Sunday, January 22, 2012

I am beginning to love them!!!

As reflect back on the journey I have taken with the Netbooks it has been an on-again-off-again, love-hate relationship. Well I can finally say that it is "love" again. I now have faith that when my students need them they are all up and running. My students have gotten very familiar with them and know when to plug them in, how to load their own documents, work on the school folder and how to get to programs they need. It has been an amazing week with them. I have started a new way of doing independent activities and they include using their netbooks. All the students are either typing a story, poem, or listening to books on Tumble Books (my new find). It was beautiful.
In looking forward a couple of things I want to teach them. One is how to use Tux Paint and add a text box to it so they can create a story then add pictures. The other thing I would love for them to do it to make movies. They would LOVE this.
I am excited to see just how far I can take these :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

We have arrived!!!

I think we have finally made it. We had Katie come in last week and teach Audacity with the students and they all worked!!!! The kids were able to record their voices and play it back. They thought that it was pretty cool. We still had some issues with the sound but we got them all worked out by the end of the week.  The children are now able to control their own volume.
So as to date, everything I need is now working. IT is currently trying to figure out a different way of saving instead of the school folder. The school folder works but it isn't secure so they would like to have a more secure system in place.

The children will start in January doing the following activities on the netbooks-
1. Spelling practice instead of on paper
2. Read stories into the computer and play it back to help with fluency
3. Math games (currently doing)
4. Typing their stories (currently doing)
5. Movie making????? The children are excited about making a movie so I will need to talk to Katie about what program we can use.

What I need now is more curriculum. What other activities can the students do? What other programs should we teach them?

IT has been amazing trying to get everything figured out for us. I now feel more confident that when we get our computers out they will work. This is a good feeling and hopefully it will stay :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

This is a love hate relationship!

There are some positives and some negatives to report this time.

 -Works wonderfully for Pearson math
- We are now all able to play the games that are on the school folder (after we started saving them with a PC and not our mac and then we had to install shock wave on all the computers- not sure why this wasn't installed originally)

-Katie came in to teach us Audacity now that we have the headphones and guess what - it doesn't work. It seems like every time we try something new there are problems.
-After we couldn't teach the Audacity lesson we had the kids get on to Tux paint and this didn't work on 1/2 the computers. Frustrating!!
- There is not an easy way for the kids to save work on to the school folder. They have to save it in work then drag it into the school folder. A little difficult for the kids.
-We were using headphones that I purchased and it is way too loud for the kids. We can not find a way to change the volume. The volume buttons do not seem to work.

Some days we love them others we hate them :(

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Plugging Along

I wrote a grant and it was funded. I bought the headphones with a microphone. This way the kids can record their voices, stories, etc. As soon as they are in, we will have Katie come and teach us how to use them. I wish that these little babies were macbooks when I could do most of this on my own.

We finally made it through keyboarding so now I am going to start having the kids do journals, spelling and stories on them. Wish me luck!

We took a math test from Pearson on the computers and it worked beautifully!!

New problems- I got another new student and her password took a week to get activated. Then Sami had to come in and work on it because when she got on her computer there was nothing showing. Sami had to take this in to be fixed. This is now the third computer taken to be repaired.

I was also finally able to get onto the school folder but none of the activities would run. IT said that when you save them on a mac it changes the format so the netbooks couldn't run it.  This is very frustrating as my computer aide is the one who finds all our games and activities so now I will need to do it with the netbooks. I tried yesterday and failed. I will try to get some help to see what is wrong.

I do love having these computers in my room but I do wish they were macbooks. These take forever to load up and it seems like we are having all kinds of problems.  I can't wait until we get it all figured out. This is definitely a learning curve.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We are making progress!!

We have made some great progress the last couple of weeks. We are all up and running and learning to keyboard. Katie also came in and taught the kids how to use the stylus and tablet. The kids were begging me to learn this so of course they loved it. The only problem we really had is that when you laid the screen flat the picture didn't turn so you had to turn the computer upside down. IT will work on this for us. I am excited that kids have learned this so now we can start doing journaling on them as soon as keyboarding is complete. I didn't want them to do it yet since they are still drawing a lot of pictures in their journals and they still need to learn correct keyboarding skills.  Now we have a way that they can make their pictures and write.
I also found a computer that is not working correctly so we have sent it to IT to be fixed.
I have figured out an easier way to plug in the computers. We have "odds" plug in one day and then "evens" plug in the other day. This works really well because we are not using them enough so they don't need to be plugged in everyday and when they are not plugged in they fit nicely into the kid's desks.
The next thing I want to kids to learn is Audacity. It is the equivalent to Garage Band for the PC. Katie will be in coming in a couple of weeks to help the kids learn this program then I will be having them record themselves reading. This should help a lot with fluency.
I am so excited about these computers- I have so many ideas and keep learning more about how the kids can use them in class. Now we need to get through keyboarding and try to find the time to implement all the activities :) Good times ahead!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

They all worked!!!

    Success!!!! We were all able to get on the computers and start keyboarding!!!! The kids were so excited. We were able to keyboard everyday. I realized that I need to get the kids through the keyboarding program before we are able to do much with writing and spelling.
    The next step is to get the kids onto the school folder. They will then be able to access all the learning games that I have loaded to help reinforce the concepts they are learning. Hopefully they will be able to access them this week.
    One problem that we are having is getting them in and out of the cart. The computers have a coating on them so they don't slide easily and they need to go in the opposite way of the one next to it.  They also get confused on which power cord is theirs. The cart is pretty small for all the computers. It is taking us about 15 minutes to get them all in the cart. I think I will need to have the kids get them in the morning then put them back before school is out. They do fit really well in their desks. I wonder how long the battery would last? Maybe we can keep them in their desks for 2 days then plug them in. Hopefully, the kids will get faster at putting them away.

Friday, September 9, 2011