Friday, June 5, 2009

Learning about the interweb and other technical things

The Orillia Packet and Times has a great story posted Thursday night about a budget discussion within the Simcoe County District School Board. In a nutshell, the board is deliberating over a 6.0 full-time equivalent cut to its computer software technicians effective 2009-10, which would leave three full-time positions remaining in the department.
“If this is what students are doing in the classroom, this is non-negotiable. There’s an expectation to become more competent in using technology with your students,” said Lindy Zaretsky, superintendent of instructional services and leadership.
Coaches can help teachers figure out how to incorporate technology into their lessons, regardless of the subject, she said.
Another of (Clearview trustee Caroline) Smith’s concerns was the fact “the kids’ capabilities are outstripping us.”
“We are in the dust,” she said. “We are old ladies with canes and they are rushing by on their motor scooters.”
“New teachers coming out of teachers college are so high-tech. The new teachers don’t need all of this (training),” (Orillia trustee Debra Edwards) said.
This article has all the right pieces-- it reflects the discussion amongst trustees, the administration's perspective and even gets the union involved. Kudos (once again) to Nathan Taylor.
Other boards are no doubt contemplating similar cutbacks to their helpdesk / IS staff. I don't see this as being as huge of a problem as it once was. Several boards have moved to 'active directory' operating systems that allow remote diagnosis / repair / update of any terminal at any school. Each school site usually has a lead teacher as the on-site designated computer person. In the era of a SMART board in every classroom, this become a moot issue, no? Plus, as the article itself says, up-to-date teachers (young and old) are tech-saavvy when it comes to these things.