As the Vermont school district consolidation debate rages on (H.883), I would like to focus for a moment on technology, and how it might relate to rising education costs. Are recent technology mandates for new assessment rules impacting school budgets this year? How sustainably has technology been applied to education since Act 60/68 began?
During the ongoing healthcare reform debate there have been reports indicating that one of the big drivers of rising healthcare costs is technology. Technology can be a “mixed blessing”. While technology has led to rising costs, it could also be used to lower costs, if implemented effectively.
Could technology, with its continuous upgrading of software, hardware, networks, spam filters, security patches, and ever-more tools be having a similar affect on our education costs? Is technology a “mixed blessing” in education? Are we effectively utilizing technology to advance learning and reduce costs? Or are we merely chasing the latest trends, sales pitches, reform ideas, and making the willing IT companies more profitable?
I am not a Luddite by any means. I’ve worked in the Information Technology field since 1977, mostly as a computer programmer, and with many types of databases. I am very familiar with the constant churn of learning and adapting to new software and hardware, and occasional rehashes or mashups of previous tech ideas, but now with more “cutesy” names. A friend of mine, a retired database admin, joked to me about “The Cloud”. He said, “We used to call it a ‘Data Center’.”