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General Chat Thread, 'Increase access to technology in the classroom" in General; Is the quite broad brief I have been given to work with by the head. He wants ideas as to ...
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    'Increase access to technology in the classroom"

    Is the quite broad brief I have been given to work with by the head. He wants ideas as to how we could accomplish this. Essentially he is probably thinking laptops, tablets or something similar.

    Our school currently has 2 ICT suites, and apart from one room, no other student accessible computers, no wireless and no laptops. So I can see where he is coming from.

    But apart from the obvious, any other ideas? It pretty much boils down to more computers one way or another I would think

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    Really it depends on what the Head/School wants to achieve .... it really is a broad brief that one! I would ask the question what he expects once you offer him options for increasing access to technology in the classroom. If you have an idea of what direction he wants to take the increased access in then you will have a better idea of what to offer him as potential solutions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidewinder View Post
    But apart from the obvious, any other ideas? It pretty much boils down to more computers one way or another I would think
    Our EeePCs set up as web-browser only devices seem to be working well - they just switch on, boot up and load up a web browser, nothing else. They are static, staying in particular classrooms. We have half a dozen per classroom, for Year 1 pupils - you might need more for different year groups.

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    TBH, the pupils already probably have a shed load of technology they bring into school with them. A good wireless setup will allow them to use the schools systems securely on their own devices, whatever they are. Accessing technology does not necessarily mean it all having to be the schools kit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Our EeePCs set up as web-browser only devices seem to be working well - they just switch on, boot up and load up a web browser, nothing else. They are static, staying in particular classrooms. We have half a dozen per classroom, for Year 1 pupils - you might need more for different year groups.
    How have you achieved this mate? We invested in eepc very early and have some with just 8gig hdd gathering dust about the place? You just got single sign on and not joined to domain ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pooley View Post
    How have you achieved this mate? We invested in eepc very early and have some with just 8gig hdd gathering dust about the place? You just got single sign on and not joined to domain ?
    The machines boot into Debian with XFCE Window Manager, then run Chrome. They connect to our wireless before the GUI starts, there's no GUI tool to tinker around with the wireless settings - they can just use the web browser, nothing else. Chrome is, hopefully, keeping itself up-to-date and has built-in Flash and PDF viewers and seems to have no driver issues - I did try Firefox, but there was a fair bit of messing around involved in getting Flash and sound all working at the same time. At the moment, Chrome is running in kiosk mode, which is okay for year 1, but more senior students are probably gioing to want multiple browser tabs and a back button and so on, so I think I might switch to a script that just loops to run Chrome, so if a pupil closes it it simply reopens.

    The EeePCs work well under Linux - there's drivers for the keyboard hotkeys and everything. I have our own custom distribution on a bootable USB stick and can image a machine in a few minutes. Having had one of our EeePCs apart, I can see it is actually possible to replace both solid-state mini-PCI hardddrives - if you bump them up to 16GB they might just about run Windows, although probably still rather slowly.

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    Thanks, another job to add to my ever growing list

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    Quote Originally Posted by pooley View Post
    Thanks, another job to add to my ever growing list
    I could just send you a copy of our customised Debian install - just insert your own wireless SSID and password and browser homepage and away you go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    TBH, the pupils already probably have a shed load of technology they bring into school with them. A good wireless setup will allow them to use the schools systems securely on their own devices, whatever they are. Accessing technology does not necessarily mean it all having to be the schools kit.
    ^^ What he Said.

    Start thinking outside the box.
    Watch this:
    RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms - YouTube

    Relate it to ICT in your school and how teachers can engage students at their level rather than at the traditional teachers level. I once recommended the book 'how to think like a computer scientist' to our head of ICT. He read it and stated that whilst it was technically correct, it said to students that because 'I cant think like you, you must think like me'. This has really stuck with me, to engage students it must be done with something they can relate to in their world.

    More technology doesn't necessarily mean more computers. Mobile devices are technology (I got flamed previously on this forum for likening smartphones to computers, I'm safe saying they are technology though). There's lots of possibilities - even VLE's will increase tech in the classroom.

    If you provide the infrastructure then you open up many more possibilities especially with respect to user owned devices and leasing schemes.
    Last edited by CyberNerd; 27th January 2012 at 12:25 AM.

  10. Thanks to CyberNerd from:

    TechMonkey (27th January 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I could just send you a copy of our customised Debian install - just insert your own wireless SSID and password and browser homepage and away you go.
    If you could mate that would be superb

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I could just send you a copy of our customised Debian install - just insert your own wireless SSID and password and browser homepage and away you go.
    could you release this to the wider community?

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    @dhicks Could I get a copy of your custom install too?

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    How bigis the install/config? Maybe we could host it somewhere? Or if you could give niceinstructions with links to software we could build it ourselves without too much brainpower being used

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    I can't help but think that maybe he should have a more concrete outcome in mind other than just "we need more technology!". What does your current provision not allow for? What do staff and students want to do that they can't? Ultimately it is all about the teaching and learning, and that isn't your expertise - if the professionals tell you what they want to achieve, and this absolutely needs to be a dialogue so you can spark off each others' ideas, then you can look at ways of implementing it. If you just put in more technology because it seems like a good thing, then it will sit there unused because there's not a need for it.

  16. 3 Thanks to sonofsanta:

    CESIL (27th January 2012), sidewinder (2nd February 2012), SteveBentley (27th January 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pooley View Post
    Or if you could give niceinstructions with links to software we could build it ourselves without too much brainpower being used
    That's probably the best option, rather than hosting / updating a file somewhere that I then have to provide instructions on for people to edit. I have my notes I wrote when I set the machines up, I'll check those are up-to-date and try and do a quick how-to video.

  18. 5 Thanks to dhicks:

    crc-ict (27th January 2012), CyberNerd (27th January 2012), dave.81 (27th January 2012), joe90bass (2nd February 2012), pooley (31st January 2012)



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