At first glance, the T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria seems like a shining beacon on a hill. The school cost nearly $100 million to build, equipped every student with a laptop connected to a wireless network, gave teachers LCD projectors for their classrooms to use instead of chalkboards, and increasingly, encouraged the administration to rely on email for interaction with faculty instead of meeting face to face, writes Patrick Welsh, a teacher a the school, in an op-ed published in the Washington Post.
But T.C. Williams’ teachers, even the young and computer savvy, have hit the tech wall. An excess of technology has had the effect of alienating them from their students, Welsh says. Hamstrung by the gadgets the administration forces down their throats, teachers feel they are sacrificing the creativity of their craft for the novelty of the newest gizmos. “It’s technology for the sake of technology—not what works or helps kids learn, but what makes administrators look good, what the public will think is cutting edge,” said one young colleague of Welsh’s.
The answer may be in moderation. Welsh cites the case of the North Point High School for Science, Technology and Industry in Waldorf, Maryland. More selective in her philosophy on tech integration, the school’s principal believes in a finer balance. “Technology is just a tool, not an end in itself,” she says, “It will never replace good teaching.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.