Thursday, December 11, 2003

Sisyphus Configures the Laptops

I had two prep periods and one administrative period today - the lightest teaching day of the week for me - and spent the whole time configuring our laptops to make them all ready for use. Right now, the first set of laptops that we received is in use, but the new ones are still waiting to have user accounts set up, extra icons removed, Microsoft Word activated, Inspiration 7 installed, Internet Explorer configured, etc. etc. As I was saying, I spent the better part of three hours on this project today, and finished a grand total of 9 laptops. Nine laptops in three hours! Of course, a good deal of time was spent plugging laptops into the Laptop Cart From Hell and untangling the jungle of wires that resulted from the plugging in process. I tried very hard to organize the wires so that they would all stay lined up, but to no avail, by the end of the day I was looking at a virtual doily of tangled wires. I also discovered the limits of the medieval wiring in our school: 20 laptops plugged in, 1 fuse blows. Lucky for us, the circuit breakers are located within our space, not on the first floor or anything. Unlucky for us, there's no way we can charge all our laptops at once, and we are constantly blowing fuses, and there's not much the custodians or anyone else can do about it. So much for technology in the schools!

Anyway, at the end of the day, I brought some of the charged-up, configured laptops into my classroom for afterschool. My literary magazine kids typed up their writing from the last two months, and started typing the submissions to the magazine (we got so few submissions we are taking everything - I don't think the kids know what a literary magazine is, so they didn't submit much writing). It was great. They worked quietly, used the spell checker and grammar checker to spot their mistakes - and demonstrated that they use those tools intelligently - and I just walked around and assisted.

I am considering throwing a "Laptop Configuration Party" after school so my colleagues can help...

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