What about the claim that technology in the classroom is a waste of money?

Monday, January 3rd, 2011 | technology

People who believe that technology in the classroom is a waste of money possibly base their view on personal observations: they’ve seen classrooms where expensive computer facilities do not seem to add any value. 

Technology naysayers must agree that any resource that has a beneficial impact on teaching and learning is not a waste; at the same time, proponents of technology have to agree that it is a waste when it does not contribute significantly to improved teaching and learning. 

Technology has no impact in the classroom when it is not used.  Unfortunately this is the case with many classroom technologies: after the hype of implementation has subsided they are left to gather dust.  In these instances those who claim that classroom technology is a waste of money have a valid point. 

Now think about it: if technology is waste of money in one classroom, does it follow that it is true for all classrooms?  If I buy an expensive car but leave it unused in my garage – aging and diminishing in value – does this mean that it will be a waste of money for others to buy a similar car?  Of course, not!  The same principle applies to technology in schools: the fact that facilities in some classrooms are unused – and therefore a waste of money – does not mean that technology in classrooms in general is a waste of money. 

Technology wastage – and hence a waste of money – can be avoided:

Don’t buy technology if you don’t know how you’re going to use it – first determine your need.

Don’t skimp on teacher training – you can only expect technology to be used if teachers are comfortable in its usage. 

The opinions on others – based on single observations – should not influence your decision to procure technology for your classroom.  Look at those instances where it does improve the classroom, decide how you can use it in yours, and make sure you are properly trained – then technology won’t be a waste of money in your classroom.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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5 Comments to What about the claim that technology in the classroom is a waste of money?

Monday, 3 January, 2011

“Waste of money” is a debatable point. How do you “measure” the amount of “money wasted” in any sphere of life ? When is money “wasted” ? Ok, here many people will crucify me on this point. How do you “justify” the amount of money suited for a specific action / activity / equipment ? Is it a waste of money to try to save a terminally ill human patient ? Is it waste of money to repair e.g. a car with a dent in just to look good again ? Wow boy oh boy and do we know what a little scratch can cost on your metallic blue German car door by made by a trolley ? R6000 or more !! Can you “justify” it ? Is it a waste of money to put a laptop + data projector + EIAWB in a classroom and then expect the teacher to use it 24/7 (180 school days) with an “immediate” impact on a learner’ symbols from FF to A++ or otherwise it is a waste of money if this scenario is not reached ? Don’t we put to much emphasis on the “value” of money and / or on its returns i.e. interests / dividends of it ? When we work with human beings then the concept of “wasted money” is more complex then in the business world !

Further, I am of the personal opinion that “we” should not try to measure “academic” improvement / achievement with the “usage” if ICT. In a previous post on this issue, Mark made a valuable point about this fact. I also agree with John in the same post re his comment “goeie genugtig” what must we do more to convince the authorities about the “value” of ICT ?

Thus, we should rather look at the “value of money” in the sense of what it can do i.e. to bring change and achievement towards a complex human being’ daily sensible life and environment instead of the capital returns for its investors / inventors.

We cannot expect money “invested” in an educational institution filled with a wide spectrum of “developing” learners with many different qualities and levels of competencies to deliver the same “sort” of dividends in the same time frame as a global company and its shareholders and stakeholders with stock markets and what have you !!

Maybe we should not “punish” ICT equipment for its poor performance on the “educational stock exchange”. Its heavily burdened cost factor on any society (or economy) will have negative financial ramifications, thus we should rather look at the successful usage by its users to “enhance” the specific situation and not the “financial investment” made towards it. The use of any ICT equipment and the “financial weight” attached to its outcome, should not be valued in cents and rands in an educational environment, but rather did it (ICT) CONTRIBUTE towards a learner’ total sphere of humanity + education + skills + exposure to + improvement of + enhancement of + and and and …..!

Albie the $1 = R7.23c

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Mark C
Tuesday, 4 January, 2011

Wasting is in the eye of the beholder or something like that. My father smokes heavily and does not think much of allowing R200 go up in smoke. While he sees it as value to him I find this a waste. I pay R200 for a computer magazine, he sees this as a waste. What is of value to one person is not so for the other. One person’s waste is another person’s gold. The same seems to apply to ICT in the classroom.

Who wastes? The people that own the product/resource wastes it. ICT is provided as requested but when it arrives, nobody is available to use it, train on it, take responsibility for it or maintain it. Who wastes? I think the owners of the resource do. What reasons do people have? Well, there are two broad camps. Reasonable ones (like tech issues/practicalities) and really stupid reasons (I was not mandated to use it).

The wastage does not start of end with ICT but in every sphere of many schools. How much money did the department of education spend on newspaper supplements? They go hot off the press to the foyer of schools to the recycling depot or blows in the wind ending up as toilet paper for somebody. This is but one example.

I don’t think ICT in the classroom is a waste. It is a must! We cannot be the only profession who does not use current technology to enhance teaching and learning. What is a doctor without X-rays, MRI scans, etc. , a mechanic without diagnostic machinery, a bank without ATMs, a shop without POS machines, a school without computers…..or teachers?

CCTV Camera
Tuesday, 4 January, 2011

I wanted to say your blog is almost amazing. I always like to learn something new about this because I have the similar blog in my Country on this subject so this help´s me a lot. I did a search on the topic and found a good number of blogs but nothing like this.Thanks for sharing so much in your blog.

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