I have a new toy.
As I mentioned previously, they finally hooked up all my gadgets and gizmos the other day and it's been great. No more whining, "but I can't see the TV" when I'm showing videos, doing PowerPoint notes, or running a BrainPop. The document reader is a blast and I can do things like put up the weather map from the paper and talk about weather forecasting (gotta hit those standards!) and the kids can see it larger than life and in full color. (They also get a kick at seeing my hands magnified at a gazillion times which reminds me, yet again, why I wish I could afford a decent manicure).
However, the gadget I'm starting to like the best is the microphone.
Yup, this set up came with not one, but two microphones! One I can wear around my neck and turn on, and then my voice is broadcast through speakers in the ceiling and throughout the room. The other one can be used by kids when they're reading aloud or doing a presentation or whatnot. (Although I rarely have them read aloud.) Mr. Social Studies has started to use the student one and all of a sudden he's got kids frantically waving their hands wanting to volunteer to read and use the microphone. He actually started to use the teacher one last week, (and discovered that he can actually stand in the hallway outside his door and yell at a kid to sit down and get quiet, and it booms throughout his room). For some reason I held off, mainly because I have a pretty significantly loud teacher voice anyway.
However, on Monday of this week my throat was scratchy and raw for some reason (seasonal allergies most likely) and I decided to try the microphone.
And I'm hooked.
This thing is absolutely wonderful. I don't have to raise my voice at all. Everything I say is broadcast loud and clear and all the kids can hear it. And to be honest, it really sets them on their toes when they can hear me through six speakers. There are a couple of things to get used to, however. Feedback happens if I get too close to the control equipment (but that's not a big deal). I also have to remember to turn it off when I'm talking with a kid privately.
And remember to turn it off when the allergies hit and I have to sneeze. (Nope, hasn't happened yet, but I've come close).
The best thing is that I don't feel as worn out at the end of the day. I can actually teach a class of 29 (my largest class, and I have lab seats for 28), and never have to raise my voice. I can actually talk with them in a normal conversation.
Sometimes technology is just wonderful.