I've just been given $7000 from a private donor to set up tech in my class of approx 10 5th - 6th graders.

So far, my wish list is:
1 document camera (have projector & hp laptop)
10- hp mini laptops
2 flip camcorders
15 digital cameras
external hard drive - terabyte
12 flash drives - 16 gigabyte
1 color laser printer

Any suggestions? recommendations? I will have to be the "tech support" person!
Thanks- Melinda

Tags: 1:1, classroom, in, laptops

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Thanks for the stream of thought ramble, I appreciate it. Also the response from Kev and Nancy were very helpful. This short conversation has been like a revelation to me. I am now embarking on a search for any studies or position papers out there where people actually identify Education 2.0 with a philosophical shift away from the "content is king, technology just a tool" to "engagement with technology is king, and content acquisition will be sure to follow (engage them and they will learn)", as you have (I think) suggested. It makes so much sense for motivating both students and teachers, both of whom must be totally engaged for real learning to happen. Thanks again!
I just read a book recently bemoaning the problem of "Content is King." I'm pretty sure it was Augmented Learning by Eric Klopfer but it may have been James Gee's "What Video Game Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy" (I read them simultaneously along with a third book "A Theory of Fun" and I honestly don't remember which talked about it...) I'll thumb through them when I get a moment and try to find out for sure.

Either way, Augmented Learning is all about how this group from MIT is designing mobile games to cover both content and motivation. It is very scholarly and might fit what you're looking for. It does not take the position necessarily that content doesn't matter but it definitely challenges what content should look like.
Wow - great discussion ----

I teach at a very small private school which is not financially flush - ie, I don't really have curriculum, textbooks, etc to choose from unless I use online material and/or borrow from neighboring schools, etc.! and as it looks, we'll never have $ to stock up on classroom materials!

So, I am thinking of the tech set-up as essential for me to be able to provide students with a viable "curriculum"---and keep them engaged learning in meaningful, fun, skill-building, projects!
This is a chicken-and-the-egg issue. How can you transform your classroom if you don't have access to technology? But you shouldn't ask for technology until you know how you want to transform your classroom.

I agree with the philosophy and know that the practice is hard to achieve. Ours has been not to try to figure out all the ways the technology can be used to invent new and better ways to work, but rather pick one thing and go for it... the inventiveness of students and staff will follow. Our focus has been on the writing process. We know that boys tend to dislike the outline-draft-revise-rewrite process and there is research that shows the gender gap can really close if daily access to computers for writing is available. We also want to set students on a path that is relevant to the kind of writing they will do for the rest of their lives. And research on projects like the Maine 1:1 effort shows that with effective teaching, the improved writing seen using laptops can translate to paper and pencil tests.

While the writing has been the focus, the teachers and students have branched into podcasting, inquiry-based science activities and international video calls over skype.

So, I would say that engagement is not the trump card for our decision to deploy. Engagement is high and engagement is good, but for us, it is first and foremost about writing.

As a precursor to this work, we reported to the Board our research on the impact, pros and cons of various technology deployment initiatives. The writing research (we did not do an exhaustive meta-analysis by any means) was the most compelling to us:

http://lps-technology.wikispaces.com/

-Dan
Fascinating question Ric,

I'd have to say that the curriculum (i.e what we're trying to teach kids) is central. With one caveat: often the technology changes the way we do things, and often changes what we're teaching kids as a result.

I think a rigid-mindedness with regards to curriculum can be very limiting. Sometimes we just need to get in and get our hands dirty with the technology so that we can discover new ways of doing old things and new things that need to be learned as a result.

M
I would suggest several headset microphones. They create much better sound than built in microphones. Probably not 1:1, but enough to pass around easily. Also other headsets for listening. I like big headsets with earpads I can wipe down with Clorox wipes. (No sense passing parasites and such around!)
Another microphone I would suggest is a remote. For interviews, plays, presenters you get voice that can be heard over the ambient noises.

just my 2¢
Congrats on your big donation!! I LOVE my smartboard it's a large purchase, but it makes learning so engaging for all students.
You might want to consider tripods for the cameras. If you ever want to do video or stop motion animation they would be great. I think USB headphone microphones are really useful. I'm guessing you will be using Open Source software. I received 20 tablet PCs this past year and was able to take care of my software needs with all open source programs. If this is not the case, make sure you have a software budget, too.
Do your students use Camtasia? I tried a trial and had some difficulties with it - but I bet the students could figure their way around it!
Melinda and David,

If using windows, one could also use the free and opensource camstudio to make screen casts. Students can also download it and use it at home. This would enable you to have it on all your computers, without the worry and costs of licensing another piece of software.
Just a thought about paying it forward... Along with these purchases (or instead of half the laptops) buy five pairs of XO computers through the Give-one-Get-one campaign for two thousand dollars. Five would go to needy children elsewhere in the world, five would stay with you.
These are pretty remarkable computers, and the ancillary benefits are big.
Melinda,

We would love to communicate with you and your students! Please visit the Dragon Pagoda! www.dragonpagoda.blogspot.com
My students would love to give you some suggestions about what we do and how we use our dream classroom! When you come to the Pagoda, please comment under the Guest Book, and we can respond to you there!

Thanks,
Chris Moore, 5th grade teacher

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