Why aren’t more schools using free, open tools?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The promise of using technology in school technology has been to give students more control over their learning, while helping teachers provide tailored instruction to individual student needs. “Personalized learning” has been the common rhetoric driving most one-to-one device initiatives.

The stated goal is to make learning more of an individual experience, but many schools have chosen to implement technology programs in fairly regimented ways — for lots of different reasons. Many schools want all students to have the same kind of device, with the same apps pre-downloaded. Students often have little choice over which tools they can use on their devices. Even for online research, many schools filter out useful websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, making it harder and more restrictive.

Schools have many reasons for wanting to systematize the technology in schools: to ensure equity for all students, the ability of IT department to support the devices, and to comply with federal laws. Most schools are working with limited technology budgets and IT directors are trying to decide how to get the most out of those limited dollars. At the same time, they’re being bombarded by tech vendors, feeling pressure to keep up with new changes.

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