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Archive for August, 2010

“Dumb” Phones, Smart Lessons

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

I was received an article today by Colleen  Gillard, which appears in the Harvard Education Letter.

The article clearly identifies many solid reason to reconsider the common notion that cell phones are bad and should be banned from our schools.

The article reminds me of a point Will Richardson made during a keynote speech at a technology conference I attended a few years ago.  While I cannot quote him directly I do recall the essence of his message.

He started out by asking if we (the audience members) banned cell phone use in schools by our students.  The vast majority of the audience members acknowledged affirmatively.

Will then queried the audience about why the use of cell phones in class is not allowed by students.  The responses were exactly what one would expect.  Audience members called out things such as “cheating”, “surfing the web”, “txting.”  He in turn responded something to the effect of “Oh, so we do not want them, researching, collaborating or communicating while they work?”

You get the point.

Help Parents Use Social Media to Stay Connected to the Classroom | Edutopia

August 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Help Parents Use Social Media to Stay Connected to the Classroom | Edutopia.

Came across this interesting blog post on the fabulous Edutopia site.  If you have not yet had the chance to explore the wealth of information and resources available on this site, I strongly recommend you take the time to do so.

Getting parents more involved by familiarizing them with some of the social networking tools available, is a terrific idea.

If you have any experience in this area, I am very interested to hear about it.

Good News to Report on Two Different Fronts

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

UPDATE ON APPLE MACBOOK PRO ISSUES

It all comes down to finding the right person to get the job done.

Kudos to the Apple Professional Services Team who really stepped up on this.  Once the problem with our users losing Admin rights on their local Macbook Pro when they left our network made to a high level “badged” Apple Engineer, it was resolved very quickly.

This was resolved just in time for us to continue prepping the remaining 600+ Macbook Pro units for distribution on September 1st.

PROGRESS CONTINUES WITH POLYVISION ENO INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARDS IMPLEMENTATION

Four more eno boards have arrived.  We hope to have them in place for the start of the new school year.

The new administration has also expressed an interest in quickly picking up where we left off with the plan to convert all 500+ classrooms to intelligent classrooms with new laptops, wall mounted projectors, eno interactive whiteboards and sound system.

Hopefully we are back on the road to progress.

Integrating Macs in our Environment

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Integrating our new Macs into our existing AD environment has presented some challenges.

Within the past few months we have installed nine new, 30-user iMac labs total.  One in each of our elementary and middle schools.  The labs went in with very little trouble and have generated a terrific buzz in our buildings.  Many teachers were quick to sign up for a time slot.  The response has been tremendous.  The children and teachers are all thrilled with the new labs.  One teacher commented that she brought her class to the computer lab more times in the past month (since the lab was installed) than she had in the previous 3 years.

The students took to the new iMacs, without any apprehension.  They just went in, sat down and got straight to work.  There have not been any technical issues that have prevented the students from working.  The brilliance of the screen, coupled with the speed at which the new iMacs operate, have really appealed to the students and teachers.

The Macbook Pro laptops slated to be distributed to all professional staff members has been another matter.

The laptops are sensational, sleek & sexy, and perform extremely well.  We have encountered some issues, however, with regards to taking them off of our network (home, for example.)

We have found that in order for the Macbook Pros to work effectively outside of our schools, we need to provide the staff members with administrative rights to the local machines.  This will allow the staff members to connect to home wireless access points, add printers and install software.

At this time, we are still struggling to find out why, once they are off our network, they lose their administrative rights.  We have worked tirelessly with high level engineers at Apple, who have assured us that we have everything set up properly, yet we continue to experience this problem.

At this point, we have deployed about 30 of the laptops to our administrators.  Thankfully, they have been extremely patient and willing to work with our tech staff to resolve this problem.  The administrators want to assist us in tweaking the laptops before we distribute them to our teachers in September.

The problem seems to have something to do with our new OD integrating with existing AD.  My tech staff and the Apple engineers, are confident will resolve this issue within the next few days.

Once this issue is resolved, all that remains is working out the logistics of deploying the laptops and providing a basic training to the 600+ staff members that are anxiously awaiting them.

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