The educational technology conference at Excel in London draws to a close today and I have been in attendance on Friday and Saturday. As I write this I am sat on a sofa at the show as the noise builds on the last day. A few stands are checking their microphones work… they do!
I have spent a considerable amount of time watching presentations on the Google stand. My current role is leading the roll out of Google Apps for Education at my school. I have also spent some time getting my head around the numerous and quite expensive ways in which you can display and share information with the students in your classroom. Our school has a new building in construction and the relevant people are discussing how to furnish the rooms for learning. Our default has been Smartboards in classrooms but if you actually tour the school they are often not used, or purely used for annotating notebook or presentation files. Therefore I am of the opinion that for the amount you can spend it would not seem cost effective to automatically install these in all our new classrooms. I was therefore asked to look at the options available at BETT.
There are an array of LCD touch-screen TV’s on show and projectors mounted from every conceivable position to project onto floors, walls and any surface you care to use. None of this comes cheap and is it necessary or useful?
A distinction I find myself making is whether the projection needs specific software or can be utilised with web-tools. I am inclined to avoid purchasing software as free web tools have served me well.
If you want a really cheap interactive whiteboard… watch this:
One development that seems worthwhile is being able to connect a phone or tablet and therefore annotate from anywhere in the classroom. This would also allow students with devices to contribute from their seats and would potentially make the board interactive, something many “interactive whiteboards” have not achieved.
My preference is for some simple and cheap projection, whiteboards around the whole room and great wifi to support use of devices.
This leads me to ask, “What would you have in your classroom if you could start from scratch?”
Please leave a comment with your answers to the question.