Monday, October 20, 2008

The LCD Projector

At the end of the Teaching Shakespeare Institute, I used some of the money from the stipend to buy my classroom an LCD Projector. It was a crazy expensive purchase, but I figured I shouldn't really be making money off an NEH grant. Since I didn't have to pay for living expenses like almost all of my colleagues in the institute, so I actually made money on the deal, I decided to invest a few hundred back into my classroom.

TSI was really focused on technology in the classroom. This was, at times, a disappointment to me - I work in a school without much technology. The only computer in my classroom is one I purchased for myself. I purchased my laptop, which I used only for work, for myself. The only computer lab available for my students has only about 18 working computers and I have nearly double that in my classes. An LCD Projector? I'd never really seen one. The DVD player for my department? Mine that I purchased. We have one working television for 14 teachers and the aforementioned DVD player.

This year, with the budget in the hands of the principal, our school has gotten more technology. I've heard rumors of four smart boards in the building, and I just saw the first one when I happened in on a colleague's classroom the other day. We still haven't seen any of it in the English department, but I'm hopeful that someday we'll get something like that. Imagining teaching an English class with a Smart board - teaching text annotation, or revision/editing using it - is pretty exciting.

Anyhow, so I bought the LCD Projector in August, and I've had a lot of buyer's remorse. It was expensive, and, although I can write it off on my taxes and stuff, I doubt it'll make any difference then. Plus, I've been darn broke most of the school year so far. My paycheck of $1092 comes in, and after rent ($600), student loans ($200), car insurance ($120), and phone bill ($98 for 2 months) are paid, it's gone. I'm still owed for tuition reimbursement from the city, and my raise has not kicked in. So, I actually had to use coins from the coin jar last week to get my morning coffees. I'm pretty adamant about not accruing any credit card debt, so I'm trying my best to live inside my means - but I'll have to buy a car soon and a house, if it ever comes, will need a downpayment.

Back to the LCD Projector... the buyer's remorse comes not only from the cost, but the fact that new technology just scares me. I'm not very good at using it, and I had a hundred excuses for not starting it up. Too busy. It'll get stolen. It'll get broken.

But, finally, tonight, I got excited about doing my Romeo and Juliet scene comparison lesson, and busted it out. It took me a bit, but I figured it out. Tomorrow will be a treat for the kids.

My next goal: figure out how to make film clips. I'd like to make it quicker and just sort of have the clips side by side on my computer rather than having to load up the DVD every time. I'd actually aprpeciate any help anyone might be able to provide on that...


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Anonymous said...

Huh? Even blogs get SPAM? Sheesh! Depending on the hard drive space on your laptop, you should be able to copy them to your hard drive and then create a document with links to each one. If you'll be displaying all of the screen, a PowerPoint with some headings about what is being illustrated might work -- some explanatory text before/after/beside each link.

ppank said...

i went to a conference last weekend & saw a session about making film clips using a program/hardware that is available for purchase pretty widely. i'd be happy to pass along the info. i'll probably be looking into doing that for myself at some point, actually... i'm working on incorporating my cheater projector [tv + cables to the computer] into class. so far i've figured out how to capture youtube clips + embed them into powerpoint, it's neat. - fellow former spartan :)

Zeek and I said...

I am excited to hear how your lesson works. I did my first power point for some classes today and I was disappointed, I think the power point was too long, so I deleted some slides and am hoping tomorrow will be better. Sorry I do not know how to embed a video clip into power point but would love to learn how when you figure it out. :)

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