Wednesday, August 15, 2007


New computers
Originally uploaded by mahlness
It's happening, at last. Most of the equipment I bought with grant funds just arrived a couple of days ago: 10 CPU's, 10 LCD 19" monitors, 5 laptops. Hours and days of work ahead ahead of me - heck, they're not even plugged in yet, never mind configured, added to the network, etc, etc - but it's pretty exciting nonetheless. Here are 8 of the 12 desktops - the other 4 will be across the room. One laptop on the projection cart, one for me on my desk, and three... somewhere else...

Things will look a little different when the desks are back :)


Anonymous said...

Man, I'm jealous! Don't think I would need to get myself psyched up much to go back to a classroom like that!

Maybe you can share your grant proposal so others could learn\borrow\steal? :)

Sarah said...

I came into my classroom and tears sprang into my eyes! There was a projector mounted into the ceiling and three new computers. I have a tablet that I want to hook up to the projector. All my staff members think I am so weird. I even brought my children 5,8 and 10 in for a special viewing before school starts. Not many other teachers in my building are as thrilled as I am.

However, even though I have only four including my laptop, I would be interested to know how you think I could maximize the usage of all of them.

I already created a simple computer sign up sheet with a place to write the reason the child wants to use the computer.

But where do I begin? How do I incorporate the use of the computers into my beginning of the year routines? There is so much for them to need support with. Do you recommend I use one of my parent volunteers for this specific job?

I want them in use all of the time just like other resources in the classroom.
I have 22 second graders and so many great ideas. Where do I begin?

Mark Ahlness said...

Hey Gordon, I am a pretty lucky guy, but I earned this one, too. It was a one-time statewide grant from Qwest, and I was one of 10 from the state who got grants of $10,000 for their classroom/school (mine's all for my classroom). Will post more about it as the year progresses. The machines you see are just more modern replacements for computers I had got/upgraded/maintained on my own over the past 3 years. They served us well, but they were getting pretty old...

You are in the same boat that 99% of US teachers are in, I bet: a small handful of computers for a whole classroom - and what do you do? I truly wish there was more advice and more great models out there. This is the biggest hurdle most classroom teachers have to deal with, certainly.

One quick suggestion: if you do anything resembling "stations", where groups of kids work on an activity and then rotate.... you could put up to 6 kids at a time on your computers (working as partner pairs on your 3 computers). Lots of prep to get it off the ground, and a parent volunteer to help would be great - but it's a possibility. Good luck - Mark

Wesley Fryer said...

Congrats Mark! What great news for you as well as your blessed students... Good luck with the work that lies ahead, but I'm sure it will be worth it to see all those students reading and writing blogs this year!

Sarah, I would recommend that you use the computer as one of several centers in your classroom where students both access information and demonstrate their growing literacy skills. Create a free VoiceThread account and setup an identity with an image for each of your students, then create digital stories together with photographs from a digital camera. Afterwards, students can annotate with their voice comments different images. Then these can be shared with parents privately, or publicly with comments moderated. This can be a potentially priceless activity, and be infinitely more valuable for students as well as parents than doing something more traditional like taking Accelerated Reader tests or playing games online. Good luck to you! :-)