Connecting the World

A teacher asked me if I would be able to connect her to some people who could talk about where they are from and how they use wireless technology in their work and their lives.  You don’t have to ask me twice.

One email later to three people and the deal was done. Lee Kolbert was gracious enough to let us use their Adobe Connect as a platform which proved to suit our situation well. Tom Barrett would be able to chime in from England and Tim Lauer would have to grab an early Starbucks but was ready by 7:30.

Students asked questions, we gave some answers. Easy squeezy.

This is how classrooms ought to look. Learning from people.

If you generally think of the Internet as a place to look up stuff, you’re missing the best part.

This is not just about “wow is this ever cool”. This is about learning. Learning from someone who:

  • has a lemon tree and grows lemons
  • can see Mount St. Helens
  • lives in the city famous for Robin Hood

Do you see how this might make a difference in classrooms? Is there some potential here? Those of you who do this everyday … Read the rest

How much laptop do we need?

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:18 pm

As the shift towards one to one computing continues, I’m advocating we move to more laptops for teachers and students. I’m in a bit of a debate with our IT department as to what the minimum requirements should be for a laptop. Ads for laptops under $700 abound. He claims this would not work well in our environment.
Here’s some of his thoughts on our discussion.

Acquisition costs for a notebook computer is typically 15% – 25% higher than that of a desktop computer. That would mean a substantial increase in IT budget per year… something I doubt the Board would endorse given the current financial situation within the division.

  • Notebooks are typically MUCH slower than a desktop computer.
  • Notebooks are MUCH less reliable than desktops. Downtime would increase significantly.
  • Notebooks have VERY limited expansion capabilities and those items are more expensive (memory, hard drives, etc).
  • Notebooks do not last as long as desktops. Our current replacement policy of 4 years would most likely have to be reduced to 3 years.
  • Some programs WILL NOT RUN (or at least run so poorly on a notebook that they are
Read the rest

Personal Laptops in Schools

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:18 pm

I anticipate this will become more and more of an issue and am wondering if others have already had to deal with this.

Students and teachers who bring their own laptops or wireless devices will soon be requesting internet and network access at schools. Questions that come to mind are:

  • What security issues are there?
  • Can they potentially impact the network?
  • Who is responsible for that?
  • Is this any different from school districts that have issued laptops to teachers/students?
    • Or are they configured in such a way as to reduce or limit their potential security issues?
  • Can they just be given internet access without accessing the network?
  • What I.T. support is necessary for this to occur?
  • I’m sure there are other issues I’ve not considered but since I’ve already been asked about this, I’m hoping some of you have some thoughts.

    Image Citation:
    “Wall of Laptops.” Kartooner’s Photostream. 11 March 2006. 29 Sep 2006 .Read the rest

    Whacked out wi-fi pricing

    Steven Levitt writes today about some disparity in wifi pricing within Hyatt hotels. Price ranging from $10.95 to $300 a day. He goes on to look at the economics of this. By the way, if you haven’t read Freakonomics, it’s an easy, interesting summer read.

    With the number of free offerings, how long will this type of pricing last? Even in little old Moose Jaw, we have free wifi in some places.

    I’ll even add my house to the list. Come by 161 Marlborough and knock on the door and I’ll give you my WEP key.… Read the rest

    Wireless in Winnipeg

    It’s Easter break for us this week and I’m currently sitting in the Winnipeg airport ready to board for my flight to Toronto. I’ll be doing a workshop later this week on the use of video and multimedia for a church there.

    I always appreciate having free wireless in airports. It seems more and more airports offer this service. In fact, knowing that Winnipeg offered free wireless influenced my flight options. Flying out of Regina rarely offers a direct flight and that often means a pricier ticket. So I didn’t mind having a 2 hour lay over here in Winnipeg.

    Now if I could have only avoided the 4:15am wakeup to get on the 6:00am flight… Dalton I owe you one for driving me.

    Dean and Dalton on the deckRead the rest