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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I think iPods are a necessity and a good starting number would be 3 ipods. With a RockStar splitter or even a basic 2-way splitter you can have several students sharing an ipod at one time. I just added a blog post about using iPods in the classroom: http://tinyurl.com/d7qjwy
I agree that Apple products are not necessary. You mentioned finding media players for $40. Can you share a brand name?
Can you supply model numbers for the media players?

Is the iRiver unit a E100 4 GB Digital?

Is the Philips player a GoGear SA6025 2 GB

Thanks,

- Jack
I wonder if you are going to be able to get all this stuff for $7000.00? I agree with Kev, I use technology everyday and have never wished I had a digital camera for everybody. We have two good ones and that seems to always be enough. One thing I've looked at recently is Kindles, boy are they cool. I can't think of a way to justify them in the classroom---each class reads at least 2 novels a year, parents usually buy. That is a lot cheaper than a Kindle plus books! We also have a couple a GPSs which are fun....but not a must have. Also agree with whoever said INK!

My latest $4000.00 grant was for 9 NXT Robotics kits and curriculum from Carnegie Mellon. The kids are thrilled.
Here are some 5th grade classrooms in Littleton that have 30 ASUS EeePC netbooks, document cameras, projectors etc... they might make a good group for your to network:

http://dragonpagoda.blogspot.com/

http://claus5thgraders.blogspot.com/

http://www.urbanek5thgraders.blogspot.com/

-Dan Maas, CIO, Littleton Public Schools
Hi Dan,


Does the 5th grade class have 900's or 901s?

Does ASUS offer service contracts on the 30 ASUS EeePCs? If so, what is the annual fee per unit? What is the repair or exchange turn around time?
Have any of the units hit the floor?
Do students take their netbooks home?
Can "simple" repairs like replacing keyboard keys be made to the EeePCs on site?
What firewall is used for the netbooks?
How is student data backed up?
Are there extra EeePCs available if a netbook does not work?
Does ASUS have an ecycling program?

The class blogs are fantastic!

Thanks for your input,

-Jack
Jack, I'll do my best to respond:

We acutally got started with this when the original 4Gs hit the market a year ago, so we have quite a few 700's, as well as 900's and 901's now. The five 5th grade classes are running the 900 and all are Linux devices.

We have a relationship with a local suppliers for the ASUS EeePCs. We have over 850 in the district running in elementaries, middles and high schools. We have returned 7 for replacement. They come with a 1-year warranty. Our local company has been great about accepting them and just giving us new ones on the spot.

Yes, units do hit the floor and we have had far fewer damage reports due to physical harm than our other laptop carts. Again, just 7 replacements so far... they appear to be rather durable. I can speak from experience as I dropped one quite by accident a year ago before we went ahead with them. With solid state drives, they are pretty strong.

No, students do not take them home. They are kept in a Bretford 15-slot (we store 30), front and back entry cart. They are padlocked each night left on a charging circuit.

Key replacement does seem rather easy, but we haven't had much to replace

We don't firewall the netbooks. They connect to our PODNet (personally owned device network) that is logically firewalled from the rest of the network and essentially can only give Internet access. Our filter is an inline appliance requiring no proxy settings configs and PODNet only requires acceptance of our AUP upon login... otherwise no security settings. We have file storage in a multitude of places... USB keys, free cloud services like wikis, and our district file servers. To access the file servers, we use Fileway which essentially just requires an Active Directory login and you have a web front end to your files... staff love it and it was very cost effective.

Student data is backed up on any files saved in fileway just as all our file servers are saved. If our teachers save files to the cloud, we also train them to have the kids save work either to USB drives as well or hard copy to file folders in the teacher's desk.

Generally, our elementary classrooms are less than 30 students, so normally there is an extra one or two available. But with the restore feature and the fact that we deploy with almost no configuration changes from factory settings, the only reason an EeePC doesn't work is a hardware failure. We train students and teachers about the F9 command on reboot which reimages the system in under one minute... faster than most Windows laptops can boot. Some schools have gone so far as to print the rebuild instructions on labels right on the devices themselves.

