Dance with the Devil

Yesterday I got an email with an incredible offer. Would I like 10 desktops hardwired into my classroom? Well yeah!

The offer came from our technology liason teacher. I have worked with her for many years through the good and bad. Last Fall, technology at my school was in tough shape. So bad in fact that the science department had a protest “march” for the district technology director. (we stood in front of the principals office with cardboard signs) We probably didn’t do more than aggravate this administrator who held our technological fate in his hands. It made us feel better. Our Principal and VP had gone to bat for us many times with frustratingly few results.

Our Internet went down daily at random times. We were waiting for power cords requested in June until January. Battery life on our precious 5 year old laptops were deemed to be to “industry standard”. The batteries lasted about an hour and took several hours to fully charge. Problem was I had three 85 minute classes in a row, so without power cords the laptops were rendered unusable. I offered to use my own money to buy some inexpensive generic power cords, but was informed we could only use the brand name cords, which cost about $50 more apeice.

Many sites were randomly blocked. Searching one day for “tooth diagram” my request was blocked due to questionable content. Many of my online lessons depended on flash to run. The IT guys couldn’t get the program to stay on the computer. This took many weeks and several images to correct. We also did not have software to play DVDs on the laptops. Only IT staff could put software on the Laptops, as they were in “deep freeze” and erased all nonofficial programs every night.

So with 10 poorly functioning laptops and 30 students in a class, I was encouraged to embrace “21st” Century Learning Skills”. Keep in mind that this is not a poor inner city school, but the only high school in a suburb considered by many to be “the” place to live.  SO having been in the 21st Century groove since about say ….. 2000,  many of my lessons are technology dependent.  So back to the devil–I know there will be days that I regret saying yes-but wish me luck because if I can make it work it will be awesome!!!!

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