Tie And Jeans

Solving problems close to home

I’ve been feeling really concrete recently. I don’t want to talk about what the world will look like in 2020. I dont’ want to wash away the problems of laptops carts with “it’ll be better next year when we’re 1-1.” I want to fix real problems that are hurting our classrooms right now.
It means I’ve been in the classroom more and coding more. The last little project was my first stab at using Growl, which may be the best thing since dialog boxes tied to individual windows in OS X. My goal is to have a simple script that I can push to student laptops that announces when anyone connects using any flavor of VNC (ScreenSharing, Remote Desktop, whatever..)

I love VNC. I’ve been running a headless mini for years, and another with no keyboard tied to the TV. Without VNC (or Teleport, which is just better for the TV box) I would be drowning in cables and redundant keyboards.

For a classroom setting, I think the ability to quickly view all student’s screens is incredible useful. In rooms like ours, where there’s one projector cable and only one dongle, it’s the most sensible way to get student work up on the big board. I just think it’s responsible and fair that when we connect to their screens, we let them know that it’s happening.

It’s fun to write, and I think serves a real need that teachers are facing right now. It’s also something that I haven’t told the IT team about, and will avoid doing so for as long as possible.

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2 thoughts on “Solving problems close to home

  1. It is important to look toward the future and have a vision for the way things will be. But equally important is to improve things today, here and now where we live. I think that you are on the exact right track. If what we are doing today isn’t working for the classroom, who cares what we dream up for tomorrow? That probably won’t work either because we will be dreaming about the next thing.

    I use Remote Desktop to quickly get student work up on the big screen. No un-connecting and reconnecting dongles and carrying student computers all over the room. Just a simple screen share and there it is. Very handy!

    • tieandjeans on said:

      Remote Desktop is handy, and when used in a managed environment solves the main problem I have with my patchwork VNC systems – there’s a pre-populated list of machines. Alas, I don’t have access to ARD as a tech coordinator, and there’s no hope of bringing copies into the hands of lowly teachers. Sigh.

      So, I fiddle with the tools I have. In your experience, is there a setting in ARD that announces observation to the user?

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