Mar 28

Older iMacs

bondi-imac-right

The Bondi iMac

Back in 1998 my school put the first model of iMac in my classroom, the Bondi iMac pictured on the left. I rotated groups of students through the Bondi iMac as they created websites using HTML as part of the projects they were working on at the time. We’ve come a long way since the days of having to code our websites with HTML!

The next year when I had two sizable grant projects that I got at the same, The Learning Space: Right in Class (RiC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Leadership Project (TLP), I was able to get more iMacs. By that time Apple came out with the multi-colored iMacs, the Stawberry red, the Blueberry blue, the Grape purple, the Orange orange, and the Lime green. I was able to get two of each along with some other tech because each grant was for $10,000! Yeah, $20,000 to spend on my classroom AND training on top of that!

The Five iMac Flavors

The Five iMac Flavors

With ten computers in the classroom I was able to have students working in small teams to do research and work on projects. Once WYSIWYG website editors came out, where students didn’t have to code the HTML themselves, we switched to using those. Students could get more done with less effort.

Once the fruity iMacs started wearing down and were no longer able to support the work we were doing I was fortunate enough to get ten eMacs (see photo below)! They were more powerful iMacs made specifically for education.

 

The Education Mac or eMac

The Education Mac or eMac

Eventually the eMacs started to fall behind of our software and work needs and I was able to get the new, flattened model of iMacs that first came in 2004. I got $17,500 from two Best Buy grants and was able to get 10 of those in my class.

The 2004 iMac

The 2004 iMac

These 2004 iMacs were great by they also became obsolete. With only 1GB of RAM they cannot run current software and I have not been able to update the operating system since 2009. Mac OS 10.5 came out in 2007 and the now nine iMacs in my classroom have OS 10.5.8 and cannot be updated any further. Current Mac OS are up to 10.10.5. That means that all of the 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9 and now 10.10 updates have come and gone and my classroom iMacs have missed out on all the improvements brought about in those updates!

So even though I have a 1:1, it’s pieced together with old, first generation iPads, iPad 2s, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, Netbooks running Linux, PC laptops, and Chromebooks. As much I love and even prefer having a 1:1 with different devices so that my students get to work on different devices and using different operating systems what is difficult for students are the devices that out of date, or worse, obsolete.

I’ve written about the issues with my iPads and Galaxy Tabs:
Problems with Tech
Multiple GAFE Accounts
Android and GAFE

But the issues with the 2004 iMacs are about the same if not worse than the iPads, more comparable to the first generation iPads. Here are some of the issues we’ve had to deal with for the past few years:

  1. Since we cannot update the operating system, we cannot update any of the software. Not a problem really with the native Mac programs such as iPhoto and iTunes, etc, but is a problem with not being able to update Firefox, Safari and Chrome.
    1. Since we can’t update the browsers mentioned above and can’t update flash I thought years ago we would not be able to play online games or even watch YouTube videos. No YouTube would have been a breaker, I would have wiped those computers and installed Linux or something. Flash still works and so does my digital microscope software so we keep using the Mac OS.
  2. While students can access Google Drive on Chrome, there are glitches when using Google Docs and Sheet and Slides but they do work. Firefox and Safari aren’t very reliable for working with the Google suite of apps.
  3. When we have login problems switching from one student’s GAFE account to another one, using the blogger site, blogger.com, works like a charm.
  4. Sites that use flash are hit and miss, some work, some don’t. Just recently students tried to use pizap.com to make a meme and it wouldn’t work on any of our browsers.
    1. I did find a workaround. We have on older version of Comic Life on our Macs (and it’s real easy to copy of a flash drive and put on the other Macs).
    2. Start a single panel on Comic Life and drag and drop your image from the desktop right into it.
    3. Use the Comic Life text tools to add the text to your meme.
    4. Take a screenshot when it’s done by zooming in and using the screenshot keyboard shortcut, Command-Shift-4. That brings up the cross-hairs to the cursor to select just the meme.
    5. Rename your file and if there is no .png at the end, add it.
    6. Voila! You have a meme!

Aside from the problems listed above, students have been using these older, completely obsolete 2004 iMacs since 2004 until they became obsolete and beyond. Year after year students use them AND get their work done. It is by no means easy. Some days I have students that spend the whole period tying to make something work to no end. Then the next day, or sometimes even the next period, it works just fine. Such is the reality of working in a ragtag 1:1 program. I still wouldn’t give it up because of all the things kids get to do and the ways we get to blog and make websites to connect to the world.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/28/older-imacs/

Mar 27

Diigo Links (weekly)

Here are some more great resources I’ve been curating!

