Monday, November 11, 2013

Oh Those Netbooks

The purpose of this post is to offer some tips for using the netbooks. Common complaints include mouse / page freezing, volume on mute, and wifi going out.

There are a couple of "solutions" for the screen freezing. One solution would be making sure you are using Chrome instead of Firefox. Many sites use flash and last year we had freezing issues with Firefox.   Flash is automatically updated with Chrome so there should be less issues. Depending on your netbook that may include using the Chrome rather than the Library Catalog icon. If the Library Catalog icon opens in Firefox, put in a computer work order.

Another solution is getting the netbooks in an always on environment. Many classrooms had the netbooks plugged in continuously in a center setup.  We typically get the most complaints from teachers who are using the netbooks unplugged at a desk or table. If you must use the netbooks unplugged seriously think of a setup where they are plugged in when not in use.

Another solution is restarting the netbooks on a semi regular basis. We typically shut down our desktops nightly, netbooks are mini versions of computers. It is probably a good practice to shut down (pushing power button) the netbooks nightly. If you have an issue (wifi or freezing) throughout the day the easiest fix - 2 minutes - is restarting the netbook. 

The iPad has 1 button, a netbook has a keyboard which offers over clicky kids opportunities for mischief. For example, the function keys can shut off wireless or the sound. I have also noticed at times the volume being muted if wifi is lost and then reconnects. In either case, clicking on the volume icon and moving the slider to the desired volume is a quick fit. 

I realize these are just technical solutions, and there are pedagogical considerations that need to be kept in mind too.