I'm sure this title will get people's attention. Our school has received some donations totaling $2,500 earmarked for technology for students. We already have 3 mobile laptop labs (2-PC and one Mac). We also have conferencing equipment, two Smart Boards, digital video cameras, and digital cameras.
My friend Kevin and I will be thinking about creative ways to spend the money, but would like to get other people's ideas as well. So...
If you were given $2,500 to spend for technology for your school, how would you spend it?
When you really think about it, $2500 doesn't go a long way. I try to think of technology that can be shared with multiple teachers and that way the $$ go further. How about an Interwrite Pad ($500). More portable than a Smartboard , has the same tools, and can be shared. Some things require LCD Projectors. That's another $700.
Utilizing Open Source software for podcasting and blogging cuts a lot of cost and Audacity can be edited easily by students. Even the addition of an iPen ($100) can make a difference.
And by the way the eInstruction (Student Response System) is having a special at the moment (at least in my area for new customers). It's $1500 for a set of 32 RF clickers, an iPen slate, and their Exam View Suite of assessments. Again this can be shared by multiple classes.
Digital cameras are great if your teachers will use them, same for DV cameras. It all depends on where your teachers are in terms of integrating the tools into the classroom.
See how easy it is to spend other peoples money?
You don't sound like a broken record at all Wade. I have a set of the Senteo Interactive Response System and love it. I think anyone who has used them will agree they are engaging tools. One thing that is tough with the clickers when they have to be shared with a large group is getting the student data base built up by individual teachers. Do you have any suggestions on how we could use a set school wide?
If you have projectors, I'd buy document cameras. They're relatively inexpensive ($350) and they really expand your teaching. Teachers who use them ditch their overhead projectors and find they can engage so many more students in lots of different ways with a doc camera.
I might also invest in iPod shuffles to help students with fluency practice, pre and post reading/teaching previews and reviews.
I've used them when I led a workshop in Seattle. They are very handy. They work like a DV camera, but with a display feature rather than a record feature. Imagine setting up a DV camera on a tripod and connecting it to one of our projectors. You then aim it down at a piece of student work and it displays it on the large screen for all to see. This is essentially how these work, but with far less effort. It is ten times better than an overhead and I was hooked after using it for one session. Then the cost factor hit me. But now...
I'd vote for spending the money on things that give more students the ability to create more, and more varied things - cameras for them, microphones, voice recorders, stuff like that. Even though you may think you have "enough" (as if that ever happens) - many students will not compete for resources. This is especially true of girls.
Although cool - document cameras and clickers support teaching, not student experiential learning.
if you're looking for deals on software (that is, if you plan to use any of the funding for such), and you're familiar with any of the educational software resellers, then perhaps you'll want to look at our parent site as well: http://studica.com
i only represent the non-profit division of Torcomp Studica, Inc - our parent company. so i actually have no affiliation with the sales aspect of the business, but Torcomp Studica, Inc is among the top five educational software resellers in North America, so maybe you'll be able to find something that interests you (and your students!).... then your students can use the software to create brilliant works of art and enter them in our Studica Skills competitions. :D that's MY job - to get people involved in the competitions.
if you have any interest, feel free to contact me! KarmynL@studica.com (i have free teacher kits to give away, if you'd like any materials)