. I like the idea of the skype for the convenience of the teacher and the students.

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Chris Doak
03/02/2014 15:39

Kennedy,

I agree with you. Skype isn't something that is very expensive. Since schools should have internet you can put it on the whiteboard. Really it is simple. This could be helped by every certain students. Someone who is struggling or someone who just doesn't care about doing anything because they would rather play sports

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Shari Harrington
03/02/2014 20:32

I agree with you, Kennedy. I'm not surprised that test scores were mentioned in this article. The student who said she was inspired or became more interested in writing after hearing an author lecture is great, but it's only anecdotal until it's put to the test, literally. I do know there is an argument against standardized tests also, but it'll be interesting to see the two balance out in the coming years.

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James French
02/25/2014 19:15

I believe a lot of the benefits of technology may not be different on a test. I know students can get more from the classroom due to having the subject they are involved in actually come to life and this allows them to learn regardless of ability. The term connected classroom in the webcast was right on. The possibilities are able very open as a lesson on virtually anything could allow students to get instant feedback from a person who lived it instead of just the instructor. I know when I had an instructor that went above the normal information contained in a book I was able to learn more of the material and actually hang on to that information long term. I agree this will not take the place of having good instructors because the technology can not encourage people to look for answers more. I think they are also right on with limiting access to things such as laptops that have the ability to just go anywhere on their techno gadgets. I believe that the data of how this technology, when used appropriately, will be reflected in testing long term.

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April
03/01/2014 17:48

I can agree with you that limiting access to things such as laptops can help. I have allowed use of laptops in my classroom and it did not take long until they were being used for other things besides learning. It is too easy for students to get off track during class. Technology being used as a whole class is much easier to keep all students on track and using technology to engage them.

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Brad Howell
02/26/2014 06:34

I found it interesting how they just talked about how technology is so expensive, which I agree with, but I do know several high schools who are getting away from actual textbooks and moving to ebooks. I have actually seen the figures supplied from the school and they are saving money in the long run. Yes it has a high initial expense, but after only about five years they would break even. I think this is eventually where schools will be heading this way.

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Travis Tompson
03/01/2014 19:21

Brad,
I completely agree with you on the fact that in the long run, the cost of textbooks will tremendously outweigh the cost of using more efficient ebooks. Not only can you do more interactive activities with ebooks, but you can also access them from anywhere that has internet connection. No longer do you have to replace old and outdated books, you just have to update the ebook software. In the end, it only makes sense to use ebooks over textbooks, for they provide so many more utensils for student achievement than a regular textbook.

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Dustin Ray
04/22/2014 06:58

Brad,
it is very interesting to see how a school can move to ebooks and save money. I would agree that the initial cost would be high, but what makes it cheaper? You do have to buy new books and maintain the old ones. Are ebooks that much cheaper than regular textbooks?

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Dustin Ray
02/26/2014 08:27

I was completely caught off guard by this article. A classroom that is done by using SKYPE technology? What about the kids? In some cases, students need that adult figure in their life. I do however like that the one teacher uses the technology to speak with professionals, and heve these professionals come in and speak with his class. The hard part to grasp, is the fact that school districts are purchasing this technology with no solid evidence that it will help students. The other teacher was very correct in saying that students who have a laptop to themselves will have to be monitored closer than students without them. I feel that this is a win and a lose type of battle for school districts.

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Brad Howell
03/01/2014 08:22

Dustin,

I know what you mean by using skype in a classroom. It is not personal at all and students will certainly suffer. I have actually seen these classrooms in action and it is kind of sad to see. I was observing at a high school my freshmen year and saw a classroom that was entirely on skype. They had a person in there to just take care of students that were misbehaving since the real teacher could not. I don't see how this could be cost effective for the school or beneficial for the students.

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James French
03/02/2014 13:32

I agree that this is not the type of environment for students in k-12. I would be hard pressed to say l learned much from the ITV classes during my college career. These classes would have to have a teacher at each end of the class. In high school we had a class like this that we learned we could mute our side of the line and then talk as long as it wasn't obvious. This just encouraged us to learn more ways to be sneaky.

Travis Tompson
02/26/2014 10:39

I, myself, believe that technology DEFINITELY needs to be in EACH classroom. No longer are we going to send students out into the world to do jobs that don't use technology. Everywhere there is technology, and its about time that our schools start the transition. Yes, it may cost a large sum of money to bring schools up to par to the world of technology. However, the immense amount of information and extra instruction that can be brought upon by technology should vastly overcompensate the price. It is important for teachers like us to be familiar with the technologies that are in our field of study. Computer science is huge in all subjects, having the ability to bring every subject to a computer screen in various forms. Literally every subject in school could benefit from technology, making it vital that all teachers get the opportunity to do so.

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Tyler Reece
02/26/2014 19:20

I like your reasoning behind your beliefs. but I am curious if this technology is something that would carry over into their life skills. Most students will learn about this type of technology in their personal lives and also when they go to college and begin to narrow their career area ideally they should receive more direct education to what they have decided to do in life. As far as general education I am still not convinced that overly expensive pieces of technology are in need to teach or to learn.

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Gary Jones
03/02/2014 14:11

Travis I think you make some good points. Yes it will be more expensive to upgrade but the price of an education is much more than that. I think technology can open up so much more than what a book could offer. You could lose a book then be charged for it, but you can't exactly lose a website. But just like books technology come out with a new edition almost every year. Do you think this will cause problems? Will these companies say that you need upgraded technology to run this learning program? I think it’s a problem that may arise somewhere down the line.

