It’s been over a year since my last post having Older iMacs and they are still working for some things such as using our digital microscopes, using Comic Life, and using the easy version of iMovie to record and edit videos.
Using the G Suite set of apps is touch and go on the iMacs so if kids can use Docs or Slides, I’m happy! The iPad 2’s are still working quite well for almost everything but the Samsung Galaxy Tabs are barely used. Kids will only use them if there is nothing else available (well, the Galaxy Tabs and the iMacs are tied for last choice devices to use). Luckily, we have a few Chromebooks and some laptops, most of which are running Windows 10, that work quite well for just about everything we do (video editing is still better on the iMacs or the iPads).
I do appreciate offering students different platforms to use and learn so they can gain experience with Macs, iOs, Andoid OS, Chrome OS, and PCs. The downside is that showing a whole class how to use an app or website, or software, isn’t applicable to everyone. I often have to tell them how it’s different or how it will or won’t work on different devices. Next year I won’t have that problem because we will all be getting a computer cart with enough refurbished Dell Laptops running Windows 10 for all our students! I’m looking forward to having all my students on the same device. I will still have a bunch of iPad 2s so we will use the iPads for video editing and to use the apps that we’ve been using for the last few years! I can’t say that I’ll miss the iMacs. They have served me well and they lasted until I got enough devices to replace them! They had their problems but at least they worked for lots of what we needed to do in class.
Of course, that doesn’t help us bring this year to a close. Students are concluding their Environmental Stewardship projects sharing all their work, learning, conclusions, and evidence by making team websites. We’ve used Google Sites in the past and since Google Sites got a major update, I thought it would be better!
The new Google Sites does seem easier to use and I haven’t heard any complaints from the kids (aside from one who couldn’t figure out where to put embed code – I couldn’t see how to do that either). So I thought we could end the year easily and smoothly (this is our last week). Or so I thought. Google Sites was working fine on the Chromebooks and laptops but NOT AT ALL on the iMacs and the iPads! Both the iMacs and iPads could access the old, classic Google Sites but not the new one! On the iMacs Chrome wouldn’t access the new Google Sites but even though Safari did access the new Google Sites, we couldn’t type. Yeah, strange problem.
My workaround: with four days left of school I’m having the students in each team with the laptops be the web designer for the team. I created a Google Doc, see below, that I shared through Google Classroom. The web designer shares her copy of the Google Doc with everyone in the team. Each team member copies and pastes their work, including images, onto the space in the Google Doc I prepared for them. The web designer will then copy and paste that work onto a new page on the team’s Google Site! So far it has been working well. I am looking forward to not having these problems next year!
I prepared the document for my students because of how short on time we are. Having kids fiddle with the new Google Sites not knowing why it wasn’t working cost us some valuable time. The bright side of using the Google Doc is that teams now have to collaborate more closely to make sure their website represents well all that they learned and looks good. I hope they get to finish!