The one technology peripheral that my students and I use on a regular basis is my Smartboard, usually several times a day. I love it and they love it more. Using the Smartboard, along with the Notebook program, allows me to grab the attention of my students and really get them involved in the teaching and learning. It is great for modeling and even better for guided practice. Using the Smartboard with Notebook my students have sorted word families, illustrated poems, identified high frequency and rhyming words, played math games, dramatized stories, and experimented with how to manipulate the tools and settings on Notebook. It is the magic I use when I need to really capture my students' attention and actively engage even the most active student. To manage its use my students know how the Smartboard works with all of the essential elements - computer, software, projector - and they know the proper use of the tools - pens and erasers. I only wish that they didn't have to remember that only one person can work on it at a time. Maybe one day I'll have the new model that allows the Smartboard to be used by two people simultaneously. A girl can dream! And while I'm at it I would also like a Smart Slate. Like my dad always said, "If you are going to dream, you might as well dream big!"
I am usually in control of most of the other peripherals that I use in class - digital cameras, document camera, ipod, external mikes, flip camera - most of which are used weekly if not daily. I manage them by keeping most of the peripherals and their corresponding cords in one place very near my laptop. My school is great about providing a variety of technology peripherals to its teachers but, I feel that they have over looked one important one that has made my life sooooo much easier - - the usb hub. I use a usb hub to keep everything plugged in so that I only have to plug one cable into my laptop every morning and I'm not constantly plugging and unplugging things that I want to use. It sounds like a silly thing but it's the little things that make life easier.
Next semester I would like to put digital cameras in the hands of my students. Much like the management of laptops, my management of digital cameras will include starting with the basics and keeping things simple. I'm sure the students would be thrilled to see some pictures that they have taken on our class blog.