Monday, August 11, 2008

Computers Computer Everywhere!

It feels like it's raining computers in my room! Just the other day I was posting a comment to either the Boardmaker or TEAL listserves talking about how challenging it's been trying to teach higher tech computer-based communication using Speaking Dynamically to 8 kids when I only had 1 desk top computer available for student use that was used for ALL student computer activties plus the SMART board. Now all of a sudden, when we're back down to our usual 5 kids, I have the student desk top and the teacher one, Wayne's personal tablet computer, and I just found out I'm eligible for a district lap top! And then we also requested a tablet for Michael on his deaf-blind grant. And since they are really good about funding high end technology, we'll probably get that. Now I'm faced with deciding if I should accept the district lap top. It would be a definite yes if I didn't already have my own personal lap top. Can there be too much of a good thing? And yes, I can think of tons of uses for the district lap top IF I can install our specialized programs on it. And IF I can find someplace to put it amongst all the other tech we have floating around. I have 5 students. This would be almost a 1:1 ratio and since I have one who couldn't care less about the computer and doesn't use it for communication (it's mainly a torture device for him), well.... And yes, I know the district lap top is really supposed to be for teacher use, but everything that goes in my classroom has to have a student use too or I just don't have room for it.

Now to explain why this is such a big deal. Firstly, my assigned district was one of the last of the 9 in the county to get the internet. I was literally the last teacher in the district to get a desk top computer, a cast off from the library that never worked right, and only after taking the issue clear through all of the channels and finally having the director of special ed. get in on the case and raise a stink. It took two years! So this new bounty of technology--fancy LCD screen for the student computer that no one else in the district has, brand new CPUs for the desk tops rather than hand-me-downs, a SMART board, an LCD projector, surround sound stereo--is a bit overwhelming. What to do?

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