Give up my desktop? No way!

desktop Give up my desktop? I don’t think so. There is talk of desktops going because sales have gone down. Well, yes, the market has been entranced with the new smart phones and different sorts of tablets. All these come at a price. As do laptops and some of the prices on those have been pretty impressive so I dare say people have thought to renew and update their laptops to something shinier and invest in the newer smartphones and tablets. My desktop is my work horse. It works without complaint. I renewed it the year before last and upgraded it this year. It’s brilliant. I can see the keyboard clearly, the HD monitor is nice and big , it manages everything quickly and well, even video rendering and I am comfortable at my desktop. In my classroom my MacBook sits on my desk connected to the whiteboard and that is convenient. It’s portable, it doesn’t disturb the line of vision to my class and it goes where I go. The MacBook Pro has a better screen than the white MacBook so I don’t get eyestrain as much. I’d still prefer a larger screen, though, and it is not so easy to keep good posture with my laptop. I have two other laptops. One runs Windows 7 and has a TV tuner which is very handy. The other runs Linux Mint 14. Sometimes I am happy to sit in a comfy chair and use a laptop, but it’s far better for me to be at my desktop. Younger people might like to be on the floor or their bed with their laptop. Some put them on their laps or on a soft surface neither of which is a good idea. There has been considerable discussion about desktops vs laptops but , in truth, you need both and a tablet! They all have their uses but a desktop is more affordable and parts can be replaced more easily. The size of the monitor is also a real advantage if you are working at a computer for a while or if you have vision issues. This article on CNET discusses the issue but the comments underneath are really what make it worth reading. The truth is , a desktop is of very real value in the real world  for some people and jobs. People like to build desktops. Gamers like to have really exciting desktop layouts and peripherals. For the last five years I have had small cases for my desktop. I could and have carried them around easily. I have one older small case desktop hooked up to my HDTV and with a wifi keyboard it’s a really good way to compute. With a laptop hooked up I’d have extra keyboards and screens on the laptop which would be annoying in my book. As it stands, it is a neat, tidy arrangement which serves a purpose. This article discusses some of the essential uses of a desktop. England.edu looks at the advantages and disadvantages of laptops and desktops in a very comprehensive way. For me, I don’t have to make a choice. I see the merits of both but my desktop is the computer which is the best for me to use. The set up I have takes up little space and I can work so comfortably and have good sound on the speakers I have connected and access files on the external drives I connect. Some would be happy just with a tablet. The thing is, we have choices now and we can choose what suits us and our lifestyles. A desktop is one of those choices so I’d hate the world to go silly and forget there are people who need and want desktops.

Merge slides into Powerpoint presentations

insert new slides Sometimes you want to add slides from a Powerpoint presentation into your new one. Slide presentations need to be changed, updated, reformatted and just used for other purposes. Slide presentations are a bank of resources to be utilised. To add slides form one presentation to the other is the same on Windows and Mac but Windows will bring the slides to be selected up on the right. The images I am using are for the Mac because that is what we use at school.
1. Open the presentation
2. Click on New Slide top left in toolbar.
3. Select insert slides from other presentation.
select ppt slides to insert
4. Browse and choose the presentation you want to use. Click to open
5. Select slide(s) you want to insert
6. Click insert and continue with steps 4-6 until you have selected all the slides you wish.

Don’t forget to save it as your new presentation!

First laptop lesson 2013

Macbook proImage : Wikipedia

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t
have to see the whole staircase.
Just take the first step.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

