Thursday, December 9th, 2010 | technology
The term infrastructure is used to describe the physical environment that need to be in place in the classroom for technology to operate optimally.
Some technologies, such as digital cameras, require no infrastructure modifications; others, such as interactive whiteboards, require considerable work in the room where you want to install them. Your requirements depend on the type of equipment you want to install and the condition of the room. Never underestimate the cost of infrastructure changes – it may bloat your total expenditure considerably.
Possible infrastructure alterations you may need are:
Security: Some form of security in the room is always required to protect your equipment. Computers and data projector are particularly vulnerable since they are portable and are easy to resell. Burglar bars at the windows, security gates and lockable cages are good deterrents for criminals.
Electricity: You will need at least one electricity plug point for each piece of equipment and each one must be in a convenient place – you don’t want long extension leads in your classroom. For example, if you install the data projector in the ceiling, provision must be made for a plug close to where the data projector is mounted.
Internet: If the school already has access to the internet, ducting must be installed to house the connection wires to the point of access.
Light: It must be possible to reduce harsh light to enable all in the class to see projections on a wall, screen or whiteboard.
Work surface: The teacher requires a sturdy worktop on which to place the computer – in most cases a small cabinet suffices. Other technologies may demand special work surfaces – this could be a challenge in over-crowded classrooms.
Wall: When you want to bring an interactive whiteboard into the classroom you need a sturdy wall on which to mount the board. Walls of old schools are often made of clay or wood that may not be strong enough to hold the weight of the board – in these cases reinforcement is required. When you plan to use an interactive device with no board – where the image is projected onto a wall – you must ensure that the surface is very smooth.
The initial cost of technology devices is only part of the total cost – don’t forget to budget for infrastructure modifications.
For more technology tips for teachers click here.
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