Client Software Downloads When You Do Not Own the Device


‘Upload / Download’

Our students use FirstClass Communication for their school email and messaging system. As part of my Digital Learning class, I assign the act of downloading and configuring the client software so students have the best possible experience with the system. There is a web-based interface which to their credit has become pretty good. However, it is not apples to apples between the client software and the web interface, so we still prefer that students download and install the client software on their “home” computers. For many students this is not an issue as siblings may go to school here as well so the software may already be setup. Others share computers with their parents and while many parents do allow the downloading and installing others do not for any variety of reasons. Perhaps the laptops are the parents work computer or perhaps they prefer to only install software that is needed for their use. It may also be a case of the real fear of being infected with malware or viruses. Computers for the most part become quite personal and must be dependable since new software can cause issues with other software. Again, great strides have been made, but yet the client is more powerful.

Here are some responses I received from my 5th and 6th grade students. You can see that the success and reactions are all over the place. If this were the class textbook, how would this be handled?

Dear Mr. Schaefer,

Success! It was very easy. However, if we ever have to download more downloads, my mom needs to know what we we are going to be using it for. Thank you and I can’t wait for another fun day in Technology!! 🙂

Best wishes,


Dear Mr. Schaefer,

Sorry but my mom won’t let me download first class on my computer, sorry once again

Your friend,


Dear Mr. Schaefer,

I tried to download First Class they way you told us in class, but it still would not work. I usually would ask my dad to help me but both of my parents are out of town right now. My dad gets back on Thursday and I will ask him to help me then. I apologize if this causes any trouble and I will do my best to install it.



I have had it since the begining of the year. In fact, my mom is the one who thought of getting it on my computer!

See you later,

Firstclass is downloaded on both of my computers, my ipod, and my ipad.

Thank You,

The most telling part of our class discussions around email is that while almost all of the 5th grade students use FirstClass, almost all of the 6th grade students use a non-school Google account for their personal Gmail. FirstClass is only their “school” account. Since FirstClass has Instant Messaging, I asked them if they use it. Their response was, uh no, we use GTalk.

How are schools supposed to work in this new frontier when the approved tools become outdated because newer ones are available faster then schools can adapt and/or adopt? Is this OK since should schools attempt to be responsible for all aspects of a students technology?

As our school continues to contemplate issues a device to students there will be more questions like these that will need discussions. A good point of issuing a device is there will no longer be a need for students and parents to do homework that involves downloading, installing, and configuring software. Or will it?



Learning Without Limitations

FC Limit

I had thought about writing this post yesterday since I had two teachers come ask me why they could not send attachments with our FirstClass system. We impose a 200 MB limit on teachers and a 70MB limit on students. There are of course practical reasons for these limits since we host these services on campus. Our Moodle setup allows for an upload of 150MB per object as we increased it each year to accommodate larger files as more teachers were uploading video files and other learning resources. Our new Google Apps Accounts allow for 2 GB of space for teachers and students with Google formatted documents counting for almost nothing against this quota. Most of our students live in a world outside of school without quotas. We can debate whether this is a good thing or a bad thing as quotas to live are important. I think a balanced approach to life is a good thing.

I wrote about Nathaniel just the other day as he had sent his homework from New Zealand. Seems like he has sent to much.

Hi Mr. Schaefer and Mr. Sheard,

I have been sending pictures of homework that I have done to my teachers since I am in New Zealand.

Today I tried to attach a picture and Firstclass complained that I had used too much disk space and I didn’t have enough space to upload this picture.  It told me to delete some files to make room.  Since I had copied all my email into my Saved Email directory, I deleted everything that I had a copy of, and freed up 21MB.  My picture still would not attach.  I tried to clear my trash can but it said that I couldn’t do that, that the trash can cleared after a certain time set by the administrator.

What should I do to be able to send my teachers my homework?


Nathaniel B

Sheard Advisory

8th grade



My response to him relate to teachable moments of sorts with how FirstClass handles the quota and how he might adjust his camera to take lower resolution images or edit the image to a smaller size prior to sending via FirstClass. The last option was for him to use his Google Account and share the images or documents with his teacher which would eliminate the entire quota issue, at least until he gets to 2GB.

Update 2:07 PM on 1/7/2010:

Thank you for all, the advice Mr. Schaefer!

After dinner, when I went back online, my trash had cleared and I sent my teachers the homework.

I have been sending teachers pictures, but I think I know what program to use to shrink them.

Thank you for your google docs idea, it will be helpful if my Firstclass fills again.


Nathaniel B.

Sheard Advisory

8th grade