Warning: The following update will be rambling and disjointed, but it will reflect the kind of day it has been. Lots of things to juggle and keep in the air.
Today marked the second day with the new devices. Students began the day with issues logging in. For some reason, there seems to be a conflict with which way the chrome netbooks want to connect to the school’s wifi. It seems some devices register on the network as staff, but others register as students. I’m unclear if this is a default setting or an issue with teaching the students the right way to login.
We also updated the Chrome OS on each device today. I guess an update was made available. And combine that with the district IT folks coming in to setup a new wifi hub in my room to handle the increase demand, the devices all appeared to go a bit haywire this morning. So… patiently we put them away for a bit and worked on other assignments and material. After the break, students shutdown and rebooted to much better results once the transition to a new wifi hub was complete, and the updated devices began to work and log in as they should. I guess setting up the new hub caused a conflict of some sort.
We tested out how the devices work with ThinkCentral and SOAR, one of the original math websites we have used. These sites worked great! not one student reported an issue and all web content loaded as it should. Students also tested out the new MangaHigh site we have been trying this week, and noticed the same problem as yesterday. Half the students could only get a plain text version to load and others saw the site as normal. I think this may have something to do with how the devices are connecting to the wifi network. I believe the students connecting as staff can load the site and the students connecting as students are getting some content blocked.
Students also used their gmail a bit in class to fill our a google form based on our reading strategies for discovering meaning in character. Students linked to the form through their email accounts and shared their feelings on times they have been “wronged” like the main character in the book. I then recieve the results in a nice neat google spreadsheet so I can look at the responses in well organized file. I must say, this was my first classroom form and I like the way google makes this so easy and fast. Great, easy instant feedback.
Later on students worked more updating their new GoodRead accounts with books they read with the class and on their own. Students are learning to connect to each other, and share about what they have read. We went over some privacy settings to make sure students know how to use the site safely. I have high hopes GoodReads and would like students to find this exciting and get them reading more.
After lunch we used edmodo to connect to a group sending out a live feed discussing the issues polar bears are facing with environmental changes to their ecosystems. We listened to and observed a group of scientists that are studying the issue first hand. Their video feed came from a special Tundra Vehicle that was located near bear dens during the migration period. Students even had a chance to send their own questions in, since this was all live. We were a bit sad that we did not get picked, but it was exciting when a class from Rosewood Elementary did have their questions read!
Learning how to manage the devices and content use for students was apparent today. For one, students has had trouble keeping up with the different usernames and passwords they must know to use the different web resources and devices. This is justifiably tough. We use a number of different web 2.0 sites. And I did add a few more this week! Even I have trouble keeping it straight. I need to develop a better system so students do not have to worry about memorizing each password. I have tried to get their passwords and logins the same or similar when possible, but even when a student misspells by one letter they are unable to use the resource. I cannot tell you how many times a student was sure their device was not working, but only had a missing letter in the login or password. Second, students are naturally curious about what the netbooks can do. Unfortunatley, I had to limit use for students who felt the need to learn about video chatting, and loading chrome game apps without permission. So far, this has only been a few, and I hope they got the message when they lost the priviledge of the netbook today.
Tomorrow is another day. Lots more to try out, and hopefully get a few more kinks settled. Sorry for the poor grammar, misspelled words, etc. I did not feel up to editing and revising tonight. Just a free flow of thoughts.