In 2000, New Berlin Public Schools Superintendent James Benfield recommended slashing the District’s technology budget to help pay for the 5-year Facility Capital Improvement Plan he presented.
Dr. Benfield would not have suggested such a drastic cut if he’d considered technology of great educational value and importance.
His rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul/cut technology proposal seems remarkably short-sighted.
Benfield’s successor, Superintendent Paul Kreutzer, has been a staunch supporter of technology and has promoted its use. Some examples include the computer podcasts of school board meetings and installation of surveillance cameras at the secondary schools.
One downside of technology use by kids is that it can be seriously abused. Certainly, we’ve seen that in New Berlin, such as teens sending nude photos of themselves via phones or computers. And who can forget that an Eisenhower high school student used technology to trick and coerce some of his classmates to perform sexual acts!
Dr. Kreutzer remains optimistic about technology’s potential to benefit students.
He may have good ideas for implementing/expanding technology in our schools.
However, for a different perspective about kids & technology, read a recent blog by BrookfieldNOW blogger Tom Gehl. His thought-provoking piece expresses concern about kids’s use and reliance on technology. It raises valid points.
Here’s an excerpt from Gehl’s blog:
The onset of childhood obesity has been simultaneous to this explosion of technology. I don't suggest it is the only cause, nor perhaps even the primary one. But neither do I believe it is coincidence. When technology begins to limit and stunt the ability of our youth to look outside of themselves, to interact with and engage people and ideas without the use of their contraptions, when they eliminate more wholesome and edifying activities from their routines, when the thought of going for a walk or listening to what Mother Nature has to say as opposed to the latest text message is utterly foreign to them, then this should give us pause.