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computer software
Old 01-08-2011, 05:12 AM
 
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If you were planning a computer lab for prek-4th graders (on a budget) what is the necissary hardware and software you would want to get.

We got a grant to fix up our lab. We have VERY old computers, and we are going to be getting pc's. But we also want to update other things.

I am on the committee because nobody in my grade level wanted to be on it. I don't know that much!!!


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One suggestion
Old 01-08-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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Wow, that is awesome!! I would not worry about getting Microsoft Office or anything like that....use Google Docs. It is free! And very simple for students to use Many websites offer how-to's to help teachers & students. A great one is livebinder, just search for Google Docs.
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You might consider
Old 01-08-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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some kind of keyboarding program. The students in our district use it a lot and those who really work at it, do quite well at their typing. Some teachers let students use it when they finish their other work.
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:08 AM
 
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I can't think of many software programs that I actually use with my primary kids. Only one that comes to mind is Kidspiration, but I really don't use it much. I was going to say the same thing about GoogleDocs. That will save you a lot if you don't purchase office. There are so many good things online I'd put my money toward more subscriptions for sites like rainforestmaths.com (great math site, I used it for my master's thesis), Kidpopjr.com (this one is kind of pricey, but lots of good stuff). See if there are any sites that go with the math and reading series you use. Hope that helps.
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lab
Old 01-08-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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I agree with the PPs that said don't worry about spending money on Microsoft Office...google docs works great and you can download free versions of Office (google 'open office'). However, your district may have a district license for that software, so you might not even have to worry about paying for that.

I would suggest a projector, smartboard, document camera combination. The teacher(s) using the lab will want to be able to show the students on one large screen before setting them loose to work on their own. If you can not afford an interactive white board (smartboard, promethean, etc) at least get an lcd projector because you will be able to display webpages, they just won't be interactive.

Kidspiration is a fun program, but there are so many 'free' things on the web that will do similar things. bubbl.us is one example..and imo, much easier to use with little to no training.

Invest in good headphones that have the microphone built into them. (They kind of look like the headsets that 911 operators use..that is what my kids say, anyway ). They may run you about $20 each (although when you buy in bulk you may get a discount), but they will be well worth the investment because you will be able to record (podcasting) as well as listen.

Good luck! What an exciting thing!

PS..I guess I should have asked...is this a mobile lab or a stationary one? I assumed it was stationary.


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headphones
Old 01-08-2011, 06:42 AM
 
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I agree with the PP about headphones. We use SuccessMaker at our school and headphones are a necessity. We want to use Read Naturally with some of our kids that struggle with fluency, but we don't have headphones for our classroom computers - so we can't use that software at this time.

I was going to say Kidspiration too, but the pp is probably right that there are free ones that are just as good.

My kids regularly use spell ing city . dot . com for spelling practice.

I also agree with using GoogleDocs, even for you and your fellow staff. We use it for sharing reading unit test scores which we use to divide our kids for a 30 min. leveled reading time. You invite whoever needs to add data to the spreadsheet doc and any can add their data without having to send the doc back and forth, no losing track of which document is most current. We use it for scheduling interpreters for Spanish speaking families at conference time too. (Sorry, I know I got a little off track. But, GoogleDocs is awesome!)

Candace in WA

Last edited by tcmje; 01-08-2011 at 06:43 AM.. Reason: typo
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Software
Old 01-08-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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We have had Type to Learn for years and years and years.

Lexia is a great reading/phonics/comprehension program we discovered this year. My kids absolutely love it.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will be bringing them to the next meeting!
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headphone
Old 01-08-2011, 08:04 AM
 
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A thought on to add on the headphones, our district is K-12 so when they ordered headphones they just ordered the cheapest they could get. The cords are soooooo long they reach all the way to the floor and wrap around the chair legs, the kids roll over them and they break and fray. The headphone part is big and doesn't fit on little heads, they are constantly sliding off. So I'd do a little research first, if your going to get headphones, get some that work for little ones even if they cost a little more.
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Software
Old 01-08-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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I'm going to say Kidspiration too. It's more than the mapping software. I use it with K-5 and create my own activities that we do: sorting, alphabetizing, typing antonyms, typing sentences with emphasis on initial capital letters, space between words and end marks. For older kids you can put internet links within the file to have them go to a specific website and do some research, typing into the file/document.

Tux Paint is free.


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Dell eBooks
Old 01-08-2011, 08:34 AM
 
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We subscribe to Dell's eBooks. These are nonfiction full-length picture books with quizzes and activities to go with them. The reading level is preK - grade 6 or so, but the info is great! You can go online and preview a book. Our kids loved them and we put them up on the whiteboards for shared readings. Anymore, I'm not sure I'd invest in much software - there is so much online, but some takes a subscription fee. The online stuff is kept current while software you purchase is quickly out-of-date (IMO)
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