I would like to open up the conversation a little and explain what the grant is, as well as my brainstorming, to see if you can help me separate the wheat from the chaff, metaphorically speaking.
The grant, potentially, is for up to $250,000. It is from an insurance foundation and aimed at non-profit organizations; schools are included but not specifically targeted. The grant can come under Research, Policy, or Projects. I feel that the Projets category makes the most sense for a middle school. Projects are defined as:
“Grants that will test, apply or disseminate new practices; or evaluate programs designed to improve health and health care.”
As the Educational Technology Specialist, I need to find a way to fuse technology with health and wellness. I want it to be equitable (spread equally across grade levels and classrooms) and sustainable. Having about 75 classrooms, I believe I can spend about $3000 per classroom, assuming I get the grant. My first impulse is to think LCD projector since very few rooms have them, but I don’t know how to fit that in with the health and wellness idea. Obviously, I could write that I would show health-related things on it, but I doubt that doing so would put my school in a good position to win the grant funds.
So, I need to think of what technologies would get kids up and moving. This, likely, means portability and activity. This may eliminate or minimize the usefulness of traditional laptops.
Option 1: I could use the whole budget on the iPod Touch. My rough math suggests that I could buy roughly 1,000 iPod Touch, which translates to about 14 per class. It is not 1:1, but it is about 1:2. This is aided by the fact that the district is upgrading the network to allow for ubiquitous wifi (not totally convinced that they will follow through, but that is the plan) and has lifted the ban on outside devices so students can bring in their own cell phones, smart phones, and iDevices.This could allow for more movement, stations, and interactivity.
Option 2: Standing desks have been shown to help keep people more alert, awake, and active.I could buy 3 standing desks for roughly $1000. I could get 3 iPads $1500 and a Kodak Zi8 (think Flip, but improved). The iPads are quite portable and have both more productivity value than the iPods and more portability than a full notebook. The camera allows for more activities that keep kids active and can be published online for an authentic audience.
Option 3: (Sorry if I’m still thinking as I go.) I can put 1-2 Kodak Zi8s and 12-13 iPod Touch in each room.
Option 4: This comes as a result of thinking about Alfonso’s comments. Every student gets an Ipod Touch. At $250,00, I can get 1010 iPod Touch. I may even be able to find an education/bulk discount. We will have 1033 and 70 teachers. I would like the students and teachers to have access to the same technology. I’m thinking that in exchange for their iPod, each student also agrees to write a blog (I will figure out how to provide training. I already have WPMU installed.) on their health journey. They can track their fitness levels, discuss school food, discuss health eating and exercise habits, etc… This will be reinforced with lessons in each content area and through social networking built-in to BuddyPress.
Option 5: Help. I’m sure I’m missing something that could be quite useful to the students. What do you think? Please help me to come up with a great idea that will help my kids.