Not a surprise, but there is a lot of great technology out there in schools that is not being used. Whiteboards gathering dust, calculators never coming out of the closet...I am sure those of you in schools right now can site a hundred examples of great technology that should be in the hands of students that is just sitting somewhere gathering dust. Why?
I know from personal experience as a teacher, and now, as someone who travels around and works with teachers, often times, there is technology that has been bought that many teachers don't even know the school has. Can't tell you how many times I have been to a school to train on Sketchpad to find it's been in the building on the computers for years and no one knew about it. How does that happen?
Often times it was a case of money had to be spent quickly, so administrators or coordinators buy something they think sounds like good technology, but then no real training or information is sent out. Or...the person who spear headed a great new technology purchase leaves the district and no one is left who remembers or knows how to work it. Lack of awareness and more likely, lack of training, contribute a great deal to the misuse or non-use of technology in schools.
How do schools combat this? The first step is to get someone to do an inventory of the technology that lives in the buildings and on the computers. What's there, is it still useful, do you still have a license to use it, and most importantly, will it benefit student learning? Once this is done, then identify what needs to be done to help make those technology tools become an active part of instruction - what type of training and support is needed, who or what subjects would get the most use and benefit. Just some small steps to at least getting started with figuring out what technology is out there in your schools and what it could be used for so that you can start heading in the right direction.
Next time - some suggestions on what to do once you find a technology that might be a great instructional tool.