Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Plea For a Projection Device

School has been out for almost a week now and I can't stop thinking about how I'm about to lose my portable class Smart Board and the projection device that goes with it.  I knew it was an extremely strong possibility that it was going to happen but a small part of me was hoping that others would forget. You see in my school of 23 Divisions we have two Smart Boards.  One is mounted in the lab and one is portable.  I have had the portable one stored in my room for first term.

Last year we decided as a staff that the portable smart board was not being used enough because it was such a pain to move from room to room.  Maybe it wasn't so much the moving of the board, but the re arranging of class furniture to get the board in and out of classrooms.  After a lot of discussion it was decided that each term we would store the smart board in one teacher's classroom.  Others could come and borrow it but the reality is once it's in a classroom it doesn't really  move from there.  When the discussions were occurring I had mentioned that I would like to have it in my room (after teaching in Australia in 2009 with one in my classroom there) but I didn't want it in term 1.  My students would be too young then and not ready to handle it.

Funny how things changed for me and my thinking.  Twitter totally changed that and so when I returned to school in September I quickly scooped up the white board and its accompanying paraphernalia (laptop, and projection device).  Things didn't go as well as I had hoped for the Smart Board though as the laptop brought nothing but trouble.  A lot of lessons were scrapped and a lot of time was wasted trying to get things working.  Two visits from the school district tech team and I think things might be working better now.  But, in reality it doesn't matter.  My term with the board is over.

I'm okay with the technology moving into a colleagues classroom.  It's good stuff and it needs to be shared. Others need to learn with it too.  But I have grown accustomed to having the projection device available to me at all times.  When we are learning a new concept I can quickly plug into the projection device and show a relevant clip.  When new blog posts are up on our class blog I can easily share them with the class.  When we are working on commenting on our blog comments, and other blogs we can easily do it together over the big screen.  When a twitter chat is on we can use it to project the feed.  The spontaneity of being able to quickly and easily project what's on our laptop or iPad anytime through out the day was a real treat.

So what am I going to do?  For one thing I'm going to start booking the portable projection device.  I want my Friday mornings to continue to be class commenting and blog review time.  That isn't a spontaneous use of the equipment, it is planned and we've done it a lot this past term.  The problem is when I can't get the projection device (or the rumblings start when people notice I'm booking it out EVERY Friday  morning) I need another plan.  Plan two is to book the laptops.  If we can't blog and comment as a class, we're going to do it in groups.  Laptops will do.  In reality either option will be fine.  I'm also going to do my best to think ahead and book the projection device at other times too.  In reality though this is tough to do and in all fairness I know we have a policy in place limiting how many times in a week, and how far in advance you can book the equipment.  I certainly want the equipment to be shared equally between those that are utilizing it.    But most of all I'm going to write a proposal to my administration to lobby for a projection device stored in my classroom.  I would OBVIOUSLY share it with others when we are not using it but it would be stored in my room at all other times.

This fall I have made a real effort to integrate technology into my classroom.  I have been avidly learning from others via Twitter.  I have created a class blog, given my students their own individual blogs.  We have used technology to help us with our reading, our writing, and our math skills.  We have read and commented on blogs around the world.  We have exchanged postcards and Christmas cards with students around the world.  We have taken part in and started twitter chats with other primary classes.  Technology has helped us learn how to share and to take turns.  And we are only just beginning to embrace our technology.  It has taught us how to think about things differently and show our learning in less traditional ways.  There is still so much more I want to do with my class.  So to take a step backwards by losing technology is breaking my heart.  My class and I have grown too accustomed to it.  With the introduction of the class iPad the last two weeks before school holidays (and it's accompanying attachment that has made it simple to project onto a screen) there is now even more that I want to do with it.

Hopefully my plea will fall on the right ears and I will be able to get a projection device stored in my classroom.  Fingers crossed everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Have you looked to the BC Computers for Schools program?
    I was able to get 20 laptops and am in line to get a laser printer and projector. They're all off corporate lease, but they all work, and they were all free. Good luck!