I guess I with thinking/hoping all would go smoothly today when my students finally got to log on to their laptops. I was wakeful all night long last night watching the clock in anticipation of the big event. I arrived at school about 45 minutes early, to get the laptops out on the table tops, (the signal that they're available for use and should be logged onto) and to grab a Mountain Dew, (power up!!).
Help arrived from Central Office, (Yeah Colleen!! - Couldn't have managed without you - Great, great patience!) in time for our first class: 8th grade World Languages. Only the students who had returned their signed forms were able to use the laptops, so ~8 students were out of luck. Those students got 2 readings on "Why learn a Foreign Language" to read and write commentary. (I know - no competition against the glitz of technology).
After a myriad of small issues, (mostly forgotten passwords or being locked out from trying their forgotten passwords..) all were able to access the network. Their first job was to log into Edmodo, create an account, if they didn't already have one from another teacher and answer a question, then, look at the articles assigned to the non-laptop users and take a poll. Edmodo threw the first curve.. Students trying to create an account received an unknown error which resulted in immediate failure to launch. We adjusted the line up for 2nd period, and they went to my Tech Survey first, followed by Tagxedo leaving out Edmodo until we could come up with a fix. I even remembered second period to go through the routine we'd created; (When I greet the class, that's the signal to drop the screens to 45 degrees to get the class intro info).
My biggest hurdle today came from students who didn't have their forms turned in. The seatwork was just so unappealing in comparison to the laptops that in one class, they just couldn't stay on task. I called their homes this evening to request parents help get the forms in so their students would have the privilege of using the laptops on Friday when I see them again.
With Tagxedo, I challenged the students to "figure it out" on their own. I didn't tell them which icons to click to create a new design, nor did I tell them to click on "form" to add words. I encouraged the students to share with their tables as they figured out something, and in one class in particular, joy burst out in cheers when they put it all together.
Tomorrow is another "Day 1" with my "B" day classes. I'm looking at alternate assignments for my "no forms" students - to help alleviate the off task behavior. I've dropped Edmodo for now, and after Tagxedo, I've set up a Bridge URL of videos for each subject areas, (to show off the screen and sound quality of our new tools).
Wish us luck!