Thursday, February 5, 2009

High-Tech HM

Kids. Can't have nice things with 'em...can't eat without 'em.

We spent the day researching science project ideas in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's room, courtesy of the new laptop cart. We're moving right into the next century at the speed of the Pony Express. I'm sure some ritzy enclaves of learning have some high-dollar electronic equipment for their scholars. But here in Hillmomba, we do the best we can with the pittance we receive from the government. Where is OUR handout? Huh?

Perhaps I am mistaken. Perhaps we don't have as much money as the Richy Rich schools because we rely on the tax money squeezed out of the residents of our district. That could explain why it has only been several years since we upgraded from Windows 3.1. Seriously. I had a computer in my classroom that ran Windows 3.1. I finagled the husband of my Arch Nemesis into upgrading it to Windows 95 with his recovery disc. Actually, there was no finagling. He pleasantly offered this service free of any strings. And before you go thinking this was in the distance past...wrap your head around this: it was after the millennium. Sad, huh, to think that was the state of our electronics. Forget about the internet. We did not have the capabilities.

Anyhoo...we have some folks who threw together some grant proposals, and voila! We now have two computer labs in each building, and the computers run Windows XP. I know. We're still a bit behind. Enter the new laptop cart. It has 10 Acer laptops that run Vista Office. We have an older laptop cart that I have not been able to use, as it is always booked.

The sun, moon, and stars lined up on Tuesday when I sent a note asking to reserve the laptop cart, and one hour later checked my email to see an announcement that we now had a NEW laptop cart. I got in before the rush, by cracky.

Yesterday, the librarian came up and together we got the new cart hooked up, with a bit of help from two students. Youth is OH SO WASTED on the young. Then the librarian locked up the cart, per school policy.

This morning, she was AWOL. First hour, I had a class and a lesson, but no laptops. Lib had apparently gone to Basementia, but no one could find her. It was not for lack of calling. The principal eventually found the laptop cart key, and sent it to me. We took out the laptops per instructions, from bottom shelf to to top shelf. We returned them per instructions, from top shelf to bottom shelf. All day long we did this.

At the end of the day, the two bottom shelves would not push in far enough to close the door. I was sure something had slipped behind them. But I needed the key to open the back door. After sending an urchin to search and fetch, I opened that sucker one minute before the final bell to find that ALL of the chargers had fallen off the back of the shelves, and all 10 of them were in a jumble at the bottom. So I did what I knew I must, and followed the charging cords to the chargers, and wove them out the tangled mass and put them on their proper shelves. Then all I had was a jumble of thicker wires that belonged in a side slot. It was like trying to close a suitcase that is too full.

Enter Lib, looking for her key so she could bolt out the door at the stroke of 3:10. She came in whilst I was trying to close the back door. "Oh. Most people never open the back door. It's too hard to get it closed again. Did you feel some need to open the back door?" I felt some need right then concerning a back door, but I held it in. "Yes. The front door won't close if you can't push in the shelves, and the only thing to do is to open the back door and clear out the mess that is blocking it." She muttered a bit, and went out in the hall to talk to my Arch Nemesis. The Pony and I rigged up a yardstick to hold in the wires until the door was mostly closed, then pulled it out the top. It worked. We locked both cart doors. Lib came back for her key, and assured me that she would be there tomorrow morning.

Here's the thing. All that cart needs it a little lip at the back of each tray so those power supply charger thingies can't slide off. How hard is that? I'm sure a simple strip of wood or plastic could be put on with three screws. I really shouldn't blame the kids. While they did other annoying things such as locking their laptop instead of logging off, and a couple put them up in the wrong order...they did not cause that crap to fall off the shelves. I watched them like a hawk while the were taking out and putting up. I'm not so sure those charger things weren't already down the back when we got the new cart for the first time. When the kids pulled out the shelves, they made sure the charger cord was laying right there so they could hook it back up later. I'm thinking that once the bottom shelves were pulled out, all that stuff settled.

As HH would say, "An engineer must have designed it."


Chad said...

Well maybe you would receive better computer equipment if you all in the sticks attended your educational facility more than eight days during the winter months. Your Kansas City brother

Hillbilly Mom said...

Brother Chad,
Maybe if we receive better computer equipment, we WILL attend our educational facilities more than eight days during the winter months.

Put that in your toothpick-sized rolling papers and smoke it, dude! Sister Mary will know what I'm talkin' about.