The school at which I work will be applying for a technology grant.  The grant seems pretty open ended.  What is purchased must align with our curricular goals (language arts, math), and be hardware.

 What would you purchase?  What would give us the most bang for the buck? Ipads? Smart boards? Document cameras? Or...?

Currently, we have a PC lab, a Mac laptop cart, 3 projectors, a digital microscope and 3 digital cameras. As well as, a computer in each classroom.

Thanks!

Tina 

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If this was my choice, I would buy iPads and Smart Tables.  iPads are capable of so many functions in a very portable package.  Smart Tables are able to read up to 40 touches at one time, so students and teachers can use the technology together.

I personally think that if you don't have projectors and document cameras in each classroom you need to start there.  How many educators do you have at your school?  Keep in mind the cost of replacement bulbs also because they don't last forever and the Epson projector bulbs we use are not cheap.  With the money left over you could look into Kindles or other eReaders which are more cost effective than iPads. 


I hope this helps!

Thanks.  The more information the better.

 I should have mentioned that we have around 520 students in a k-7 school.  There are 21 classroom teachers (with additional non enrolling teachers).

Comments are appreciated!

Tina

Hello!

I'm so jealous....

Since you asked....I would strongly suggest that you devote a big chucnk of the money towards teacher Professional Development. If the teachers don't buy in to what the school wants to do...it doesn't matter what you have in your classroom. Many teachers have SMARTboard gathering dust...not because they don't know how to use them...because they don't see the "need" for it in their classroom..(http://mrspripp.blogspot.ca/2012/02/it-is-not-about-gadgets-why-eve...

Start with a survey (use survey monkey on an online survey to get the momentum going) to see what kinds of projects the teachers would be interested in doing that could integrate technology - focus on the teacher's passion: What is a project that you are passionate about? A lesson that has gone really well or a project that has been the "best ever"....ask the teachers to think about these "moments/projects"....then ask them how could technology enhance or contribute to that learning?

And focus on time:.....teachers like to use technology when it saves them time..

Is there a Tech Leader and is the principal on board? Leadership and vision will greatly influence what you buy and why as well....

Alan November suggested  these strategies....so he deserves credit...

EdTEch advisors useBates and Poole's "SECTIONS" model to help them make decisions about technology. I linked an explanation with some possible questions and strategy for you....

Intel also has some great questions to help you in your quest:http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/intel-learning-series/techno...

Personally I do not have any Intel products in my classrooms, but I like the way they set up their website for educators who are curious about technology.

To me.....there are PILES of free web 2.0 tools and options that you could use as a teacher - but you need to learn how. IT takes time and patience...so you need to factor that in....

I would also suggest focusing more of the hardware/software on one or two classes for teachers who have demonstrated the interest, passion and experience...and offer at least 6 computers or tablets (center group work) with microphone and web cameras to all other classes.

Also look at the Learning Management System of your school district. Are the teachers using it already? Do any teachers have their own blogs/wikis or project on the go? Using your LMS to integrate online learnng in the classroom is always an easier transition....as well as consider www.Edmodo.com as a communication tool.

Anyway...those are just some ideas....please contact me if you want more ideas...

Verena :)

Hi Verena,

Thanks for all the information and links.  Ironically, UBC is where I did my Bachelor of Education, yet I did not know that the Bates and Poole's model existed!  I really like the model and will discuss it with teachers at my school.

 And don't be too jealous...we don't have the grant yet (but I, certainly hope we will!)

Tina

I'm doing my MET with UBC right now....in the middle of using SECTIONS a lot!!!!

Bates and Poole is pretty straight forward and that link I sent you was well well done!

Good luck!

V:)

As someone who fantasizes about schools such as yours all the time, I would say that my goal would be to go one of two ways.  

One option would be to create one or several spaces that afford students the opportunities to work collaboratively and "share out" this work with their classmates.  I am not a "tech" person but a teacher educator, so I don't know exactly how to describe this, but I do know that there are several different ways to achieve this.  So yes projectors are important as are "tables" such as the ones that Mollie describes (though I have to admit that till now I'd never heard of a smart table -- will definitely check them out immediately -- sounds cool!).  This source http://scaleup.ncsu.edu/ is one that colleagues and I have been consulting for planning for such a space where we teach, and it doesn't seem as if you need a lot of money to do this either, if you check out some of the ways participating schools have designed collaborative learning labs.

The other option I would toss around with colleagues would be to make a smaller scale hardware investment for teachers (so I like the iPad for every teacher idea), and then use the rest of the money for professional development.  Research shows that investing in technology only doesn't do much to change teacher practices; creating environments in which teachers can change (eventually) use technology for higher level (project-based) learning outcomes work to change student outcomes (here's a link to a slideshow I made about Peggy Ertmer's extremely valuable article on changing teachers' pedagogical beliefs that also contains the citation: http://21centuryliteracies2010.ning.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-chang... ).

I guess it would largely depend upon where I judged my school to be in terms of providing what ISTE calls the essential conditions for leveraging technology for learning.

Good luck! Lucky you!

Thanks for the information!  I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Tina

You're welcome!  Looking forward to hearing about what you decide to do (fingers crossed for you to get the grant!).

Wow, $20K?! That would be an amazing grant to receive. I would definitely pick up some iPads and e-readers and leave some money on the side for purchasing apps and books. But I would think very carefully about which device to buy since they're always releasing new versions. I'd also purchase more cameras and video cameras. They have potential for personal projects, and since nice ones usually cost a bit, they'll be even more valuable for students without the money. Also, I agree with the others about professional development. If that's covered by the grant, I would most definitely spend time encouraging and teaching educators about new technology.

Best of luck! Let us know if you end up getting it.

Your right.  They do continually release new versions.  Any drawbacks of the ipad2 that you know about?  I believe that there is a lot of talk right now around my school about ipads.

Thanks for responding,

Tina

I got one at an internship, and I've always been very happy with it. It's a little heavy to some people, but that doesn't bother me because I like my devices sturdy. The battery life is also amazing even through app usage; it lasts about 6-8 hours! I guess since you aren't replacing any old iPads, you could go with an iPad 3, but it's up to you if the minimal differences are worth it. The retina display is ridiculously high-quality and clear, and the camera & video are better, but honestly, the iPad 2 should be enough for what a school would need.

Hope that helps!

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