Some schools are still in a dark ages. Remember when the teacher knew everything, and the students just received it (and forgot it)..
It's ironic how educators - the people who are supposed to be engaged in the art of learning - know so little about the educational realm! In fact, one of my education professors told our class "Some teachers started teaching wrong their first year and have continued doing it that way for the last thirty years"
Virtually always, I am very much against the objectivist methodology - this deployment & assessment technique is "dark ages" indeed. I'm proactively in the constructivist camp - and proud to be here. I've studied and employed the benefits from pedagogical, andragogical, and heutagogical systems.
Today in public education we see an unrealistic and unnecessary emphasis on high stakes testing which has literally become the god of education convincing the local administrators what should be driving the motivation for and defining the direction of what occurs. Why should anyone really think about or care what's truly best for students? . . . ? Oh, I know, you can't document that in a bar chart and the higher the bars which provide links to administrative "image security."
Rant over - sorry.
The machines in our room had Windows 7 Pro removed in favor of XP 64 (the IT dept did not want to support yet another OS, from what I'm told). I have a large, thick XP book which may help me unlock the prohibition instituted by the IT department which so often eliminates the students from using software that would be essential in not only accomplishing the standards I'm required to teach, but also the opportunities to explore additional information and experience challenging events like the Arduino projects.
I have almost finalized my decision to require students bring in their laptop computers in order to accomplish our goals. Asking IT for old computers - ha! That would require forms, paperwork and a willing department to cooperate. I don't mind the first two, but the last one simply does not exist. This is just one of the many reasons why this will be my last - and hopefully my best - year of teaching in this district. I cannot ever be satisfied in an environment where unnecessary restrictions are imposed which restrict or prohibit my ability to teach, more important, their ability to learn.
Uh oh, another rant, sorry.
If the laptop requirement was imposed, my participation level would involve very few number of students. Also, please keep in mind our school district includes students who 75% of them qualify for receiving free or reduced lunches - lots of poverty. I am even willing to purchase four of these kits with my own money to help out but I am unsure if I'm really going to make a difference or if this will spin into another frustrating, uneventful experience regardless of the intentions to provide a useful, educationally rewarding, and FUN experience.
Maybe I'll discover a local authority/corporation who will donate a few laptops for my computer lab and I'll toss on Linux Mint and create my own wireless intranet and all the applications will be available for our learning purposes and . . . I can still dream, right?
As I have been reprimanded previously for asking for "too much" IT support, I cannot afford to "push" the IT requirements in my classroom: I want a stellar recommendation from my boss when I apply for another job. BTW, I offered to manage all the requirements of the existing machines in my lab and expressed how I used to do this for sixteen years before I began teaching in public education. Nope, not wanted, the boss recently paid an IT consulting firm thousands of dollars to have our machines upgraded with software we're leasing from a vendor.
Regardless, I will do what I can with what I have. I am not getting paid for the after school club I'm required to sponsor so I am going to take control - as much as I can - and provide these students with Arduino projects they will hopefully embrace and we'll all be better for this endeavor, having FUN along the journey! :)
Sorry to rant - too much coffee this morning (ha).