[NTLK] eMate Assistance "Long Response" from the teacher

From: Wayne Pepper <wapepper_at_comcast.net>
Date: Fri Apr 21 2006 - 23:10:28 EDT

John wrote:
> I'm curious, can you elaborate regarding the motivations and concepts
> which inspired you?
> I guess everyone on the list knows what eMates do, but what I'm
> interested in knowing is what led you to this juncture in terms of
> mindset, lifestyle, practicality, usability, social engineering,
> etc. ......or "other" ?
> The reason I ask is because there must have been a definitive moment in
> your planning which propelled you to such a great accomplishment.
> You probably could have (and were probably urged to have) chosen from
> the plethora of current market technology devices, perhaps even at a
> lesser expense, yet you did not take this route.
> You must have recognized *something* in the eMate that really struck a
> chord but you never explained what this was. It was so compelling you
> went against the tide and pursued the vision.
> Please tell.
> Thank you,
> John

Well, let's see where to start. I began teaching in 1998 as a special
education teacher. At the time I was already an Apple enthusiast. I
never had any experience with the Newton OS but began researching it at
the time the eMate began its' debut. I knew that I had to have one but
$800 was a little steep for me. Months after its' release, I found
someone online that had one for sale at $300 so I purchased it. I began
to use it for my grades and basic word processing. I feel completely in
love with and and had the urge to want more. My special ed. case load
at the time was 5 students who had in their IEP that they could use
computers for their writing assignments. I purchased 5 more and taught
the students how to use them and they were very successful in completing
their assignments. My school found out what I was doing and explained
that the students could only use what tools they provided and that since
they were personally mine, I couldn't use them. Of course I was upset
and expressed my disappointment but I could only say so much as I didn't
have tenure yet. Since they wouldn't let me use them, I asked to be
transferred out of special ed and was put into teaching social studies.
I did that for a few years and for several reasons, was upset with the
district and left.

Last year, I started in a new district, teaching social studies, in a
brand new middle school. I got back on my eMate horse, using them in
the class along with the eMacs. Of course, I was happy as this was the
only school district that was Apple. The students loved the eMates and
began arguing over who could use them. I started my search for more. I
found a recycling business in New York that I purchased 25 from. They
all worked and had adapters. My only problem was how to keep them all
charged with only having 5 outlets in the room.

I put out a want for eMate carts. I got a response from someone in
Missouri that could get me 2 for $25 a piece. What a deal!! We figured
out how to ship, by Roadway, and it cost me less than $100. I had them
delivered to the school. I remember pushing them both down the hallway
and several teachers were curious wanting to know if the school itself
had purchased new laptops.

When I returned to the room, the students helped me set them up and we
found a good place for them in the room. The next night we had open
house. I presented them to the parents and how I planned on using
them. They were amazed and wanted to know if they were new, of course I
had to give the short version of the eMate's demise.

Our superintendent comes by once in awhile to visit the classrooms and
the day he came, I was teaching the students how to use them. He gave
me the node which I knew he was impressed. I later found out that he
was amazed at me for even purchasing these with my own money. Several
teachers said that I should let the school purchase them from me because
I shouldn't have to buy them. My response was that as long as I own
them, I can use them whenever I want.

I set each student up with their own account and password. On each
cart, I have an Apple Stylewriter and Laserwriter so they can print
whenever they want. The students do their warm-ups on them. At the end
of the week, they have to print them out and give them to me for a
grade. They also use them when we go to the library for research for
any project that they may have. I have somewhat become the "paperless
classroom" as I have them do most of their assignments on them. That
way I will have an "electronic portfolio" of their products.

Recently, I had the students create a "medieval newscast". They had to
use the eMates again for research but this time they had to create
scripts for their newscast, lasting 6-8 minutes each. I have a 36 inch
Gateway Destination monitor and had purchased a EZ Card. They were able
to connect their eMate to the monitor and have their scripts running to
simulate a teleprompter. I then recorded them and burnt all of their
newscasts on a CD and distributed them to the administrators. The
students were very excited about using the eMates this way.

Next year, I would like to use Newton Press to put a lot of their
assignments on their for them to come in, grab their eMates, see their
assignment, and begin working. Towards the end of the year I will be
teaching a small economics unit and will be teaching them how to use
Quickfigure to make graphs and charts.

During my spring break, I brought all of them home to fix as some hinges
popped. I currently have 25 that are completely functional. My others
need new display cables so I will be purchasing some from the
Knowledgenavigator. My ultimate goal is to have enough for every single
student instead of just a class set. I typically have around 100
students. Definitely a long term goal but also would need 2 more carts
if anyone has means to any, would be greatly appreciated. Have also
considered to getting some 2000, 2100's with keyboards that would serve
the same purpose.

So this has been my story. Sorry for being so long but I received many
responses of questions as to how I use them in my classroom. I am open
to new ideas and recommendations. I thoroughly enjoy reading what
others place on the listserv and have found it extremely helpful.

Thanks again,

W. Allen Pepper


This is the NewtonTalk list - http://www.newtontalk.net/ for all inquiries
Official Newton FAQ: http://www.chuma.org/newton/faq/
WikiWikiNewt for all kinds of articles: http://tools.unna.org/wikiwikinewt/
Received on Fri Apr 21 23:20:52 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Apr 22 2006 - 04:30:01 EDT