Thursday, October 16, 2003

Not quite wired enough

Our school district has gone into computers in a big way, raising property taxes to outfit schools with big old gobs of technology. The number of computers in the "media center" (formerly the library) at my son's school doubled over the summer, and the one at my daughter's middle school seems far more dedicated to screens than to books. What books there are have been cataloged on a computer system, and that system is set to trickle down to our elementary school this year; the low-tech paper card catalog has already been ditched. The weak point in all of this is that the media centers are under the administration of educators who used to be called librarians, and they didn't go into education to compute. Sometimes there seems to be more technology than anyone really knows what to do with. Fortunately, if the teachers can't figure things out, the kids usually can.

One use I'd love to see all those computers put to is setting up e-mail addresses or web pages for teachers that parents can access. Why don't any of my kids' teachers have sites like this one? A google search turns up a fair amount of web services set up to give teachers free 'net presences, but if our school's got any posted, nobody's telling me. Maybe I should volunteer to be webmaster for whoever'll have me? Or maybe they know what a headache free and open communication with me would be, and just aren't giving me their address.

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