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529 – 500 in 2017

WELSTech closes out 2017 with a look back at some of the best of this year of 500s! From ministry resources to synod convention to paper and online planning, with two very special celebration 500 celebrations, it’s been a great year for ministry and technology.

The discussion:

The best – Relive the highlights of 2017 as Martin and Sallie look back at the things we’ve learned this year!

Favorite 500 events

Favorite ministry resources

Favorite interviews

Picks of the year

Featured video:

We close out the year with Google – Year In Search 2017.

 Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 530 – Join us for a celebration of WELSTech’s 10th anniversary. Release date: Wednesday, January 3.

Get involved:

The State of Chromebooks in the Office

It is no secret that Chromebooks rule the one-to-one computing space in classrooms across WELS. I don’t have exact numbers but anecdotal observations suggest that those schools who are committed to putting computers on classroom desks have gone the route of Chromebooks or have plans to do so. And it isn’t too hard to see why. They are fairly inexpensive, easy to configure with central management tools, and fast to load and operate. Yes, you still see “traditional” Windows computers and also iPads, but by volume the numbers aren’t even close.

But what about the church or school office. At least in my visits, I rarely see faculty and staff with Chromebooks as their primary computing device. The reasons for that are also obvious, or at least they used to be. Chromebooks have very little storage, they don’t allow the installation of “traditional” office type applications like Microsoft Word and Outlook, and they don’t function well if “offline” mode, so an internet connection is a must.

Those “we can’t use a Chromebook in the office because…” reasons have pretty much evaporated! Microsoft has made their Office apps web accessible. So if you get a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet from someone you can now open it, even on a Chromebook. On top of that, modern Chromebooks now allow the installation of Android apps, so you essentially get “apps” that provide Office, or many other installable programs, which improve their usability and offline capabilities.

OK. What about the storage thing? No longer an issue either. Chromebooks come with more and more storage, or SD/USB drives to do it as well. However, with the popularity of cloud storage, local storage is less and less an issue. I have a traditional computer with 500 gigabytes of storage. I hardly use any of it since the benefits of keeping things online outweigh having things “offline.”

What about connectivity requirements of Chromebooks? What if you are on a plane or someplace where the internet isn’t. While those internet dark spots are fewer and farther between, Chromebooks and their apps now do a much better job of allowing offline access to applications and files you deem important.

One other objection to Chromebooks in the office is that most of the available hardware just isn’t as well built and easy to use as “real” computers.  I’m writing this on a Chromebook, a $299 Chromebook from Acer, the R11. I’m impressed. While an 11 inch screen wouldn’t be the first choice for this fifty-something eyes, it is actually pleasant to look at, a touch screen, flips over to use in tablet mode, and it’s resolution is more than sufficient for any tasks I’ve tried on it. In addition, it comes with a built in HDMI port for easy connection to an external monitor.

While this isn’t an article about the R11, I do have to say it is a very nice piece of computing hardware. It has two USB ports (one 2.0 and one 3.0), an SD card slot, and audio jack. But perhaps the best parts of the R11 are the input tools, the keyboard and trackpad. Awesome…especially for a device that is $299. The keyboard keys have nice “travel”, is full size, and have a nice texture to them. If I have one complaint, it’s that they aren’t backlit. The trackpad is a nice size, smooth and very responsive. There are a number of configurations available including Intel versions. I’m using the slower Celeron version, but find it perfectly usable.

I’m sold. I think in most office situations, Chromebooks are viable, and in some cases preferable. They are more secure, great battery life and of course, cheaper. There are of course certain use cases that might be more challenges. I can think of serious video editing, perhaps even page layout, although there are online options for both, plus the option for Android apps. Your mileage may vary, but I think it’s worth a try. The upsides are worth the look.

 

Related resources

See All Ministry Resources

489 – Showered With Community Feedback

This week WELSTech hosts Martin and Sallie take time out from wedding showers to share some great community feedback. There’s lots to learn – from Google news to electronic giving to several sites for learning math. Apple’s latest announcement may have you seeing red, MLC invites you to tour Luther land, and Sallie shares a video gold mine.

The discussion:

Community chatter – This week Martin and Sallie share the latest news and discussions on the WELSTech social scene.

News in tech:

Apple’s iPad upgrades makes it cheaper and faster that the iPad Air 2

WELS now:

Celebrate Reformation 500 with Martin Luther CollegeConsider a 2018 Tour of Luther Lands

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

WELS Video On Vimeo

Featured video:

From the Google Plus Office 365 Schools discussion, we learn more about FluidMath, Tablet and Interactive Whiteboard Math Software, a new addition to the WELSTech Product Demo playlist.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 490 – Jason Schmidt joins Sallie for what promises to be a lively edtech discussion. Release date: Wednesday, March 29.

Get involved:

410 – What You Can Do With A Pixel

This week WELSTech heads north to Wisconsin Rapids, WI to talk with Allan Bundt about his many uses for the Chromebook Pixel. Plus the show is jam-packed with news and feedback from WELSTech listeners. We tie it all up with a challenge from St. Paul’s in New Ulm, MN to “Do Something.”

The interview & discussion:

Good Shepherd Wisconsin Rapids Video CrewPixelated – Layman Allan Bundt wears many hats at Good Shepherd in Wisconsin Rapids, WI including webmaster, audio/video technician and techy organist and pianist. He’s also a WELSTech Conference presenter who was blessed to walk away with the “grand prize” Chromebook Pixel giveaway. Allan joins Martin and Sallie to talk about his use of the Pixel and his multi-ministry-tech experience.

Picks of the week:

News in tech:

WELS now:

Community feedback:

Ministry resources:

New at FreeBibleImages.org are early childhood friendly Bible story images of the stories of Zacchaeus and Daniel in the lions’ den.

Featured video:

Enjoy Do Something a new YouTube Promo playlist addition from St. Paul’s in New Ulm, MN.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 411 – The topic of the day will be worship technology as Tom Plamann from The CORE in Appleton, WI joins Martin and Sallie.  Join us Tuesday, September 22 at 4 pm Central. welstechlive.wels.net

Get involved:

308 – Classroom Chrome

This week’s WELSTech features our monthly education-focused discussion as we hear from guest host Gail Potratz about the joys and some challenges of administering and implementing Chromebooks. Gail has unique insight as she has entered her second year of administering Chromebooks on her campus.

The discussion:

A veteran with Chromebooks – Martin and Sallie welcome back our semi-regular classroom technology correspondent, Gail Potratz, from Emanuel in New London, WI, and she shares her experience with Google Chromebooks year-2 implementation. Listen for tricks that help teachers share documents with students and comment in-line on student’s work. Consistency is key!

Ministry Resources:

(25:22) Heritage and Hope: Celebrating 150 Years at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

Tech tips:

Picks of the week:

Of interest:

(45:45) Software Engineer/Programmer position at the Center for Mission and Ministry (CMM)

Community feedback:

Coming up on WELSTech:

(59:25) Episode 309 – Next week join Martin and Sallie as we tour the many features of the WELS Mobile App. (Release date – 10/01/13)

The featured artist:

(1:00:05) We close today’s WELSTech with the music of Joey Schumann and the Lutheran Ceili Orchestra (JoeySchumann.com | Joey on Facebook) – A Mighty Fortress

Get involved: