Sunday, October 2, 2011

I am not sure how to get what I need on the netbooks

IT has said to let them know what I need to have put on all of the machines and I am really excited to do this. However, I am not sure what I want or how to communicate what I do want to them. I want to get my Kindle account on each machine. I have done some investigating and found out that I can have 6 copies of each book open at one time. I would really like to utilize this for motivation during book clubs.  I also do not see the application that allows the machine to switch to the tablet mode on the students desktops. There is also some issues with saving to their flash drives. I would like a short cut in the task bar. This is something that they are more accustomed to. I have learned the keyboard shortcut recently and I am using this with the students now but the task bar icon would still be appreciated when I work with students from other classes that may not have had the instructions. 

Biz town

Our students are participating in Biz Town again this year. One of their preparation tasks is to create and type a Newspaper Ad and a Radio Ad. In the past the students have written this ads and turned them in for the teachers to type and submit to Biz town ahead of time. This year we were able to have the students type the ads directly to their machine, save them to the school folder where I could retrieve them and upload them to Biz town. Although all fifth graders still cannot log on, there were enough who could that we could get one or two machines in each group. WOO HOO! I did not have to type them all.

Government Section of State Report

My students have had access to the internet focusing their time on Pioneer sites. They have been able to type in class as they search. When they have completed their rough draft they saved to their flash drives which they have turned in. I have corrected them in the REVIEW TAB of WORD. We then had a lesson on how they needed to review their work and my suggestions. They have had experience working in the REVIEW TAB to accept or reject and add or cut information. Then they save again and turn it in for final review. I review again and print a final copy. For this section we did not use a webbing program so it was not completely paperless until the final copy. However, it is my hope that we can utilize another program in the next section where we can accomplish this task.

Still frustrated

I am still struggling with the log in process. I have finally been able to get all of my students on a computer. #1 has no icons so that student used #27. I have assigned them the corresponding computer number to their classroom number so I can track hardware problems with computers but I can manage one that does not correspond.
I am still far from that close with the rest of the fifth grade. I have given a list of all of the problems with logins for all of the fifth grade to IT. Now we are just waiting. I am anxious to get started with their power-point projects for their state reports. We are a week late already with this and the students are pretty anxious too.
My students are enjoying the freedom to get their computer out when they are finished with other work and work on their state reports. My class has 85% of all government sections turned in whereas the rest of the fifth grade has not completed the rough draft sections yet.


Friday, September 16, 2011


I have found that some of the batteries just pop off easily. This creates a situation where they do not charge on the cart. After checking a few machines, I found that the slide lock was not all the way locked on some of the machines. So, when a student holds it by the battery side, they simply pop off. I have now included a discussion on how to carry the machines so that they do not accidentally disengage the battery. I have also checked them all for a secure lock. Hopefully this will eliminate this problem. I have three machines that do not show icons when the student logs on. I have had to go through back doors to help them access the programs and sites that we need. This is time consuming and distracting. Here goes a help ticket!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So they finally arrive!

Our first week with the new netbooks has been wonderful and wonderfully horrible. Adjusting to the security steps has been a challenge. But I now have most of the fifth grade signed on. It took 45 minutes with each class to teach them how to get the computers out, log on, log off and put the machines away. I hope the next session goes a bit faster. The students are all excited about the machines. I had several ask if they could purchase them and how. The tablet feature was the most popular to ooh and ahh about.

Some of the pitfalls were
  • The cart is tricky! The size of the battery pack makes the machines a tight fit. 
  • With the cords facing the back of the cart, there is no way to quickly assess whether the cords are plugged in or not. 
  • If a machine has a dead battery, you have to take the back of the cart off to be able to get a cord to plug the machine in while a student is working.
  • There are occasions when some administrator access would speed things up. We have already encountered a missing plug in for a web search that we were doing so we had to abandon the search.
Some of the solutions we have found:
  • Turn one machine upside down in each slot to help them fit better and put them in together. It is still tough and a bit time consuming, but they do fit better.
  • Turn all of the machines around. We needed to feed more of the cords through from the back, but we made it work. Now I can visually see if they are all plugged in and a student can quickly push on each plug to be sure that they are completely plugged in. 
  • I have taken the back off so many times that I decided to leave it off during the day and put it back on at the end of the day.
  • I will be putting in a help ticket frequently, I am afraid. There are things that I could trouble shoot on my own if I were aloud, but as it is, I will need frequent visits from the techs.