An article appeared on Stuff today discussing how schools wanted funding from the Government for technology (see the article here). This was in response to recommendations in parliaments inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy.
One of the recommendations was that every child should have access to a digital device such as an iPad.
Principal’s are rightly asking for more funding in order to do this. I’m currently on the Boards of two different schools and I recognise that there is little room for what many people would call ‘extras’ in tight budgets. Most schools – Principals, teachers, Boards – recognise the need to have modern technology in the classrooms, but not all of them can afford to introduce them or increase their capabilities due to having to do things like maintain/upgrade buildings and classrooms with what is already limited funding. You can argue that there is set money for building maintenance, however I know that I am quickly learning that that amount is often not enough and schools are needing to break into operations grants or investments that have been made in the past – money/savings they are unlikely to ever have again.
In the article linked above, National MP Nikki Kaye said “the proposals were an opportunity to lead the world in digital literacy.”
The proposals are simply proposals – words in a document. The proposals themselves won’t do anything without the government choosing to act on them.
If the government wants to see New Zealand leading the world in digital literacy they’re going to have to begin investing in education rather than continually taking from it. The government needs to consider funding the majority (if not all) of what is required to put a device in the hand of every child in this country so that they have the tools required to live in this time; so they have the tools required to learn about digital literacy; so they have access to resources, information and experts right where they are.
They need to stop trying to fix something that is working and work on continually improving it.
Our children deserve to learn in modern learning environments that are not constrained by the four walls of a classroom, or the 50+ year old buildings. They should be able to have technology at their fingertips when required in order to learn, to share, to collaborate, to connect and to create.
Image source: Flickr – Cem K. (iyiinsan)