Technology Roll Call
"Is Brian here? I know I saw Jessica this morning. Where is Jumari? And Miguel is absent today."
Just as you start your morning by taking attendance and seeing who is absent, it is important to take roll of the technology hardware that is accessible to you. All across the world, the country, districts, and even schools, access to technology in the classroom varies greatly. Especially in these tight financial times, we are finding our schools’ funds are significantly decreasing and/or are nonexistent. Please read on for a wish list of technology hardware beneficial in the classroom and ways to get these amazing tools. Also, please take a quick survey to help me determine what types of technology my readers have access to in their classrooms.
Please make sure to take a minute and complete the survey about the types of technology hardware you have available to you in your classroom. The results will help me to tailor my blog posts to you and to offer ideas on how to use technological tools to increase student learning and engagement. The survey is anonymous, and I will post the results so we can see the variety of technology our colleagues have.
Technology Wish List
Interactive Whiteboard and Handheld Voters
- I have been using
Promethean ActivBoards for four years now, and I could not ever teach without them. These tools help to bring many lessons alive, and they get my students more actively involved in them. I love Promethean because of all of the support for their teachers and the extremely helpful Promethean Planet resource Web site. This Web site has thousands of teacher-made flipchart lessons and other resources you can download and use instantly in your classroom. It also is a way to connect and collaborate with colleagues from around the world. Promethean Learning is another Web site dedicated to training and professional development. View a video (scroll down to "Changing Teacher Practices with Interactive Whiteboards") taken of me explaining my Promethean ActivBoard to a group of visitors at my school. You can also read a post from my blog last year about teaching with an interactive whiteboard.
SMART Board and Response System
- These are other popular interactive whiteboard tools. SMART has a Web site called
SMART Exchange where you can find lessons and connect with other teachers.
Very limited on money but still want the interactive capabilities? Learn how John Lee created an interactive whiteboard using a Wii remote.
- This is on my technology hardware wish list! It is geared for grades K–2, and it is multitouch and multiuser. It is an amazing way for students to collaborate to complete an activity. If you have not seen this before, you will want to
view the demo video. I would love to have one of these in my classroom!
- Document cameras have replaced the old overhead projectors in many classrooms. They have far more capabilities and are far more effective with students’ learning. There are so many different kinds and brands of document cameras on the market today.
Laptops for All Children
Laptops and netbooks are becoming popular as we embed more technology into our teaching. One to one laptop schools, where all students have a laptop, are popping up all over the world and at every grade level. I am in my second year piloting a one to one laptop environment with my kindergartners. As with the interactive whiteboard, I could never go back to teaching without them. I am looking forward to sharing more about this amazing opportunity in my blog this year.
iPods and iPads
- These are other great tools that we are seeing more and more in the classroom setting. Most of our students have an iPod or iPhone at home and know how to use them. My own son, who is 22 months old, knows how to work my iPhone, and opens, plays, and shuts apps. The rapidly growing world of apps for education means that educational games and academic practice are at your fingertips 24/7. Scholastic has some apps that my students love: Clifford’s "Be BIG with Words" and
Word Girl. This year I will have a blog post about iPod, iPad, and iPhone apps and how to use them in the classroom.
- Many schools are purchasing iPads for classrooms and even to use as one to ones where each child has an iPad. I follow a one to one project blog from the
Sinarmas World Academy in Indonesia where all of their preschool students have iPads. The blog also shares other great technology tools and student work examples.
Now that you started your technology hardware wish list, the reality of our diminishing budgets might have you ready to give up. DON’T! Here are a few suggestions of how you can get these amazing teaching tools into your classrooms.
It sounds funny, but people sell everything on eBay. I have seen interactive whiteboards, document cameras, and many other technology gadgets sold here for a fraction of the sale cost. Make sure you don’t overlook eBay in your search.
- These are great Web sites where you can post a need for your classroom and get people to donate money to assist in purchasing. What a great way to share an amazing project and possibly get your need funded by a donor.
- Submit your project idea and your needs and have friends vote for your project. They accept 1,000 ideas to be voted on each month.
I have been fortunate to win a few teacher awards with cash prizes, which has allowed me to purchase some technology for my classroom and my school.
- I have worked in schools with a range of access to technology, from schools with very limited technology all the way to the state-of-the-art technology school I am currently working in. Although having access to more technology makes it easier, you can enhance student learning using the technology that you have. I am looking forward to blogging about tools and ways to use them in your classroom. Please visit weekly and comment back to me.
- Megan Power