If you make technology a priority, you will find a way to fund the new technology.
If you find a way to fund the new technology, every student at your school will have access to the newest, most efficient and dynamic technology available.
If you give every student at the school access to the most dynamic technology out there, it is bound to fail.
The problem that we see is that you're doling out all of this technology without providing in-depth and dedicated training to the staff and students on how to properly implement their new devices in an educational setting. Not only is it a huge cost that you're leaving in the hands of untrained users, but you are also opening yourself up to issues that arise from misuse.
On the teacher side of integration and training, there are teachers at every site that are reluctant to embrace the latest waves of technology. This is not always the veteran teachers, either. You have your new teachers that are just trying to get their feet underneath them, yet we toss a cart of computers their way and tell them to have the students use them in class. Simultaneously, you have the veteran teacher who has been successful in reaching his/her students without the technology for 20 years and doesn't see the dire need to start anytime soon. These are the ends of the spectrum, but there are many who fall in between that would feel the same way.
Accepting a 1:1 program is a challenge for many teachers and it takes training and confidence to ease that anxiety. Simply handing off a laptop, iPad, iPod touch, or any other device to the students as they enroll for the year will not change the way that teachers feel about a 21st century classroom. Properly training a staff is an essential step prior to rolling out ANY new mandate, let alone one that will take a large portion of the school's budget for the time period in which the tech plan has allocated funds for it.
Even with a staff that is fully trained on how to integrate this new technology into their current lesson plans, assessments, and daily routines, the students need training and support that will allow them to get the most out of their devices in a safe and meaningful manner. Digital Citizenship is a concept that many school glaze over and assume that students have a full understanding of. Unfortunately, there have been too many news stories and cases brought up in which students misused the intentions of 21st century technology and left themselves vulnerable.
Students get bullied, there's no doubt about it. With the implementation of technology without training, the bullying gets meaner, nastier, faster, and more discreet. When students and staff are given trainings to help develop Digital Citizenship and proper use of their new devices, it is much easier to carry on with the 180 days of school. These are days that are meant to deliver instruction and help students reach mastery of the content they will be learning during the school year. Instead, teachers in schools that have thrown technology their way are forced to deal with countless days learning how to modify their lessons so that students can use their new devices.
When it comes down to the details, we have seen quite a bit of technology (mostly iPads) getting rolled out in our district. Fortunately, the purchasing of the devices was not the end-game. We have worked, as the AppsInClass Jedi Masters, to properly train and prepare teachers for what they will need in order to operate a 21st century classroom. Is it enough? No. In reality, there is only a limited budget and an even more limited window of time that is allocated for trainings. Our hope is that, with these sessions and constant contact with the sites that we train, the students and teachers feel confident enough with the technology to make it more than just a "cookie" for being good.
If you give a school an iPad, it better come with training.