This past week the New York Times published a very interesting article about a partnership between Church Lane Elementary Technology, a Baltimore elementary public school, and Silicon Valley. The partnership – nicknamed “Church Lane Hug” is described as follows:
Administrators at Baltimore County Public Schools, the 25th-largest public school system in the United States, have embraced the laptops as well, as part of one of the nation’s most ambitious classroom technology makeovers. In 2014, the district committed more than $200 million for HP laptops, and it is spending millions of dollars on math, science and language software. Its vendors visit classrooms. Some schoolchildren have been featured in tech-company promotional videos.
And Silicon Valley has embraced the school district right back.
HP has promoted the district as a model to follow in places as diverse as New York City and Rwanda. Daly Computers, which supplied the HP laptops, donated $30,000 this year to the district’s education foundation. Baltimore County schools’ top officials have traveled widely to industry-funded education events, with travel sometimes paid for by industry-sponsored groups.
The journalist goes on to write the following about the partnership between school districts across the U. S. and Silicon Valley…
Close ties between school districts and their tech vendors can be seen nationwide. But the scale of Baltimore County schools’ digital conversion makes the district a case study in industry relationships. Last fall, the district hosted the League of Innovative Schools, a network of tech-friendly superintendents. Dozens of visiting superintendents toured schools together with vendors like Apple, HP and Lego Education, a division of the toy company.
The superintendents’ league is run by Digital Promise, a nonprofit that promotes technology in schools. It charges $25,000 annually for corporate sponsorships that enable the companies to attend the superintendent meetings. Lego, a sponsor of the Baltimore County meeting, gave a 30-minute pitch, handing out little yellow blocks so the superintendents could build palm-size Lego ducks.
Judging from the comments to this New York Times article, there seems to be mixed reactions to such partnerships. What do you think? For more details, please read the remainder of this article in the New York Times. In addition, in 2018, the book Managing Educational Technology: School Partnerships & Technology Integration is expected to be published. The authors state that their future book will examines ways in which businesses, universities, and schools can partner to integrate the use of technology in the education sector.