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Our View: SCV’s cutting edge classrooms

Posted: December 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Technology is wonderful. It makes the world faster and more interconnected. And computers seem to be just about everywhere these days — in our cars, on our desks, in our pockets and, more than ever, in our local schools.

And these aren’t just gimmicky wastes of taxpayer money by implementing new gadgetry for its own sake. Teachers have taken notice that today’s students are more attentive and involved when using interactive learning methods instead of the chalkboard-and-lecture ways that countless others experienced for decades.

We are also teaching our kids how to become the workers of tomorrow, and the workforce has become increasingly technology-driven in recent years. How many businesses issue tablets and/or smartphones to their employees connected to workplace activities? How many jobs are left that do not involve a computer or computer-based system of some kind these days?

It’s great to see 21st century kids learning with 21st century technology, because it doesn’t make sense to teach them to only read with physical, paper books and write with pencils when they go home and live in a world of touch-screens and interactive connectivity.

It only makes sense to put the tech of the day into our classrooms to teach kids useable skills and give them knowledge and experience with the tools they will use in the years to come.

The Signal periodically publishes articles about how our local schools have some of the best technologically equipped
classrooms around — but there is one caveat concerning making our classrooms into bastions of technology: It doesn’t come cheap.

Smart Boards — essentially large computer screens in place of the chalkboards of old — cost about $3,500 a pop. Apple’s widely used iPads are several hundred dollars each. Even lower-end laptops issued to Saugus Union fourth-graders aren’t cheap. Sulphur Springs just spent about $40,000 updating its computer lab.

And — in case you’ve been living on a deserted island for the last few years — there isn’t a lot of education money to go around these days.

That’s why we give kudos to local PTA groups for organizing outside fundraising — such as the Sulphur Springs group that raised $100,000 — and to local voters who approved Newhall School District’s $60 bond Measure E in the recent election.

This added money will go toward allowing our stellar local schools, and the children occupying them, to stay up-to-date and be prepared for the outside world by being able to use the tools required today.

While many purists out there claim that our kids don’t need iPads, Smart Boards or WiFi because they themselves didn’t have it when they went to school, if we always operated with that mentality, we’d be drawing in dirt with sticks and scratching out lessons on cave walls. There are many good reasons why computers have replaced typewriters, and sleek cellphones followed rotary handsets that were heavy enough to kill a charging rhino.

Technology is like a glacier: It’s huge, always moving, constantly changing shape and permanently alters the landscape in its wake. It makes sense to move with it.

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