Friday, April 16, 2010

End of Year Laptop Check-in

I've had a number of requests lately from neighboring schools to share how we do laptop check-in at O'Neill, so I thought I would create a blog post outlining our procedures.  Current OHS students and family can view this as well and therefore get ready for the inevitable laptop check-in that is right around the corner!

********** 24/7 Learning Laptop Check-in *****************

We try to allow students to keep their laptops as long as possible, as we know many teachers are assigning end of the year projects that cannot be completed without technology.  However, in order to have all fines presented and collected from the students prior to their end-of-the-year checkout, we need to start this process at least 2-3 days before the last day of school.

Approximately a week before that, I go into all the English classes and pass out laptop check-in forms as well as go through procedures for backup and cleanup of the student machines.  Last year I created this video for the students, posted it on Angel, and encouraged them to watch it to be reminded of these necessary procedures.

The Laptop Check-in Form asks students to document any damages or repairs that have occurred during the school year (just to double-check our paperwork and keep the computer history as accurate as possible).  They also note any things not currently working so that they can be fixed over the summer.  We ask our students to clean up their MacBook with the cleaning kits that I leave in the English rooms during their free time.  When they actually bring down their computer to check it in, we ask them to take the MacBook out of their case, put the check-in form inside the lid, power the computer down, unattach the bag's shoulder strap and put in inside the front pocket, and zip up the bag.  We do a first-pass check and make sure they are checking in the correct laptop number, bag number, and powercord number, and then put all the bags back in the closet, and laptops into piles.

In between students showing up at our door, we start going through the piles of laptops and noting any damages on their original check-out sheet from the fall.  If their computer is being checked in with no damages, cracks, scuffs, etc., (basically in the same exact condition the MacBook was issued to them) then their name goes on a list for receiving a refund. (We try to send these out with report cards, or else in a mailing later on after school is out.)  If there are additional damages, their name goes on a list for not receiving any refund.  Any additional fines are distributed to the students and must be paid before we sign their school check-out sheet.

Any laptop that needs repair over the summer goes into one pile, and the rest are put back onto the shelves until our Tech Coordinator begins the summer re-imaging process.

The most difficult part of the entire process, by far, is seeing the sadness of the students as they hand in their lifeline for the next 3 months!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A couple more great uses of student Macbooks

Watching their performance in the musical on their home television:

And celebrating birthdays with siblings via videochat:

Real-world publishing by our students gets noticed via youtube

Sophomore Connor Peterson received the following message on his youtube account:

"I would like to show your film to a group of middle school students as a part of our AIDS/HIV lessons. I like that it is a student made production and feel it is age appropriate and speaks to the fear and facts of the syndrome/disease.

Can you send me a copy in a format I can show at school? I promise to use it only for good and will not distribute nor sell it.

I have been looking and looking for the right film for my kids.

Thank you if you can, I know things get complicated, if you can't.

This is what it is all about.  Connor's movie was for his English research project and pulls together the facts along with the emotions in a way that a traditional research report could not do.  Congratulations Connor, on a job well done- both for your English class and the classes around the world that are benefiting from your sharing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

CSC Scholastic Contest: Photojournalism Winners

Once again our OHS students' Digital Arts talents are recognized as being exemplary.  Senior Demi Devall wins 1st place in the Chadron State College Photojournalism contest and senior Lorissa Johnson finishes in 8th place overall with their outstanding yearbook photos.  The OHS students have studied photography in their journalism class with Mrs. Katrina Gotschall as well as Digital Design classes with Mr. Mike Peterson and Art classes with Mr. Kevin McNichols.  Added to their coursework is their ability to explore their passion 24/7 with their school-issued MacBook complete with Adobe Photoshop CS3.  Congratulations Demi and Lorissa!

Digital Dance Class?

 I found out about an innovative use of 24/7 Learning when I picked up my daughter from her dance class yesterday.  Her dance instructor, Stephanie, is a sophomore at OHS but traveled with the high school scholastic team to the Chadron State Scholastic competition yesterday, and therefore had to be absent from teaching her dance classes.  Steph planned ahead and recorded herself teaching the dances in iMovie and had her younger brother deliver her MacBook to the dance studio in time for her classes.  Each of the classes would watch their instructor doing the steps over and over on the laptop screen in between practicing them for real.  With a dance recital right around the corner and small supply of dance instructor substitutes, Steph's ingenuity, resourcefulness, and access to technology benefited a large number of little girls yesterday!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

OS X Blog/Wiki Server + Podcast Producer

This comment came our way today:
I am presenting today on schools that are leveraging wikis, blogs and Podcast Producer in their classrooms.  And after digging around on your server the last couple of days, I am absolutely impressed by what you guys are doing.  You are giving the students a stage (mountain top) to express themselves, and you are giving your teachers such a great avenue to post assignments, capture class, etc. 

My presentation is at 10:30am CST - so I just wanted to let you know that I was going to be showing off your site and also to say what an awesome job you guys are doing in O'Neill.  It is truly amazing what you guys are doing - I know it is a lot of work - but what a difference you guys are making!!!
This is due in large part to the amazing teachers we have at OHS who take advantage of these digital tools to make learning more meaningful for our students.  Thank you!