I have had quite enough of teaching ICT and using web2.0 tools in the classroom with pupils
using a locked down web browser, Internet Explorer 7 in my school. The software is locked and a clean image on every computer in the school. Therefore, if a pupil saves a bookmark on one machine it is not available on another. So, the answer is to use a browser that can remember who they are. Firefox with plugins springs to mind as the browser of choice. We use Firefox on staff laptops and some teacher machines on site. I use Firefox and Google Chrome on my home machine. It is worth noting here that Chrome is developing lots of plugins and catching up with Firefox in this regard but it also a lot faster and I will look at this as an option.
After asking this question on a blogpost about bectaX, a former student of mine (Fauz) replied suggesting portable apps on issued memory sticks. I’ve used these before and they are excellent because they enable you to take your computer with you on your memory stick. Cool. However, not cool enough really, but then Fauz sent me another message suggesting using the portable apps version of Firefox saved into the pupils home drive on the network. This seems like an excellent solution. It would not matter which computer the pupil logged into, they would be able to navigate to My Documents, find the Firefox Portable folder and launch their customised browser with their passwords and add-ons saved and installed to enable productive web work with multiple sign-ons. The excellent plugin called xmarks would mean whatever the pupil did on Firefox at home would sync with their version at school.
Single sign-on is a great idea but is a big system that needs lots of implementing. As far as I can work out, this idea would work now and be easy to implement for free.
Let me know if you think it wouldn’t work, or I’m missing something?
It will also be interesting to see if my school’s tech team object. Are you a techie – WDYT?