Archive for the ‘Laptops’ Category

SolutionsOkay folks, here are my solutions in a very troubling situation.  I am an instructional technology specialist and current classroom teacher that unfortunately has very little access to technology.  The spring semester this year was so frustrating, I began to bring my own devices to supplement the needs of my students in accessing the bare bones tools I provide online.  My solution this fall is to continue to use personal devices, resurrect old devices, and I’m going to try some discount devices that hopefully won’t cause my own children to starve from the money I am choosing to take from my personal budget that takes care of their welfare (I know I am taking a risk that these devices die as based on past experience).

What I have been using are two old laptops (HPs) that were assigned to myself and my classroom that I have installed Ubuntu on for a more reliable operating system.  I took my old Asus netbook and installed Ubuntu on it replacing Windows XP.  I have an old HP desktop that runs Windows 7, and I have resurrected 3 iBook G3s, 1 PowerBook Titanium, and a PowerBook Lombard.  I bring 4 of my kid’s DOPO devices (I had 5 but one crashed and burned – sorry Nicholas), and I have just ordered 3 more DOPO devices for a total of $119.  I also have an old iPad and old Kindle added to the mix; plus, I do have my teacher laptop that can be utilized as needed.  With this I have amassed 15 devices that will “work” in most instances.  I fortunately do have access to a BYOD network that students can utilize with various devices and some can use their phones if they choose.

The frustrating part of all of this is that I just don’t think this is how life should be for an educator in the 21st Century; however, it is in my case, and I am doing what I can to provide devices that will allow access to tools that I know will help my students succeed.  I have applied for grants, but the tech department in my district won’t approve affordable devices:  disappointing to say the least.  I am on the lookout for old laptops that can be revived with Ubuntu or some flavor of Linux, and that search will continue as the school days pass by (160+ more school days which turns out to be only 160 hours that my students spend in class for the year – time is short!).  I am trying to make the best of a difficult situation, but I’m not sure it is the best way.  I also don’t think this solution will last much longer.  I’m looking to go elswhere to find a place that will invest in the education of my students and children, and I know now that it is definitely not here.  Chime in if you have other ideas that may help.  Happy computing!


Via: Voxy Blog

Unchained is probably my favorite Van Halen song.  It aligned with my youthful angst from what seems like many years ago.  I have read several blog posts, articles, tweets, etc. that touch on the topic of opening up filters, classrooms, allowing students to explore:  breaking down the walls of classrooms.

The following are a couple of a pictures of something that has bothered me since the day I saw it, and it typifies the lack of movement, restriction, or virtual, and in this case literal, chaining of our resources because of fear, “convenience,” or whatever seems to hold us back.  I took these pictures, and unfortunately I am minutes away from where I can take another of the same thing.  It is time for me to help these portable devices to become unchained.

Oh yeah, I also included a YouTube video of Van Halen performing “Unchained” live, in concert.  I’m sorry that some of you can’t watch it because it is blocked.  😦

The following is an article I posted on our district website detailing our recent netbook deployment.  North Platte Public Schools in North Platte, Nebraska has roughly 4200 students:  1 high school, 2 middle schools, and 10 elementary schools.

Netbooks: A Cost Effective Digital Learning Solution

by Neil Hokanson, Educational Technology Director North Platte Public Schools

December 21, 2009

During the fall of 2008, the North Platte Public School Technology Department began to evaluate netbooks as a digital device solution. Netbooks are small laptop computers (with 10 inch screens) that have all the computing power of a regular laptop without a DVD or CD drive. The cost is roughly 1/3 that of a regular laptop and much cheaper than a desktop computer. Best of all the devices are portable opening up use anywhere, anytime. Pilot projects were tried in the North Platte High School Science Department and at Adams Middle School to see how the devices held up and met the needs of teachers and students.

In the spring it was determined, from building level technology plans developed by teaching staff and administrators, that a netbook would be a priority solution to increasing the number of digital devices throughout the school district. Plans were made to identify the number of devices that the district could purchase within the parameters of the technology budget, along with identifying stimulus funding as an additional source, to get devices in the hands of students. Three deployments were developed and the technology department has been facilitating that process since the summer months.

The first deployment brought 150 HP mini devices to Madison Middle School in August. Staff and especially students have been using these learning tools in a variety of ways to provide students new methods and experiences in practice, research, notes, developing presentations, creating art, for communication via email, creating brochures, and photo editing. Furthermore, the initial deployment at Madison has enabled the sharing of a wealth of information concerning the deployment, maintenance, use, and overall value of netbook computing that now spans many schools in the district and benefits other schools as netbooks are deployed elsewhere.

After the Madison deployment, and following budget approval in September 2009 and a meeting with the school board technology subcommittee, the second deployment was started and has been recently completed. 300 netbooks were placed in North Platte High School, 150 at Adams Middle School, and 30 each were deployed to Eisenhower, Hall, Lake, and Osgood elementary schools. Older computers from the high school were redeployed to McDonald, Washington, Eisenhower, Hall, and Osgood to provide equity with a thin client classroom solution that was done in most of the other elementary schools last school year. Since the middle of December 2009, including existing digital devices (laptops and desktops), computing has gone from as much as 12:1 to at least 3:1 digital devices per student in many schools.

The third deployment is well under way and will bring 120 netbooks to Jefferson, 90 each to Lincoln, Washington, and Cody, and 60 of the devices will arrive at Buffalo in the coming weeks. By the end of the 2009-2010 school year there will be at least 3:1 computing, with Web 2.0 capable devices in every school in the district. Schools that are at 3:1 will be identified as “next in line” to receive any new devices in the future and a replacement cycle is now in place to keep digital devices updated and renewed over the coming years.

Netbooks have facilitated a cost effective solution for the North Platte Public Schools in getting as many updated digital devices in the hands of students that we can in an equitable, wise, and fiscally responsible manner. Along with an updated network and server backbone over the past couple of years, teachers and students are reaping the rewards of 21st Century digital learning right now in the North Platte Public Schools, and the future will build upon the use of these devices to increase learning, facilitate collaboration, break down walls by opening up connections to others outside the classroom, and by developing a thinking culture that will prepare our students to be successful in an ever changing world and global economy.

NPPSD Netbooks Slideshow!!!

The following video presents the current model of netbook (or mini) that we are embedding in our classrooms: