[IAEP] Introduction: teacher interested in SOAS

Brooks, Kevin Kevin.Brooks at ndsu.edu
Wed Nov 21 14:59:48 EST 2012

John Landis,

A few things you will need to figure out in your traditional lab set up before using SoaS.

1. What size of USB will you use?  Last time I looked, Sugar Labs recommended 1 GB.  We use 4GB.  Our Computer Science student wishes we had gone with 8GBs. We do get frozen computers when students open too many activities.  If they save video  items from Record, you will want more persistent space, and getting young kids to record poetry or songs will be a big hit!

2. Will your computers boot from USB?  At one school, kids hit F12 on start-up, that gives them a boot menu, and they choose the USB stick. At the other location, the IT staff changed the boot order on all the computers so the computers now look for the USB stick first, then the hard drive.  The later would probably be better with young kids.

That said, your lab may or may not allow you to access your boot order. We have run into a lot of home computers that do not allow students to access boot order.  Your IT people will obviously have a lot to say about how the sticks will be accessed.

3. Sticks will fail at a high rate.  As I mentioned in my first post, we have about a 20% failure rate on our sticks every sessions.  Yesterday, one student had to try 3 sticks before we got one that would work.  This means we always take a lot of back-ups.  We have been at this location for 7 weeks, one hour / week, and only one out of 10 students was still using the same stick we gave him on day one.  Most are on their second, and a few 3 or more.  We were able to figure out that one computer was the problem, not the sticks, so be prepared to be methodical in tracking the sticks and computers.

If you are hoping that students will use a stick all year and save their work, our experience is that most students will lose their work at some point (sooner rather than later) unless you can also back up to a server.  We don't have a server supporting our program, and our CS people are having a terrible time figuring out how to set up an XS server.  Gerald Ardito set one up for his school, I think, so it can be done!

If anyone has ideas for improving the success rates of our sticks, we would sure like to hear those ideas.

Good luck.  I know some faculty in Philly if you do want to reach out to higher ed.

Kevin Brooks
Department of English
Dept 2320, Box 6050
Morrill 219A
North Dakota State University
Fargo ND 58108-6050

The computer's true function is to program and orchestrate terrestrial and galactic environments and energies in a harmonious way.  -- Marshall McLuhan

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