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?
I've been watching some of my students play with their little portable Nintendo DS game consoles. These things are, apparently, also web capable. At about $150 each, you might be able to do some really interesting things.
A podcasting kit - a set of good quality headphones w/microphones, MP3 players w/recording capabilities (so students can record and/or just listen to their podcasts), and software to edit them.
A digital camera for each classroom - decent enough quality to take decent pictures, but not so high dollar that you can't hand them to a student and send them out to take photos (I would love to see my elementary teachers add one "job" to their weekly "job list" - that of classroom reporter who is in charge of digitally recording the week - but I digress...)
A document camera w/projector, on a cart & ready to use on a whim (my teachers won't bother if they have to plug stuff in or set it up - ARGH!)
Magazine subscriptions with good technology integration ideas - are there any out there? I used to get one called "PC Teach It" which was great, but they are out of business.
Some GPS systems - I saw where one school did an Easter egg hunt using these and the students had to find their eggs with through navigation - it was VERY cool!
I can't wait to see what other responses you'll get!
I would spend it on used computer equipment - teaching students about "how we could be more green" starts with districts who could actually teach students about re-use rather than buying the latest and greatest. Besides the price points at $200 goes along way...
Wow, I am overwhelmed at the responses already. Kevin are you seeing this? We're going to have a tough time deciding. I knew this would be the perfect place to post my question. Thank you everyone who has responded so far. We have about a week or two before the money is processed and available for us to begin purchasing equipment so I am sure we will have even more responses. Keep 'em coming!
I'd buy every kid and teacher in the school a 4gb usb stick and load it with PortableApps - OpenOffice, Firefox, and the Gimp. That would leave more than enough room for them to save data and all that - free them to take their work with them and work where ever there's a machine. Software is free. Sticks are cheap. And you'd probably have enough left over for a nice Rode NT1-A or two, a Zoom H4 or two, and a decent preamp for recording.
I have both and find that the PortableApps suite is more useful than the u3 group. U3 acts as more of a dongle than a useful enduser suite (altho I DO find that I use the WinSCP rather a lot in my work as sysadmin).
The limitation is that this is basically a PC suite. I haven't found a mac version.
25 HUNDRED .. duh ... i added a mental decimal point there.
But still, in bulk, this might get you 100 usb drives. Not enough for everybody in the school, but enough for a really interesting application proof of concept that might lead to later grant based funding for a major rollout.
Bypass the $100 laptop and go straight for the $25 portable environment.