Sunday, January 13, 2008

Computers for All!

$12,000 per student per year is how much Hawaii taxpayers are paying for public education. Our schools see about $9,000 of that. And yet we have one modern computer in every classroom, plus 3-4 antiquated Imacs. Hmm. What year is it again?

Last year I made the most of what I had - I used my three Imacs, then "borrowed" three more from other teachers who weren't using them. With these six computers I introduced my students to typing and to the Internet. I thought, however, that as we close on the first decade of the third millennium, my students needed and deserved a whole lot more than this. In their lifetime, these kids are going to be using technology at every turn. Typing today is much more valuable than cursive, and encyclopedias are yesterday's game. There's absolutely no excuse for a 10-year-old to be computer-illiterate.

Given all of this, I asked (or, sort of begged) people for computers. Finally, I discovered a gold mine. A colleague teaching at a nearby high school said his school had recently updated all of their computers and had a mountain of old Imacs (the same model that my school is still using) that they'd like to get rid of. Over the course of a couple of months last semester, I rounded up enough computers to ensure that ALL of my students would have their own! I now have 19 computers in my classroom. Each day my students spend about 15 minutes on a typing tutor, and we are just now venturing into other aspects of the Internet. Hopefully we'll soon start utilizing the class blog that I set up at We'll have to just figure out a way to get around the DOE's ridiculous content filter (way too restrictive).

Thanks to my father-in-law for coming through with some Ethernet cables. I asked my school for some at the beginning of the school year, and by the end of the first semester I still hadn't received them.

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