I have been having a “technology in schools discussion” with one of my readers who mentioned that it is too expensive to place electronic gadgets like MP3 players or iPods in schools and since every student can’t have one, we shouldn’t use these gadgets.
As he states
Many schools ARE attempting to integrate new technology, but really, most can't afford the newest technology. You can't integrate cell phones or media players or PDAs into the curriculum UNLESS EVERYONE HAS ONE. Otherwise it is just an unfair advantage to those who do.
I don’t buy the too expensive argument. At all. Instead, it is a matter of priorities.
I think schools can afford MP3 players if they are clever about it. I did some pricing of textbooks.
- Physical Science book for 6th grade $63.97
- Mathematics book for grades 6-8 $52.47
- Spelling book for 7th grade $16.95 (consumable)
- American History for 7th grade $67.47
- Reading book for 6th grade $47.97
You can purchase one Phillips 30GB Player player for $159.00 (retail price no educational discount) that can fit most, if not all of the information from those text books. Additionally, the Sony player allows for displaying JPEG image slide shows on the 2-inch color LCD. Replacing only three of the more expensive books in the list of textbooks would more than pay for the MP3 player.
The player could be issued every semester just like books. The Sony MP3 player could be bar coded and tracked if you are worried about them being stolen. So the cost of using a MP3 Player with images is comparable if not MORE cost effective than textbooks.
Why more cost effective? Because the school district could update them every year without having to purchase a complete new set of textbooks. Just upload the new content. Also, teachers could customize the content on the MP3 player by creating their own MP3 files. So schools would gain customizable, updateable content containers for a price equal or less than the price of textbooks. Plus they are more portable and many kids (but not all) already have portable MP3 players. These would just be for the kids who didn’t have them.
As an added benefit, a student could carry with him or her, every book that they needed for every class. This would enable schools to cut down on time between classes because students would not need to go to their locker between classes because all the content would be on the 30GB MP3 player. More time for education.
But we can’t do away with textbooks, you may say.
Ok, let’s look at what schools are spending on other items. Like football uniforms (the same schools that ‘can’t afford’ MP3 players for all the students.)
Again, I did some pricing:
- Youth football Jersey $28.50
- Youth football helmut $89.99
- Shoulder Pads $37.99
- Youth Football Pants 25.90
- Protective Mouth piece 14.99
- 7 Piece pad set 14.99
For less than the price of a football uniform, students could be equipped with MP3 players. Schools find money for textbooks and football uniforms, yet they can’t find the money for MP3 players?
Integrating technology into schools is not an issue of affordability, it is an issue of priority.
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