The reality is that most classrooms are far from the ones depicted in the showcase education and technology success stories we read, or hear about daily. Why not? Is it possible that no one has written the list? Let me take care of that right now, and afterwards—somebody get cracking to make it happen! I’m not as patient as I used to be.
Every Classroom Should Have These Things, and Be Like This—PK-12 and Beyond:
1. An energetic, compassionate, forgiving, curriculum knowledgeable, appropriate technology-using teacher.
2. A teaching station laptop that plugs in easily at school, but also gets to go home with the teacher after school and weekends. Equip it with graphic, video, presentation, and word processing software.
3. A classroom set of netbooks, laptops, or similar 1:1—real computing devices that are as reachable as pencils used to be at school. And at the end of day they go home. No smart phones—but having some handhelds as optional equipment for—fieldwork—is a good idea when traveling digitally light.
4. Safe Internet and Intranet connectivity for both teacher and students at school and home.
5. An online desktop, curriculum, portfolios, software, and digital tools for teacher and students—that can be accessed anywhere.
6. An interactive wall of some sort—whiteboard or whiteboard solution—with all the hook-ups, and pen and touch software.
7. A projector with sound and closed caption for multimedia presentations
8. A document camera with audio and video to display, record, and video interview.
9. Hardware and software for special needs, hearing, and sight impaired students.
10. A classroom set of digital reading devices and a plentiful supply of digital books.
11. Optional, if printer is really necessary, no problem, but working toward paperless is the goal.
12. A Classroom Phone for those times when it’s necessary to make a traditional call. Although, this might become an option as well.
13. Hardware that connects all the classroom technology together, so operation is an easy button push or two, turning the teacher into a technology orchestra leader
14. Make available an onsite teaching-with-technology professional, who is patient, shares how to, makes individual suggestions, and can be scheduled for classroom visits. Have something similar available for after school questions and suggestions, too.
15. Books, the kind that kids like and can hold—have a lot of them—ones that can go home without worries. Make them different levels, and replace them often. Most student magazines can be accessed online, but no problems having some of those in the hands of students as well.
There, I may have forgotten a few things, but start working on those right away!