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Establishing systems for maintenance and management of devices | An Enabling e-Learning event

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Started by Catriona Pene 25 Mar 2013 3:20pm () Replies (19)

Kia ora, Talofa and welcome to our latest Forum: Establishing systems for maintenance and management of devices.


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          Are any of these in your classroom?

Do you have access to:
  • Desktops?
  • Laptops?
  • A C.O.W? (computers on wheels)
  • Mobile devices? 
  • An assortment of all these? 
Do you feel you could be better utilising them to meet the learning needs of your students?

How do you currently ensure:

  • The best storage and organisation of the computers and devices in your room?
  • All students have access?
  • Systems are in place to ensure devices are kept ready to use and in good order?
  • You and your students get the most out of the equipment you have?


Join in our FORUM, introduce yourself and ask your questions or share your experiences, challenges, successes, tips and tricks. 

We would love to hear your practical solutions for booking, managing, powering and securing devices in classrooms, so that e-learning goals and aspirations can come to fruition.

This thread may also touch on systems for hardware (desktop, laptop, COWs, mobile devices). 


  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 5:10pm ()

    Hi all -

    My name is Matthew Thomas and I am a Year 2 teacher at Selwyn Ridge Primary School in Tauranga.  I am also the Teacher in Charge of ICT, and get some release time for this role each week.  We have 21 classrooms and approximately 70 Macs and MacBooks as well as 200 or so iPads in classrooms, as well as cameras, mics, and other ICT peripheral gear.  This is a LOT of tech gear to keep working, and to make sure it is being put to best use.

    We have lots of ways that we ensure best use of equipment around the place.  Two things that spring to mind are -

    1. The ICT Book

    This is really boring, but eminently practical!  We have a good old hardcopy book in our staffroom where teachers can jot down techy issues and ask for help.  We have tried a few different ways to do this, but for some of our staff, a physical book is the best way to record issues when they are having difficulty with ICT stuff!  Our staff also know that they can talk to me about things, but unless its in 'the book', I can't guarantee that it won't escape out of my head and not get done!

    2. Loads of learning time, for teachers and students

    Ongoing PD around the best use of ICT in learning is crtical to tools being used effectively, and correspondingly for the ICT tools to be cared for.  When we started down the path of iPads, we armed each teacher with their own iPad for a term (before we provided classes with student iPads), and alongside that was a commitment from every teacher to take part in onging learning about how to use the iPads effectively.

    Every Thursday we had an 'iPad Class' for teachers, at 7.45am, 12 noon and 3pm.  The class was the same thing run at these times, and teachers could come along once or could come all three times if they wanted to!  Then we also had some whole staff meetings focussed on these new tools, and in every meeting and learning time as a staff we practised the use of these tools.

    We had specific apps loaded onto the iPads and focussed on those apps and their uses across a variety of curriculum areas.  We had practise times and sharing times of successes and challenges.  A lot of the resources have been loaded onto an open blog at www.selwynridge.school.nz/ipad/ so teachers could access video demonstrations and notes from home or school.

    Once iPads were put into students hands, we also had small groups of students meeting together with a focus in mind and within that learning would be the upskilling of those students around a particular app.  Those students could then go and share that learning with their class and the wider school.

    It has been fantastic watching the use of iPads grow around the school as we all become more familiar with these tools.  It's an exciting journey to see where we'll be in a few years time!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how other schools tackle these questions to make sure they make the best use of the ICT tools they have.  

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 8:53pm ()

    Forgot to mention, one thing we do to make life a little bit easier with our ICT tools is to name and label pretty much every piece of equipment.  This helps a lot when collecting serial numbers or trying to figure out exactly which device is playing up.  We have also added unique iPad backgrounds to every one of our iPads, which makes identifying them in class much easier too.  

  • Warren Hall (View all users posts) 12 Apr 2013 12:29am ()

    Hi Matthew, do you hand out the unique backgrounds to the iPads manually or do you use some software that automates the process for you?

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 5:48pm ()

    Thanks so much Matthew, that is great practical advice.

    What other questions or tips do people have about how to organise tech equipment for optimum learning?

