The Student Visual Projection Collaboration Grant will allow students a platform to visually collaborate and peer edit through portable mini-projectors. By adding a small projector with a Chromecast attached, students could wirelessly connect to and view their shared work on a larger surface. With the extension of the 1:1 grant throughout grade levels 5-8 at North Tahoe School, students now have the capacity to create and collaborate online. The projection component will require students to work on their speaking and listening while addressing the 4 C’s: critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation.
Students are currently sharing documents and projects online. This collaboration can often cause communication to be limited as students type their thoughts and comments instead of openly discussing. The addition of the mini-projector and Chromecast can allow students to project their work on a surface and force conversation over edits and creation. Because the projectors are so compact and wireless, they can be moved anywhere throughout the classroom; additionally multiple stations can be set up at one time. The projection allows teachers to view the work making classroom management more streamlined. Beyond the student collaboration, this grant request will resolve a growing problem at NTS. Although NTS is on the schedule to have upgraded classrooms beginning in 2020, we currently have teacher projectors problems that are quickly eating away at the Tech Budget. The projectors are old, require bulb replacements that range $150-200 per bulb and do not have the lumens required to project in rooms that receive direct sunlight. In 2020, each classroom will be upgraded with a TV that will resolve this problem, but for now student projection and collaboration is drastically limited by archaic projectors. The current projection system is forcing site tech funds to be directed away from students. The mini-projector combination is a cost effective alternative that will directly support student learning and collaboration.
With the Classroom Design of the Future grant I was able to purchase two mini-projectors to pilot this program. The projector and Chromecast combo has been incredibly successful and received well by the students. Instead of changing each others’ documents or using online editing apps, students have been forced to explain and justify their alterations. The conversations that have occurred are built around academic language and rubric requirements. The only frustration from this initial pilot is the quality of the original mini-projectors. With extensive research, the ASUS S1 will easily resolve this issue.
Once the mini-projector, Chromecast, Pelican mini-case and the extension cords are purchased, these kits will be barcoded and set up by our school ‘Nerd Herd’ or student led tech team. Trainings will be hosted for teachers and students by the ‘Nerd Herd’ on how to check out and use these kits. Once students are trained on how to connect to the Chromecast, they will be able to use these kits for essays, projects and any other collaboration tasks. When completed, the kit will be returned and ready for the next group to use.
These kits will be available to 5th-8th grade students and staff members for check out whenever needed. The items will be checked out through the Library to monitor where the devices are being used and to ensure equity among all grade levels.
The tech budget this year has been allocated to support teacher Tech Professional Development as well as basic maintenance of aging school wide tech equipment. As a result of these budget allocations and the delay in the North Tahoe School Bond improvements, funding is not available for these additional student support materials.