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Links Thread, Language exams and laptops in Links, Downloads and Scripts; Now that the exams are over, just interested to know how other schools dealt with exams where CDs needed to ...
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    Language exams and laptops

    Now that the exams are over, just interested to know how other schools dealt with exams where CDs needed to be used, such as language listening exams and Music listening exams

    We used our laptop trolley and they listened using Windows Media Player. Just had an email from the Deputy Head who is now dealing with a couple of parents who said that their children suffered as the laptops stopped working. He wants me to look at suitable alternatives or ways to move forward.

    The only real issue was that Windows Media player crashed on a student and we were called down to sort it out. We always set up 2 or 3 additional spare laptops in case of such issue but the invigilator and student decided to stay on the same laptop. VLC media player is an alternative program to use as that is more reliable than Windows Media Player.

    The other alternative solutions that I have provided is

    1. Go to portable CD players (no IT issue or system crash can be at fault then).
    2. Re-image the laptop trolley laptops ready for the exams and only allow it to be used for the exams and therefore not allowing the trolley to be used as a resource elsewhere in school.
    3. Move all the exams into the Music Technology ICT Suite, which have CD drives. However, there is no guarantee that the same thing won't happen again, with software crashing. However, The Music Department will then also suffer will reduced timetables.
    4. Buy laptops specifically for exam use and not allow them to be used for anything else throughout the year. However, this is an expensive option and a waste of decent laptops.

    My preference would be the portable CD players but the Deputy Head is saying that the Head of MFL moved away from this a couple of years ago as that too was unreliable and the students did not know how to use the CD players as they were more used to laptops and the media players on those!!!

    Any suggestions, ideas or improvements would be a great hel;p.

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    If all they are doing is listening to a CD then a portable CD player is all that is needed, far more simpler, less to go wrong.

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    Language exams and laptops

    That's what I said, but the head of MFL said that students were unfamiliar with portable CD players.

    What the <expletive deleted>!! There is a play, stop, pause, forward and rewind. How much more difficult can you get. Cheap 20 each players from Argos is not really rocket science
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 29th June 2014 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Edited for language

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    Zourous's Avatar
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    How about cheap mp3 players? No dodgy scratched cd's to worry about. I guess it depends if you're allowed to rip it off the original source cd.

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    We just use our network and rip the CD's as MP3's and give the students the option of using the tracked or untracked version.

    Disabling everything such as the internet / word etc.

    We then have a generic exam logon that is logged on ready for the start of the exam.

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    Computers used in exams can always go wrong and if you want to use the equipment you already have then you did exactly the right thing by having spares it's not your fault the invigilator decided not to use a spare.

    Copying the audio files to a folder on the local machine using a GPP so you can rule out network issues may be a good idea.

    Ben

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    If they are struggling with CD player operation how about a set of cheap MP3 players? Rip the CD to these. Someone would have to make sure the whole lot were charged befire the exam which could be a pain with a large cohort, but no worse.
    EDIT
    Just realised that Zouros suggested this first
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 29th June 2014 at 06:05 PM.

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    You can get super-simple big button CD players for the visually impaired - these are ideal for this job.

    We have exam specific laptops, a set of 15. They do get some serious use throughout the year due to controlled assessments etc (though it's all changing again) but I wouldn't bother just for CD playback.

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    Don't know about your board, but ours changed the rules and we were no longer allowed to open the pack before the paper. I've left languages, so don't know how they are handling it now. we used to digitise, then use the Sanako software for playback during the A levels. GCSE disks play out from the teachers' console, over headphones in the language lab where possible, or a decent sound system in an exam hall.

  10. Thanks to Andrew_C from:

    elsiegee40 (29th June 2014)

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    plexer's Avatar
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    If they all have to listen to is at the same time what about one of the infrared transmission systems that are available that'd be pretty sweet

    Ben

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    Thanks. But I don't think you can open them before hand and so converting to mp3 won't be an option

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    We use small CD players, the mfl staff use them close to exam time to get the students familiar with their operation. Also keep a spare just in case.

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    We put the language students into an IT Suite (however we only get small groups of them) loading the files into a new exam user. Plenty of space and turn on the machines either side of the student incase of a problem. I always use VLC for playing the files. If you cant rip the files could you not just buy an external DVD player for about 20 for the machines.

    If they are not happy using laptops or PC's then is it really your remit?

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    Galway's Avatar
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    Training! Everyone involved gets to sit and listen to the requirements. All scenarios looked into with special attention to do's and do nots.
    All signed for so they cannot worm out of it and just call for bill gates the first time it doesn't work.
    Dvd and cd players will only invite calls to the AV technician (you haha) the first time the play button does not work.

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