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 6:04pm ()

    At one of my schools we have just talked about the fact that all the knowledge about and responsibility for the maintenance and management rest on the should of one teacher. Many of us that have been in this position would remember being drawn between the needs of our own class (or the need to use our CRT / non-contact time wisely on other things!) and the plea of a fellow colleague who needs their projector fixed, their wifi on, the printer working etc.

    This particular teacher is now bit-by-bit developing a 'how to' guide for fellow staff to use. She plans to introduce each item at staff meeting. So before the other staff can come to her with an issue (which will now also go into a hard copy book), they need to have gone through the guide first. This should help teachers to get more confident in their own abilities and free this teacher up to only look at the issues that really need her.

    We have talked about combining the 'how-to' guide with the 'issues' book so there is no missing it. We are also considering putting the guide on our own private group on the VLN so teachers have access to it wherever they are.

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 8:40pm ()

    Thats an awesome idea Monika!  I do loads of help sheets for our teachers on all sorts of topics.  These are currently located on our teacher admin blog.  I love the idea of adding these sheets to the front of the 'Tech Support' book.  I have also been starting to create screencasts to go alongside the helpsheets, so maybe I'd have to add QR codes in for those.  Mmmm, you've got me thinking!

  • Warren Hall (View all users posts) 12 Apr 2013 12:34am ()

    Hi Monika, when i was in a similar role I ended up having an informal policy that teachers should have tried resolving their issue themselves (googling counted as solving it themselves), and have asked one other person before they came to me. I found it allowed me to focus more on the big picture stuff and also that it reinforced that lots of people in a school might be able to help with IT issues.

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 9:02pm ()

    Hi again Matt and Monika,

    Funny the things that come back to you when someone says something that triggers a memory!

    In my year 3 class, we named each of our ipads and macbooks by class vote of popular tv characters at the beginning of the year.  I then created a screen saver of the character and named the device and set up the email account name as being from that character.

    e.g. scoobydoo@me.com

    This allowed the children to more easily identify which device they had been working on when they needed to return to complete a piece of work and for me to keep track of where work had come from when it was emailed to me or to the class blog.

  • Sylvie Vasar (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 9:17pm ()

    The Technology teachers give students projects where students can video the process used to make their projects step by step. Students give explanations in their video. They put this together and upload it to their Ultranet page. The whole process can then be shared with the class teacher as well as their parents. 

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 9:20pm ()

    Wow, I really like both these ideas!

    • Labelling the devices with screen saver and corresponding email is a fantastic idea, so much more memorable than Ipad #3 or sim (my last school used to have netbooks, 3/4 per class, they were labelled but then got mixed up sometimes, and for assessments in Tech I have at times looked through 20 odd machines to find a student's work saved in My Docs rather than their folder on the server...)
    • I like the idea of screencasts and QR codes! What are you using to create the screen casts? You just reminded me about using QR codes in teaching as well (lots of possibilities!)

    Isn't the VLN a great place to share wonderful ideas!

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 27 Mar 2013 10:16pm ()

    We have set up a Google Doc with passwords that the school or classes have. It's title makes it clear the last date it was updated. It contains passwords for web 2.0 accounts, blogs, and anything else that's not critical and that any teacher can know. There is a similar document with passwords such as VPP and iTunes details, school website details that are for some personnel only.

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 05 Apr 2013 4:38pm ()

    Hi Monika -

    On the Mac
    We use QuickTime to record the screen and mouse and capture audio on the Mac, and then normally use iMovie to clean up the movie a bit.  

    On the iPad
    When we want to capture what is happening on an iPad, we get quite technical, and have a MacPro with a Black Magic Intensity HDMI Capture card installed (sounds technical already eh!)  This means that we can connect the iPad to the Mac through an HDMI dongle, and record the screen (and the sound) from the iPad on the Mac, using an app called BoinxTV (which is seriously cool!)  These can then be put up onto our help blog or to our Teacher Admin blog at school.  

    The same thing can be done with the Reflector software I believe, although I've never actually tried this.

