Today was the first time that all the staff got their hand on the Chromebooks.
It was a mixed success, mainly because of the ongoing problems we’re having with how Chrome Os talks to the proxy server. I’ve already written about those particular problems. I had put the Chromebooks out before the staff arrived and of course they all started playing with them. That’s great – I normally encourage such practice. However I knew this time it would augur a disaster. You see I had ‘backdated’ all the Chromebooks to version 14, which has no proxy problems. But unfortunately version 14 automatically updates itself to the next version, which does have proxy problems. So of course, those staff that started playing with the Chromebooks first couldn’t use them by the end of the session.
However, for some staff (those teachers who had left their Chromebook lids closed), the experience was very positive. They accessed our new learning platform and played around with some of the tools that the students could use, including Purple Mash, which was a real hit. From the simplicity of software such as Simple City – great for Early Years children, to designing your own cut out car, it all looks great. My particular favourite, though I admit it’s quite gimmicky, is ‘Mashcam’ where the children take a photo of themselves using the Chromebook webcam and it gets pasted into an outline of some other figure, like a spaceman or a police man. I’m particularly looking forward to the Year 3 children picturing themselves as Tutankhamun in a few weeks time as they get their Egyptian topic underway.
I really think that Purple Mash is an ideal match for the Chromebooks – sitting alongside our Google Apps domain, I think it will enhance the children’s experience and give opportunities for younger children in particular to access ‘The Cloud’. I’ve been aware that it is mainly our Key Stage 2 classes that have been using our Google Apps domain and Purple Mash looks just the right thing to draw in the younger children (especially the teachers of those younger children).
Back to the technical issue with the Chromebooks. After the session was over, the post arrived and there were the flash drives sent from Google Europe in Ireland with the experimental patch for version 16. Hopefully it will soon all work.