Like arsenic and old lace, media and beat up equipment go hand in hand. This year, with a fairly experienced staff in both broadcasting and yearbook, we were able to keep most of our gear in functioning fashion through the end of the year.
But we do have about four dead and two dying tripods, two beat up-but barely functioning video cameras, an aging SLR, a quartet of tired mac minis, missing mics, damaged headphones, and the end of the line for Photoshop 7.1. Old equipment eventually has to be replaced. It can not be made to keep running past its expiration date.
But schools across the land are tightening their belts, allocating more resources to test taking training, and trimming the budget everywhere they can. I doubt that we will be able to replace all of the equipment that has failed or must be replaced for next school year. This does not even begin to describe our training budget – non-existent. We have one new software package this year and will get at least one new one next year. Without training, I will be the one-eyed man in the colony of the blind. Sure, I will be king – but they will be lucky to end the year as one-eyed men.
Tech teachers know this, we teach an expensive subject. The quality of the education we can deliver is directly related to equipment, software and training we can afford. And unfortunately none of it comes cheap. We stretch our budget every place we can. We squeeze as many years out of each computer, camera or other equipment as possible. Even software doesn’t get upgraded until it just won’t load on the newest machines.
But in many ways it means that we are always behind the times and short on gear. Lets hope that the new career clusters my state is putting in place will help to put some focus on our plight and maybe even shed a little money our way too.