Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A vision for the future

I was just thinking about how I would use technology in my classroom if I had the funding to do what I want. These ideas would decrease paper use and save money in the long run. This is what I came up with:

1. A main server and thin clients (10) to use in the room. This would save money, energy, and time needed to maintain multiple stand-alone PC's. The thin clients also don't need the same processing power or memory of a stand-alone PC.
2. Making sure that the light sensors were set right to decrease energy usage.
3. Some kind of e-paper system - similar to an e-book reader, so that students could read the papers that I currently have to print or hand out. I would want one is that much cheaper than the Kindle or Sony's e-reader. For the price of those two e-readers, I could get every student a netbook. I'm thinking of a very basic device that could read pdf files.
4. Classroom response system, such as Turning Point, to decrease written answers and paper.
5. More use of cellphones and smartphones - as classroom response systems, e-readers, etc. I see a great benefit to these devices. They are small computers and could be used as a 1-to-1 initiative.
6. Web based or secured and locked pdf's for report cards for parents with computers and email.
7. Online grade book (like engrade) that all parents have access too that show every grade, attendance, and comments on each student.
8. More use of email and text messaging to communicate with students and parents. Most paper memo's get left behind or dropped on the floor.
9. eTextbooks instead of printed ones. These would save money and paper, and are more easily updated and replaced at a lower cost than printed texts.
10. More web-based applications for students and teachers.

I feel that we can decrease paper usage, which is a cost and environment saving initiative and extend learning out beyond the classroom by using the internet, email, etexts, and cell phones to our advantage. I see great potential in the new cellphones and smartphones that are out and coming out as educational tools. Students can use them as classroom response systems, research, e-readers, and to collaborate with other students. Just like any other tool, smartphone use would have to be monitored. Every student I have has a cell phone of some sort, so this is not a far-fetched idea.

Enough rambling and dreaming about this. Time to see what parts of it I can put into effect now.


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