Warning: Firewall

So…I go to grade the glogs my kids have made while they are taking a quiz. But what do I discover but that a firewall has been put up that is denying me access to my student glogs. When did this happen? Um, sometime between Tuesday afternoon and this morning!!! It may just be me…but how do you just decide to put up a firewall randomly in the middle of the school year?! Did anyone THINK about the possible implications and havoc that would wreck on two classes at one intermediate school who were using Glogster this week? No. Of course not. This is just one more example of a district limiting access to a site that is educationally sound without asking ANYONE if it would affect them or their classes. If this happened last week when all 180 of my kids were working on the glogs in class…I would have flipped out. As it was, I flipped out, sent off a bunch of emails to everyone I could think of…I dropped the names of my Director of 7-12 Instruction and Assistant Superintendent because I wrote and won a grant to specifically use this website. To say that I was upset is an understatement. I almost blew a gasket.

I vented at lunch and waited for the emails to start pouring in. I didn’t know if I would be supported or not, but I was NOT going to go down without a fight. And do you know what? When I checked my email after lunch, I received confirmation that the firewall would be lifted. I went to my Glogster dashboard…and yes, all of my student glogs were available for me to see. Now, you’d think I would be more grateful that this issue was rectified so quickly, but one just has to wonder why I had to go through this in the first place. I mean, seriously…does anyone THINK around here? Blindly banning an entire site that has a specific PAID license for educators is ignorant. I thought I was going to lose the money that my principal gave to me to use with my kids and more importantly, I thought I was going to lose my grant money for next year.

Argh. Technology is stressful enough without having to deal with people who have NO clue of what is going on in the classrooms.

Come ON!!!

Okay, I get it…my students need to learn how to troubleshoot and problem-solve. Done. My students need to learn that they need to breathe before their lose their minds. For the most part done. My students need to be able to save their hard work, especially if they worked solidly for 30 minutes. Not even close.

I am not sure what is going on…but the tech issues are starting to get really old. It’s taking the steam out of our engines and robbing my students and me from the joy that we should be able to experience watching the work in progress. Are you kidding me?! If I didn’t work at a Title I school…if more of my students had access to a computer and the Internet at home…this would not be such a big issue. But it is. It’s a very BIG issue.

We only have two more days with the mobile laptop cart…my students have been working diligently after school…sometimes staying as late as 4PM. Two more days……I hope that there is enough patience to go around. There is NO way that I could use the mobile laptops with my students on a daily basis. I need a break from the tech issues just to regroup and regain my sanity.

On a more positive note…progress on the glogs continue and I’m very pleasantly surprised! My kids finally have a chance to show their creative side. Is it worth getting even more behind in the pacing? Absolutely. Authentic, meaningful learning activities are worth every moment that we lose in the pacing.

Patience is a Virtue

I have to say that my students have more patience than I usually give them credit for.  Today was the second day of using Glogster and Task 2 involved them watching a series of videos…completing a Tree Map…and then creating two quotes from one of the five kinds of people found on the manor.  Simple, right?  Wrong.

The wireless was only sporadically working.  When it was working, it only worked on some computers.  Not all students who were able to log in to the laptops were able to actually watch the videos.  I saw a lot of Q’s with the question mark and an X.  Poor kids.  I told them to try viewing the videos at home.

Do you know how hard it is to get kids motivated to work?  This glogster assignment is almost guaranteed to get them motivated, but the frustrations with the wireless and the temperamental nature of the laptops are proving to be solid adversaries to learning.  I wonder how long my students will be able to handle the pressure and frustration before losing it.  I know that I’m easily frustrated with technology and I’m the one who’s supposed to be in charge.  Ha!

Glogging is a Hit!

So my students were officially introduced to Glogster this week and the kids are loving it! By giving them time to simply “play” with the features, I think I was able to hook the students. Now…it remains to be seen if all of my students will be able to create their first glog by Friday…but I am excited with their progress so far.

It’s so funny to see them put their personal touches to their profile on the dashboard. Some of them already changed their profile pictures, while others have utilized the “How are you feeling?” quote bubble. I watched a few students start to fill in some of their personal details, such as music, movies, likes/dislikes.

I’ve said it from Day 1, but I feel like I need to reiterate it again…technology not only has the ability to extend the school day and learning process, but it also enables me to get to know my students better than simply F2F. What more could a teacher want?

The iPad is Rad!

So…I was anxiously waiting the release of the iPad2 and as soon as it was humanly possible, I got my name on the pre-order list. The overwhelming demand of the iPad (and the fact that I wanted a 64GB model) meant that I had to wait an extra couple of weeks as some of the parts were to come from Japan.

But I’ve had it for about a month now and I LOVE IT! It has revolutionized my ability to connect with everything tech. I mean, I can check my email – personal, professional, and work – while reading the news and catching up with friends on Facebook and Twitter. It’s absolutely amazing how seamlessly this device has become a daily part of my life!

Now, I’m working my way into taking my “baby” into the classroom. My goal is to immediately record homework grades as I check them off with my students. I’m also excited to take my awesome new toy to meetings because it’s so much lighter and WAY cooler than my new iBook. But I’m a bit hesitant because I know people will want to touch my iPad and truth be told, I don’t want people to touch my stuff.

There are so many positives that it outweighs the little negatives and annoyances that I am sure the developers at Apple will rectify sooner rather than later.