My Problems With Laptops By Mariana

The problems that I have had with my laptop  is that at first the charger would not turn on. When it wouldn’t work  I went to Mr.Schaefer and he tried to make it work. Once I got to G period my laptop was there charging.

My second problem was that my computer would just randomly fall asleep and it would take me a long time to wake it up. I told Mr.Schaefer and he told me to give it to him. I gave it to him and he took it away and let me use a substitute computer. The next day he came and told me that he gave me a new computer.

My third problem was that the newest charger that Mr.Schaefer gave me would not work either. The chargers that I had had were the new type. After I told Mrs.Donnelly about my problem with my charger she told Mr.Schaefer and he gave me one of the old chargers.

Those have been all my problems with my laptop so far. Macbook Problems

Reflection on Laptop Pilot Program by Audrey

This year we were given the luxury of having laptops to take home and back to school and to all of our classes. I enjoy having them at home to keep easy access to Moodle, Google docs, Quizlet, etc. It is a little annoying to bring them to class and sit them next to you when they are never used but I manage. If I could change one thing it would be the cases in which the laptops are secured. I do realize that these cases are not permanent and that they are very strong and trusting. This program will help me overall because I can go on Moodle, Google docs,etc.  —–picture from flickr creative commons!

My Stop-Motion Project for LA and How I Made it by Gus

Stop-motion is one of my favorite hobbies. Stop motion is where you take a picture of something, move it very, very, slightly and take another picture. After several hundred, it looks like a movie.I volunteered to do one for LA to both amuse my classmates and to get me to do something. The camera I used is very old, but it has a remote. Since it is from the early eighties, it is very hard to upload the pictures onto a computer, and I have to plug in three different wires to get it to work. One of these is a USB cord going into the other, the other is the charger because the camera is so old that it needs that to turn on. The third wire is for sending more power through the second to be able to turn it on.

Now I’m going to talk about what was in the movie. I did it on the Week Three Vocabulary. The words that I used in it were: sinewy, pinnacle, caucus, opulent, potable, carcinogen, conveyance, circumvent, plummet, and seraph. It was about 500 pictures, and took me about 25 hours (three for finding the remote, four for shooting, eleven for editing, and four getting it on the disc. Another few hours spent planning it as well) just to make a four minute movie. Almost half of it was created through editing. When I brought it to school, I had put it on a memory chip because the disk wasn’t working.

Finally, the moment came. As I brought it to the teacher at lunch, I was wondering if this was a good idea.  When I reached the class, I opened the door. She plugged it in to the computer, and it played. To my relief, she loved it. An hour  later, I played it and they also liked it (or at least I think).

Four Weeks Later….

Almost a month later, my fellow advisees seemed depressed, until one of them asked to see my movie again.

I played it, and they wanted to see it again.

I really think that everyone should try stop-motion, because not only is it fun, but it is entertaining when you finish.


Laptop Reflection by Cat M.

I am very happy about starting these blogs. I think that it will help us understand a lot about how everything on the internet is public once it is published. We will start to understand that we can’t just put up whatever we want because there will be important people who can view it. We will probably be a lot more careful and double check what we put on the internet now. We will learn that there can be consequences to our actions on the internet. These laptops will also teach us a lot about responsibility. We will have to learn to protect and be careful with the laptops everyday, instead of just leaving them in our unlocked lockers. Ways to keep laptops safe are locking them in your lockers, bringing them with you to classes instead of leaving them outside, and not letting your friends use them without your supervision.

Computers By: Davis

I have been using the computers for over a week now and I already love them. These will change the laptops forever. We have the chance to take these home. If Durham Academy continues on this path this will be one of the best schools in the nation. I don’t want to get into the deal of paying for these computers. I am using the application Evernote for taking notes in class so that after school I can look at what I learned for the day. I wish that you could feel the independence that I feel.