I am not aware of an ASUS recycling program but our recycler told us they would accept them in the future.


This is just th tech side of course. The PD has been considerable and all in support of the writer's workshop model...
-Dan
PS our IT guide is online at http://yourit.littletonpublicschools.net if you are interested...
Dan,

Thanks so much for posting all of this information here. It's great to read about the tech side of deploying eee pcs in your school. I've been weighing up costs and benefits of netbook purchasing for my school, and I have to say that the ASUS machines come out on top. While the 701s aren't exactly at the gourmet end of the market, cost-wise you can practically buy two of them to every one Acer or Lenovo (in Australia, Acer, Lenovo and Dell prices have sky-rocketed recently)

Two quick questions though: how do the students cope with the Xandros distro? What do they tend to use the machines mostly for, and what, if any, are the 'walls' they hit when trying to do every day stuff in Linux?

M
Hi Melinda. I am not a classroom teacher (I write tech plans and grants), but it seems from the discussion that this is all about the technology rather than the curriculum or teaching to standards. I'm in California, where the mantra for the last ten years of Classroom 1.0 has been "the curricular goals drive the technology choices." (Of course every district tech plan I have ever seen pays only lip service to this principle, as typically a plan will recite its curricular goals in Section 1 of the plan, and then go straight to "What technology we need to meet these goals" in Section 2, without actually making any logical connection between the goals and the choice of technology tools, so in a way it is refreshing to see that in the Classroom 2.0 paradigm we don't even pretend that there needs to be a link between the two.)

I really want to understand, so I can adjust my thinking. Maybe it is time to let go of that mantra. Is it that the connection is so obvious that we don't even need to mention it? Or is it that the technology-centric Classroom 2.0 paradigm is all about student engagement (engagement-based" learning?) as opposed to standards-based learning? Is Classroom 2.0 all about putting technology in the classroom and hoping kids will incidentally learn something by using it?

When a donor (who is probably not an educator) gives you you $X thousand to buy technology for your classroom, should your first question be "OK, what technology I should buy"? In the old paradigm it would have been "OK, what am I trying to teach my kids?" and then "OK, now what are some proven strategies to get them to learn that?" and finally "OK, to the extent that there are proven technology-based strategies, how can I replicate them in my classroom?"

Please understand that I am not making any judgements here. Like I said, I really want to understand what (if anything) is changing. From the perspective of constructionist pedagogy, I think it might make a lot of sense to just accept the fact that student engagement trumps everything else (e.g. the need to teach/assess to content standards) because unless they are engaged they will not learn (maybe they will not even show up?). If this is the essential thrust of Education/Classroom 2.0, I just wish someone would come out and say so, so I could let go of the old way of thinking.

Thanks for listening ... :~)
Part of those questions involve looking at the curriculum objectives, enabling technologies and anticipated useby date of the tools. I reckon the temptation is strong to spend money on a suite of tools aimed at teaching all things for all time.

I really envy your tough choice though!
I'll speak for myself when I say that is absolutely my philosophy.

Motivation first, content second.

I fully support the standards movement and I actually like standardized testing. Still, I bring in any new "toy" I find into class if for no other reason than for the kids to say "wow, that's neat." They may not learn a single thing about history from my WiiMote Whiteboard but it sure helps them appreciate learning in general.

Once kids are motivated the content part is easy. Seriously, the content we ask our 12 year olds to know in California is ridiculously simple. I can have my kids spitting out 10 Chinese dynasties in a day regardless of how I teach it. The question is whether or not that info will stick. Motivated kids keep thinking about content outside the classroom. If the kids are running home to tell mom and dad about the new toy they used in class they were invariably be reminded of the content that went along with it.
I'm on the fence: The content's not the 'thing'; the tools are not the 'thing'. A rich relevant and real curriculum met with all kinds of resources would be best. Is this a chicken-egg thing? Are the tools the same as desks, chairs, pencil sharpeners, telephone? Should we even be talking about whether they are optional or not?

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