Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My First Day with Tablets

The day finally came!  My first day with my tablets was Friday, August 31st (yeah, I know...I'm a week late...I'm a busy working girl!).  I will, from now on, refer to this day as: Project Tablet Intro and Set up (aka Project TIS)

  1. I decided to label my tablets 1-15A & 1-15B since each box only holds 15 tablets.  Each student was assigned a tablet number for the rest of the semester.  
  2. I got the idea from Mike McDowell to use shelf liner as a way to keep their tablets from sliding around on their desk.  Once you cut it up to fit the tablet size, the students keep their tablet on the liner on their desk and it doesn't slide around. WHOO HOO for avoiding accidents, or at least trying to.
  3. I also got the idea from Cici, one of our tech gurus on the project, to use a wash basket as a way to store them during the day while they aren't plugged in.  Now, silly me, only bought 1 wash basket to store 30 tablets.  Lesson learned.  I now have 2 different colors and have the "A" tablets in one basket, and the "B" tablets in the other
  4. Because the tablets don't have any kind of cover on therm, it has become VERY obvious that the screens get dirty super easy.  So  I plan on cutting up some old rags and t-shirts to keep around the room so the students can wipe them off and keep them clean as needed.

If you plan too much, it bites you in the butt...
Alright, so I've FINALLY come to the conclusion that I can't be prepared for EVERY situation & EVERY mishap that may occur (But I sure did give it an honest go!). So my original plan for Project TIS was to have my classes do the following:
  1. Do the initial set up for the tablets (This was just my 1st Period Earth Science kids. Once you set the tablets up you don't have to do it again)
  2. Have each class download an app from the play store
  3. Get the students to register for glogster and make a glog about themselves..  I PLANNED on using this a lot this year so I wanted them to get comfortable with it doing something they'd put a lot of thought into = exploring = not being lazy and actually figuring it out for themselves.  Good plan right? hahaha....
So 1st period went swimmingly.  My Earth Science honors kids are truly a well behaved a sweet group of kids (aka my "sweet children" as I call them every morning...but I say this to all my student so....).  Anywho, I made a ppt taking screenshots of all of the screens they'd see when they turned the tablets on the 1st time.  Then, slide by slide (and screenshot by screenshot) we powered through the initial setup pretty smoothly.  I was super proud of this ppt and it seemed to REALLY help the kids keep up and know where we were.

Then, after the set up, we decided to download an app, and found that all 30 students trying to download an app at the same time was SUPER slow! Lesson Learned!

Not available in my country?!? But I live in the U.S.!

So as my classroom activity, I decided to let the students do an "About Me" glog on Glogster.  For those educators that haven't had the glogster experience, check out edu.glogster.com.  It's FANTASTIC!  It's a virtual poster maker with lots of features, like animations that move, complete personalization, and more.  Fun right?  Oh, but that'd be too easy!  Come to find out, you need Adobe Flash to make glogster work. And oh yeah, apparently Adobe Flash is available to be installed on my tablets in this great land we live in. Wait...EXCUSE ME?!?!  Oh no bloggers, you didn't read wrong, it is NOT available.  Goodbye to all the flash interactives I wanted to use in class.  Goodbye awesome virtual webquests.  Most of all, toodle-loo glogster.  Cue sad face.

BUT WAIT!! Thanks to my awesome Uncle, I found a way to download the flash player from an outside source instead of the play store.  Cue evil laugh.  Now all my tablets have Adobe Flash and all my flash stuff works.  YAY!

Unresolved Issues
1. My only unresolved issue now is finding a way of mass charging the tablets.  Because it is thought that the boxes are made for ipads, there seems to be an issue keeping the tablets charged.  They will charge them for a while and then stop.  So for now, my students just spread out around the room and charge them.

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