Hi all,

I am looking for resources to present the counterpoint side of a debate in my master's class regarding using technology in elementary education. In other words - why NOT to use it. Does anyone know of research articles or respectable sites I can cite in our debate?

I'm a building technology leader trying to put myself in the shoes of the less-than-willing that I am attempting to lead! This is difficult as I'm definitely an advocate of using tech!

Thanks!
Jessica

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Jessica,

There is a saying among people of old, forgotten cultures, who teach the old ways to the willing young people "so that we will not forget". So, some teachers need the teach some children the old says "so that we will not forget". Handwriting, painting, playing a brass instrument, calculating on an abacus, hammering a nail, planting a garden, are all skills that will slip away unless some of our young people choose to make themselves carriers of the culture, learn and teach the old ways "so that we will not forget".....
Jessica,

In any old and dying culture, whether of native Americans, or other groups who've seen their culture slide away from them, there are those who take on the job of teaching to the willing young people, the old ways, "so we will not forget". I think we will need to have those old-timey teachers to teach the willing young people, the arts and crafts that will soon die away, such as handwriting, painting with a brush, hammering a nail, calculating on an abacus, memorizing, sewing, driving a vehicle, butchering an animal, and such. The willing young people will often be profienct with the technology, but will achieve great satisfaction from doing it the old-fashioned way "so we will not forget".
I love it, what you say is true. I particularly found it humorous that you mention butchering an animal. This skill is becoming a lost art in our society, especially within our modern family cultures. I have been taught by my father, uncles, and grandfather how to field dress and clean animals for food. It wasn't fun, however it is a skill that I will never forget. Hey! I am going to Google this to see what I can find. Maybe technology is helping preserve some of these lost ways of doing things and if one of my students asks how to clean a fish, I can recommend a website to show the process. Gross! I know. However, humor aside, there are definite merits to doing things the old fashioned way. Physically working and creating with your hands and mind help you develop in ways that technology can't. After all, technology is only one of those tools created by imaginative minds and hands.
Jessica, first of all, I have a lab in my classroom and I use it everyday. Before I built this lab, although it is totally cool running Edubuntu LTSP, I had to justify in my mind exactly how I would use it. These were the questions I posed to myself because I knew that there would be those who would be challenging me to justify the existence of my learning lab in my 5th grade classroom.

1. When will you use your technology? How will it fit into your day?
2. How will you use your technology?
3. How will your lab target the specific needs of your students?
4. Will your lab help in learning state content standards?
5. How will you assess student progress in learning specific standards?
6. Will this lab actually make your teaching day easier or more difficult?
7. Ubuntu? Linux? You can do this because you are a technology guru. NOT!
8. Will you be willing to share, nurture, and promote this valuable resource?
9. How will you keep up your lab when things break down without burdening your school?
10. Does your classroom have the infrastructure to support computers? (outlets for computers and printers, network drops for computers, etc.)
11. Will you have support and permission from your principal and district to have this Linux lab?
12. How will you address those who are jealous or make the point that other classrooms don't have access to technology?
13. Who will be the problem solvers during instruction when there are problems with the computers?
14. Where will you get all those computers, printers, switches, and cables?
15. How will you be able to afford the software for your lab and what software will you use?

Before I built my lab I did have an answer for these questions and many more. I especially needed to justify in my mind how these tools were to be used in teaching everyday curriculum and not just cool computer skills. I am in a fifth grade classroom where every minute counts. As it is, I barely have enough time to teach what I need to teach so technology better help me accomplish this task or forget it. I hope this helps. Even though you asked for websites and research articles, I felt that hearing questions and issues from the trenches, so to speak, would be helpful. Primary sources are valuable and places a human face on the topic being discussed.

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