Trackpad vs IWB or Trackpad + IWB

I’ve had the Apple Trackpad in my classroom for two days now and already I can see a change in my teaching!

  • For a start I can wander around the classroom and refer back to what’s showing on the screen without moving back to my laptop – that keeps me in contact with the student or students I’m working with.
  • It takes me away from the “front” of the classroom. (I don’t have a desk but I do have a seat beside my laptop which is connected to the data projector.)
  • It puts the mouse control into the students’ hands especially when using interactive websites.
  • If I’m working with a small group and want to refer to something on our class, maths or literacy wiki I will be able to do that and not lose continuity with the work we’re doing.

But does it do away with the IWB?

I don’t think so – I think students will use the trackpad to manipulate IWB notebooks (as well as interactive websites) but I doubt they’ll be able to write using the trackpad or use the popout keyboard. (I haven’t tested it on my students BUT I can’t write with the trackpad!)

I’m also not sure if it’s compatible with PCs. Sad for PC using teachers but good news for Apple using teachers. I wonder if any other teachers are using the trackpad?

I have a Mimio in my classroom – it works alongside my traditional whiteboard and is on the cheaper end of IWB products. I like it because there’s not a lot for kids to damage (I heard one teacher say at a conference that his kids had to stay at least 1 meter away from their IWB in case they damage it!) and it’s easy to set up and use.

Nerdy Post – Time Machine & Mac OSX 10.5.6

Seems that there’s an occasional problem with Time Machine – today mine said that I didn’t have the appropriate access to use my external FreeAgent drive for backing up my MacBook – no problems with my iBook however!

A google search later and I found this work-a-round:

What to do if Time Machine reports you don’t have permission

This was posted in the Apple Discussions by V.K. I have only modified it slightly to be more generic.

The problem seems to be that 10.5.6 changes permissions on a file so that even the root user doesn’t have write peivileges. I have no idea why they did this. The workaround suggested in another post will probably work, too, but i did something less drastic. Instead of deleting the file I changed permissions on it, and it worked just fine. An added benefit is that the permission change seems to stick, so you don’t have to delete the file every time you change a drive.

[Open the Terminal application in your Utilities folder. At the prompt enter the following command:
sudo chmod 644 /volumes/”TM drive name”/.xxxxxxxxxxxx

The name of the file .xxxxxxxxxxxx is based on the MAC address of your computer and will be different for every computer. Put the name of the TM drive in the above and keep the quotes.

You’ll have to enter your admin password (which you won’t see) which is normal.

This worked brilliantly – took all of 5 mins and my backup is up and running again.

Mimio Mania

Yesterday I got my new Mimio for my classroom (along with a new data projector). Since I had classroom release time I was able to have a wee play in our CRT room and then after school got it all set up in my classroom.

Last night I created some resources to use today. The kids and their parents were fascinated with it – I got the kids (and some parents and some of last years kids who wandered in) to write their names on the board – they would write on the board and then wander to watch the letters magically appear on my laptop screen.

I decided to create a visual roll to use in the mornings – well – depending on how well it goes tomorrow morning that is.


What I have is a small photo of each child’s face (and my own) in the left hand grid and their names (and mine) in the right hand grid. As they come in they find their face and drag it onto their name. When it’s time to take the roll (or when the bell goes) it will be easy to see who hasn’t arrived at school yet.

I used an automator script (first time ever I’ve used automator – thanks @Miraz) to resize all the face photos in one go. It worked brilliantly – who needs fancy software when you have a mac?