10 Questions Your PTA and School Should Ask Before Buying Technology

7691519996_162e98b0ec_bFirst, it was computers in the classroom; next, it was Smartboards; and now it is iPads and Chromebooks. Schools often turn to their PTA to help bring technology into the classroom, and families wanting the best for their children often step up to help do so. But a Smartboard used only as a digital chalkboard or an iPad only used as a digital textbook will not improve student achievement or prepare students for college and careers.

With many schools now pushing to have 1:1 technology in the classroom (i.e., one device per student), PTAs may be asked to help out. Illinois PTA has already written about the US Department of Education’s Future Ready Schools initiative, which encourages school districts to plan out their use of technology to provide students with a 21st Century education. Education blogger Scott Newcomb has created a list of ten questions that must be answered when going 1:1. These questions can help schools and PTAs ensure that money spent on technology is contributing to student achievement. Those questions are:

  1. What types of mobile learning initiatives have other school districts started?
  2. Where is the funding coming from?
  3. Is the initiative sustainable?
  4. How does the district plan on using the devices?
  5. What device is right for your student population?
  6. Is an Acceptable Use Policy set in place?
  7. Have the teachers bought into the idea of the initiative?
  8. Where is the professional development going to come from?
  9. Are there technology leaders in each building that will keep the initiative going in a positive direction?
  10. What apps will the students benefit from using?

Be sure to read the full article for additional information on each of these key questions before your PTA joins an effort to put more technology in the classroom.

Photo ©2012 by Michael Coghlan under Creative Commons license.