Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oil Change Saturday

Sometimes it's nice to leave the high tech world behind and get your hands dirty. That's what I did today, changing the oil in both of my Toyota vehicles. To be honest, there was something downright soothing about working on something so simple and basic and ... uncomplicated. You drain the oil, replace the filter, replace the drain plug, and put in the new oil. Not too much to go wrong there.

In my classes this week, it was a bit different. Having finally bit the bullet and decided to just use the Windows XP laptop ("lil crappy") with the Promethean board, I had a rather disturbing result. For about 15 minutes it was pretty nice. I was showing my students the web pages I had created as resources for them (on Firefox, of course--can't stand IE), when suddenly a student said, "hey, Mr. G, that looks like a disco over there!" She was referring to the wall interface for the Promethean board, which has a series of push buttons for selecting combinations of input sources and other parameters. All the buttons on the panel were rapidly flashing. It DID look like a disco floor. Then, it all went black. My Promethean board blinked out and ... well, hasn't been back since. Sure was nice to use during its 15 minutes of fame, though. I wonder if this happens with Smart Boards.

Meanwhile, all the free and open source software was finally installed in our computer lab. Of course I would have done this a year ago, but I don't have the right install privileges--something that drives me nuts every day of my teaching career. The software was installed, and it was even checked to make sure it worked. The only problem was this: when students tried to use it, they didn't have the proper security clearance for sections of the hard drive that the software had to use. Half of the eight applications installed simply won't run for students. Kind of hard to teach AP Computer Science when your students have to do all their Java compiling at home.... :-(

Ah well, at least Python is working.

No comments: