Friday, May 16, 2008

My Wireless Experiment

I mentioned in the past that we have been testing wireless N in one of my schools. Here is an update. I have a controller and 3 ABGN access points up in one of my schools. Using a laptop with an N capable card, i have gotten speeds as high as 270mbps. The average has been 130 mbps. I have also noticed a significantly larger range which should be expected with N since it is similar to A in this regard. I have also discovered that you need to use WPA2 to get above 54 mbps using N.  That means you need to download the newest drivers for any of your G laptops trying to connect in order to use WPA2 security.

I can get into the technical specifics regarding this technology and my experiences if anyone is interested. Just ask.

Although this test has been short lived, the educational implications of this have been running through my mind. We can now have a laptop in students hands that is connected at wired speeds.  I think that is all i need to say!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

PC VS. MAC Should That Really Be Our Focus?

We are all aware of the argument of which is better, PC or Mac. This argument is present in our personal and professional lives. Well, I am not posting this to argue which in my perception is better. I am writing this post to say, as educators we need to stop focussing our energy on this topic. Who cares which is better! I have been involved in this argument frequently because of the  mixed environment our regional school district operates in.

We are not in the business of teaching operating systems or platforms. We don't even know what platforms will be available for the students we teach when they enter the working world. Never mind knowing what types of new jobs will be available or the requirements for these jobs.

What we do know is that computers and technology are a fantastic tool. We use them as a tool to not only teach curriculum. We also use them to assist in the development of 21st Century Skills. These are the skills that we predict will allow our students to be successful in the jobs that don't yet exist. We hope that these skills will allow them to also make a seemless entry into the workforce by being able to adapt to the changing environment.

So, let's stop worrying about which platform we invest in and start worrying about how we are using the tools that are available to us. It is not a brand that matters. It is the power of the tool. We are teaching our students to adapt to new technologies. Moving from PC to Apple to Linux is an example of this. There is not an edge for students in platforms. For the most part, students can learn a new interface as fast as they learn to maneuver the newest version of Grand Theft Auto.