Update On Status Of Our 1:1 Laptop Program

Well we just finished the second week of school. I got a brand new set of 4th graders and they are raring to go. My 50 year old school got a complete overhaul this summer. The walls of each classroom that were concrete block are now covered in a material that allows you to staple things to any wall surface in the room. I have 2 new whiteboards (the kind you write on with markers), and a brand new Promethean ActivBoard, the kind with the built in projector. The bathrooms have new toilets, everything has been painted fresh and I now have 8 ethernet drops in my room instead of 2. There is a white dome in the ceiling ready to accept a wireless router … but alas none has been installed yet. The laptop carts that contain eleven 1year old Macbooks and over twenty 9 year old iBook computers are still sealed shut with duct tape.

The IT department informs me (as I have mentioned here before) that our old iBooks won’t be able to connect to the new wireless system because they won’t take a 20+ digit access code (they are running OS 10.3). I’m hoping I can induce someone to help us out, otherwise our 1:1 program will die, but I can’t move on that until I can officially say we can’t access the new wireless system. So we sit and wait. I’ve been trying to induce businesses and the like to help us out, but no one wants to move until the iBooks are officially dead.

So here we sit hoping and waiting for IT to have the time during an extremely busy season for them to install our wireless system. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime we are learning how to “do Mr. Crosby’s Class” and work together and support each other and work on a project. My old students come by and visit almost everyday (since the middle school is less than 100 yards away), and keep me updated on how they are doing. The other shoe set to drop is that my school and my school district did not make AYP …  and so we are under the gun to raise test scores. We have a new superintendent here to orchestrate just that, so guess what we are hearing that means (test prep and data driven to the max (which is fine to a point, but much of the data is time consuming and bogus … but I’m staying positive : ) ) so I am a bit on edge.

Learning is messy!

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5 Responses to Update On Status Of Our 1:1 Laptop Program

  1. Bob Cotter says:

    Wow… 20 character access… Macs can use a different access system that requires far few characters for access. For example, many of our schools have the wireless access password that is 8 characters in length. Even that said, I have no idea why your older macs would have trouble with any number of characters … mind you we don’t have any longer any of the laptops you have connecting to our networks wirelessly, but we do have some older computers connecting. Cheers… Bob

  2. Brian says:

    Hi Bob, My understanding is that the problem will be that the iBooks are running 10.3 Panther which is as far as they will go, and this number, I forget what it is, is 23 numbers long because that is the level of security the IT department wants. Panther only allows 12 numbers or something like that and so the network won’t let them on. The other issue is that as cool as it has been to keep the iBooks going they are really starting to show their age …. they really load slowly and students become frustrated while waiting for pages to load when doing research, there are lots of missing keys and some won’t see any external device you try to connect. The CD drives don’t work on most so I can’t even run a utility program to try and fix them or re-install the operating system … an external firewire drive won’t work, nor have I had success trying it in target disk mode. So I will keep resuscitating them as much as I can and hope for the best.

  3. Hi Brian,
    Our district uses those very long codes as well. Someone shared this converter for hex to ascii codes and it works like a charm:
    http://www.dolcevie.com/js/converter.html Paste in the hex code they gave you and generate an ascii code.
    The long hex code most districts use is usually generated from a shorter ascii code. Either one works for our wireless systems.
    Also, if you plug in your own access point to the network (just make sure to deactivate the NAT -network address translation – so it bridges the ip addresses from your school’s router) then you could use your old ibooks on that system. Of course, the IT guys will probably not allow this.
    HTH. Looking forward to the learning this year. It should be really messy! :)
    Janice

  4. Joe Elcano says:

    Brian,

    Is it time to approach EL Cord Foundation? You should have the historical stats to make them happy and I would be more than willing to help you through the process.

    Let me know.
    Joe

  5. Dierdre says:

    I just received a Promethean Activboard this year as well, and I love it. From what I know about the Smart technology, Activ is way more useful :-) Even though you don’t have the laptops yet, enjoy the board :-)

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