A Fairytale Ending
Out of nine finalists, our school won the top prize with 3,137 votes. We all were speechless with excitement!
With the $25,000 to be used toward those much-needed tech upgrades, we chose 29, 2,800-lumen high-brightness mobile projectors, which are designed for small spaces with a lot of ambient light, like most of our classrooms.
We also ordered 23 32-inch LED edge-lit commercial-grade displays for homeroom classrooms, which now play the lively morning announcement video that the older kids produce each day.
An extra boon came from receiving the contest money: Because we didn’t need to put our technology budget toward digital projectors, we instead bought eight new computers. The prize money funded eight 19-inch desktop monitors with built-in speakers to complement the computers. The new monitors show a clearer, crisper picture and take up much less space on the lab desks, giving our students more room to work.
As the final part of our prize, we also received an edge-lit commercial grade monitor, now stationed in the parents’ waiting area to share news and information – much more interesting to look at than the static roadway sign or paper notices on the walls.
The new technology has made a big difference in Northwest’s classrooms. Our teachers use the digital projectors daily, for everything from vocabulary lessons to social studies video clips, as well as software-based group lessons. They also provide an efficient way for teachers to give students directions, and students themselves use the projectors during presentations. It’s a great feeling to see the kids engage with the technology and use it to learn.
Three Tips for Dealing with Budget Shortages
1. Look for creative solutions to budget shortages. We thought we were in a bind because there wasn’t enough money to cover the necessary technology. Who would ever have thought that making a parody video–which was a fun community-building exercise for the school–would help us get what we needed?
2. Keep an open mind. We were lucky to have a curriculum coach with her ear to the ground. Don’t discount anyone’s idea–listen and ask questions to see if it’s feasible.
3. Consult the experts. After we won our prize money, NEC helped us choose exactly the right digital projectors and displays for our needs. As educators, we know teaching through and through and it’s important to remember that our vendors know their stuff just as comprehensively. Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions or recommendations when shopping for new educational products.
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