Must have tools for new lab PCs?


— This post was originally posted back on 26 September 2008. —

Good news: My school is getting new PCs to replace old ones in a lab.

Bad news: I am going to write a request for funds proposal for it😛

Something new: I am working with my Edtech to come up with a list of tools/applications/software/hardware to be installed in the new PCs.

Target pupils: Primary 1 to 6 (7 years old to 12 years old)

Subjects: English, Mathematics, Science and Mother Tongue (Chinese, Malay and Tamil languages)

Objectives: E-Learning and Project Work

Any suggestion is most welcomed!

Updates:

List of tools/applications considered to be installed

1. Audacity

2. VLC media player

3. Video Codecs e.g. Xvid

4. A new lab management software. Recommendation needed.

5. A more robust web filtering application to block undesirable websites which the ministry/school network is unable to filter. Recommendation needed.

6. Firefox

7. FreeMind

8. Infraview or GIMP

9. Microsoft Office 2007 (Competition purpose)

10. Other Open Source applicatons

Recommendations by educators:

1. Jeff Utecht

Google Earth
Firefox default browser
jingproject
OpenOffice or MS OFfice

2. Tod Baker

Language teachers find software like Audacity helpful for recording voice and sound. I prefer to use GarageBand for serious work and Journler for on-the-fly work.

3. Sue Waters

Well my friend has been radical in his school – remove all standard MS software & told staff they’ll need to learn Web 2.0 tools

List of hardware considered to be purchased

1. IWB

2. Headsets

3. Better Webcams

4. Creative Vado

8 comments

  1. Susan Sedro

    Windows Movie Maker
    Photostory
    Picassa
    Timez Attack (given that this is an elementary lab)
    If I had it to do again, I might use this opportunity to jump to school Google account. Can give them school email address, use all the google apps for collaboration
    Would definitely go Moodle — Jeff Utecht has good blog post this week re: how his elementary’s implementation is going.

  2. tucksoon

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for the recommendations! Using Google apps would be fantastic. I will also give Moodle a try. I also need to review the current LMS my school is using.

  3. ashleytan

    You have a pretty comprehensive list and your visitors have made good suggestions. Here are a few of mine.

    If you don’ already have JungleByte, try it for lab management. But labs are passe and can sometimes end up being white elephants. I recommend NOWs (notebooks on wheels) instead. They are easier to maintain and quicker and more flexible to deploy.

    As I am guessing you already know, most of the things your students need are already online and in the form of powerful Web 2.0 tools. The only software that really needs to be purchased are medium to heavy duty image, music and video editing programs if your students will use them.

    Forget about IWBs. They are not truly interactive and they are expensive. If you must, you can create your own with a Wiimote and infrared pen for about S$100 and relying on existing infrastructure.

    Other than the Creative cam, consider Flipcam, the original version.

    My two cents… and then some!

  4. tucksoon

    Hi Dr Ashley,

    Thanks for your valuable input!

    1. We do have JungleByte, but licences had expired. Considering another Lab Management software. Any recommendation?

    2. Actually computer labs in my school are heavily utilised. In fact I had a hard time scheduling timetables due to concurrent sessions. But I do agree labs are passe, so I will seriously look into NOWs. Any links to local distributors?

    3. We used Ulead stuff for video editing in the past. Recently we used the most boring yet convenient Windows Movie Maker. I’m looking into free Web 2.0 editing tools like Animoto too.

    4. Haha. Same sentiments. IWB always look and sound cool but hopelessly overpriced. In fact I demonstrated the use of Wiimote Whiteboard earlier this year to teachers.

    5. The Flipcam is awesome but unavailable in local market. Hence the best substitute is our dear Creative answer to it😀

  5. tucksoon

    NOWs are really exciting. Will definitely explore the possibilities of having them for 1:1 programme🙂

    During my presentation in late January, I first show them an IWB and its staggering cost. Then I did a live demo of Wiimote Whiteboard. After that I show them the low cost of setting up. Most are quite impressed by it, asking me whether the school is getting for them. Haha. I had a teacher who actually ordered infrared pens online a day after my presentation!

    I tried it in my classrooms too. I enjoyed some success at first, especially for my Primary 4 kids. They were quite fascinated by the technology and wanted to play with the infrared pens. Most of the time I used it together with iFlashBook, a Chinese E-Textbook (http://bit.ly/VsodG). It worked quite seamlessly with the iFlashBook as I can physically control the E-Textbook on the projection screen.

    However it gradually became a bit of hassle because I have to practise ‘setup and teardown’ drills for 3 different Chinese classes. The height of standard projection screens is another issue as it is too high for most of us to reach when calibrating. I guess form teachers with fixed classrooms will enjoy more success with it as setting up and calibration are faster and convenient.

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