In my class, there are students from five grades, with differing requirements. We only have one computer, shared by students who each need it for 6-7 hours a week. I would (a) increase the amount of time of visual learning keeping in mind the special needs of some students (b) like to incorporate more interactive learning into curriculum work that should reduce the tedium of books and increase more interest and (c) with more computer time available per student, encourage them to acquire new skills through the PC.
I would present my plan to the principle, and request the help oh (Mike) my 4th grade colleague, to install and start the various new programs.
Wish list , justification and approximate budget, in the order I would like them :
1. New Multi-user Pentium Dual-Core PC 1.6 GHz, 1.5 GB RAM, good graphics accelerator and sound card (estimated $ 700) and large 22 inch flat-panel monitor ( estimated $ 200). This should be used primarily for : multimedia programs for visual learning, short DVD movies on various educational themes, phonics, language learning, my teacher training programs, assistive software for special education. Mike needs to connect this to the internet as well transfer a few older files/software. I have to discuss it with the Principal.
(Being multi-user in design, it will be much cheaper to create additional stations in future, by just adding extra monitors and keyboards. In the future, as school work will become more and more computer based it’s a low cost investment for the future).
2. Additional headset, special needs keyboard ( one child struggles on our current one), and multipoint electrical outlet as we have none spare at the moment – estimated cost ($ 90) : could pay out of my own budget, but could try the School Budget too.
3. Educational, Assistive (Visual) and games software:
(a) Phonics software to cover all grades in my class- Phonics plus Five, seen the demo, would help at least half the children (spelling, grammar, reading, sounds etc). Package contains workbooks, which can be copied for multiple use. Normal price $ 250, but can get large academic discount plus multiple licenses discount on top. Got to discuss with principal, as I need her permission on the educational policy aspect too.
(b) MathWhizz online subscription ($ 39.99 per month or $ 360 per year) : Maths is definitely the most boring subject for most kids in my class, and improving maths grades is a priority. No free online resource for schools identified . For all other subjects, we are okay at present, but Math needs special attention. Got to discuss with principal.
( c) Spanish language software : Three children have requested this, as part of their extracurricular plans, at a basic level only. ($ 25 only, will pay from class budget as it is not linked to core school curriculum).
(d) Games – I have asked all children to submit their choice of games as usual (every 3 months), and the top two titles I selected this time to cover geography and new puzzles. I have not agreed on online games for their addictive potential, and it is worth spending the $ 40 or so every 3 months. Principal agrees, though could pay from my class budget too.
(e) Webcam and microphone – not a priority, sometime later this year. More schools are linking up for online conferences. I will speak to Mike first about requirements before budgeting. I will update the plan in 6 months. Sd/- Nancy Choi February 15, 2008.
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