I lead a life of privilege. I am in a profession which allows me to witness magical moments in the lives of others. This week provided moments like that for me again and it is a privilege to be a part of it. Wednesday night I helped with the laptop roll out for 2013. I set up two classes of laptops with students and their parents. For me, it is the best evening of the year when I see the joy and excitement of those first moments when the students and their parents see the Lion screen for the first time on their laptop. The logistics of it this year were excellent and the technical support first class. It was such a great night. It creates a buzz in the school and teachers were talking about what they would be doing for their first year 9 laptop lesson this year. A lot of thought had been going in and numerous professional discussions because there was a need to get it just right for the students. I had planned to do timelines as I had posted earlier. I could not have planned a better lesson but I did not anticipate the reverence with which my lively year 9s would approach their first laptop lesson. I became more and more touched the further we got into the double lesson. Normally I work hard to keep them on task. They have diverse personalities, great brains and big personalities. They are very spirited. Friday they walked in hugging their laptops and placed them carefully on the desks and did not open them until I said. I first had to get them to bookmark the sites useful for French. We then looked at the Mac Dashboard and how that could be used for French. We went into the settings and leaned how to change the language. To these students, who have been immersed in technology all their lives, this was a serious and wondrous business and they wanted to get it perfect. Not right. Perfect. They had taken it so seriously some of them had forgotten their workbooks. They knew I was ready to abandon paper and pens. They have heard me banging on all year about carbon emissions, deforestation, save the planet and let’s get on with the laptops. What we had done was set up some assignments in their exercise books so we could easily transfer them onto their laptops as soon as they got them. Most had realised we would need a couple of lessons of transition but half a dozen had left all books in their lockers because they knew how glad I was they had laptops. First time I have ever let students out of class to run and get books. And they did run. They were back in a jiffy. I also had 2 students who hadn’t been able to be there on Wednesday night and would have to wait until lunch time to get their laptop via the technicians. They were so fidgety and restless and could not concentrate at all. I made them write everything we were doing to help settle them. One was counting the hours and minutes and kept telling me. The other one was just immobilised and I had to keep the focus for them. It was very moving to see how much they cared about technology. So then we got on to the timeline exercise and I said they could use a doc or an Excel spreadsheet and showed them some of the other options but we all decided on doc or spreadsheet so they could learn how to load it up onto our LMS. Bring on the bedazzled teacher. They typed away and wanted to know how to make their French accents, how to get the margins right, how to crop their pictures. I wasn’t prepared for the first class, professional approach and attention to detail. Most typed up their sentences and then suddenly there was all this creative and artistic endeavour and their final sheets were extraordinarily well presented. I then had to stop and introduce the Powerpoint to Movie assignment ,which we had also been preparing during the term.I have 32 students – some had finished, some needed a bit more time. As they learned to load up their files onto the LMS they wanted me to show them on the whiteboard that their work had arrived on the LMS for me to mark. This meant a lot to them. I have never seen students with books and pens this keen to get everything right and so prepared to take risks to learn something even bigger and better. The wonder never wears off . My year 11s and 12s in the next lesson were just as keen to get their technical skills right and use them to further their French. It’s the possibility of connecting, engaging and sharing which drives them. A laptops drives powerful, independent learning for them and the teacher can show them how to put it all together.

Mac Migration Assistant saves the day

ballons Cause for celebration! I thought it was going to be a piece of cake setting up my new MacBook Pro for work. I have done the laptop rollout, I have set up heaps of computers. How hard was it going to be? During the set up the registration screen didn’t come up so I had to create an account with my Apple ID. Then the MacBook Pro couldn’t find my mini external drive to transfer the Time Machine back ups of my white MacBook. Thank heaven for technicians. They know where to find utilities and they are online! I worked out the MacBook Pro would read my mini drive if I used a USB hub. I plugged in the hub and the MacBook Pro indexed it but Time Machine couldn’t restore from there. It would only send files to a specified location which might have been okay but I needed my laptop to look like my school laptop! Hence the need to email the technicians. By the next morning I had an email to tell me about Migration Assistant. What a bonus. I had set up the MacBook in the wrong way because it had gone pear shaped during set up so I had to create a new user ADMIN account , log in with that and then use my Time Machine back up from my mini external drive in Migration Assistant. 20 mins later my laptop looked like the one I used for school and all I had to do was get rid of the user account I had created to use Migration Assistant and the account I didn’t need any more. I told you technicians know good utilities and where to find them. Transferring files has never been so easy.

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