I picked them up on sale at a big box store a couple of years ago. (In my defense, at the time, 30 watts sounded like a lot...) They looked cool. They plugged neatly and easily into the headphone jack on my laptop. They were portable. They sounded loud enough in an empty classroom.
Unfortunately, once you fill a classroom with fidgety 8th graders, 30-watt speakers really don't do the job. I got around this for a long time by being extra-fascinating, so my students would be forced to listen really hard.
There comes a time, however, when a basically dull person like myself hits the Fascinating Wall.
So, imagine my gratitude when someone gave me a new pair of speakers.
Then I looked at the box and realized that they were - you guessed it - 30 watt speakers. So I sighed and got back on the Fascinating Wagon.
About a month ago, I bought a new toy - the Belkin Rockstar. It's a headphone "splitter"; think of it as an extension cord or a power strip for a set of headphones. You plug it into the headphone jack on a computer or MP3 player and you can plug five sets of headphones in at a time instead of just one.
Originally, I had thought I'd use it to record podcasts with multiple microphones, but the more I looked at it, the more possibilities I saw.
1) Five students can listen to a sound file at a computer or iPod at the same time - ten, if they share earbuds. (Eww.)
2) One microphone could run to multiple computers or MP3 players so that multiple students could record something and edit it individually.
and possibly most importantly...
3) One computer could connect to multiple sets of wimpy speakers.
I'm considering buying three more sets of speakers.