[Edu-sig] Experience with projecting student screens?

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Aug 14 19:00:18 CEST 2008

<< SNIP >>
> On the other hand, that's too intrusive in some modes i.e. you want to
> have the shared channel in a window and up front (projected), but the
> freedom to have a code window open that's not slaved to any teacher
> process.

Quoting from a web site, here's a product allowing both modes:  full
screen takeover of a client, vs. less intrusive push to a window.

The full screen mode occupies the entire screen of the student
computers and locks the mouse and keyboard. Full screen mode is used
when you want the student's full attention without any computer
interaction on their part. The windowed mode allows students to work
on their computer while they are viewing the instructor's computer.
During a lesson the instructor can easily toggle back and forth
between windowed and full screen mode to accommodate the different
activities in the lesson.


It's easy to come to negative conclusions about a classroom with
"takeover mode" but I think you need to zoom back and consider the
context e.g. is this an elective course with students knowing ahead of
time that there's close monitoring and mouse killing potential?

True story:  I had one class in which a certain student apparently had
no Internet access in any other context, perhaps a controlling family,
but our school has a strong reputation so I guess we were OK, maybe
parents didn't get we had unfiltered Internet.  This kid just blissed
out reading political satire, no porno or loud music (no speakers
hooked up), and would chuckle through most of my class, fairly
quietly, but obviously learning no VPython whatsoever, most of the

Given the voluntary structure of this class and non gatekeeper
function at this juncture, I didn't see my role as one of
discouragement and let him get away with it, as long as other students
weren't disturbed.  However, if my agreement with parents were to
organize more of a forced march experience, and the student was
apparently up for it (no tantrums first day), then I might be OK with
locking him out of his political readings for an hour a day, as we
worked through the materials.

This brings up the larger point of getting refugees from homes with no
Internet.  They've heard about it, know it's hot, but haven't had any
real time on it, so going straight to some Urner guy teaching group
theory with __snakes__ is hardly a logical first step.  I'm looking
for students with a more jaded attitude, not gaga in a candy shop.

This is why I encourage parents to provide Internet @ home if at all
possible, perhaps in a communal day room with an adult supervisor
present, if this is what the culture demands, even use Squid for
blocking.  Of course such a "monitored day room" is precisely where
this security cam software, ostensibly for the classroom, is likely to
be abused by busybody adult spies.

At some point, one hopes to get out from under their control, but some
environments make that difficult, I don't deny it.  I'm not Tarzan in
that sense either i.e. don't see it as my mission to crash every
community and disrupt local practices.  On the other hand, if you come
to my school, don't be surprised that we have our own rules you're
expected to follow -- different for tourists than for staff.


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