George Lucas Educational Foundation

Tech integration with limited resources

Tech integration with limited resources

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I am a student teacher working in a classroom (and school) with limited availability of hands on technology. I'm currently in a fourth grade classroom but I'm looking for ways to increase the availability of mobile devices, tablets, or other hands on devices that could be incorporated into the classroom. (I am still learning about the resources available.)

I am wondering about the ways in which others have tried to solve this problem or if anyone has suggestions for me and my mentor teacher. I appreciate any help and support!

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Hi Molly-

If you can let me know what you do have available, I can better guide you with ideas of what to do with what you have. Other than that, are you talking about grants for tech, or ideas to increase the number or types of devices available? For example, our school district is experimenting with a bring Your Own technology policy that's working out fairly well overall at least for middle school and high school, but it's managed to free up other devices in those grades to repurpose them to the elementary schools. With more information, i can offer more meaningful help :)

MollyLynch's picture
Fourth Grade Student Teacher/MIT from Washington State University

Thank you for your response!

We currently do not have any devices that can be used in class. We used to have a mobile computer "lab" which could be checked out and wheeled to different classrooms. However, this could only be utilized by a few students at a time. Because the number of devices and technology resources are so limited I am really looking for any ways to increase the number of devices available. If you have any advice on grants or other ways to access more hands on technology I would be grateful.

(Your previous comment was already quite helpful!)

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Hi Molly- I'll do some more research, but here's an example of a document that talks about grants to apply for for Google Chromebooks:

That said, different devices have different abilities and limitations. Chromebooks are great as computers but really require connection to the internet and kids having Google accounts to use programs like Google docs effectively- which means you have to have the tech infrastructure in the school to assure wifi access to the internet in order for them to be useful.

here's a link for grants for ipads:

again, ipads can be useful on or off the net, but you have to have some sort of account set up to put apps on each device, and not every app is free, although there are plenty that are. Likewise, if kids are saving work to ipads, you have to think about how to get the work off the machine, and if they are doing lots of movies, you will run out of hard drive space quickly if you' re not careful.

More importantly, its better to make sure you have what you want to do with tech in mind before selecting a device or applying for a grant- the tech should serve the pedagogy, not the other way around.

Vanessa Vega's picture
Vanessa Vega
Former Edutopia Senior Manager of Research

Hi Molly, You might explore partnerships with local businesses and non-profit organizations. Perhaps the school of education at MIT has ongoing research projects they would like to run that involve providing students with handheld technology? You might try also to work with computer recycling centers to get refurbished devices, such as Free Geek, Free Geek has affiliates nationwide, and there are probably local computer recycling programs near you that can provide refurbished devices, or perhaps involve students in building their own computers. Advice on starting a school computer lab is described in this Edutopia blog: Good luck -- and please keep us posted on the development of this pursuit! We would love to hear about more successful strategies for supporting digital access.

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