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 30 Mar 2013 8:11pm ()

    Brian Hutching 5 days ago

    At Linwood College we have two classes which have one to one iPads for students. We began this initiative last year. The initial class of 25 were allocated an iPad each. We numbered the iPads but only this year have we got the serial numbers of each iPad and pinned these numbers to students. We were donated a metal storage unit for the iPads. This has 6 cupboards and on the top of the unit there is a fan to draw out any warm air which results when we recharge the iPads. There are electrical points in each cupboard and there is the ability to charge up a number of iPads in the units. If an iPad needs recharging during a lesson we have some multi boxes on hand to recharge.

    We purchased iPad covers for the tablets and these have proven valuable in protecting them. The iPads are very robust and we have only had one accidental drop of an iPad which has resulted in a cracked screen.

    This year another Year 9 Digital class was formed and we have gone about setting it up just like the first one.

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 05 Apr 2013 4:42pm ()

    Yes, iPad covers are essential!  We currently love the M Edge Super Shell cases for both the iPad and the iPadMini.  We use these for all of our iPads in Years 0 - 3.  

    iPad Case

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 30 Mar 2013 8:12pm ()

    Josie Woon 2 minutes ago

    Hi I have recently shared what I have done with introducing iPads to my year 2/3 class.  I only have 2 and my personal one which I allow them to use but this still needs to be done in the right way.

    Teachers need time to get to know the device, play, download apps and figure out how this piece of technology will assit their students rather than become a busy station.

    All my class were told exactly how much it all cost and this has helped to show them the respect t and care they need to show when they use them this includes being taught how to open and shut them correctly and transport them around the school, how to hold them for photos and videoing.

    How will you update applications and charge them? for me I do this at home which I can with so few I charge them overnight and update them as soon as I get home using my own wifi which I have opted to do.  This allows me to download new apps and then load them onto each device in my own time.

    Covers can be brought off trade me and I got the ones that enable the iPad to be horizontal or vertical while they are being used.  A class chart was done for the children to list expectations of them while using the device and work I expect produced and how to care for them.  In over a year I have not had one dropped or mis-treated.

    I go to the app sharing thread on here and often read reviews and load these apps to have a go, a lot of websites review and these reviews are usually spot on making sure that the reviewer has the same goal as you.

    Creation with the iPad needs to be the main goal so that students dont get the wrong idea and only see it for gaming.

    All these have been implemented over the last year and is going well with a new lot of students this year.  Creation is my focus and we try and load this to our class blog weekly.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 05 Apr 2013 9:56am ()

    Here's a great response from Nevyn (via MLE listserve) about clever ways to empower teachers - with technical solutions:

     For the last two years and a half years I've worked on the Manaiakalani project, working to provide a usable operating system on the devices, as well as a few other bits and pieces. This was made easier by the limited models of devices. The solution that we've been working with (and which seems to have worked fairly well), is to issue each of the teachers with a usb stick which allows THEM to do alot of the admin within the classroom. Whether that's a password reset, imaging a machine (3.5 minutes) etc.

    This has also enabled the users to have A LOT more control (given that they own their computers). Having a quick and easy fallback position is something that's not used enough. If you're waiting around for a technician (particularly in smaller schools where they're only booking technical help every 2 weeks or so) then something's very wrong. This is only really made possible by the cloud. 

    If IT support is an expense, and most IT people would rather be doing something else and most users feel that frustration from IT people and often get frustrated themselves as a result... then shouldn't we be looking at ways to reduce that expense, free up time to investigate and implement more sustainable solutions and reduce the frustration by having the users be more in control of their own systems? 

    Nevyn also adds,

    I would go just a little bit further and say, if your technician isn't working to make themselves redundant, they're probably doing their jobs wrong.

    What do you think? Is Nevyn onto something here? How important is the technical support in your school?

  • Innes Kennard (View all users posts) 05 Apr 2013 6:48pm ()

    Hi all

    Cases, always, open, always on are particularly useful for Yr 1-4 though some schools use them right across. I like the strong foam ones that have wrap around handles which makes them very easy to carry - juniors 1, seniors 4-5!!  All switches and plugs accessible. Further information from me.

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e-Learning: Technologies

e-Learning: Technologies

Where we explore how different technologies can support learning.