We are asked "Why is it important to learn about different technology tools when they are constantly changing?" As an educator it is our responsibility to be informed and stay current with all different types of tools used within our classroom and subject area. As for technology and its forward momentum, we can use these tools to be more effective and efficient teachers. Our students come from a generation that will most likely not remember cassette tapes, VHS tapes, fax machines, and even film! This generation of 21st century learners are digital learners and will need us to be their guides and mentors to teach them how to be competitive in their future college and career opportunities.
The different technology tools described in the text, Integrating Computer Technology into the Classroom written by Gary Morrison and Deborah Lowther are computers, mobile devices, peripherals, and data storage. Each one of these tools has its place and function in the classroom. I think we see the most change happening with mobile devices. Now we can have a digital camera, voice recorder, media player, video recorder, e-books, GPS navigation, and a personal data assistant all in one on an iPad or similar tablet. With the use of a word processing app, in addition to peripherals including speakers, a microphone, and a wireless printer, these tablets could very well replace the use of laptops in the classroom.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using both a desktop computer and mobile devices within the classroom. As for the students use of a desktop computer it provides a larger monitor therefore more students can participate in the lesson. Even though desktop computers are "immobile and heavy" (p.67) with a SMART board the teacher can still reach the whole class with interactive software and programs. It is actually better to have a stable computer while using the SMART board. Laptops are "an excellent option to provide Internet access to a classroom that normally does not have access." (p.62) Wireless computers are also smaller so they can be easily stored and moved throughout a school building. According to the Table found on p. 67 of the textbook, the cons of using laptops in schools are that they can be easily damaged, stolen, and have a short battery life. So the question still remains as to why a teacher should use both in the classroom. In my opinion the teacher can easily use a laptop for their word processing, communications, and Internet use while students in the early grades would be more successful with desktop computers. In the upper grades, students needs would be facilitated by the use of a laptop or tablet.
With tablets, such as the iPad, kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy hitting our technology market in the United States these digital devices can perform a multitude of functions and therefore would justify the cost of the device. There would be no need to purchase digital voice recorders, GPS navigation receivers, digital media recorders, digital cameras, or personal data assistants because all of these functions would be provided with the use of a tablet. As with any major purchase, the school would need to conduct research on the cost per pupil, compatibility with other software programs, consumer reports, and if the product would best serve its students and teachers. In my opinion, the cost of digital devices can be justified by the learning experience it gives our youth. As a generation of learners who are witnessing technology advancements at a rapid pace we must provide them with the information and opportunities to be successful as they venture into college and the work force.