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#16 Alex Savage

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 06:41 PM

I'm interested in your thread about laptops.
We've recently received our next batch of laptops for teachers and found them a lot more trouble than they are worth. We cannot create a reliable build which enables them to be used on the internet at home and connect to our network at school. As a result we've told staff that they can either do one or the other, not both.

We did a survey last week of our students. They come from across Norfolk so are a good mixed sample. Nearly 90% of them have a computer at home with internet access. 75% of them are now on Broadband. Instead of bringing laptops in with all the problems this inherits, they just bring a pen drive. Job done! We've also set up secure email accounts for them so that they can send work home electronically too if they wish.

We are about to do a pilot with a group of schools and Norwich City College to use Blackboard as a cluster. Blackboard are interested in schools using their system and by collaborating with a group of schools we've managed to get a really reasonable price for it. Hopefully this will also help students and teachers to carry on their work at home.

#17 Graham Davies

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  • Interests:I began my career as a teacher of German and French in secondary education in 1965, moving into higher education in 1971, where I taught German (and also English as a Foreign Language to students training to become professional translators) until 1993. I have been involved in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) since 1976. In 1982 I wrote one of the first introductory books on computers in language learning and teaching, which was followed by numerous other printed and software publications. In 1989 I was conferred with the title of Professor of CALL by the Academic Board of Ealing College of Higher Education (later integrated into Thames Valley University). I retired from full-time teaching in 1993 but I continued to work as a Visiting Professor for Thames Valley University until 2001. I was the Founder President of EUROCALL, holding the post from 1993 to 2000. I am a partner in Camsoft, a CALL software development and consultancy business, which was founded in 1982. I have lectured and run ICT training courses for language teachers in 22 different countries and I sit on a number of national and international advisory boards and committees. I have been actively involved in WorldCALL since 1998 and I currently head a working party that is in the process of setting up WorldCALL as an official organisation that aims to assist countries that are currently underserved in the area of ICT and the teaching and learning of modern foreign languages. I am fluent in German, I speak tolerable French, and I can survive in Italian, Russian and Hungarian. I enjoy golf, skiing, walking my dog (a retired racing greyhound) and travelling. I used to scuba-dive regularly - my last dive was on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 - but now I just swim at my local fitness centre.

Posted 17 December 2005 - 06:01 PM

The pen drive (aka flash drive and memory stick) is catching on in the conference world too. Five years ago I always took my laptop with me to conferences at which I was giving a presentation - and so did most other presenters. Now I just take my flash drive, which can contain everything I need to be able to run the presentation independently of what is installed on the local computers. One sees fewer and fewer laptops being lugged around by presenters these days.

I can store the whole of the English language version of the ICT4LT website (which I manage) on my flash drive - which is a useful backup when the local Internet connection goes down or runs too slowly.

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