Chequamegon School District's BYOD policy makes it easy to shop for your student this year for Christmas.  Under BYOD or Bring Your Own Device to school, what ever choice you make for a device for your student it will be allowed in school.  Here are some handy tips and choice recommendations for this years holiday shopping for a digital device for your student.

Tablets are all the rage this year with prices lower than ever.  The iPad is the top selling tablet with the new 9.7" retina display 4th generation iPad starting at $499 for the 16G WiFi only model.  For some this is a hefty price to pay so best to get the generation 2 iPad at $399.  It has all the same basic features as the generation 4 iPad but without the retina display and a little slower processor. Then there is the iPad mini with a 7.9" display, smaller than the larger unit but basically the same as the generation 2 iPad in specs with a price starting at $329.  While the Apple iOS has not changed much in the past couple of years, expect your new iPad to be compatible with the next release of iOS 7  predicted to be a major shift in its graphical user interface design to keep pace with features found on Android devices.

If you are looking to get a great tablet but do not want to pay the premium price of an iPad then check out the Google Nexus 7 at  The Nexus 7 has tremendous reviews and is only $199 in price for the $16G WiFi model.  Your student can use the Nexus 7 to do research with Google's new voice search connected to knowledge based search engines as well as voice dictate a document directly into a Google doc even while off line.  Google is making tremendous strides in voice technology and the Nexus 7 is the only purely Google Android OS other than the Nexus 10.   Speaking of the Nexus 10, here is another purely Android OS device with all the latest features Google Android has to offer.  The Nexus 10 is a larger tablet like the iPad with on-screen keyboard that uses swipe technology which is a rapid input typing method unique to Android devices.  The Nexus 10 could be used in place of a laptop with its integration with Google Apps and voice dictation capabilities.

If you are looking for a laptop for your student, there are many to choose from but at this time I DO NOT recommend anything using Windows 8.  Windows 8 needs another year to be refined and for more software programs and apps to be developed.  Since tablets are out selling laptops by more that 2 million units per month, there are a plethora of Windows 7 laptops to choose from that are going to be dumped on the market in time for Christmas to make way for new Windows 8 touch laptops.  These Windows 7 laptops will be cheep.  Again I do not recommend the Windows 8 devices at this time.  
For a premium laptop the Apple Macbook Air is the best choice.  Ultra thin and light, 100% solid-state (no moving parts), runs all day on a battery charge and with the newest Mac OS it is super easy and slick to use.  The next Mac OSX update is expected to have Siri and an improved voice dictation built in.  Typical starting price for the Air Book is $1,199. 
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, if you are looking for a cheap alternative laptop or a second computer for around the house you cannot beat the Google Chromebook.  Starting at $199 on the Google play store it is hard to beat the price.  The Chromebook is a cloud-based laptop that all the students are using at school.  Works with their Google accounts and stores all their data in the cloud.   I recommend the Samsung model on the Google Play store for $249.  The Samsung model Chromebook is 100% solid state (no moving parts, just like the Mac Book Air), boots up in 10 seconds and runs all day on a battery charge.  This is a great device for doing research on the web and for document production.  I use a Chromebook every single day for reading, document creation, updating my websites and more.  Did I mention it plays videos and music as well?

If you are considering a smart phone for your student I recommend the iPhone or the Nexus 4.  You can find the iPhone at and the Nexus 4 at  Both are terrific phones and your choice is dependent on just a few simple things:  if you already have an investment in iTunes music or videos or Apps then you choose the iPhone, if you are new to smart phones and want to try something very different then choose the Nexus 4.  You will not go wrong with either choice and both will work just fine at school.

What ever you choose your student can be using a device of his or her choice at school and at home with their own personalized device.  Your student will be happier using their own device and could ultimately be more productive,
Once in a while your MacBook (Air) or (Pro) may not be working correctly.  Most computer issues are cleared up when you do a simple reset.  Some indications that your Mac needs to be reset are listed below:

The computer's fans run at high speed although the computer is not experiencing heavy usage and is properly ventilated.

The keyboard backlight appears to behave incorrectly (on Mac computers that have this feature).
The Status Indicator Light (SIL) appears to behave incorrectly (on Mac computers that have an SIL).
Battery indicator lights, if present, appear to behave incorrectly (on portables that use non-removable batteries).
The display backlight doesn't respond correctly to ambient light changes on Mac computers that have this feature.

The computer doesn't respond to the power button when pressed.
A portable Mac doesn't appear to respond properly when you close or open the lid.
The computer sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly.
The battery does not appear to be charging properly.
The MagSafe power adaptor LED doesn't appear to indicate the correct activity.

System Performance
The computer is running unusually slowly although it is not experiencing abnormally high CPU utilization.
Application icons may "bounce" in the Dock for an extended amount of time when launched.
Applications may not function correctly or may stop responding after being opened.

Please follow the instructions below to reset your Mac.

