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General Chat Thread, Ideas for an exciting new technology lab in General; Hi, Does anyone have any good resources or case studies on new technology in the classroom? One of our faculties ...
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    basicchannel's Avatar
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    Ideas for an exciting new technology lab

    Hi,

    Does anyone have any good resources or case studies on new technology in the classroom? One of our faculties has won some money and have decided to spend it on a new technology suite for things like collaborative research and classroom discussion through technology. It's great that they don't just want to sling in a load of sterile desktops that'll be out of date in a few years time and want to do something that's a bit more exciting, but I'm a bit stuck for resources to present to them in our next meeting. It seems I only have experience of putting together bog standard computer labs.

    There's not a huge amount of money but I think we're mainly interested in wireless and open source as well. Has anyone experimented with anything worth shouting about in their schools that's gone beyond the norm and has been really successful with both students and teachers? The room isn't going to be a strict computer lab - in fact it's going to be used for student research and the emphasis is on engaging students rather than just sitting them all in front of a computer to work in silence.

    Cheers guys

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    Quote Originally Posted by basicchannel View Post
    One of our faculties has won some money and have decided to spend it on a new technology suite for things like collaborative research and classroom discussion through technology.
    I reckon: a multi-monitor machine, with each monitor output connected to a short-throw projector to create a single desktop display covering the length of a classroom wall (or even wrapped around several walls). Then have a number of keyboards and mice, each connected (somehow) to a specific RDP session open on the desktop. Each user ends up with their own RDP session and can use their keyboard and mouse to interact as normal, but they can also pass windows around to other user's workspaces. The display part is easy enough, figuring out exactly how people work with the whole thing is the interesting part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I reckon: a multi-monitor machine, with each monitor output connected to a short-throw projector to create a single desktop display covering the length of a classroom wall (or even wrapped around several walls). Then have a number of keyboards and mice, each connected (somehow) to a specific RDP session open on the desktop. Each user ends up with their own RDP session and can use their keyboard and mouse to interact as normal, but they can also pass windows around to other user's workspaces. The display part is easy enough, figuring out exactly how people work with the whole thing is the interesting part.

    Sounds interesting. When I say 'won', I didn't mean the Euromillions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by basicchannel View Post
    When I say 'won', I didn't mean the Euromillions.
    Can you give us an idea of the kind of money available? 10,000? Projectors, expescially smaller, not-so-bright ones, are actually quite cheap these days (300?) - they might not be suitible for front-of-class display, but they should be ideal for smaller displays used by a smaller group of pupils. 6 cheaper ceiling-mounted projectors pointing straight down towards desks would give you 6 displays that could have half-a-dozen children sat around them. You'd need desks with white sections in the middle for a display, and the desks would need to be accuratly placed for using the projectors, but it should make for quite a cheap solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Can you give us an idea of the kind of money available?
    Sorry, I was being a bit facetious in my last comment; lack of sleep methinks. We've got about 20k to spend, and it isn't a huge classroom. I love the idea of multiple displays but it's a difficult one to communicate to not so tech-savvy teachers. What I need is pictures. They do love visual aids.

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    Some people are going to hate me but...

    iPads for all, Apple TV(s) connected to projector(s). ~11000

    Rest of the money MS surface PCs maybe. Or 40''+ touch screen PCs embedded into a wall or desk. Or maybe MS Kinect based minority report.


    TBH 20k will go a long way if all it is for is research. iPads all round, appleTv with projectors plus wifi and a nice kitty for future apps would be my opinion. The rest is really just buying toys and trying to find a use for them.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 17th May 2012 at 12:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by basicchannel View Post
    We've got about 20k to spend, and it isn't a huge classroom.
    Most of the ineresting stuff (handheld devices, computers on workdesks that don't need cables all over the place, etc) rather assume you have a ubiquitous wireless connection available - I'd make buying a managed wireless system your first priority, everything else is going to fit around that. That'll use about half your money. Multiple large-screen displays sound pricy, but if you can fit a dozen children around one then they actually work out cheaper than a classroom's worth of laptops. SMART, Promethean, Mimio and others all do desk-based versions of their IWB products, although I think something like the SMART table cost something like 3,000, so you couldn't quite afford a classroom's worth. The display hardware, above, for multiple displays on desks is actually quite cheap - two or three thousand pounds to equip half-a-dozen desks, it's figuring out the user interface that's going to take the time. I think we had a thread on here a while back where I suggested a modified Linux desktop of some kind configured to use multiple mice and keyboards, connecting to a Windows Server machine providing RDP sessions to run your applications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    Apple TV(s) connected to projector(s)
    Check out Air Server - at $30 for 25 copies, it might make for the cheaper option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Most of the ineresting stuff (handheld devices, computers on workdesks that don't need cables all over the place, etc) rather assume you have a ubiquitous wireless connection available
    A-ha! The *hilarious* thing is the building that houses this room, despite only being built 5 or 6 years ago, doesn't have a speck of wireless coverage
    I thought that it might cover us if we stuck a Ubiquiti Unifi point up in the room or something? At least that would supply coverage for that classroom, even if it means they can't leave the confines of that room (which would be great too).

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