UPGRADE YOUR GRAY MATTER
IN MAY 2007, The New York Times published an article about schools on the cutting edge of the educational technological revolution. These institutions had instated programs through which each student had access to his or her own laptop computer. The students could do research easily through wireless networks and lesson plans could incorporate advanced graphics and tools.
The schools scrapped the programs. As the article reported, the laptop-based lessons were constantly hindered by technical problems and inconsistencies. Students rarely used the computers for research, opting instead to play games, chat via instant messaging programs, watch videos on YouTube, cheat on tests and even view pornography. The computers were in constant need of repair and virus removal. Many teachers decided not to use the computers at all.
With the abolishment of the one-computer-to-one-student programs, these schools hope to better allocate resources to improve education.
Regardless of the changing technological face of the world at large, basic education still relies on only a few items. Even in math classes, pencil and paper are sometimes the only necessity. The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) does not permit any tool more advanced than a mechanical pencil to demonstrate a college undergraduate career’s worth of learning.
So it appears technology is not always the answer. According to C.J. Schmidt, vice president of sales at Hit Promotional Products, Largo, Fla., staple items continue to remain strong in the education market. It is the use of a given educational product that makes it successful, though there is always room for new design. One of Hit Promotional Products’ newest and most successful items is a sticky note case with a calendar. Another successful series consists of cases that hold clips, rubber bands, sticky notes, push pins or other small desk items. “I think that’s perfect for every student to have,” said Schmidt. The success of these items stems from the fact that every school, even the ones with sophisticated computer programs, still rely on paper and writing instruments.