As everyone knows, budgets in school districts can be tight. Money for “extras” like headphones for every child in a classroom isn’t always available, and teachers have to be resourceful sometimes to make these kinds of visions come to fruition. Most recently, I took to Donors Choose to request funding for a class set of headphones. The class is fortunate enough to enjoy a cart of Chromebooks paid for by Bethel Education Foundation Grants and supplemented by Clear Lake’s Parent-Teacher Organization. The trouble had been that many of the educational sites and programs students were accessing in class had audio components students needed to hear. Further, since these applications are all individualized for each student’s skill level, no two kids were hearing the same audio at the same time. It turned the classroom into a gymnasium at times, hearing all of the different sounds and directions from 30 different computers at the same time!
So, to remedy this problem, I decided to find funding for headsets to go with the Chromebooks. Donors Choose, a web-based non-profit organization, seemed like the ideal avenue to obtain this funding. I have had several projects in the past funded through the organization and knew this one was a winner, too. Sixteen donors came together–including parents and families from Room 5 and Google–to fund enough headsets and adapters for every child!
Students were so excited when we opened up our GIANT Amazon box and revealed our new headphones! We had been working with a handful of headsets that I had dug up from around the school, all of which were in varying conditions of disrepair–some had sound in only one side, some only worked with certain tablets and others would work on what seemed like Tuesdays, but not Mondays or some other kind of arbitrary rule! Our new headphones are an absolute DREAM!
ALL of the headsets are dependable and in perfect working condition, of course. My workload as the teacher has been more than cut in half when it comes time to use our computers with the headphones. In the past, I’d run all over the room trying to turn down computers to reasonable levels, help the handful of kids with headphones try to get them working and try to answer questions in the meantime. Now, I’m free to work with each student as they need me and EVERYONE can hear!
We recently completed our end of the year math test on the computer and every student met their end of year goal. I genuinely believe this is due, in large part, to every student being able to access the audio component of the exam. Thank you, donors, for making this possible! You wouldn’t believe the improvement in our classroom environment with this seemingly simple tool.