I was talking with a colleague today and he asked me if it was possible to make a wireless connection between his iPad and classroom projector. I thought about it for a few seconds and gave him a sagelike response of “I don’t know. I would think that is possible.” So, I did a quick search and didn’t find much that looked all that promising–given the technology set up at our school.
Therein lies the problem for a lot of teachers when it comes to technology. A teacher gets an idea for using a piece of technology, asks the question, “How can I get _____________ to do ________________?” More often than not, the answer usually goes something like, “Yeah, it is possible to do_____________. But, not with our current set up. We could make it work, but someone has to buy __________ and it is going to cost X amount of dollars.”
Usually when a teacher wants to try something with technology, they want a solution that is simple, sturdy, and cheap–preferably free. None of us wants to go to our administrator and ask for money because 9 times out of 10 we know the answer beforehand.
Want to connect your iPad to the projector in your room wirelessly? Well, it looks like you will have to go out and buy a $90 to $200 dollar wireless connector that only works with brand X’s $1200 projector. Want a way to monitor what each student in your room is doing on their iPad and block, or shut down, apps they shouldn’t be using during class? Well, you just need to install this free app on your iPad and then install a little program on each teacher’s laptop that costs $200 per laptop in order to actually use it. Want your students to use their iPads interact with your whiteboard? Well, all you have to do is buy the software and licenses for this other program package for X thousand dollars–too bad you didn’t get that software last year when you got all these interactive whiteboards.
I understand that change takes time. I understand that integrating new technology systems with older systems is a challenge. I understand that companies exist to make money. But all of that means squat when a teacher has thought of a way to engage their students in a new way and they can’t do it because tech piece A won’t work with tech piece B; unless you go out and get tech pieces C, D, and E after administration approval and board approval to spend some amount of money that a teacher can’t afford to spend out of their own pocket.
It is frustrating.
What frustrations do you have with fully utilizing technology in your classroom? Let me know; I want to hear about it.
By the way, if you know of a way to wirelessly connect a laptop and iPad to a projector that doesn’t require the purchase of a new projector, please let me know.
- Wisconsin schools to get iPads from Microsoft settlement (electronista.com)
- iPad in every TEACHER’S hand (jmclean77.wordpress.com)
- 13 Apps I Use as a Teacher (techgeekteacher.com)