Look into my crystal ball of school technology.

Often when I work with school districts someone will inevitably ask me to predict the future of school technology. "What's going to be the next big thing?" They ask like I have a crystal ball that I can just look into and figure out where districts should spend their technology money. The truth is I don't, but I do live and breath school technology so I guess it is a fair question.

So here is my list what a standard 21st Century Classroom should have:

Hardware:
1) Interactive whiteboards paired with LCD projectors. The projectors should be permanently mounted to avoid damage and the annoyance of always having to align the interactive whiteboard. More and more teachers are getting these every year and lessons are slowly getting converted over to embrace this technology.

2) Document cameras go right along with number 1 since you should already have a LCD projector. Teachers hate giving up their old overhead projectors at first but then after a few months they love, yes love, their document cameras -- because you can put practically everything underneath it: calculators, books, dissected frogs, you name it.

3) Classroom sound systems, hopefully the days of little back-row-Sally not being able to hear her teacher are coming to an end. Since so much of what happens in a classroom is auditory, like the teacher talking, watching a video, listening to music, etc. we need to make sure every student has a fair chance of hearing what is going on.

Software:
1) Go Web 2.0 whenever possible, if there is a choice between a math CD or a math website -- go with the website every time.

2) Online professional development, pay for a good quality company like AtomicLearning.com and reap the benefits of not having to sit down and train each and every teacher individually, let the online PD do it for you. Let's say your teachers are struggling with how to create their first podcast, all you do is assign a few online lessons and check back in a few weeks to see how their podcasting went. You can't expect teachers to use new technology unless you plan on training them how to use it.

That's all for today -- tomorrow I will tell you about some cool future technologies that I see coming over the horizon.