From my inbox....
I’m a teacher-librarian at a 9-12 school of 1500 students. We are in a brand new building and are moderately rich in new technology. For example, every classroom is equipped with an integrated AV bundle that includes an LCD projector, a document camera, a DVD/VCR and enhanced sound. Our entire building has wireless access, and we have 5 roving carts of laptops (30 each) available for use in classrooms and 2 computer labs in the library. So there are a lot of computers, but not one-to-one, daily access.
I’m working with one of our teachers who is applying for a $10,000 technology grant in order to set up a “digital reading/writing workshop” for her 9th-grade Language Arts class. I’ve been talking to her about your presentation and the info you shared about e-books, mini computers, Kindles, etc. We are envisioning some sort of personal technology that would motivate and engage students as well as impact their reading and writing skills. But, although $10,000 is nothing to sniff at, it won’t go a long way when it comes to technology spending.
So, the question is: If you had $10,000 to spend on a single classroom, and you wanted to use it to get students more engaged in their reading and writing, how would you spend the money?
My off-the-cuff response is below, but I promised to share this writers question with Blue Skunk readers for their advice to the writer.
If this were just a reading project, I’d be tempted to suggest iPods as a major part of the grant. The e-book readers are quite good and the availability of e-books (through Project Gutenberg and other free sources) is actually better than that for the Kindle. But iPods are not much as a writing device – at least in my experience.
Since this is also a writing project, for hardware I would investigate a NetBook of some type <http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/columnists/johnson/johnson031.shtml>. Good e-book readers are available for them and you'd have a better machine for writing/composing.
In your grant, please do not neglect any costs associated with the teacher’s own personal need to learn and explore this sort of writing environment, any necessary network connectivity (additional wireless access, another network switch, etc.), and any subscription to commercial e-books or a shared writing space (although both can be found that are free).
Good luck and let me know what you wind up doing!
OK, readers. How would YOU spend $10K to improve reading and writing in a classroom?