I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to travel throughout the state and country sharing my love and passion for technology in the classroom. Beyond my fortune, I see my travels as an opportunity to remind myself of the incredible, privileged power my students have simply because they have access to top-notch technology.
I work in a district that just rolled out over 3600 devices k-12 over the course of three days with a tech crew of less than ten people dedicated to the task. THREE DAYS! I know the tremendous amount of work, sleepless nights, frustration, and dedication this crew has to their job because I happen to live with one. It's not uncommon for me to rouse at 1:00 in the morning to hear him click, click, clicking away on his keyboard solving someone's pressing tech problem. Why does he and the other tech guys do this? Because they know that what we are doing is important. They know our carefully crafted lessons depend on technology that works for us and our students. They are each personally vested in our district because they, too, have children who are benefitting from the technology they work hard to deliver.
This, my friends, is not the norm across the country. I know. I've heard the stories from countless teachers who have to set up their own devices, pay for their own apps, put in help desk tickets that go weeks untouched because their tech staff punches the clock at 3:00. Ours don't, and I am thankful for that. They are the heroes of our school (often unsung) and also the punching bag when things go wrong. There are a myriad of reasons behind why things are the way things are. Why certain issues aren't an easy fix and why some are. They know that a lot of times things are out of their hands as they await answers and fixes from companies across the country. So, again, I am thankful. And patient even when I don't want to be.
I also know many teachers who attend tech-integration conferences with nothing but a hope and prayer that someday, some blessed day, she or he will see devices in her students' hands. Teachers who toil at grant writing so they can maybe snag five iPads for their students to create with and explore the world. I know there are teachers who have all the passionate and desire in the world to provide their students the AMAZING opportunities they read about, hear about, learn about, but simply do not have the access.
Digital access in America should be a right for our students. Not a privilege. Yet until we reach that point we all need to take a step back. Be thankful. Understand. Be patient. Don't forget where you were five years ago. Thank our lucky stars that our students are amongst the most privileged students in the world simply because they have access and a chance.