Technology Hardware In Your Classroom and How To Use It

I love tech…I am not sure that I can remember a period of time in my life where technology didn’t exist despite the fact that I am not really a millennial.

This was the benefit of growing up with a dad who ran a small computer company.

I still remember the day he go a computer with a CD drive.

So as a teacher using tech isn’t an option. You could say I am a tech junkie.

I am not technical in my knowledge but simply I can troubleshoot and solve a lot of daily use problems that I encounter.

So today I wanted to break it down and talk about the tech I have in my classroom and how I use it.

Most of the tech I have either adopted, repurposed and believe it or not found it around the school.

The SmartBoard

Yes I have one…and a few years ago they were just about the best thing since sliced bread. I used it everyday.

  • Today…not so much. It is there and I want to use it but with new technology and less support provided on keeping the software updated it becomes a clunky overly complicated piece of tech (additionally you need a projector, a computer, and specific software that needs annual license renewals for a fee)

I still really like it and do appreciate having one but don’t believe that it is an essential piece of tech for the classroom like it once was. I do use this most during math. I have a dual write board which allows for some great interactive number talks during math. However throughout the rest of the day I am not “teaching” or “lecturing” each day so I don’t always use it to its full potential. Although I am excited to experiment with how smart ink integrates with my new document camera. Verdict: helpful but not necessary

Mounted Projector

This is an easy one!Yes this makes a huge difference. If it is in the middle of the room you have to keep unplugging it or readjusting it when it gets bumped. It is so helpful and handy to have it there and mounted. You do want to make sure that your projector is positioned properly and the correct distance. Get the professionals to do this if you can. Verdict: Get it up there now!

Apple TV

You might not be able to see this in the picture but this is a well lived and frequently used piece of tech.

It is one of the reasons my smart board is used less. We have IPads in our school and with this Apple TV allows you to airplay from them or even my Mac to share our screens. This is great for students sharing information or even presentations.

For the low cost of entry it is a very handy tool when combined with the projector.

If you don’t have a projector head on over to you second hand store to pick up an old large monitor and a vga to HDMI adaptor and you can airplay onto the screen this way.

Verdict: Essential if you have Mac products already.

IPEVO Document Camera

A few weeks ago IPEVO offered to send me their document camera to review. I agreed to test it out and share how I was using it.

I have always had a document camera in my classroom and it is probably the most used teaching tool I use.

Prior to the IPEVO document camera I had a Smart document camera.

Both are great products.

After playing with my new camera there are a few things I really like about it. First I love how much room it takes up….virtually no room at all. It is such a compact unit.

It is easy to set up with one cord that powers the camera from either your projector or computer.

You can write on the same paper that you have for your students, model and project your use of manipulatives. Share the text of a story with the whole class etc.

There are also a whole host of features that I have yet to test out. Like Skype calls and screen capture. Imagine making a tutorial video if you walking students through a concept that you filmed and put up for them to access later.

Ipads and Laptops

We use tech all day long for all the things.

I do not have 1:1…I don’t even have 2:1

I do allow students to bring their own device with parental permission. It is helpful to make sure that kids who need tech get tech. And others just simply benefit from it.

I have paired students up in groups of two or three and they share an iPad. I specifically try to pair students who prefer not to use it often with others that need or prefer to use them.

I also try to pair a grade 4 with a grade 5 for easier pairing during science or social studies.

We borrow iPads from other classes or use the shared laptops when others are not.

Tech are tools we use to enhance learning. They are not toys. We don’t play games unless it is part of learning like Kahoot or other curriculum related games during some math centres.

Do I worry that the tools will be mishandled…no

Kids will be kids. If they don’t use them how we specifically need to use them then they lose them. (Like those pretty laptops are gone tomorrow because they were not stored properly today)

Two things happen

  • Kids will waste time watching/doing what they shouldn’t but they still get work done.
  • Kids will get distracted and no work gets done.

I am only concerned about the later (unless it violates privacy, breaks an agreed upon rule, or is inappropriate) I use guided access on iPads when necessary to lock them into apps. I also hold them accountable for not getting work done.

I have rarely needed to intervene with this issue.

Overall I love tech in the classroom and believe that it is necessary for teaching in this the 21st century. I don’t think I could teach without it.

Go on a tech hunt I bet you could find some unused or under used tech in you school.

Do you have a piece of tech in your room that you love. Tell me about it!

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