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District’s Teachers Push Back Against 'Tech Disaster’ As Device Glitches Bog Down Instruction

District’s Teachers Push Back Against 'Tech Disaster’ As Glitches and Lack of Support Impede Classroom instruction

Elementary school teachers in Modesto City Schools in Modesto, CA are not happy with the cutting-edge devices that have been implemented in their classrooms and are pushing back against them.

According to them, the new tech provided to them is riddled with technical glitches that cause the devices to constantly crash as young students try to use them.

The new technology was provided to teachers through a $2.2 million purchase that filtered 3,800 devices into the district and is being called by a teacher union spokesman a “tech disaster.

The teachers described their frustration to Modesto City Schools trustees who were in the process of authorizing money to purchase more technology; the trustees have been moved to “wait on authorizing an unrelated $7 million contract to repair and replace high school computers” due to the teachers “impassioned speeches,” said The Modesto Bee.

Aside from technical glitches, the teachers also complained that the small Panasonic tablet-computer devices provided to their students were too difficult for the young learners to use.

The teachers said the devices "could not take the inexpert use of small children, with one saying half the devices in the classroom set she shares with other classes did not function."

The district’s head of technology Cindy Minter told The Modesto Bee the issue was less with the devices and more with the district’s issue with providing the necessary Wi-FI connectivity; Modesto schools need help increasing bandwidth, she said.

And as “five schools are still battling computer outages, the tech support is still unraveling,” she said, according to the article.

For the teachers, this means significant interference with their instructional time.

"The lack of working computers robs students of practice time typing, and the tiny screens make it impossible to do many of the test tasks, said Jennifer Ollar, a computer teacher at Beard Elementary,” according to the article.

The Modesto City Schools district represents the age-old problem of technology in the classroom: expensive and fancy devices are nothing without the appropriate implementation and support services to accompany them.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/12/2015

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