Okay folks, here are my solutions in a very troubling situation. I am an instructional technology specialist and current classroom teacher that unfortunately has very little access to technology. The spring semester this year was so frustrating, I began to bring my own devices to supplement the needs of my students in accessing the bare bones tools I provide online. My solution this fall is to continue to use personal devices, resurrect old devices, and I’m going to try some discount devices that hopefully won’t cause my own children to starve from the money I am choosing to take from my personal budget that takes care of their welfare (I know I am taking a risk that these devices die as based on past experience).
What I have been using are two old laptops (HPs) that were assigned to myself and my classroom that I have installed Ubuntu on for a more reliable operating system. I took my old Asus netbook and installed Ubuntu on it replacing Windows XP. I have an old HP desktop that runs Windows 7, and I have resurrected 3 iBook G3s, 1 PowerBook Titanium, and a PowerBook Lombard. I bring 4 of my kid’s DOPO devices (I had 5 but one crashed and burned – sorry Nicholas), and I have just ordered 3 more DOPO devices for a total of $119. I also have an old iPad and old Kindle added to the mix; plus, I do have my teacher laptop that can be utilized as needed. With this I have amassed 15 devices that will “work” in most instances. I fortunately do have access to a BYOD network that students can utilize with various devices and some can use their phones if they choose.
The frustrating part of all of this is that I just don’t think this is how life should be for an educator in the 21st Century; however, it is in my case, and I am doing what I can to provide devices that will allow access to tools that I know will help my students succeed. I have applied for grants, but the tech department in my district won’t approve affordable devices: disappointing to say the least. I am on the lookout for old laptops that can be revived with Ubuntu or some flavor of Linux, and that search will continue as the school days pass by (160+ more school days which turns out to be only 160 hours that my students spend in class for the year – time is short!). I am trying to make the best of a difficult situation, but I’m not sure it is the best way. I also don’t think this solution will last much longer. I’m looking to go elswhere to find a place that will invest in the education of my students and children, and I know now that it is definitely not here. Chime in if you have other ideas that may help. Happy computing!