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/27/diigo-links-weekly-7/

Mar 20

Diigo Links (weekly)

Here are some more great resources that I’ve curated this week:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/20/diigo-links-weekly-6/

Mar 17

A 6th Grader’s View On Mindsets

Andreas Pizsa - Some Rights Reserved

Andreas Pizsa – Some Rights Reserved

Here’s the latest 6th grade post in our class’s World Solutions Blog:

Does Having a Growth Mindset Over a Fixed Mindset Really Matter?

Click on the link above and read her post, it’s really good and has a fantastic Animoto video! Leave her a comment and share her post, please!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/17/a-6th-graders-view-on-mindsets/

Mar 14

6th Grader Shares About His Stuttering!

Vector illustration of wow star icon on white background

Vector illustration of wow star icon on white background

One of our 6th graders recorded this short video to share what it’s like stuttering! It’s short and well worth watching!

Click here to visit our World Solutions Blog to watch his video, feel free to leave Isaac a comment!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/14/6th-grader-shares-about-his-stuttering/

Mar 13

Diigo Links (weekly)

Here are my latest awesome links! Check them out:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/13/diigo-links-weekly-5/

Mar 08

Our World Solutions Blog Translated Into Spanish

TranslateSpanish, Cuban, was my first language, I grew up speaking Spanish. Before I started going to school I watched Sesame Street on TV and learned enough English that by the time I went to school I could communicate in English!

English came much easier to me than Spanish and even though I spoke Spanish everyday at home, I learned English at school. My Spanish is still very rudimentary and I haven’t used it in so long that I can’t even hold a conversation without having to use English for words that I don’t know in Spanish. It’s embarrassing. So it wasn’t me who translated our class World Solutions blog to Spanish but rather one of my 6th graders who is a Spanish-speaking student. 🙂

So if you speak Spanish, or you want to see our blog’s purpose in Spanish, read this one 6th grader’s translation here:

Estudiantes Quieren Ayuda

This is the 7th post 6th grader’s have written for our World Solutions blog project idea they had. Enjoy!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/08/our-world-solutions-blog-translated-into-spanish/

Mar 07

WA STEM PD Work

Our middle school is on Year 2 of our work with a WA STEM PD project. Here’s a video I put together to share the major highlights of our work with WA STEM:

In the video I share some resources that we’ve been using for our PLC work. The WA STEM PD project was inspired by educator’s need for pertinent and effective professional development and training. Teachers need training if expected to implement any type of change to benefit student learning. Once source of PD is our PLC’s. The power of the PLC is not to be denied here, and although I’ve seen some more excellent training opportunities being offered here in WA state I do believe that our PLC’s are better for the day to day business of educating our kids. Even with excellent training, it’s through the PLC that we can support each other to follow through and truly transform our classrooms into the learning centers our students need.

One awesome protocol I’ve been using for years in my PLC work, because of how effective it is, is the Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle (PTLC). Links to that and more here (that link is referenced in the above video too).

Part of the PTLC is coming together to look at student work. I also share in the resources link a document that we’ve used for years that is a quick and easy way to analyze student learning through work samples. It’s simply called the Looking at Student Work (LaSW) protocol. The teacher teaching the lesson collects a sampling of student work, ten to 15 samples is enough. Each teacher sorts copies of the same pile into a high, students who really got it, medium, students starting to get it, and low, students not quite getting it yet, piles. The best part is when the teachers share and discuss their reasons for sorting the work the way they did! The discussions are always rich and very helpful to all.

By using some really cool technology, such as a Swivl base, the teacher implementing the lesson can record the lesson so that the PLC team can get an idea of what happened leading to the work they are analyzing. WA STEM provided us with a Swivl base and accounts with IRISConnect to share the recordings with each other. It is a fantastic platform and I show a little of how it works in the video.

I hope you find something useful in the video and the resources I’ve shared. Let me know if you have any questions because there’s some good stuff there! 🙂

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/07/wa-stem-pd-work/

Mar 07

A 6th Grader’s Take on Trash

Trash in the Ocean

Here’s what one 6th grader has to say about trash:

Trash

Her thoughts are typical and they make sense. Yet how many people still toss trash out their car windows or decide to drop their trash on the ground instead of holding it until they are near a garbage can? And how many of you pick up trash you see laying around?

This is the sixth post in a series that I’m sharing. My 6th graders had the idea to start this blog and I’m sharing in the hopes that they can see their ideas spread. I hope that my small town students can find their voice in this huge world. Social media has the power to do that.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/07/6th-graders-take-on-trash/

Mar 06

Diigo Links (weekly)

My most recent curated links:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/03/06/diigo-links-weekly-4/

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