No textbooks? No problem, the district's Wizards of Smart decide. Just have the teachers find and duplicate free, online materials to replace the textbooks. Then, distribute those materials to the students.
Unfortunately, the Wizards of Smart didn't read the teachers' union contract. Not possible.
So, it's back to Square #1.
The Wizards of Smart then decide to spend $1B to provide an iPad to each student in the district. Although the cost for that solution could provide for a whole lot of people to duplicate free, online materials for the teachers, this sounded like a great plan to the Wizards of Smart.
Unfortunately, the Wizards of Smart forgot to consider how to prepare teachers to incorporate those iPads into their classes. The Wizards of Smart also forgot to factor into the equation that students are quite likely to break, lose, or sell some of those iPads.
According to an article in Reason Magazine, despite the prohibitive cost as well as the problems resulting from implementing the original and revised plans, the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) Wizards of Smart have now gone one step farther: They've decided to expand beyond iPads so that students will now have several options. These include: iPads, Google Chromebooks (which are less expensive than an iPad) and laptops (which are more expensive than an iPad).
The result of this re-revised plan is that administrators in 27 LAUSD schools will now be choosing between iPads and Chromebooks, while administrators of 21 LAUSD schools have already opted to provide laptops.
"Okay, this solution will work and we're done," the Wizards of Smart conclude. "Problem solved. Students will have an iPad, Chromebook, or laptop. Teachers will integrate online materials into their classes. And, broken, lost, or sold computers will be fixed or replaced, somehow."
Oopppssss...there's one remaining problem: The Wizards of Smart assumed in their re-revised plan that LAUSD teachers will incorporate the technology into their classrooms.
However, research indicates that technology—Smartboards and pc’s, in particular--is rarely used. Why? While students may be pretty saavy users of the technology, teachers have difficulty incorporating it into instruction.
Apparently, the Wizards of Smart didn’t do their homework.
So now, with all LAUSD students having and some of them breaking, losing, or selling their computers, it's back to Square #1. Having spent that $1B, who’s going to be duplicating the materials for the teachers who won’t be using the technology in their classrooms?
No wonder LAUSD is broke and its students are underperforming.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the Reason Magazine article about the LAUSD’s purchase of the iPads, click on the following link:
"LA Schools: Millions for iPads, But Not One Cent for Math Textbooks,"
To read the Reason Magazine articles about the LAUSD’s decision to offer choice in technology, click on the following links:
"LA Schools Learn Wrong Lesson from iPad Debacle, Buy Chromebooks and Laptops."
To read the research findings about the use of technology in classrooms, click on the following link: