Friday, July 17, 2009


So, these are the challenges from Week Nine:

Challenge #1: I caught a student googling porn sites at the library afterschool.
Immediate Solution: Temporarily revoked his laptop privileges, Wireless Internet disconnected for all, unless I am present or until I am convinced that there will be adequate adult supervision in the library.
Longterm Solution, Option A: Anyone know how to set internet filters on the Linksys Cisco Wireless G router? I hate to do it, but I feel like not doing it would be negligent.
Longterm Solution, Option B: Let the internet go (direct donated funds to other school laptop needs) and encourage students to use preloaded Wikipedia content for research needs. The wireless internet is helpful for upgrading software on the XO, but those upgrades are optional. And the donation of internet services for the library was only to pay through the end of this year. Given the current government finances, it remains highly unlikely that the Ministry of Education will decide to start paying for the library's broadband service in the year ahead. The librarian doesn't even want to ask them until the new budget begins in October.

Challenge #2: The librarians still hesitate to run with the laptop program. They were too tired to run the laptop classes they planned to run during the school break. They keep asking for "another training." And it is a pattern that they are then absent on the day we schedule the training. It does little to build my confidence about their ability to oversee internet usage.
Solution: Remove the added burden of internet supervision from their responsibilities by disconnecting the internet?

Challenge #3: I think I posted a blog about the Teacher Maintenance Class. And how one of the teachers present volunteered to teach those who couldn't attend because of sports training commitments. Well, that teacher kept a copy of the 8.2OS USB to demonstrate the reflash process. And two weeks later, that USB had his class files on it and no sign of the Operating System. Doesn't exactly inspire trust and faith in how that school will maintain their laptops.
Solution: There is a theme to many of these posts about challenges/solutions: LET THE STUDENTS RUN THE PROGRAM. If we eliminate the need for adults to supervise internet usage, the students are fully capable and interested in managing this program. Keep this in mind every step of the way and use their enthusiasm to make teachers' and librarians' jobs easier.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

XO Repairs and Maintenance

Fiji's teachers are also learning to be computer technicians!Now that I'm experienced in solving the problems that arise during laptop class, I ran another round of teacher trainings: how to manage common classroom XO issues and how to repair the XOs.
With the teachers, I reviewed the laptop re-charging process, the use of "The Frame" to close unnecessary activities (the most common issue is laptops being slow/freezing as students leave activities open), and how to use the Power On button for emergency shut downs. They also had a chance to reflash, rename, and even go into the Control Panel to set the automatic "Frame" to "never," reducing another common annoyance for students.
My biggest concern is that one of the schools still hasn't purchased their 1G USBs to house their back-up operating systems. Hopefully, we can remedy that in the week ahead.
It's mid-term testing this week (week 8), so the laptops will get a well deserved rest. I'll be running the Intro Class for students at the town library on Monday and visiting the other two primary schools to discuss implementation time lines for their laptops.
During week 9, every class (at the pilot schools) has a morning or afternoon that they are allowed to use the laptops. I'm anticipating we will learn quite a bit about what needs to be changed/modified/improved very soon!