Technology projects: lessons learned

Looking to implement technology in your classroom, but not sure how? Here are some exciting DonorsChoose.org projects and tips to get you geared up for your own high-tech classroom update.

 

Chromebooks for collaborative work

Ms. McLaughlin added four more computers to her classroom’s toolbox. Her 135 students share these Chromebooks to work in small, productive groups.

Chromebook tips:

  • You’ll need an internet connection and email accounts for students and teachers to use and manage these devices.
  • Many districts require purchasing management console licenses. Check with your district IT team to see if you’ll also need to request these with your Chromebooks.
  • Microsoft Office and Windows software like Word and Excel are not compatible with Chromebooks. You can access the free online version of Office here.

 

Apple products for creativity

Mrs. Doherty encourages her music students to compose their own creative pieces. Her burgeoning musicians use the music engineering software included on their Macbook Air to bring their compositions to life.

Apple tips:

  • Authorized Apple devices can only be purchased from Best Buy Education.
  • Some districts require the purchase of Apple products directly from Apple.
  • Apple’s website is the best place to compare the iPad and Macbook models to make sure you get long-lasting software support and the right accessories for your devices.

 

Interactive classrooms for innovative learning

Mrs. Schorr added interactivity to her LCD projector and dry-erase whiteboard setup with a simple device, an Ipevo IW2 Wireless Interactive Whiteboard System. Now, students can demonstrate online math games, highlight important information in a scientific research article, and present their research findings to the entire class.

Interactive whiteboard tips:

  • Most interactive whiteboards require a projector, an additional sensor that attaches to the board or an interactive board, and a computer. Check to see all three of these parts are compatible. 
  • Get approval from your school administrators to confirm you can mount a projector in your classroom.
  • There are two basic types of projectors: “short throw” for positioning close to the whiteboard, or “long throw” for positioning a distance away from the whiteboard. 
  • Whiteboards and projection screens come in a variety of aspect ratios; be sure to review how to choose the right screen size.

 

Document Cameras -- not just for documents!

Mrs. Black is giving her entire class a chance to follow detailed science demonstrations, view fellow classmates’ work, and observe photographs, texts, and even animals with a document camera.

Document camera tips:

  • Much like interactive whiteboards, document cameras go hand-in-hand with projectors, interactive whiteboards, and computers. Be sure to double check everything is compatible for classroom use.
  • Work with your colleagues or tech department to match the projector lumens with your classroom. This will help make your projector image as clear as possible.

 

Kindles for leveled reading

Mrs. Isenberg’s kindergarteners are developing their reading skills with Kindles. Students are accessing a variety of reading materials at their level while increasing their confidence and knowledge of technology.

  • Learn more about the various Kindle and Kindle Fire models available.
  • If you’re planning on using apps from the Google Play store, consider an Android tablet as an alternative to the Kindle Fire.

 

Android tablets for engineering excitement

Mr. Karahasanoglu’s middle schoolers are eager to jumpstart their engineering careers. From the robotics team to participants of STEM programs, students use their Android tablet to develop apps and document their progress.

Android tablet tips:

  • Just like Chromebooks, make sure these tablets can connect to your school’s wifi.
  • With so many models and manufacturers, Android tablets also have a lot of user reviews; chat with your colleagues and district IT experts for recommendations on the one that is best for your classroom.

Requesting technology can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be! The best bet is to consult your district/school IT team to make sure what you request can be easily implemented in your classroom.