My Personal Opinion on the Laptop Pilot by Cam

We have our laptops. We have gotten several lectures on the responsibility that we have to have. Our computer technology teacher has been trying for years to get laptops for our school. To me this pilot is the first step to getting these laptops for our school. Like many kids, I am someone that loves screens. We are in the twenty-first century and kids need to learn about technology so they can be successful with it in the future.

Back to the laptops. We get to take them home every night and use them for educational purposes such as homework. At school we can use them in classes for the class and not for something inappropriate such as chatting on Moodle or Firstclass. Overall I think that this is going great.

Laptop Pilot Program (LPP) by Ashwin


MacBook WhiteRight now I’m part of the LPP and there has been many changes some for the better, some for the worse. I feel that for me it’s working but there are still many bumps in the road. There’s been only a few problems with texting, taking photo’s without permission, using YouTube and playing games while class is going on. Now it seem’s like for many people using our laptops has become a part of a regular school day. At the same time there’s the iPPP ( iPAd Pilot Program) has been going on. Many students are extremely disappointed that they didn’t get laptops and some people who have laptops want iPads. We only have 40 devices for the entire grade of nearly 100 students. There is access to laptops and desktop computers at school for students who do not take them home during the pilot. There’s has also been the problem of getting organized with your computer. Here’s a how-to list which should cover the basics:

  • Always remember to charge your computer every night

In many classes they don’t let you charge it

  • Use your cleaning wipes wisely

Use them only when you really need them and share it with a friend

  • Try not to mess around on it

A teacher will see you and take away the computer

There is also a positive side to the computer. You can take notes with it ( Use a program called Ever Note), you can study, and you can do homework. Remember there are always two sides to an argument and that you can support the choice of computers or the choice of no computer.

Taking Care of Laptops and iPads by Ian

Our group for the laptops has been doing very well with taking care of the laptops. As far as we have been informed, there have been no problems in our class. There have been reports of some problems with the iPad classes, but this understandable, because it is much easier to set down an iPad thinking it is a text book. Still, there have only been a few incidents. I think this is evidence that sixth graders are mature and responsible enough to use these laptops for school and more. It is also evident that we can take care of them. This is at least the feeling that I have gotten so far. As I predicted, there have been misuses of both the iPads and the MacBooks, but this is a small percentage of the “population” and as far as I know has not been repeated by the people in question. If this is repeated I think that is good that the teachers are taking action.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons








How to Take Care of your Laptop by Christy

When I saw that shiny white laptop, I got so excited. But I started worrying that it would be taken away from me because I did something wrong. I tried to figure out how to take care of my laptop. Here are some ways to help take care of it. Every day when you get home, charge your laptop immediately. When you pack up your laptop later, remember to wind your wire correctly and remember to actually pack your charger – don’t pack your laptop and not the charger! When you get to school, if you’re going to use it in your first period, take it with you around until the bell. Then go to your class with the laptop. Don’t leave your laptop on a hook and pick it up later. That leaves it in a way that can be easily stolen. If you’re not going to use it, put it in your locker or in Mrs. D’s room. Don’t throw it on the ground and/or leave it there. If you do these things – they’re really simple, they only take an extra second out of your day! – you’re sure to keep your laptop safe.

image from

Middle School Device Reflections Week 4

The Calatrava Eye

‘The Calatrava Eye’

We started the Middle School Digital Device Project on October 17th when Ms. Donnelly’s class were given MacBooks for use. The iPads were handed out to Ms. Williams’ class on October 24th. After the first week students were able to take them home if we had the signed form back. I have been pleasantly surprised with how the students have responded and are helping us determine if we should adopt a MacBook or an iPad, or nothing. While the process is still very young, I thought I would share some thoughts.

iPad and Laptop


We are testing this software and service as the iPad presents a challenge to easily transfer files. Teachers have set up Shared Folders where they can add notes for the students which appear when the account is synced. Each class has setup their school sponsored Evernote account. We did run into a few bumps with the iPad group not being able to sign up using the iPads as it appeared to not like the URL for our sponsored account. A quick trip to the computer lab allowed us to use a Desktop to setup the account as well as sync to the iPad app. Ms. Donnelly assigned an Evernote assignment for the students to teach their parents about Evernote through the use of a recorded audio note. Once the note was created/recorded, students shared the note with Ms. Donnelly where she could listen and assess the assignment if necessary. While I am not sure if this software is critical since we have Moodle and Google Apps for Education, the ease of use and automatic syncing along with the ability to move notes between almost any device does have benefits. I will be very excited once Skitch is integrated so students can draw on PDFs or other notes in Evernote. I sent out invites to the entire 6th grade team today so they could also test the software.