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Kim Holifield
02/26/2014 17:04

I took a class similar to this at the local community college. There, they called it a 'telecourse' and it's purpose was to allow students at the outreach centers to participate in the course without driving to the main campus or to keep the instructor from having to drive to those places. It was a fun and interesting class when we engaged in class participation. The outreach centers saw the instructor on the big white board, whereas I was on campus listening directly to the instructor. When she allowed us to engage with one another she turned the camera on us so we could see them and vice versa. I thought it was a neat program the college offered, but I had no idea how expensive it could get! I don't see the school district in which I work in investing in this equipment anytime soon. But I did like the comment Pitler made, that ""Doing what you've always done and just putting electricity behind it isn't going to change things," he says. "But if what they're really doing is investigating, using simulations and going out and participating in real-world projects, then we see a real change." This makes a lot of sense in today's generation.

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Tyler Reece
02/26/2014 19:15

I am very interested in the ideas for the use of technology that was presented. I think it is something that can help excite kids in the learning process and make new experiences available to them. However since research has shown that test scores have not really shown any signs of improvement and occasionally have declined I think that is something to be concerned with. If you want to determine whether the cost is worth it, improvements in the learning process should be prevalent. Otherwise it is nothing more than an expensive and fancy new way to present the same information they would have learned anyway.

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Kim Holifield
03/02/2014 12:17

I couldn't agree with you more about the test scores. If they have not proven the test scores to be improving, then why invest so much money into this 'extra?'

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Chris Doak
02/26/2014 21:50

When listening to this article I was like WOW!! I think if I had Skype like this in my classroom I might have been able to pay attention better. This is doing multiple different things for those kids. First of all their communication skill and talking in front of people are getting better. This is also helping this kids interact. The other thing is it will help them pay attention to things better than just reading out of the same old text book. Technology can be a great and wonderful tool if we use it for the right way.

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Gino Bullock
02/27/2014 20:39

Chris I agree with you 100%. Being an athlete all I cared about in school was playing sports. With skype I am sure it would have grabbed my attention in a way a teacher could never. Could you imagine the school skyping in Michael Jordan to talk about how important an education is? He would change so many people's life and be able to affect so many more students and he would be able to reach so many students all over the world at one time. It would be awsome.

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April
02/27/2014 12:18

How exciting this could be for students. I don't believe that the class should be made up of just Skype or listening to anyone talk the entire time. But how exciting for students to be able to see and talk to people that they may never have gotten a chance to without the ability of technology. I think that anything we can do to enhance the environment of the classroom we should try. I am not sure that it actually increases tests scores but it will get the studnets involved and maybe more excited about learning.

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Lyndsey Talbot
02/27/2014 13:02

I completely agree with you on the fact that this would make learning so much more fun and exciting to have this tool. But that it also should not be a replacement for a true teacher in the classroom. I also agree that it probably is not going to increase test scores that much, if at all. Nonetheless, it very interesting and who knows where this technology will take us in the future!

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Lyndsey Talbot
02/27/2014 12:57

I agree that the technology used in this article is a great tool to be added to classrooms if possible. However, I do believe that it needs to be used as only a tool. I feel like nothing can replace the true presence of having a physical teacher on site. I would have loved to have this technology when I was going to school. This makes learning limitless and can provide so many opportunities that otherwise may not exist. The high cost of this equipment would be the downfall, making it impossible for most schools to be able to participate. Other than that, what a great TOOL this would be for education.

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Kim Holifield
03/02/2014 18:39

As someone who has taken many online courses and not been very successful, I would completely agree that there's nothing that can replace having a teacher physically present to instruct the class. Technology has come a long way and has certainly become a great tool but for now, in most cases, a tool is all that it should be used for.

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Gino Bullock
02/27/2014 20:35

I think what they are doing at WestLake High School is awsome. After listing to this article it is clear that technology goes beyond its very simple uses in some places. I think as a society we have come to accept the use of technology in certain areas of our life's but not others. School for instance was a place where if you used technology to help educate the students you were viewed as a poor teacher who couldn't prove your work through the textbook. The older society of educators believe in the show your work theory in all areas of education. Now with technology you are able to teach more at a more rapid and intense rate. You are also able to grab the students attention by using different variations of teaching styles. What better way to teach a student about NASA by Skype-ing in a actual astronaut. Technology is worth it and will at some point be the focal point of education.

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James French
03/02/2014 13:37

The show your work method has worked for a long time. I believe this method actually fosters critical thinking which with using technology is not always available. The critical thinking component is which device do I need to ride on the back of someone else who has done the hard work for me. I am afraid of a society that relies on technology for everything. I do agree that if you can get students to use their minds technology can be amazing for enabling them to strive to find more information that is readily available thanks to technology.

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Shari Harrington
03/02/2014 20:29

I think if schools can afford the investment in technology they shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity. The students would be suffering if they don't; the students in this article are incredibly fortunate. They not only have the advantage of technology, but they also have educators who are making sure that they are making meaningful connections and seeing and experiencing real-life application with the technology. Of course, being inspired by an actual writer is only anecdotal evidence until it's put to the test in the classroom and measured by assessment, but I also think that maybe standardized tests are going to be challenged here. Tests are flawed, that's not new knowledge, but if students are making strides in the classroom then it's worth it.

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