A reader asked me what classroom technology she should purchase with $1,000. My response:
I’d install whiteboards on every vertical surface in the room. I’d make sure I had a good document camera. And I’d probably purchase video capture equipment, a hard drive, and a microphone so I could record my lessons. That’ll probably get you close to $1,000.
I felt clever recommending old-school whiteboards with a new-school technology grant. But then I put the question out on Twitter and everybody suggested the same purchase:
@ddmeyer do the room in whiteboards, manipulatives, document camera
— Alex Overwijk (@AlexOverwijk) December 8, 2014
@ddmeyer Whiteboard paint and huge supply of markers.
— Zachary Herrmann (@zachherrmann) December 8, 2014
@ddmeyer Whiteboards all around classroom, variety of manipulatives, document camera, colour paper, graph chart paper & candy for students😁
— Mylene Abi-Zeid (@myleneabizeid) December 8, 2014
@ddmeyer white boards around the room and a glass wall down the middle to write on (because it would be awesome)
— Patrick Brandt (@pabrandt06) December 8, 2014
@ddmeyer white boarded room + layered & movable whiteboards on top. markers. money for laminating std quotes & other student work in colour.
— Jimmy Pai (@PaiMath) December 8, 2014
@ddmeyer Big whiteboards around the room and a ton of markers, a doc cam, chart paper and markers.
— Mattie B (@stoodle) December 8, 2014
@ddmeyer Whiteboards w/markers, 2 iPad minis (for video, pictures, projection of Ss work, & whiteboard app for Ss to talk through thinking)
— Kevin Lawrence (@kalawrence9) December 8, 2014
@ddmeyer group-able desks, whiteboard space vert and horiz, projector, some way to hand write stuff on computer
— Dan Anderson (@dandersod) December 8, 2014
@ddmeyer whiteboard markers! Maybe some extra 2×3' whiteboards. Or use it to start a student run business with profits for the classroom.
— Maria Kerkhoff (@MsMariaAK) December 9, 2014
@ddmeyer I would cover as much wall space with whiteboards as I could.
— Annie Vallance (@AnnieVallance) December 9, 2014
Crazy, right? What would you buy?
$1,000 isn’t nothing, but there are lots of organizations giving away that sum and more to teachers. I have it on some authority that The Mathematics Education Trust has trouble some years giving away their (fairly substantial) grants. “Not enough qualified applicants,” I was told. So get out there. Get some cash. Get those high-tech whiteboards.
BTW. I think we can trace some of this recent popularity of whiteboarding to Peter Liljedahl, an associate professor at Simon Fraser University. Liljedahl gave a presentation at the Canadian Mathematics Education Forum on whiteboards, which he called “Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces,” which is why I’m looking forward to finishing graduate school.