I read with much interest this week articles that ask about evaluating technology use in schools and whether the use of technology is valuable and worth the investment. I have a few things to speak to on this subject. I am of course biased and will be the first to admit this.
In the same way that you would evaluate anything that you would use in your daily life, education and the teaching environment must be scrutinized. I would hope that you would use the tools in your life to their utmost potential and for what they are intended for. I know that we don't always do this and there are lots of reasons why. I use tools as they benefit me, in my life, with the training and experiences that I have. You would not think it wise (energy or time) to scramble an egg with a KitchenAid Mixer when a fork would do just fine.
Power tools used to scare me. I was afraid that I would cut off my finger, hand or something worse. With someone showing me the safety rules and techniques, I am proud to say that power tools of many kinds are at my disposal. This does not mean that I will use them if they are not the right tool for the job. Technology in education works in a similar vein. A pencil and paper, ruler, calculator or physical book used by classes, can and will continue to have, profound learning that does not necessarily have to have more modern technological tools integrated into the lesson.
Some of the best software that I have ever come across is unable to be used because the operating systems of the computers do not support the programs. Perfectly usable digital cameras, scanners, computers, programs and other older equipment is not trash, nor should it be overlooked by educators for use in the school. This being said, of course, new servers, updated computers with matching software, high speed internet, cloud based sharing...are going to be the tools that schools do deem worth the investment for their students. If teachers are trained and then utilize the technology tools, then by all means, the investment is worth the costs.
The old is not necessarily outdated or bad and the new is not necessarily needed or great. It is my desire that each of us can decide what will be a good investment of our resources for the students that we teach. If we scrutinize and evaluate independently the technology resources, then our students will have learning potential that is boundless.