Digital Media and Acceptable Use

This does not surprise me but we have had a couple of issues with students making poor choices even after we discussed the use of the many tools available to them. We are talking about Middle School students so boundary testing is part of the mix as is making mistakes. Some issues that we have dealt with include IMing during class, leaving an iPad/laptop unattended or at home, taking pictures of other students without permission, bypassing the filter to view YouTube, and a couple low battery after being at home. All are too be expected and have been addressed and students are helping us to write How to articles so we can have some student created solutions. These are all very teachable moments.

I think we would have been better prepared our community if we had used and discussed the Common Sense Media Family Media agreements before the students were given the devices. I am pretty sure it would have helped our families cope with the addition of the device to their homes. This area should be a focus if the school were to adopt a device or frankly even if we do not adopt a device.

iPad only

Syncing and Books

While the cases are nice, they must be removed to be charged and synced in the Bretford PowerSync tray. While not horrible, it does mean students must take them out and take off the passcode so we can update the iPads. This is probably not the way we would manage a 1 to 1 iPad environment since students would probably be required to sync over the air or via a different system where they had full rights to the iPads. Since we have them locked to a school ID, students cannot add or delete apps. We struggled with the best way to handle this and decided for the purpose of this test, we would use the Apple Volume License approach where we purchase the apps and install the software apps. Students are using a shared Google Doc to record app suggestions as well as Books they would like to read in iBooks. We will then purchase and sync to the iPads. I am not a big fan of the iBook app as I prefer the Kindle app since I can read the same book on almost any device. Again, for the purpose of this project, we are testing the use of iBooks.

Google Docs

Even with Office2 HD, the use is not the great on an iPad. I read an open letter from Scott Meech where he hoped Apple and Google could make it work better together. Given the competition between these two rivals, I will not hold my breath, but it is a real deterrent on the iPad since the mobile browser does not allow for a rich editing experience.


This app has proven to be a true winner for blogging. While I struggled understanding exactly how to use it, after a few minutes we had a group who knew how to use it and were able to help all of us learn. This is key since the device must allow for writing and we are trying to get our students to write for an authentic audience.

i-nigma QR Code Reader

I love this simple app that allows us to create a QR code and add it to the Moodle course so students just point the iPad at it and they are taken to it. We have used it for the Blog and Discovery Education Mobile site. To learn more about QR Codes in Education read the ISTE article.

Laptop only

  • Kernel panics were new to the students and seems to afflict a few each day. Not sure if it is due to 4 year old laptops or the system but we are attempting to solve this issue.
  • Cords and power adapters across the floor is an accident waiting to happen. We must have a more elegant solution.
  • Storage before, during and after school is in need of fine tuning as many students do not have room in their lockers since it is still full of binders.
  • Using a Google Doc where students could ask questions and I could provide answers makes it easy to support and instruct as often the document would show up in my list of documents as bold alerting me to a question. In short time, I could provide an answer, image or link to a solution. Other times, I just walked to the room to assist.
  • Transitions are always an issue and having one more thing to stow before students leave the classroom is not ideal.

Things to consider in the future

  • Boot camp for students, teachers and parents where we learn how to do manage the devices both from the care perspective but also with respect to digital citizenship and balance.
  • Develop activities that students, teachers and parents can do to practice these digital citizenship practices.
  • Create opportunities for the exchange of information between all members of our community so we are mostly rowing in the same direction as I believe all members of our community desire what is best even if we have different opinions on how to fast to be rowing.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks as the data we are getting back is providing very valuable.