Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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Will the Google Laptop be the 1 to 1 choice for school districts?

Monday, February 28, 2011

After a week of time beta testing the Google Cr48 laptop, I think it has a lot of potential for a schools 1 to 1 laptop program. A lot of it's potential will be based on it's final sales price which has not yet been released.  If the price point comes in at $249 or less, it will be a huge winner. At $299 it's still a strong contender.  It's potential is also based on it's simplicity, quick power up time and long battery life.  Combine this laptop with Google Apps for education and it is a winner for students and staff.  I like the iPad for it's battery life, large application base, and presentation of electronic media, but I think the Google Laptop makes more sense for 1 to 1 deployments as well as deployment in mobile carts.  The iPad, or other tablet devices (read Android) will still be the product of choice for media centers, and eBook/media content delivery. Does Google have a winner here?  My vote is yes, but... time will tell!

What will school networks look like in the future?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quick answer: Wireless...Wireless...Wireless....  As a school networking person, I am still very fond of the fast speed, reliable, and controllable network wiring.  Yes, give me fiber, Cat5, Cat 6, or beyond.  But that is not what I see in the crystal ball for school networks in the next ten years.  We are not ready to totally cut the wires yet, but as wireless matures and wireless access is required, our school networks will evolve.  Students and staff will need Cellular service and wireless access for the many handheld devices that will service education and personal needs of our clients.  Our "wired" network will still support some file and print services, but most services will be supported on the cloud.  With all of our applications moving to the cloud,  we need more wireless and more bandwidth.

What wireless devices?  Well, the answer remains to be seen.  I like the iPad for it's battery life, but I do not see it as a total computer replacement.  The iPad is great as a media delivery device with good battery life, but I do not see it as a full service internet client, especially with it's lack of support for Adobe Flash.   There may be hope for the new Android tablets, but time will tell for their laptop replacement capabilities.

I have had the opportunity to review the Google Chrome Laptop and have been very impressed with it's battery life and possibility for use in a 1 to 1 computer initiative within a school district.  Second party review here: With many applications heading to the cloud, this device holds a lot of promise.  I think the deciding factor for this device will be it's price point.  If they can come in with a price point of $249, it will be a winner for education.

Why use Blogger in your Classroom?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

With Google Apps for Education, every student and staff member now has their own personal blog they can use for a variety of reasons and uses.

  • Kids love to Blog.
  • Students are motivated seeing their words published on the web.
  • Students who know they have an audience other than their teacher write more credibly, accurately, and carefully.
  • Blogs allow feedback and interaction. (Feature can be turned on or off.)

According to research published in The Journal (The Prose of Blogging and a Few Cons, Too.), students who blogged felt better about writing overall, and about writing research papers in particular. Combined with many other free resources, blogging has unlimited possibilities.  You may want to check out some of these great resources:  "50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills"

As with many tools, Blogging  is relevant based on the person using the tool. In the hands of a skilled educator blogging can become a great classroom tool motivating students and improving their writing and literary skills. This tool in the hands of a poor educator it can become a great time wasting tool for students to spend hours in the computer lab.

Blogging is one more great tool in the arsenal of web tools available to educators for use in their classrooms.  What are you doing reading this blog???? Get busy and start using this great resource in your classroom. :)