In my last blog (it can be read here), I talked about how one study claimed that the current education programs training teachers were not adequately preparing teachers for their classroom. Teachers are being taught outdated methods, and consequently, their students aren’t learning as well as they could be. I would like to discuss one more issue that is just as important as teacher training, and that is access to educational tools. I have written about the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) before, and I very much believe in their vision: get the necessary tools to the low income students who can’t afford them. The most important tool that every student needs in our modern classrooms is a laptop.
I’m a blogger, meaning that I’m on my computer a good 16 hours a day. I must type my stories out, research, input my work into WordPress, and keep up to date about everything in the nonprofit world. I then go home and use my computer for entertainment purposes: Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and the list goes on. While I was a student (I just graduated from the University of Washington) all of my readings and essays had to be accessed and turned in online. A computer is no longer a luxury item, but an irreplaceable educational tool.
Why Laptops Are a Necessary Tool In the Classroom
1. If one doesn’t have a laptop, one is confined to a space where a computer can be accessed.
During my senior of college, I bought a new laptop because I had been using the same PC for six years (pictured above), and it was time for an upgrade. Within three weeks of buying the laptop, the hard drive crashed, and I was forced to go to the library to do my homework. This meant that I couldn’t go to a coffee shop and do homework with my classmates. It also meant that I had to show up early to the library to make sure I got a computer, and had to fight off others who tried to use it when I stepped away to use the bathroom. Finally, being confined to one space always impeded my creative flow. I didn’t realize moving locations was a luxury until I couldn’t do it anymore.
2. Not having constant access to the Internet.
I will admit that I may be an Internet addict. About 4 months ago, the power went out of my apartment, and being forcibly unplugged was not a fun experience. Not having a constant Internet connection means that you are not updated on everything that is happening around you. Not being in the know means you are behind, and that is never good. One never knows when breaking news will hit, when your professor will cancel class, or when two of your friends become Facebook official. Information is power.
(Photo credit: The Australian)
3. The simplest tasks become harder.
I remember writing one of my first research papers in the third grade about birds, and having to check out one of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s books to take home and read. Carrying around an encyclopedia was annoying, and it hurt my back. In addition to this, I don’t miss writing out all of my essays by hand. Typing is easier. Laptops make research, writing, reading, communication, collaboration, and presentations easier. I couldn’t imagine my education without one.
Here at Jolkona, we realize the importance of laptops and technology, and have made it easy for you to support organizations like TAF in their efforts to provide students with the appropriate educational tools. You can read about our other projects we are supporting here, and can donate to these causes here.