As the budget manager for my department (LAL), I have some additional funds that I would like to use for technology resources to put technology in the hands of my staff. I would like to purchase iTouches, but would like to know if anyone else has found them to be useful in the LAL classroom. If not, what other items could I purchase for staff to use to increase student achievement while fostering a 21st century classroom?

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Can you save the budget for something you might *need* later on?
iPod Touch is a great idea. However, don't plan on buying these, handing them out and seeing big changes. Plan on lots of training time. Reflection on how they can be used should begin before purchase. They are a wonderful tool, but like a race car, it doesn't do anything when it is sitting in the garage. And if you put grandma behind the wheel, it probably won't go very fast. With proper training and planning, it will get you where you want to go in record time. GOOD LUCK!
Thank you Gary - that is a great analogy!!
Thank you - I will spend some time investigating those products!!
What about Wiimote smartboards? They're pretty cheap ($50 per), support multitouch and can be used with the screen that's probably in each of the rooms already.
The wiimote smartboard is a neat option. The price is certainly right (if you have the LCD projector already). Keep in mind though that it is a hack and not for the novice techie. I have been using a wiimote board in my room for over a year now and it's great!
We have iBoards and Smartboards and some teacher have reviewed Promethean Boards and Mimios, but i will look into wiimotes - is it a complicated board that requires lots of PD or is it just one of those things you need to get comfortable with? If you have a contact person or a salesperson that information would be good to have or I can just google it - thanks guys!
Actually, a wiimote smartboard consists of three pieces of hardware and one piece of software. First, the hardware:

1. A wiimote (about $45.00 at Walmart)
2. A bluetooth adapter (unless there is already one in the computer that you're going to use. By the way, if you do buy one, I recommend the one at the source (Click here for the link). It works perfectly right out of the box)
3. An infrared light pen (you can build one for about $5 or buy one on ebay for about $20 at Click here for ebay link)

The software can be downloaded for free from Johnny Lee's website.

You might want to visit Johnny Lee's website for a video that shows how it works or do a search on TED.com for johnny lee.

The smartboard is pretty easy to setup and uses a whitescreen that you might already have in the classroom. All in it should cost between $60 and $100 and is pretty easy to use.
Just thinking outside the box a bit. Maybe some ideas that you might not think of right away...

A laptop or netbook to use as a loaner for students without technology at home?

A kindle for students who are not avid readers. They may find it a bit more kinesthetic and "trendy"?

Plain iPod nanos for audiobook versions of books, as read-alongs for LD or struggling readers.

A digital camera or two for students to use for creating skits, commercials, etc.

Something called a STARBOARD. Looks like a cross between an overhead and a Smart board.

Subscriptions to expensive applications, sites, or to buy spendy software (not sure what you have).
Thank you Anthony - I really like the iPod Nano concept and using a kindle for students who shy away from reading may like that idea too. Thanks so much!!
I agree. I wrote nano, but yes, any cheaper MP3 would work fine.

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