Educators – if you had ‘unlimited budget’, what technology would you buy for your classrooms?

Joseph Videtto February 13, 2013

Please include type of devices, how many, what software programs or internet paid services.

  1. Maryline Latorre
    February 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    There seems to be a gap between the needs of a teacher on the field and the things a school administration thinks the teacher needs.
    In my school, the administration has invested a lot in smartboards. The kind that works with a special electronic pen and uses a beamer projector and specific software. But they are rarely used. And not because "teachers have yet to creatively figure out" how to use them...
    First, because you must not spend an entire lesson using one single media, you often don't envisage the time cost of setting up of the smartboard (and the preparation at home!!) for 10 minutes worth of teaching. The classroom PC takes ages to boot if is has not been switched on yet (or if it has been switched off by malicious students). When everything is ready to go, you notice that the needed software is nowhere to be found and that you do not have enough admin privileges to install it.
    Then, there's the pain that the beamer's settings are seldom configured correctly with the smartboard: the image does not fit the frame, is tilted etc.
    Pupils are NOT impressed by the use of such technology. The positive impact (the "wow-effect") it has on them might be great the first time, but rapidly, the attractiveness lessens and, finally, you are better off teaching in a more traditional way. There are hundreds of ways to make a lesson punchy and interesting and efficient without costy and unreliable gadgets.
    Let's not forget the small annoyances such as the battery in the electronic pen being empty and not replaceable because the school has no stock, the cables not being plugged correctly or not being there at all, the window shutters stuck so that you can't darken the room enough...
    Finally, if the smartboard is fitted too high on the wall no teacher, even the tall ones, can use it with the electronic pen...

  2. salim benhouhou
    February 15, 2013 at 8:44 am

    i would buy ipads for students and buy memberships for online services such as etc ...

  3. Laura Benfield
    February 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I would first invest in the networking infrastructure, so that if one classroom streams a video the entire district's network doesn't go down.

    Then, I would make sure that all classrooms have wireless access. We would need to have a wireless router in every classroom, because the lockers in the hallways can keep you from getting a connection.

    Then, I would provide every student with a tablet computer, along with backups for the ones that are going to get dropped on the hard concrete floors. Teachers would also need a purchasing card so that apps could be purchased. There also needs to be a way to keep up with these tablets, so that the students can take them home.

  4. Abraham Carrasco
    February 14, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I'm a student, and one thing that bothers me is when a classroom has a poor-quality projector which you can barely see anything. And the resolutions are so low that the teachers can barely fit their materials on one screen, which is why they use the white board instead, even in my computer programming classes. So I'd personally buy a high-resolution monitor with lots of lumens.

  5. Andrew Yen
    February 14, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I would get the smart boards, business class laptops for everyone and allow students to keep their for 500 USD after school year... i would get better speakers, Skype, 150 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up internet services. I would also get the office 365 for students and get the copiers and scanning cards for the students. All computers will have bio metrics and will have a lo-gin kiosk to tell if you were in class or not...

    (Im not an educator.. just a student in a school where classrooms only have one pc...)

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

      We don't even have a PC in our classroom. Our school have loose BYOD policy so I kept up with the assignments by using my friend's until I bought my own.

  6. ha14
    February 14, 2013 at 6:31 pm
  7. Jacques Knipe
    February 14, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I am not an educator either but I've thought about this question many times during my high school years.
    When I read the question the first thing that came to mind was the Smart board what Junil posted.
    A decent surround sound system in the class for when students have to watch a movie for an assignment or listen to a song for a test. The small laptop speakers we had to listen on was very difficult.
    Laptops for everyone in the class who does not own one. Those who do own their own can bring it to the class.
    I will also have free unlimited internet of a decent speed which will be used by the lecturer for research and during lectures.
    To go along with the unlimited internet, all the work will be done in and over the cloud. Assignments will be handed out that way and all other class activity will be found in the cloud.

  8. Junil Maharjan
    February 14, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Smart boards ( and projectors. great interactive learning programmes.

    • Laura Benfield
      February 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      From my experience, most classrooms already have these. Teachers have yet to creatively figure out the best ways to use the interactive components. They are mainly just overpriced projector screens in today's classrooms. There needs to be more PD in the schools with SMART Technology in general.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Yeah. Despite how much we have come to rely on technology, teachers' quality should be considered too. It's no use to have everything if the educators aren't able to make use of it.

  9. Bruce Epper
    February 13, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Okay, I'm not an educator, but with an unlimited budget, here's what I would do:

    Set up a vSphere cluster to virtualize everything required for both teachers & students
    Set up central file storage servers (or a SAN - depending on size requirements)
    Configure individual virtual environments based on classroom & teacher needs
    Ensure a fat enough pipe to handle expected traffic both in-house & incoming
    Establish a BYOL (bring your own laptop) policy for students who have their own device
    Buy a pool of laptops for those students who cannot afford their own for use during school term

    When in school, the laptops will utilize internal network to connect to vSphere environments to get to the applications and other required materials for their studies. These would also be available through the internet connection so they could also continue their work from home. All files, homework assignments, etc would be stored on the central file servers or SAN.

    The particulars on most of the software/internet services for the classrooms would really depend on the needs of the class. There would be a few generic apps available such as LibreOffice. I would look more toward open-source solutions rather than paid applications where available if they adequately address the needs of the class. The operating system of choice would be GNU/Linux due to better support in many cases and lower acquistion and operational costs (less chance of infected virtual machines, etc), possibly Edubuntu.

    • Joseph Videtto
      February 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Bruce - your answers are very useful and 'educational' (pun intended ; ) for me).

      Just looking up the terms you use, understanding them, and re-reading your posts is a great technical training tutorial for me - not to mention the added benefit of a concrete application in the school system. Many thanks.

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