One of the things that used to frustrate me when I was teaching was the cost of the tools you needed to effectively teach science. In the end the overall cost was high and I paid for it out of my own pocket.
Today things are changing and the tools are growing rapidly cheaper.
So as part of my CSTEAM series I thought I would introduce tools that schools could purchase (multiple teachers could use) and tools that a single teacher could use their supply budget on and still have money left to buy additional supplies.
Vernier: Their tools are simply world class. Highest quality and they are sturdy enough that passing them between classrooms won’t impact them. Across the board Vernier sells the best educational materials. The graphing program that Vernier has is simply amazing, and works exceptionally well with any device (computer or tablet).
Luidia: makers of the eBeam solution. Turn any whiteboard into an interactive whiteboard. The newest version of the product doesn’t even require a whiteboard.
TouchPico: This is a crowd funded solution that combines a touch screen and a portable projector making any surface a touch screen. As this is the crowd funded name (you can search it on Google) I don’t know what the company will be called when it goes full into production.
JIBO: Again a crowd funded device that every school should have in the office. If you child is injured or upset you can connect and talk to them letting them know you are on the way and everything is going to be ok.
INXUS: Does some of what the Vernier tools do (not at the same level, and certainly not with the same output). The Verv3 2 has just been released as is less than $100 to get started exploring the fun reality of computer based physical science.
3d Pens: There are a number of 3d pens available now and the prices are dropping. This gives you a chance to examine the art in building and architecture. A 3d pen gives you the opportunity to examine how things are put together. But it also opens the fun reality of expressing an artistic view of virtually anything.
When I was in the classroom there was only one toolset (Broderbund) and I didn’t have the funds to acquire one. They were expensive (well beyond my supply budget) but in the end they are game changes in the CSTEAM world. A wise man once told me “a classroom isn’t part of a building. It is in the end a student’s window to the universe.” Hans Oliver Andersen
Ad part of my book “The Syncverse” I talked about the creation of a system that would allow educators to share and develop concepts and ideas beyond simply the walls of their classroom. Connected science, technology, engineering, art and math lessons offer so many possible outcomes. From simply sharing the art work of 2nd graders around the country to helping a young person who speaks Arabic that has moved to France. Instead of losing a year to learning the language that child can learn the new language while still learning in Arabic the things they need to know. No lost years for anyone. In the end the windows to the universe opened!