One step forward, two steps back...
Our step forward was that our wonderful technician put Netscape on the old computers in lab B while we were gone at camp last week. Those that are running Mac OS 9.2 are now working well in Moodle using Netscape.
The steps backward come on the oldest computers. Those running Mac OS 8.0 or 8.1 still aren't working well. If students try to post anything, they run into trouble in Netscape because the post button is missing. In Internet Explorer, the posting works fine, but they can't read anyone else's posts because all the post links are smack on top of each other, making it impossible to reach more than the first one or two posts.
Amazingly, the students are making it work. Despite the computers being really slow and them needing to toggle between browsers, they are managing to post and respond. They like Moodling enough to hang in there, ploughing through the difficulties.
I like that they are getting so comfortable with computers, with online environments, with troubleshooting. More importantly, I like that we are now hearing from everyone. When I post a forum question, everyone responds instead of just a few kids. On top of that, lots of the kids receive responses to their ideas. This is in great contrast to a typical fifth grade discussion in which a majority of the kids are so busy thinking about what they want to say next that they aren't listening to what anyone else is saying.
So maybe I need to revise what I said. Maybe it isn't one step forward and two back. Maybe with all this shuffling, side stepping and spinning around, we are getting somewhere. It's a strange dance, but it seems to suit us.