Thursday, April 28, 2016

Access Your School Account From Home

Over the last few weeks, a number of Metcalf students have asked if they can access their school computer based projects from home. The answer is, yes they can easily do so. The video below demonstrates how a student might sign in to their school account from a home based computer.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Devices Need Electricity

Last October, I spent about a half hour troubleshooting the audio on one of
Wawalaom's Eno Board projectors to determine why the projector's audio was not working. Yesterday, I spent another twenty minutes troubleshooting the same projector for the same reason; no audio. The culprit both times? Lack of electricity. One might think that after my "Duh" moment last October, the lesson would have stayed with me. I wish I had filed a simple 'note to self' that asked, "Hey, does the device your troubleshooting have electricity?" I didn't then, but did this time!

Applying this lesson in your classroom.
Before calling IT, submitting a ticket, or wielding a screwdriver, do the easy stuff first. Make sure the device has electrical power.


Friday, April 15, 2016

New Open Tab Record

Today, a student's Chromebook set a new EWG open tab record. Austin J. had 111 (one hundred eleven) tabs open across six different windows. Despite playing audio from multiple tabs - and who knows what else was running or how much memory and processing power background tabs were consuming - the Chromebook was still functioning well. Don't try this at home...

Browser window with 39 tabs open.

EWG IT Department Uses ESP

Deb Bannon was experiencing a boatload of trouble with the WiFi in her resource room Wednesday, and she caught me in the corridor seeking help. Using a WiFi analyzer on my phone, I was able to determine that the WiFi signal in her area was toggling on and off, much like a slow motion strobe light. I used another app to create this cheesy video to help document the issue for submission to EWG's IT department. In another room down the corridor (where the WiFi was working well), I began to write up a help ticket. About the time my laptop awoke, I heard familiar voices across the corridor in a storage room / wiring closet. Relieved to see EWG IT in the building, I interrupted their work, and was happy to learn that they were already aware of the problem and were implementing a solution. We've seen a few IT trouble ticket systems over the years, from Email to School Dude, and most recently, ZenDesk. Now we have EWG IT by ESP.  Happy vacation!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Surprise! It works with a Chromebook!

Early this morning, Jenn Rose asked if the library scanner would work on a Chromebook. I doubted it. I mean, seriously, it is hard enough to get it to run on XP; special drivers, updates, reboots, no administrative rights, and other tech gremlins. I tried to keep an open mind but quietly thought, "There's no chance." Jenn said she was going to try it, and I blurted, "Good luck! Let me know how it works."

Before I could escape, Jenn logged into a Chromebook, connected the scanner, and completed signout transactions for a student's books. No software install, no mess, and no hassle. It just worked, and worked well. Incredibly awesome.

Two years after Microsoft's XP retirement, there's one more XP workstation which can be mercifully unplugged. That workstation is in the Metcalf Library.

Scanner connected to a Chromebook

Presentations 101

I enjoyed a wonderful morning with Mrs. Orzechowicz's fourth graders. We considered the elements of a solid presentation, and practiced by making a brief presentation about Recess. It was a blast to watch kids get engaged, fired up, and passionate about their work.

Update:  Another great afternoon session despite the distraction of the world's largest snowflakes landing a few feet outside the window. There is true merit to activities where students create and build. Their passion can beat back some pretty powerful diversions.

Students collaborating on a presentation