We’ve seen an encouraging number of stories this spring and summer about schools and school districts that are adopting Tablet PCs as a part of the curriculum. We’ve even seen some controversy surrounding some of those adoptions. (See the Virginia Tech stories.) While I am sure that the cost of introducing any new form of technology is a major decision point and certainly merits debate, this story (while not singularly focused on Tablet PCs) really sheds some new light behind the scenes in those budget battles. It also sheds some light on how much education really needs to happen about the use of technology in education. Apparently in Texas there has been a debate raging about exactly how funds allocated for text books should be spent. Does technolgy qualify as instructional content? One side of that debate apparently doesn’t want to see computer technology included in that definition. Here’s a quote:
“I’m absolutely delighted in the answer to the question that we asked,” said Miller, R-Dallas. “I think it once and for all defines that instructional content material is a textbook or software. It is not a device, a piece of equipment or hardware.”
Here’s the link to commentary on the issue by Judith Sotir. If the article is correct and one side says that “funds must be used exclusively for the purpose of conveying information, including curriculum content” there seems to be a divide (and some education needed) in this specific case. I can certainly see cash strapped school systems having difficulty implementing technology into their curriculum and those discussions centering on dollars and cents, but I have to admit I’m puzzled by the language used and what, to me, appears to be short sighted thinking. What are your thoughts?