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I visited an elementary today and installed our InterCLASS Classroom Management Software on to the school’s wireless laptop cart machines. The school just purchased the Intel-Powered Classmate PCs with a mobile cart since they are affordable and heavy-duty for younger kids.

Classmate PCs

I have a 6-year old nephew that consistently drops his Nintendo DS, so I think that the Classmate PC’s non-slip, non-scratch rubber frame helps out a lot for elementary school use. After we installed and setup InterCLASS, we explained to the teacher how to use it in her class.

She was really impressed with how InterCLASS will be able to help her for the new school year and was particularly happy with the following features:

  1. Remote logon for younger kids

     By using InterCLASS, the teacher can logon to all of her laptops with a generic student user from the teacher station. This will save so much time for her in preparation for the new kindergartners using the laptops (gone are the days of taking a half hour just to log everyone in!).

  2. Sending a URL to the student’s browser.

    Younger students have difficulty clicking on links, starting a browser and/or typing in a lengthy URL. InterCLASS can open up any URL on the browser for them. This is also time saver for the teacher.

  3. Showing a student’s desktop on the projector without connecting directly with a cable.

    Since the Classmate PC’s screen is really small, it is difficult to show one student’s screen to the other kids. By using InterCLASS, the teacher can bring up one student’s screen to the projector wirelessly. She can share the student’s work on the projector without connecting their computer to the projector directly.

We’re hoping that with InterCLASS, this teacher can have a successful new school year!

 

While I was setting up InterCLASS on the laptops, I encountered a few issues that needed to be tweaked for the network, so I would like to share my experiences with you all.

Issue 1. Cisco Wireless Access Point

Cisco wireless access points are set to disable Multicast or Broadcast as the factory default. Due to this issue, we usually ask an IT staff member to enable it so that the InterCLASS teacher program can find
the student computers that are ready to connect to the teacher program over the network. However, this particular school district that we visited centralizes the wireless LAN configuration and
we could not change any configuration of the CIsco AP to allow for multicast. To work around this, we changed InterCLASS to the TCP mode. In the TCP mode, InterCLASS can communicate with the student computers even if Multicast (UDP) is disabled. The TCP mode also works if the teacher computer is in a different VLAN (segment) from the student computers.
If you have a similar situation, please contact our tech support, so that we can guide you to change InterCLASS to the TCP mode.

Issue 2. The DNS server’s cache returns the wrong (old) IP address for some of the computers.

On 8 of the 30 student laptops that we were installing on, I realized that InterCLASS’s Power Control Feature wasn’t working properly. To troubleshoot, I compared the real IP addresses with the DNS-stored IP addresses for the computer. Those 8 student machines had the old IP addresses in the DNS cache, despite the fact that the DHCP server already had leased out new IP addresses for those student computers.  This actually happens quite often when you re-image computers for a new school year. InterCLASS’s Power Control Feature doesn’t work well if this happens, so we had asked the district’s Help Desk to delete the old IP addresses from the cache of the DNS server.
I have posted more troubleshooting information about this issue here.

If you have similar problems, please feel free to contact us!

Ari

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