Just a quick post to point you to an amazing site I found this week. After a major server failure I needed to reinstall our SCCM setup. So I decided to take the opportunity to upgrade to the latest versions. As I didn’t have much time to research and read etc I decided to find a step by step guide. After a short time googling I came across this site and found it to be so good that I thought I’d share for others.
Any Mac can be easily updated to have a server roll by installing it from the App Store for just £13.99 or $19.99. For more information about OS X Server click here to visit the Apple OS X Server Website. Below is a simple step by step guide on how to do this.
1. Goto the App Store and search for OS X server.
2. Click the buy button and follow the normal procedures to purchase an app through the Mac App Store.
3. Once the server app has downloaded and installed you will find an icon for it in the launch pad or you can search for it using spotlight.
4. Run the server app and you will be presented with a setup screen. Click continue.
5. You will now be presented with a terms and conditions agreement. You need to agree to these to continue.
6. Next you will be asked to enter your mac username and password to authorise the app with the mac.
7. The setup process will now take place and will go through a number of process taking a few minutes.
8. Eventually the bar will reach the end and server will load presenting you with a simple help screen about the different features in Mac OS X server.
That’s it, the only option initially setup is file sharing allowing you to customise how you want your server to be configured.
This week I received our first touchscreen for the school. After much deliberating and several trials I decided to go with the GeneeTouch LED Screens. I purchased these from Interactive Education. I found the sales team to be extremely helpful and willing to bend over backwards to ensure I got what the school wanted. They offered us several options so I could get these screens within the budget I had available. Although they offered me installation I decided to not take this as I knew myself and the caretaker would be able to install them. The package I got included the bracket for fixing to the wall and several bits of software to help the school make the most of the new touchscreens. The whole process of ordering the screens was simple and a week later they arrived.
So now we have them the caretaker and myself set aside an hour after school to fit the first screen. This is the 42″ model and I had decided to put this into our reception classroom. The screen is replacing a simple projector and IWB installation which I removed in 15mins ready for the new screen to be installed. 30 mins later the caretaker and myself had the screen mounted on the wall and connected to the teachers laptop. 5 mins later the windows 7 laptop had installed the drivers and I was interacting with the laptop via the screen.
I found using the screen to be just like a tablet or smartphone, but with a more robust feel. It was very responsive and accurate. The thing which hit me the most though was the sharpness and clarity of the screen. Although the screen is only 42″ it was still clearly visible from anywhere in the classroom. I also didn’t need to close any blinds to see the screen due to the brightness being so much better than traditional projector, IWB setup. After playing around and learning the touch features of windows 7 I then decided to install the software which came with the screen. This allowed me to carry out a simple calibration to make the touch even more accurate.
A few extra things worth noting about the screen is the amazing amount of connections available. This makes the screen extremely adaptable and usable in almost any setup type.
It also comes with a sound, VGA and USB cable to make the connections. These cables are all 5 meters long making the screen location very flexible. The screen is also has a slot in the back to allow the installation of a mini pc and make it an all in one solution. The screen also comes with tuff glass making it almost indestructible. I decided to show this to the teacher by hitting the screen hard and ouch did it hurt, but more importantly the screen was unmarked. The remote control is also nice to use and features some little tools like freeze which gives you the traditional projector freeze. This we find is a tool the teachers in our school love. Also worth noting is how quickly the screen turns on and off.
Anyway now the screen is installed I got the Headteacher to have a look and he was very impressed saying how nice it looked and he was surprised how clear and responsive the screen was. He also wanted to play a video on the screen which looked and sounded fab through the built in speakers.
It’s also worth noting I installed this into a classroom with a teacher who is almost ready to retire, hates change and hates computers. You may ask why, but my idea is if she can use it then anyone can. So it’s nice to report that after a few days use she commented how much easier it was to use than her old IWB and she is no longer worried about using her computer in lessons. I think that is the perfect result. This is because the screen just works, she doesn’t have to calibrate every time someone slams the door and she knows the kids can see it easily. She can also use the remote control easily as its just like a normal tv remote. She has allowed her children to have a play with it. This has changed the way they interact with the board and the quality of work they produce on it as they are using their finger and not a pen. The children also don’t find using the screen unusual or strange as they are used to using touchscreen tech like iPads.
So to finish this post of I would recommended an interactive screen as the perfect replacement for any IWB setup. I’m now looking at how I can get more of these into our classrooms. With the benefits of cheap running costs it makes sense to get these into the classroom and bring the classroom into the modern touch generation. I would also recommend talking to interactive education to purchase these GeneeTouch screens as they have the best prices with fantastic sales and support. They will also send people to demo the screens and assess your install locations advising on size and install type required. So all in all a win win solution for me.