Free Range Technology, Pushing Boundaries

That Job is Crazy!

Above you see what happens when people, dedicated to their job, get free reign to run with an idea.

I work at a high-school as a science teacher.  That’s the phrase I tell people when they ask what I do.  The truth is, like most jobs, my title barely covers my actual job.  I also am the school’s unofficial photographer (the pic above is not mine), the tech guru (along with TechieinHell who actually runs that stuff), theatre manager/sound engineer/lighting guy and pet enthusiast (we have fish a mice so far).

In the middle of all of this, I do try to educate students.  My boss got the idea that tablet computers were the next wave in technology.  When the iPad hit, it seemed the world joined in on that sentiment.  My boss started his quest to put iPads into the hands of students.  Yesterday that became a reality.  We are testing six students in Grade 8 (or 8th Grade for our USA friends) who were across all levels of ability.  The days leading up to that, I became the tech who made this happen.  I updated, charged, synced, cloned and bathed ten iPads to be given out – four go to their teachers who will have to learn to use them this Monday in a course I will teach.  No I did not make that up.  I’ve seen two year old’s use iPads but teachers with two or more degrees will need to be taught how to touch something properly (there is a dirty joke in there that I will leave alone).

Was is fun?  Yes.  After I was finished, did TechieinHell suggest a better way for me to do the job I did?  Yes.  Did I learn as much or more than the kids I teach?  Yes.  Will I quit asking pointless questions in this post?  YES!

We are pushing foreword to get our kids to see the world in a twenty-first century way.  I’m glad to be on board.

  • zaddikim

    It's not a bad idea really. I haven't had to support iPads in a business/school environment, but I did have to support Macs/iMacs/MacBooks and iPods, and man were they a right pain in a Windows Domain environment. If there's a relatively inexpensive (from both monetary and time perspectives) way to serve up data of any type to those devices, I'd be all over it.

    Not that I'm in tech now, mind you – all I've got to support are my linux boxen and the g/f's Win7 PC and netbook. But if there is a (relatively) painless way to serve up media and data to iOS/OSX devices, please let us know, eh?

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      I'm not sure what you mean, we do that at work. Windows shares work, just mount from the Finder. With the built in samba stuff you can share from the Mac to Windows too. It's in System Preferences Sharing. We sometimes automount nfs volumes, you have to google of what to twiddle on the Mac for that. Used to be or something you had to use, I can't remember what you do anymore. Things like documentation we generally put on a web server.

      • zaddikim

        Ah, gotcha. What I encountered though was that OSX just couldn't seem to save the credentials to access other workstations, much less a DC. We looked at some of the smith Micro stuff and the churches we worked with ( and the churches we worked with _loved_ Macs) just didn't like the price.

        Which is funny, because the Macs were kinda spendy.

    • BGW

      I work for a school as well, and we just placed an order for a major iPad initiative in our grade 6-12 library. Our solution to the issues you've raised? Cloud. (please note that I HATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATE "Cloud" and especially Microsoft's 'To The Cloud!' campaign withe the strength of 10 Conans). We're weighing MS Live@Edu vs Google Apps vs a Dropbox-centric mix of apps. It's going to take a major shift in both student and faculty culture to make it work…but that's what cattleprods are for, right?

  • chrystlubitshi

    students should be able to use technology: as long as it is helpful and applicable. I was one of the few students that showed up in class with a laptop ((free HP)) my freshman year. I was able to take notes faster than i could write/find the professor's notes on the server. (this was 2000— the college had less than 500 students). I was top-o-the-tech-line……………..

    As long as the software is locked down to course related info only (sure, someone will hack it to use it otherwise). excellent. giant reduction in paper production costs……

    • Lotte

      "sure, someone will hack it to use it otherwise" Reminds me of my TI-84 with Tetris on it. Got real good, too, but then the controls are actually the opposite of the Nintendos so I never got to show off my mad skillz…

      When it gets properly locked down, the shine of hey, I have an iPad! will fade and real results will show. Colour me skeptical, though, as I need real paper one way or another when working on serious stuff.

  • Will there be a playground battle to see who the lucky recipients are?

  • TechieInHell

    "We are pushing foreword to…"


    Yes, I know you're the science teacher, not the English teacher, but – c'mon man! SERIOUSLY?

    Personally I am looking FORWARD to being asked to write the FOREWORD for your memoirs so that at least part of it will be grammatically correct.

  • Whoa, I just had a 'Nam-like flashback. I was the computer teacher and computer technician for a private middle school for eight years. I block it out of my mind most of the time.

    We did the same thing with 24 Compaq Aero 8000 Windows CE mini-notebook/mega-PDAs — sort of the iPad of 1998. I set up two rubbermaid tubs with rigid foam slots to hold them, and teachers could sign them out for use in their classrooms when the computer labs were busy. Some teachers made great use of them, others were still calling me to come help them pull up their email four years after they got a PC in their classroom.