Monday, August 25, 2008

Frustration Venting

I don't know which is worse; the normal "We can't set up student accounts until we have all the students enrolled at the correct school" or the "We turn off the air conditioning when school is not in session" problem. While both of these are problems to me in my computer lab they make logical sense in the big picture, however they create a lot of pain for me in the computer lab.

The first problem means that students can log on one day and can't the next because their accounts are disabled while records are transferred. It also means that server based programs that require a log-in don't have the student names yet. Since the most commonly used program is server based and it is to be used on a daily basis, that creates a problem.

The second problem wouldn't normally be a problem except when I have to do maintaince on all the machines, which I don't have time to do except on the weekends. Since the air conditioning is off and my machines give off a lot of heat it gets very hot in my room. This causes the circuit breakers for my power to flip off. Also it only does this at a critical point like in the middle of defragging my drives. Thus I now have more maintaince to reformat hard drives or replace parts that were damaged by the surge from the circuit breaker. (Two machines from last weekend)

Between these two problems my class planning gets shot to pieces unless I double plan with alternate activities. A true pain. Hopefully sometime this week (it being Monday) the first problem will disappear as we get farther into the school year parents get done "moving" their child to the correct school and the student lists get loaded in the server (The people downtown really work their tails off to get this done as early as possible. I know this, I just yearn for a perfect world where all things get fixed before they are needed and supposed to be used.)The second problem will disappear with the advent of autumn and the seasonal drop in temperature, where turning off the AC/heater results in a cold room and the heat from the computers is a plus not a problem. (The joy)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Been gone a long time.

Its nice to be back. No, really its great to be back. After having two major operations last spring followed by the summer off I am much happier to be back at work getting ready for the new school year.

I plan on making a stronger effort on this blog and have added a fourth blog for my video class. The 2nd blog was my robotics class and the third was my eighth grade Applied Technology class. The plan is to increase the postings on those blogs also.
So you can see I hope to greatly increase my use of this great resource.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Frustrations on commenting

I haven't posted on this blog because of the work I've done with my two class blogs and the State Agenda Chess Blog I've started. But recently I've experienced a problem that I want to get off my chest (so to speak).

About two weeks ago,(maybe a litte less) my students noticed that when they were doing comments on the class blogs the comment pages had a new format. There were four choices for comment signatures instead of three as there had been in the past. That was when the problem started. None of their commenting would get published. At first I thought Blogger had just stopped giving the them the Green text at the top of the comment page that told them the moderator had received the message. After all the comment signatures had changed maybe then had changed that also. But all 54 of my students comments that week never came to the moderator (i.e. me). The ones who have tried, including myself through the net, every time this week have not been successful at all. It's as if the Publish Comment button has been disabled.

I finally found a place I could contact Blogger/Google about this problem but have not heard back yet. Unsuprising, I created this post as soon as I was done e-mailing them. But I hope they either fix the problem or tell me how to fix the problem. I use the class blogs for weekly reflection journals and have found them to be a useful tool for feedback.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Starting Anew

Its been a long time. I didn't really do any blogs over the summer and then when the school year started up again we ran into so many problems I had no time to do anything on the blog. But with the new semester I've been able to get my other blogs up for my 7th and 8th grade classes so I figured I should start this one also.
A lot has happened since my last blog including a new room with three times the space of the old one. I'm still trying to find ways to link my new curriculums (8th grade is new this year. It was a three year phase in-- 6th, 7th, now 8th) The new room has solved some problems and created new ones. Although I think I have solved most of those new problems so far this semester. (Only Time Will Tell)

Monday, September 24, 2007

What I don't really understand is why I can act as a technology bridge for programs on a desktop computer (even if its new to me), but when it comes to handhelds they frustrate me to no end. I've used desktop computers for twentyfive years since the district first got Apples for the classroom. I've always had no problems working with new programs and figuring out how to do things. This is my fourth year with a Palm handheld and I still can't figure out how to do things on the Palm. The operating systems don't seem that different, but I just can't get it to do the things I need to do.
I don't know if its because of my technophobia of cell phones, well not technophobia really, just a hatred of phones in general. I have always looked at the telephone as an evil invasive machine and cell phones just magnify the opportunities for people to contact you anywhere, anytime (one of the reasons I hate phones). I will not own a cell phone. My dislike and discomfort for cell phones could be transferring to handhelds, but none of the reasons I hate phones are used on my handheld. I just don't seem to be able to navigate around handhelds and I can't figure out why.
I wouldn't think the fact its a different operating system would be a problem. I've started with Apple DOS to Windows 3.0 and 3.1. Changed to MacIntosh OS 6-9 and Windows 95. Messed with Windows NT and now we use XP with a few new machines on Vista (no Macs in the building for the last three years) Always been able to figure out the system in a couple of hours. I have spent weeks of effort trying to figure out my Palms and get no where. I can use it like a Gameboy and that's about as far as it gets.
Frustration City.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back in the Saddle / Troubles of Paradise

Its been a long time so let me catch up on what's been happening.
1. I changed rooms. I went from one side of the building to the other. The new room wasn't in the best of condition so I spent the month of June fixing it up. The new room is great three times the floor space and five times the cabinent space, but most cabinents don't have locks. :< But overall huge improvement.
2. New principal-- enough said. Anytime you have a change in bosses there is lots involved, even when they wait a year to see what works before they put in 'changes'.
3. New curriculum for my 8th grade classes (now there are two different ones) and I'm having to run to keep up on things.
4. Lots and lots of technical difficulties. Power problems in the new room, wiring challenges, hard drive crashes (including mine :O), ghostings that didn't copy drivers for essential equipment, new program bugs that I don't know the solution to,and new student scripts that don't map drives that have to be mapped.

Most of the problems have been worked out or around but it's been more than a challenge. As a result I haven't had much time or energy to keep up some things and this blog was one of them. But we should be back on a more regular basis.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Techno savages II

We are using a program called CarBuilder in my eighth grade class. It allows them to change parts of a car using different choices (normally between 6 - 15 choices per item. They can change the chassis (which determines the seats), the engine, transmission, fuel tank, shocks (both front and rear), brakes, steering, tires, paint, wheels, body shape, window shape. By experimenting with changes they learn how those changes affect the car's performance in aerodynamics, road handling, and quarter mile drag acceleration.
Unfortunately most of my students are stuck on trying to make their cars "look good" instead of perform well. They would rather have a design they like than get the mileage over 8 miles to the gallon. They care more about the rims than the type of tire they use and how it transfers the power into motion. They haven't formed the linkage between one and the other, but it's very hard to get them to think about it. They would rather get an F and have a car that "looks good" than make changes to make it fuel efficient.
I find it very frustrating that they won't make the changes and that even though I made a rubric that gave them specific changes to make, half of them just won't try to make those changes.