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April 5, 2012 Spring Cleaning By Christy Crawford
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    So, you caught spring-cleaning fever, reorganized your classroom library, trashed unnecessary files, and soaped up desks until they sparkled. But what about your computer(s)?  Researchers state that computer keyboards are 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat. Eww!  Read on for three simple tasks to send germs away screaming and to get your machines to run faster and more efficiently. 


    1. Dust

    Forget the paper towels, especially rough, scratchy school paper towels; grab a Swiffer (or any electrostatic cloth) and get moving. Wipe all surfaces, but give extra attention to vents and fans — blocked fans lead to overheated equipment.  Keep costly repairs to a minimum by removing dust regularly from the vents of any electronic equipment. (Yes, you may never have to spend another lunch period with an interactive whiteboard repair man if you simply keep the air vents, on top and below the lamp head of your whiteboard, dust free!) 


    2. Disinfect

    Ask school families to donate their time, gloves, and lots of Lysol or Clorox disinfecting wipes (without bleach).  Once parents learn that computer keyboards carry 3,295 germs per square inch, they'll want to pitch in to help keep their kids healthy. Host a classroom cleaning party! Instruct mature party people to unplug all electronics and squeeze excess cleaning fluid from the wipe before gently cleaning all surfaces (including the mouse). To avoid sticky residue, wipe those same surfaces with a soft cloth. To turn your cleaning party into a detail-filled germ-fighting lesson, see my post "Nightmare on Tech Street."  


    3. Declutter

    To stop your classroom computers from crashing or to get them to start up faster, make the Delete button your friend! Get “tech sharks” (computer savvy, responsible students) to assist you. Sit where you can make eye contact with each student and they can hear you clearly. Sit each child in front of a computer and let them call out one by one the name and/or first line of a document they'd like to delete with your approval. They sing duh-lete, duh-lete, duh-lete as they purge the desktop, word files, and the over-stuffed trash can on each computer.

    In fewer than 30 minutes three of my tech sharks managed to delete hundreds of ancient summer vacation essays, old biographies, and countless unfinished 5th grade memoirs. Duh-lete has never sounded so sweet! Cheers for spring!


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