Next year I am getting 30 laptops to use as a one to one trial.  They will be kept in the room.  I need to tell our computer people what software I want on the machines.  Any suggestions on what software or websites to use?  I use Ning and Google docs this year.   Any suggestions on how to replace Ning?

 

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Hi, Deric,
You are going to want to have Google Earth installed, along with the Google Toolbar. You will want to have both RealPlayer and Quicktime, along with the most recent Java and Adobe Reader. The kids will need a program for word processing, etc.If you have PCs, the best freeware is Open Office, which has programs that rival Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Producer (and are compatible with Microsoft products). If you have Macs, make sure that you have i-Life installed.

You will want a video editing program, and probably Skype (assuming you have cameras on the laptops).

Google has some wonderful sites that you might want bookmarked: google books, google docs, and google maps to name a few. Also the Library of Congress would be a good site.

When setting up your room, arrange the tables in a way that you can WALK behind the kids to check their screens - they will invariably wander off to chat rooms and facebook without supervision. Your physical presence will deter that somewhat.

Good luck! I've been teaching 1-to-1 for about 12 years and love it. The only problem is keeping up with the kids. Enjoy!
Marty Crawford
If possible get some sort of computer lab management software installed such as Vision or iTalc. This will allow you to see all of the computer screens in your classroom at once and lock the screens of kids who misbehave.

I would also recommend you look into an LMS (Learning Management System) or Learning portal. The one I use right now is edu20.org, which is free. It allows you to do many things, but a short list would be -- each student has an account in a closed community. There are email accounts, online assignments, you can create quizes that self grade...and even use rubrics for assignments that allow you to select the correct rating for each category in the rubric, and then it calculates the grade.

Other software I like: achieve3000.com (paid site for language arts), blockcad lego simulator and audacity (free) for editing sound files.
Demand firefox or Chrome be installed and delete IE.
If this is for high school, there's some great free/open source stuff you should install. Scratch, Phun, OKMap, MWSnap, Picasa3. If your science teachers are using Vernier lab probes, make sure the drivers and interface software are installed. If you're using TI graphing calculators, there's a good inexpensive program from TI called GraphView that is like a calculator simulator.

If you're using Office, make sure the equation editor is installed - it's not always there by default.

And if you're using Flip cameras, be sure all the codecs and movie profiles and drivers match up. Windows Movie Maker doesn't save in 1024x768 resolution. If you go to papajohn.org/downloads you can get a whole series of profiles that will allow students to save a movie as another size without forcing them to convert formats or resolutions first.

And if you're going to use GPS devices (or any external USB device - Alphasmarts, cameras, flash drives), it's a good idea to download the latest drivers and connect the devices so that the system recognizes the device. That'll reduce the few minutes of setup-and-install time that teachers will deal with the first time they have the students connect the devices.
Have fun! Sounds like an exciting project.
Warren
Thanks, this info is exactly what I need.
I am going to be teacher consumer economics (aka personal finance) and US History with these netbooks. We will use Google product and email. What I want to do is make each student build a portfolio in their account with budgets, filled out tax forms, ect. I was going to use Ning to manage the accounts. Our high school will pay for a management program. Any suggestion on which to use. I will look at the ones already suggested.

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