I recently live blogged (but didn't publish) a lesson observation, where a year 6 class used Asus machines to access their MLE. As ever I found I learned so much from watching this excellent teacher, I was also thrilled to hear the children give feedback on how they had found working with the Asus.
I am here @ Highlands watching a lesson using both Asus mini notebooks and the Fronter MLE.
Children are putting together web pages on the MLE about clubs- their discussion and thoughts are recorded easily by means of the discussion forum. The Technician is on hand as the ASUS has the annoying habit of having to be configured to the WAPs each boot and this is not always straight forward, though 30 machines with 3 WAPs means most of the 30 machines are connected.
I am surprised at how excited the children get when they watch the survey result display on screen.
In this lesson children are presented with a sample page on the Rowing club and are asked to discuss with each other how this website can be improved. This is a well managed classroom with good strategies for ensuring children are not typing when they shouldn't be and the whiteboard is still used as a central point to focus on. This could be hard to manage with the distraction of the small screen, but the children here are used to being refocused onto the big ideas on the bigger screen.
The children are not phased by using Firefox to locate their Fronter area.
The use of Fronter on an Asus machine mean that this lesson remains focussed and children are not randomly searching for information. This is not just ' go onto google'
I love the way the children get excited and semi-competitive about how many bars on the battery they have left.
The children created Fronter pages / electronic brochures about clubs - they embedded videos from Youtube, images, animated gifs and formatted text, giving varying degrees of consideration to audience.
The voting/survey tools on the MLE prove very popular again.
I was able to use Google docs to conduct a survey about which piece of school technology they preferred with a large sample of the class - though I used an ordinary spreadsheet and it worked ok, in retrospect I should have used a google form as this would have been far easier for the children to navigate. Instead I used a conventional spreadsheet and asked the children to grade the Asus against the IWB and the machines in their ICT suite. The results are displayed below, using one of the many google docs gadgets, which allow data to be displayed visually.
From the Spreadsheet questionnaire and from the discussion at the close of the lesson, I have complied this list of good and bad points about the Asus, based on the class responses:
This is the chocolate bar gadget - love it!- showing the Asus was favoured by the (large) sample of class I surveyed
(Note these are the children's words)
- was very easy to use
- it is fast and it is easy to use
- enjoyable to use
- it is fun to use
- really easy to carry
- its light weight
- its easy to control
- they're easy to carry
- Its good that it has a camera
- You can just go straight on it ( fast boot up)
- It has PowerPoint and games
- connection is alright
- We could use it during the trip
- A CD drive is needed
- The Internet connection is hard to get -
- The wireless ... you need to get the hang of it
- You can't download stuff
- The screen is small
- The mouse pad and keyboard can be difficult to use
Someone very eloquent concluded by thanking me for lending the school the machines:
The children mentioned that they had used the machine on their trip. When the group begun the project I had not even thought of this use or outcome, so it has been great to see a class, lead by an innovative teacher, taking children to London and using Asus ( what is the plural is it Asee?) to record audio and images.
For More of what the children at Highlands have been doing ( and will do ) visit their blog.
Also one child pointed out that 'you couldn't download stuff' onto it, this is not strictly true and certainly the SUMS ONLINE software comes on an SD card with instructions for installing. Examples of their games can be found here.