You’re the Grand Prize Winner! What Are You Going to Do Next?

033012-national-money-monday-lottery-winner

For those of you who just answered, “I’m going to Disney World,” let’s add a little more information to the story. Imagine that you are a teacher currently using a classroom with the bare essentials: desks and chairs. However, through a rigorous application process, you have been awarded the grand prize for a technology grant. You have a budget of $10,000 to purchase all of the technology you could want for your classroom. The only question is, which technology will you choose? In other words, which technology will most benefit students while remaining cost effective?

Below you will find a proposed budget for the prize money. Each item includes a short note describing why it merits a place in the classroom. If you’re suspicious that a given price point is unrealistic, check out the hyperlink for each item to verify the price and source (tax does not apply, because these are education purchases).

  •  Interactive SMART Board, short throw projector, and wall mount ($2,098)
    • Enables teachers to display screen annotations, use calculator emulators and other math apps, maximize the potential of document camera use
  • IPEVO Ziggi HDPlus Document Camera ($99)
    • Facilitates discussion as an easy way to share student and teacher work
  • Classroom set of Refurbished TI-84 Calculators (three 10-packs, $799 each)
    • Provides all students access to a graphing calculator, widening the range of investigative activities available to teachers
  • 16 ct. Samsung Galaxy Tab A Tablets ($299 each)
    • Allows students to work in pairs on web-based or app-driven activities, such as graphing with Desmos or constructing figures with GeoGebra
  • Acer Chromebook 14 ($300)
    • Serves as a teacher computer that can connect to the active board and run emulator software
  • TI-84 SmartView CE Emulator Software ($135)
    • Offers visual scaffolding of graphing calculator use
  • 40 ct. Plickers , Matte-Laminated ($20)
    • Offers a different form of assessment technology, can be used to facilitate classroom discussion
  • 36 ct. dry erase boards with markers and erasers (three 12-packs, $32.39 each)
    • Provides reusable space for students to perform scratch work, hold up answers, etc.

This brings our grand total to $9930.17, leaving approximately $70 to purchase any other desired apps, software, or other classroom essentials (even a technology-rich classroom can use paper and pencils). Below you can find images of all of the technology purchased with the prize money.

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Does it all sound too good to be true? Well, maybe it is. So instead, let’s say you have “only” been awarded the second place prize of $5,000. That’s still a lot of money! However, you obviously won’t be able to purchase all of the technology you could with the grand prize.  Now, it’s time to make some cuts. Below you will find a revised budget proposal, followed by a brief explanation of why certain items made the cut while others did not.

This brings our total to $4,973, leaving $27 available for discretionary use (apps, supplies, etc.). The Acer Convertible Laptop PC serves to replace the more expensive Chromebook purchased with the first grant. The classroom set of dry erase boards did not make the cut, because while they offer an engaging way for students to work and share problems, they do not add unique learning value to the classroom. Although the tablets do provide new ways in which students can engage in learning mathematics through internet and downloadable apps, they are not the practical technology choice for a significant portion of lessons. Thus, the high cost of tablets is less justified than the other budgeted technology because the other technology can aid student learning every day.

Even with $5,000, we were able to keep most of the technology we initially bought with the grand prize. Does it still seem too good to be true? Then let’s consider another (perhaps more realistic) example. Let’s say that you have been awarded a $2,500 grant (still exciting!). Paring down our budget even more, consider the following proposal:

This brings our total to $2,497, almost exactly what we have available. From our $5,000 budget, the teacher’s personal computer can be forgone, since a teacher would be able to use his or her own computer to serve the same purpose. Plickers, while fun for students to use, do not add intrinsic learning value to the classroom, and the TI-84 Emulator software, while convenient, is not necessary for students to benefit from using graphing calculators. Purchasing three graphing calculators would give teachers a few extra in case some of their students could not afford one, and this handful of calculators could be incorporated into rotating group activities.

In each tier of the budget proposal, two items made the cut: the interactive whiteboard and document camera. At every level, these two items are worth their expense because they have the capacity to be utilized every day in the classroom. Document cameras offer an invaluable way for students to share and discuss their work with the class. Interactive whiteboards epitomize the ideal conveyance technology by allowing teachers to efficiently make and save annotations on everything from student work to graphics and photographs. Beyond their conveyance capabilities, interactive whiteboards can further serve as an interface for math action technologies, such as the dynamic geometry software GeoGebra or the graphing application Desmos. Check out the following links for more math-driven interactive whiteboard resources:

TeacherLED

SMART Exchange

Eduscapes

Although these budgets were proposed in light of hypothetical grants, technology grants are out there for the winning! Let real possibilities like the examples above excite and inspire you to find and apply for such grants. Who knows? Maybe you will be the next grand prize winner!

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2 thoughts on “You’re the Grand Prize Winner! What Are You Going to Do Next?

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