1. New Chromebook Pilot - Two out of the 35 new HPs that were deployed earlier this week have already been sent to repair. Both crashed and even when fully charged, would not reboot. It could be a power issue, a screen issue, or a processing/reboot error. They will likely be sent back to the manufacturer since they are still in the warranty period. The Lenovos have left China and have passed through U.S. Customs, so we are hopeful that we will get those out to students early next week.
2. Hapara - I am half-way through the Hapara Champion Educator course. The current module is on their Dashboard feature. I'll post another update when I finish the course, but I want to share something that happened last week concerning Hapara. I have mentioned before that I am impressed with the Hapara training and its emphasis on building relationships with students, and how some of the teachers in my school have been using Hapara simply to police their students' browsing. I had a student hit his Chromebook because he was closed out of a tab. Yes, it was a gaming site. But here's the kicker! He had finished his work and his teacher had given him "free time" which is permission of sorts. One of his other teachers had closed him out of the tab. I did not want to make excuses for the student. Obviously what he did was wrong, beyond negligence. It was intentional damage. But it happened because a teacher was interfering in another teacher's class. I don't think it was meant to be malicious towards the teacher, but I do think maybe the teacher was being malicious to the student (which makes me crazy!) Our job is to love all of our students. Some are harder to love, but they are the ones who often need it the most.
3. High school content area-specific PD - Dr. Vinson gave me an update on these meetings. Her tech team from one of the schools suggested a website for each of the content areas where they could post tech tools, helpful resources, and technology integration ideas. She already curates a collection of tech tools on a Google Site. She said since it was old and not pretty, maybe it just needed an update from the old Google Sites to the new, but she hasn't had time to look up how to convert (task #1 for me.) I suggested maybe instead of a website for each content area at each high school, she could help them curate a collection of resources on a Wakelet. That way she'd only need one Wakelet per subject area that the high schools could share and her website of tech tools could be included on all of them. She liked the idea! The high schools are implementing "power hours" this year. One of them started this fall, and the other will start in January. The way it works is that lunch is broken into two blocks and students get to choose their lunch block. There is a rotating A/B schedule. If a student has less than a C average in any class, they need to use the "power hour" for tutoring in that subject. Other students go to clubs that are hosted by teachers. Once every two weeks, the content area teams get to meet. This is where the tech teams would push out their PD. Dr. Vinson also asked me to check out the Glide app (task #2 for me.) It is an app that will convert a Google Sheet into a mobile app. Here's a video introduction. I'll post a review of Glide soon!
Follow-up update! I sent Dr. Vinson this link from Jonathan Wylie on how to convert your old Google site to the new Google sites. Follow him! @jonathanwylie