MacBook Air
Portable computers that have a battery you should not remove on your own include MacBook Pro (Early 2009) and later, all models of MacBook Air, and MacBook (Late 2009).
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.  
    : The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

MacBook and MacBook Pro
Resetting the SMC on Mac portables with a battery you can remove
Note: Learn about removing the battery on MacBook and MacBook Pro.
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer, if it's connected.
  3. Remove the battery.
  4. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  5. Release the power button.
  6. Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.
  7. Press the power button to turn on the computer.


Updating Java


There has been a security issue discovered with every version of Java prior to .31 that is requiring a newer version of Java on your computer.  Many of you have experienced an issue using Infinite Campus because your browser is blocking Java. 

Since I cannot get to all your computers to do the necessary update, is will become incumbent upon you to do the update yourself.  

Here are the instructions for doing this update for the Windows PC systems.  If you have a Mac you will need to follow the instructions further down.

Installing Java:
PC Instructions:
Please use the Chrome browser for these instructions.
First you will need to thaw your computer.  Click here for instructions for doing this.
Next you will need the Java installer downloaded to your computer.  Click here for the downloader.
Be sure to save the downloader to your desktop so you can find it or if not to your desktop it will be in your downloads folder.  

If the Chromeinstall_6u31.exe download file saved to your desktop - double click the file to launch the installer.

If the install file went into your Downloads folder:
Since every browser is different, locating the downloads folder can be difficult so make sure you used your Chrome browser.  On the Chrome web browser click the wrench icon in the upper right corner.  In the menu, select "Downloads".  Open the Downloads folder.  Locate the Chromeinstall_u31.exe file and double click it to launch the installer.

Once the installer launches it will download the proper Java file for your computer and version of Windows.  Just click through the install process using all the default settings but be sure to uncheck any addon toolbars the system attempts to install along with Java.  e.g. the toolbar.

Mac Instructions:
The Mac makes Java a part of its System updates.  So to update Java, click on the Apple menu in the upper left corner and then click on Software Update. . . Let the system run and determine all the software programs that require updating.   
Run the updates.

Final Steps:
After the Java update is finished installing, shutdown your Chrome browser and then relaunch it.  Go to your Infinite Campus grade book and test it.  When finished, restart your computer.  Once your computer restarts verify it is in a frozen state by checking the polar bear and make sure it is blue.

Many of you are having issues using Infinite Campus grade book.  There are a couple of things to be aware of.

#1.  Infinite Campus released a new updated version of their grade book just before the launch of the new school year.  We re-imaged your Dell laptops just before you left for summer.  Java has updates to it almost daily.  If Infinite Campus made use of a java version that is so new that your current version will not work then I need to update your Java.  SO if grade book is not work at all - message says Plug-in required, then make sure you get your laptop to me.

#2.  Apple recently sent out an update that removed the ability for Firefox and other NON-APPLE browsers to even detect that java is available on your Mac.  It will be necessary at this point now to download and install the newest version of Firefox - version 5.0.1 or higher, and other than Safari, Firefox may be the only other browser you can use at this time with Infinite Campus on the Mac. 
Here are several links to articles about technology in the classrooms.

  • National Education Technology Plan 2010  --- Education is the key to America's economic growth and prosperity and to our ability to compete in the global economy. It is the path to good jobs and higher earning power for Americans. It is necessary for our democracy to work. It fosters the cross-border, cross-cultural collaboration required to solve the most challenging problems of our time.
  • The NMC Horizon Report > 2011 K-12 Edition HTML5 Flipbook Version  --- The Horizon Project, as the centerpiece of NMC's Emerging Technologies Initiative, charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning and creative inquiry and produces the NMC’s series of Horizon Reports.
  • Many U.S. schools adding iPads, trimming textbooks  ---  The primary reason that technology is not currently 100% infused into teaching and learning is due to the lack of electronic textbooks.  Going to digital text books is truly the only way to move forward with technology as a tool available for every teacher and every student.  I see the physical text book as the actual anchor that is keeping us back.  Remove that anchor and we will go 100% technology based for all instruction.
  • In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores  --- A little different perspective on technology centric classrooms. This article just proves that the measurement methods are all designed around legacy print media methods of teaching and learning and that new ways of measuring student successes are needed. 
All Windows-based laptops are frozen in a preconfigured setup using the Deep-freeze software program.  In order to make any permanent changes to your system such as settings changes or to install software you will need to thaw your computer first.  Follow the steps below to thaw the computer:
  • In the system tray (lower right corner) find a small icon of a polar bear.  
  • Hold down the shift key and double click the polar bear icon.
  • A login window appears.  The account name is Admin.
  • The password can be found here.
  • Once you login a control panel appears.
  • In the list of choices select the middle choice to thaw the computer one time.
  • Apply and Reboot the system.

After the computer restarts, check the polar bear icon.  It should now have a red X over the top of it.  This means the computer is thawed.  You may now make permanent changes to the system.  When finished, restart the computer and check the polar bear to make sure there is no red X.  The system is re-frozen.