We’ve just had the annual MacBook rollout with 150 Middle and High school students picking up new laptops – the majority of which are new to WAB and more importantly, new to Mac. As usual, all the students wanted to do was to get the MacBook home and start to play. Our goal was to persuade them to stay for an additional 20+ minutes of instructional orientation so that they can hit the ground running on the first day back.
This is my third annual rollout and we pretty much know what we need to impart. Here is our essential list:
- Getting connected to the Internet at home. After all, our students really want to get connected to Facebook 24/7 and even though it’s blocked here, we are pretty sure they’ll find a way to get through!
- WAB Online resources, specifically WAB online email and Moodle which is our virtual learning environment. Students need to know the lingo such as ‘enrollment key’ as many teacher will have the Moodle courses ready to go from lesson 1.
- Mac 101 – a crash course on how to use the Mac – a quick tour of the dock, finder and spotlight – and for the PC users, how to ‘right-click’. Organisation – not always a strong point with students – however as a 1:1 school with very few paper resources, students need to learn from day 1 how to make folders and store files appropriately so we feel 5 minutes investment of time to demonstrate is crucial.
- Backup – we encourage all students to buy external hard drives and use Time Machine. We also use the mantra ‘Back up before your pack-up’ using Dropbox, a USB memory stick or the very least, email the document to themselves!
- And finally and new this year, the introduction of Evernote, which takes the pain out of backing up as it automatically syncs to the cloud and helps with organisation with notebooks (folders) and tagging.
All this in 20 minutes….
We also added a word of warning to parents about losing their child to the world of cyberspace. Last year our advice was to remove the power cable – after two hours the battery would be empty and there would be a good chance of some sleep! This year, this is not the case as the battery life is probably longer than a night’s sleep – so our advice to parents is to have all communication devices out of the bedroom and on the dining room table overnight! Good luck with that one….