My district is having a discussion about how to spend $1,000,000 to improve literacy at the elementary level and oddly enough that discussion, because it requires quick spending, isn't including teachers. So not to step on toes, I thought I'd ask your opinion in hopes I can pass your insites along if you have any to offer.
Here's the backround. There are usually 3 computers per class of 25-32 children so software is not an ideal choice. Someone has suggested buying NEO's (about $100 a piece) as an alternative so students can practice basic math facts, take Acclerated Reader tests, and compose essays. Classroom response systems are very popular but most grade levels share one set and they are expensive (around $900 per set). Does anyone have any ideas on this? Thanks in advance.
How many teachers and schools are you talking about? There is a huge difference between $1M at 5 schools and 30.
Roughly 32 schools with 20k elementary students. Per student that works out to around $50 per student, but I'm not sure prek and kindergarden are the focus and I'm not sure what their population is.
Have you considered an iPad program? The cost for iPad 2s has come down tremendously with the introduction of iPad 3s and the main difference between the two is the camera improvements.
There are so many apps available (many free or low cost) for iPads that would support literacy and language development - especially in the area of digital storytelling, reading and vocabulary (StoryBuddy2, Puppet Pals, Tumblebooks, Spellingcity, iMovie, Pages, eBook makers, etc.)
Thanks for the suggestion Cary. That's along the same lines I was thinking. I've heard great reports about using the apps. The biggest appeal to me is that, unlike more limited hardware options, apps are always evolving and ipads are a doorway to them.