For the last month I have been having demos installed on-campus so our community can test new projection and interactive display technology.  I have even roughly budgeted to redo 25-50 classrooms a year for the next three years.

However during our last formal round of surveying, I have found that people seem to not see any significant improvement with the new technologies compared to what they have now. I was actually stunned at this, until I read back over a survey I did in 2009-2010.  I was able to survey about 60% of the teachers. The top things they listed to be changed had more to do with:

  • Writing space and whiteboards
  • Ergonomics
  • The number of plugs and cables required

The specifications I generated for the new classroom technology initially focused on wireless projection that was interactive.  This reduces the mess created with cables and in some ways makes the space easier to customize. However, due to certain limitations found in wireless technology- at least the kind we can afford- wireless projection became unfeasible.

That means the specifications which I developed based-on research were too far ahead of the technology. This means by acquiring anything RIGHT NOW would mean purchasing without specifications for the sake of marginal improvements.

The only thing wasted so far is time, so I have decided to work with other departments to keep addressing ergonomic issues instead of buying anything new. I will keep an eye on what I want and chart the development of wireless projections that is interactive and fast enough to handle our classroom demands.

I think it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting something new, especially when classroom technology seems to be aging. It is important to remember that aging does not mean useless or broken. Nor does it mean obsolete. The fact is technology makes mostly minor improvements and occasionally game-changing leaps. The next big jump is what our community needs, so we will wait.

I am curious though…how many people work some where ..where people do not wait? Where the push is always for new things, because they are new?  And is this attitude or pattern found in the community in other areas as well such as personal IT ? Let us know if you have time what you think about this.

Tony DePrato


5 thoughts on “Specifications”

  1. The week after I started as an instructional technology specialist, 8 ipod touches appeared on my desk. When I asked what we were going to use them for, with which kids, how they were to be implemented, etc, the answer was “I saw them at a conference and they looked awesome!” Which is also the reasoning behind the palm pilots in my drawer, the DS communication system in my file cabinet, and the gaming systems in IT’s closet. 🙂

    1. At the very least you have something to listen to your music on at school. They really just dropped them off without even consulting you or giving you a heads up? And only eight? That is weird.

    2. Andrea,
      We have a classroom set of iPod Touches and we use them all of the time! iPod Touches can be useful to do everything from reading QR Codes for exploratory activities that link to websites and videos with additional support to recording Podcast presentations for English, History, and Foreign Language. If you have any questions for me, let me know!

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