Technology

Essential Equipment (Gadgets)

Although they have been around for a while, card readers are one gadget that is a “must own device” for the media center.  In their most basic form, card readers allow users to share data from phones, video and still cameras, and a growing number of devices.  By plugging the device into an unused USB port users can move data at will to other locations.

Without making a brand recommendation (I paid $10 for mine form TigerDirect) look for a reader that will handle many different formats. I make sure I always have one with me at school and even keep a few more there for everyone to use. Stick one in your laptop bag too because it’s all about being able to deliver when the time comes.

What gadgets are in your bag?

Donors Choose Teachers Win

In these lean days it is imperative that teachers are equipped to provide resources for important classroom projects. Recently two colleagues have had projects funded through donorschoose.org.  This ororganization gives educators a chance to pitch their proposals to a wide variety of potential donors.

The network of donors is extensive and applicants are sure to find someone with a heart for their project. Sometimes, one donor will provide all that is needed while larger projects may utilize multiple donors and matching gifts.

The application process is fairly straight forward and guided. Applicants with a project in mind can usually complete the process within thirty minutes or less.

Requests can be made for books, technology, and even some field trips. Low wealth and rural schools often receive priority from many donors. As one might expect, hot-button projects dealing with the environment, literacy, and college preparation make many appearances on the list.

One strategy employed by my colleagues is to develop a proposal that hovers around $400. For more tips and information make sure to review some proposals that have received funding on the web site.

Why SMART Boards Will Flourish

We have recently added some more SMART boards at school and they are becoming popular with  both teachers and students. Students are more excited than the teachers, and that caused me to reflect.

If I am correct, active boards and their technology have finally made it to the mainstream. Perhaps it was the Blackberry Storm I began using or the recent Woot offering of a touch screen PC that gave me the insight. Touch screen technology has finally arrived and it will be prevalent. Not only is it hip, but it is useful for the way we want to interact with technology and the world around us.

The benefits of this touch-and-go technology are more than just ease of use. Active boards allow users to arrange content in meaningful ways and construct meaning. Yes, they also allow teachers to create more meaningful presentations, but they are not primarily a presentation tool.  They are a tool for community building and offer untold benefits for teachers transitioning into the role of mediators.

When used in this fashion students will re- discover the excitement and fun of learning that comes with true learning as they are able to construct meaning via a technology that is both relevant and part of a 2.0 classroom.