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Seven reasons the 'digital classrooms' concept may not take off [Letter]

Your recent editorial highlighted some serious concerns raised by Baltimore County's plan to "revolutionize classroom instruction" ("Digital classrooms," Feb. 11).

The launch of this technology airplane will cost $150 million, and there are serious questions about whether it will actually fly. So as the plane begins its take-off roll, I trust BCPS is fully aware that the runway is short and full of potholes.

Among them are:

1. A lack of teacher confidence (fear of failure, lack of knowledge).

2. Lack of teacher competence (knowledge and skills in using technology).

3. Lack of teacher buy-in (teachers' beliefs influence what they do in the classroom).

4. Lack of time (in lesson preparation and execution).

5. Lack of training (not just in how to use technology, but in how to use technology to augment daily instruction).

6. Lack of accessibility (access to resources in/out of classroom).

7. Lack of technical support (solving hardware and software issues, technical glitches, and the myriad of student technology management issues).

Unless these and other issues are adequately addressed, this technology plane will crash and burn. Instead of teachers becoming "fluent users in the technology," they will instead become fatal casualties. And instead of technology becoming embedded in instruction, it will become buried in frustration.

Craig Laferty

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