Laptop Management

What are ways you manage the use of laptops in your classroom and what additional best practice ways might you add?

I have been very fortunate to have a couple of carts of laptops at my disposal for the last 5 years or so. Depending on the age you teach, and how deep into technology you are, this can get pretty complicated. You think – laptops … portable … simple! But, things are not quite this easy. Internet connections speeds, hardware maintenance (and looking after your machines), as well as storing student work, all can add some pretty unique twists to what seemed an easy situation to manage.

To make things consistent, I give everyone in my classroom a student number (1-18), and this is their number for a variety of activities and purposes. It is also their “computer number”, so when laptop carts come out, they know which computer is “theirs” and where to get it. Obviously, this helps track any issues that come up related to the condition of the computers, or activity that takes place.Students are pretty much using the same computer each time.

Portable Home vs. Network Home. Another issue.We had Grade 5 students working with audio and video, and they needed to store things on a certain computer (hard drive). There was no way we were going to allow big, heavy files to sync over the wireless network. It would jam the system for hours. So, in this case, students had an account on one computer which they HAD to return to each time. Their work was there, and if they synced with the wrong computer, files would be lost. This worked with most of our kids, but a few synced and then went oops.

Also, do you sync work automatically or have kids drag things into a network folder. I like to have the desktop (and maybe documents folder) sync automatically, and teach kids the importance of keeping your desktop free of clutter. Heavy files should be stored in a folder somewhere within the computer’s hard drive. Files which are a “work in progress” should be on the desktop, synced automatically, and easily available for the next time.

The other factor with technology that has come up lately in the classroom is instructional time, and how anal do I get with kids “not working while I am talking.” This probably has changed over the last year or so. Before, I would insist on lids down eyes on me. Now, I am a little more relaxed with this, and flexible depending on the instructions I am giving. As long as they don’t come running to me after the lesson because they weren’t listening, I am OK with them puttering while I instruct. Unless my instructions are not linked to the technology itself, but the content instead. Then, I want them all focused on me. I also use “specialists”, or kids who know roughly what they are doing, to assist me. Other students know they can go to them for extra advice or help.

Anyways, a few random thoughts on laptop management …


~ by yamaguru on December 11, 2009.

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