Accepting a Job at a School that Doesn't Have Computers

Ok, so here's a question. There's a possibility that I might end up teaching at a high school in Florida. The school's community is most likely economically and socially affluent. But the private school does not have regular computer access for its students. Would you accept a position at a school that the student where the students would necessarily have to "power down" before they entered the building? Why/why not? (For the purpose of this discussion please ignore any financial needs that I might have as a person.) Thanks!!

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Hi Andrew,

I'd say, talk to the people in charge, ask them if they want to be effective guides for students as they participate in this new age of information sorting and sifting. (If they don't know what's going on, show them Will Richardson's "A Web of Connections...Why the Read Write Web Changes Everything")
Ask them if they want to learn what the students are capable of doing and sharing as citizens of the world.
I think the answers you are given to these questions should be sufficient to make your decision. If there is no interest in understanding (and especially if there's denial of) what's going on in the rapidly evolving Flat World, you know where your energies would be spent. You'd have to be constantly pushing, opening up eyes, demonstrating, convincing... Is it worth it? If you sense that people of the school have their heels dug in and are trying to push Web 2.0 off as "extra" and not ever to be part of school time, well, why beat your head against a brick wall? If they're like that, they'll be left behind and not really a vital force in education anyhow.

But I'm hoping you can convince them of the importance, vitality, and value in learning how to participate in the new age of learning. You can be a pioneer. Nothing like breaking brand-new ground in learning!
Depending on the reason for limited access, perhaps YOU could be the one to spearhead a move toward the use of computers and other digital technology as an educational tool. If you look at Learning and Technology and Edutopia (both free professional journals) you can find grant opportunities for education.

I agree with the other commentors that spearheading technology in a school could be fun and rewarding. Years ago I was involved in a $500,000 federal grant writing process and when we got the "stuff" it was thrilling!! But I'd have to say, "No, thank you". Not so much from widgets and gadgets point of view but from a time management and efficiency point of view. Wow, we wasted a lot of time back in the day. N.
This seems like an opportunity for everyone to grow. The school can learn from you why you think it is important for the students to have lots of computer access. You can learn the advantages of having little or no computer access. By sharing the knowledge and ideas from both sides it seems you could all work together to create what might prove to be the ideal balance. Don't assume that because they don't have computers they are trying to bury their heads in the sand. Perhaps they want to focus on "the classics" (whatever that means to any given person). You could help them see that hard copies and the digital world can co-exist happily. There was life before computers and there is life without them. I think that it would be great to be in a position to help guide a school into intelligent use of technology in a way that fits their goals and values.
Please don't enter the conversation by stridently proclaiming that computers are the only way to do things. Listen carefully and then share here what you learn from this experience. This school may have some really valid points that we have all managed to overlook.



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