Search form

Dear Santa...


We asked the Education World Tech and Teacher Teams: Whats on your holiday wish list this year? What gifts will make your life -- personally or professionally -- easierbettermore interestingmore fun? This is what they said

Your Favorite Gadgets

Whats on your holiday wish list this year? Share it with your colleagues on an Education World message board or on our Facebook page.

"There are so many tech gifts I would like to receive for personal and school use," said Mary Kreul. "My first thought is an iPhone, because Im a fan of anything made by Apple, and I love my iPod Touch. However, I read that a new iPhone is coming soon, so Ill probably wait until the new model is available.

"Instead, Ill ask for a Flip Video Camera with a tripod, one that I can use for family parties, special occasions, everyday projects, and especially at my nieces' basketball games. I could film their games and burn the videos to a CD to send to the girls' grandparents. The grandparents would love to watch the girls play a little b-ball!

"Of course, Id also use the Flip Video Camera with my grade 4 students. They could film interviews, literature circle discussions, science experiments, weather reports, and more. Im sure my students could think of many more interesting activities and projects to film with this oh-so-simple camera!"

"I guess I'm a little tech-jaded this holiday season," Doug Johnson noted. "I've been buying myself (and enjoying) tech toys right along. But I still have a few things on my wish list.

"The first is the expected Apple Tablet computer. It won't be available for this holiday season, but the rumors make it sound like a wonderful device.

"A great big iPod Touch/e-book reader? Who knows? I absolutely love my MacBook Air, but you never can have a computer thats too powerful or too thin.

"On a more pedestrian level, I'd like the new Apple mouse that responds to gestures, and a small portable hard drive I can carry with me with all my files.

"On a purely personal/recreational level, I just ordered a Roku device that I can hook to my TV to watch streaming NetFlix videos via my wireless router at home."

"Ive been teaching video production for a number of years and my biggest disappointment has come with cameras and tapes," Wally Fuller told Education World. "Just when things are going well in a production, the camera or tape has some issue and things come to a screeching halt -- truly a disappointment to all involved. The expense and time involved to repair expensive video cameras makes it almost not worth continuing a production.

"My wish list includes three Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Cameras with features that include built-in image stabilization, HD quality 1080p video, 4X digital zoom, and an external mic jack. Theyre less expensive than high-end cameras and versatile enough to make it easier and more fun for students. For less than $1000, our school TV production class can be outfitted and ready for full digital video production. (See Ask the Techies for more information."

Lots of educators apparently are looking for cameras in their stockings this year. Nik Peachey told Education World, "I'm torn between getting a new ipod with built in video camera or getting one of the Flip video cameras. I think those are great for in-class projects and for a whole huge range of teaching and learning activities. My only reservation about buying one now is that I'm guessing there will be a new i-Pod Touch with a camera in it before very long, and that will be much, much better, so I'm tempted to wait for that."

"Digital cameras are always wonderful," agreed Julia Timmons. "I love the Canon S series cameras. We have a number of them at school, and students and teachers find them user friendly -- and theyve lasted for five years now with pretty heavy use.

"Id also like an external hard drive -- one without a power supply to deal with. My personal favorite is Western Digital. More and more, my files are very large and theyre piling up. I need to assure myself that I have them backed up, and that the access to them is portable. WD and Seagate both have great auto-backup programs, and theyre the size of a man's wallet! Ill go for big -- 500 gig or better.

"Finally, I want a Flip Camera. Id like the Ultra HD, which has the higher resolution --1280 x 720 video. Those are so versatile and great for home or school!"

Midge Liggans gift list includes:

  • "a solar vest with a solar power system that can charge laptop, cell phones, cameras, and so on. It even can supply power for three floors of lights.
  • "a pocket projector: When your iPod screen just wont do, an Optoma Pico will. A DLP chip drives the device, which fits in your pocket. Really! This micro-projector comes with a spare battery, carrying bag, and recharges from your computers USB port. Minimum distance from your screen is 8 inches; maximum is 8.5 feet, which provides a 60-inch image.
  • "a powerstick: This USB device allows one to limit the number of power adapters to pack when traveling. Charge it fully, and then transfer the charge to mobile devices. It comes with nine adapters that are compatible with most cell and smart phones, MP3 players, and GPS devices."

Cossondra Georges holiday wish list begins with"Technology! Id love a SmartBoard, a document camera, a new laptop for school -- so I don't have to use my personal one, and a class set of new laptops to replace the dinosaurs I currently have in my classroom. Given the technology to use, there are so many cool things I could be doing with my students. However, we lag far behind the curve.

"Other gifts on my list would be books for my classroom library -- the hot ones the kids are reading. I try to keep my library stocked with a fresh supply, but Id love a huge stack of new books!

"As far as gifts from students, my favorites are the handwritten notes that tell me why they appreciate me. No candle or candy in the world could replace those keepsakes."

Amy Davis has some ideas for personal gifts that would make any educators job easier. Shes dreaming of"a Spa Day or a gift certificate for some pampering! Every teacher can use a day of relaxation and pampering. Or maybe a date night package -- dinner and a movie gift card or something like that.

"Last year, I was given a gift card to Sheetz, which I was able to use for gas, coffee, lunch, and so on."

"Gift cards are always appreciated," agreed Janice Friesen, "and they can come in any size to fit any budget. Fun gift cards are for going out to eat or to Starbucks or for a massage or to a spa. More practical gift cards can be from WalMart, Target, Amazon, or Office Depot. I always like bubble bath, stationary, or handmade goodies as well."

"In my children's school," Lucy Gray told Education World, "parents collect funds and purchase larger items for teachers -- such as a digital camera or a slew of games for the classroom. I think thats really practical for classroom teachers.

"In terms of my own list, I'd love to have any of the following if Santa was feeling particularly generous:

"I want to keep my job," said Laura Jones. "Theyre talking about eliminating all the tech support in the schools, and I want to keep doing what I do.

"And I want a Chaos Tower -- $99 on Amazon."

Who Are They?

The Education World Tech Team includes more than 30 dedicated and knowledgeable educational-technology professionals who have volunteered to contribute to occasional articles that draw on their varied expertise and experience. The following Tech Team members contributed to this article:
* Janet Friesen, technology instructional partner, Barton Creek Elementary School, Eanes ISD, Austin, Texas
* Cossondra George, grade 7 math and social studies teacher, Newberry Middle School, Newberry, Michigan
* Lucy Gray, education technology specialist, Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
* Michael Hutchinson, social studies department chair, Vincennes Lincoln High School, Vincennes, Indiana
* Doug Johnson, director of media and technology, Mankato Area Public Schools, Mankato Minnesota
* Mary Kreul, grade 4 teacher, Richards Elementary School, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
* Nik Peachey, freelance learning technology consultant, writer, teacher trainer, based in Morocco
* Marcella Ruland, high-school history teacher, Glenelg High School, Glenelg, Maryland
* Matt Shea, director of technology, Lopatcong Township School District, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
* Krystal Weiss, grade 4 teacher, Memorial Drive Elementary School, Spring Branch Independent School District, Houston, Texas
* Guy Whitman, grade 7 social studies teacher, Fremont Middle School, Fremont, Nebraska
* Shelly Whitman, grade 8 english teacher, Fremont Middle School, Fremont, Nebraska
* Katy Wonnacott, grade 7 geography teacher, Signal Hill School, Belleville, Illinois

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2009 Education World