Recently my school underwent a migration from Novell networking software to Microsoft networking software. It was pretty painless and I’m surprised at how easy we all made the transition. There have been a few snafus:
- Our keyboarding lab had the oldest computers in the building, and they are struggling to accept the new script. We are trying to transition less older computers in there as we find them in storage or find that they are not being used in classrooms. The workstations are Gateway E series. I inherited a situation where I don’t think a true inventory of hardware has been done in a while, and this migration is showing it really bad! Guess what’s on my to do list now?
- I’m having to go around and reset the email client (Outlook) as well.
- I’m in the process of teaching folks (or in some cases doing it for them) finding their printers and setting them as default. I love that “print screen” function!
I write though about the students’ responses to the migration. At the beginning of the year the district rolled out individual student logins. We were told the migration was coming, so we decided as a school to “sit” on the individual accounts until the migration. Our students used a generic “student” login, which caused its own set of problems. Once the migration took place, the generic student account would fall by the wayside, and all students would be required to log in. As the liaison at my school for student accounts, I disseminated the info, and each grade (6,7,8) had teachers who would give out information. I talked about it briefly on the morning news program, giving a few details and then sat back and watched. I had exlained that all document saving would go to the student’s indivivdual folder on the network, and anything saved to the desktop or C drive would be deleted at the next log in. Of course I knew kids would have to try it. They did not let me down. The very next morning my “regulars” who like to come to the library in the morning before school were all around the 20 computers trying out their logins. They were “decorating” their desktops with crazy backgrounds, creating paint pictures, ppts, word documents and more to the c drive, and then logging off to log back in and try it out. They shrieked with indignation that none of the changes or saved material was there. I used it as a teachable moment, explaining that the default saved to the network folder, and all their material would be safe unless they gave out their logins and passwords. I also talked about students who make bad choices and now they could access their work from anywhere in the building without worrying that someone else might delete it.
But I did “mess up” a little. You see their exploration into what the log in was like was my first exploration too. As I observed and answered the questions asked, I also found myself mildly surprised at the students’ desktops. They were all a simple solid royal blue, with only the user name subtly displayed, and a start menu/task bar. Right click was disabled. There were no icons. The only way students could maneuver around the computer was to click on the start menu, and access programs via that route. I know I said it, but didn’t realize a student had picked up on it.
What did I say? I said, “This is not real-world. How am I going to teach students to be ready for the 21st century if normal computer standards like desktop icons and right click are not available?” Yes I distinctly remember putting voice to that comment. And only now do I realize how keenly the crowd that gathers in the library each morning listens to me. You see we have an 8th grade current events exploratory class. The class is creating a newsletter for students–target audience–> students. One of my morning “regulars” is in that class, and his group is creating a “critic’s corner” for their newsletter. After getting a “no” on anything that might criticize a specific teacher or student, and getting shot down on love, sex, drugs, or profanity, the group has finally come up with a new topic they are enthusiastically researching for their contribution. It will be a critique of the new student login and restrictions on the computer. The plan to write about blocked sites, no icons, the inability to make a workspace that is “theirs” (translated they want a cool background on their desktop, their own bookmarks, etc.) and get this: they are going to QUOTE me making my statement.
Ouch. Yep, I said it. Yes, I said in front of students. No I did not realize they were paying me any attention. So what should I do? Their teacher is so happy to see them enthusiastically researching their topic, and came to tell me how excited they were. Then she asked me had I indeed said what they were using as a quote. Color me shocked!
So, my network, I need some feedback. Should I nix allowing them to use my comment? Perhaps I should allow it on the grounds of anonymity. Maybe I should allow them to use my name and stand by my quote. What would you do?
Image: ‘Day 97 – News Junkie‘