Our OSTraining Classroom-in-a-bag

Packing for an OSTraining trip

A few weeks ago I wrote about all the technology changes we were making in our live training.

With a fairly minimal investment, we/ve put together a bag of technology that allows us to go into any room with electrical power and do training.

In this blog post I’m going to show you everything that goes in our “classroom-in-a-bag”.

The Classroom-in-a-bag

{snippet tech-bag}

What’s in the bag?

  • Mac Mini Server (running MAMP Pro, all extensions, modules and plugins downloaded and accessible).
  • MacBook Air
  • iPad Air
  • Acer Chromebook
  • Epson 1761W Ultra Portable Projector
  • Bose SoundLink Mini
  • Bose QC15 Noise Canceling Headphones
  • Kensington Ultra Thin Keyboard
  • Apple Mouse
  • Apple Trackpad
  • Airport Express
  • 10′ HDMI Cable
  • Network Cable
  • Belkin 3-Outlet 2.1bAmp Mini Surge Protector with USB Ports
  • Passport, Papers, Phone, Apple Earbuds
  • Extra iPhone charger
  • Presentation “clicker”
  • All the associated connectors and cables

It all fits in a Swiss Gear Patriot Rolling Case and still fits under the seat, even in a regional jet.

Why do I carry so much?

My bag contains absolutely everything we need to run a training class.

Why do we carry everything? Last year that we decided to be self-sufficient so we could train anywhere, not relying on computer labs or even an internet connection.

Live training has some unique challenges. Occasionally, there are problems with the venue. For example, several times we’ve lost an hour or more to a fire drills in the training buildings. Sometimes even a connection to the internet goes down. Once in New York, large parts of downtown Manhattan lost their internet connection for a couple hours, right when we were teaching a class.

Our new set-up allows us to train almost anywhere.

Instructor

  • Rod holds two masters degrees and has been training people how to do "things" for over 25 years. Originally from Australia, he grew up in Canada and now resides just outside Cincinnati, Ohio. He has worked in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds, in small companies and large corporations. His extensive open source experience includes WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Moodle and he really knows how to help you get the most out of the system you chose. Rod plays ice hockey a couple of times a week and rides his Goldwing motorcycle pretty much everywhere he can.

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ginger-kitty

wow, thats an impressive setup… i’m having trouble picturing how that would work in such a small space…. could you post some pictures of all the stuff laid out on a table next to the case, and one of the case packed?
Also, I realize you are preparing for the worst, but how and what items do you use for a typical class? I want to present this idea to my boss.

Rod Martin

Hi Ginger – I’ll get some pics today and add them to the post.
Re: how I use them. The previous blog post explains some of it – but here’s the synopsis – and this is pretty much the standard now.
When I get to the room, I set up the Mac Mini and the projector, immediately connecting to their wifi. If they don’t have any – I set up the Airport Express and connect to it.
On the Mac Mini I’m running MAMP Pro with 30 pre-configured websites. I have written scripts that generate the databases and set up the sites in about 2 minutes. Once I verify that everything is set there (usually about 5 minutes), I hook the projector up to the MacBook Air and run through a setup to test (another 5 minutes)
When students arrive, they connect to wifi I have working, log into the server (its usually an IP like 192.168.1.111:1011 etc.) and the website (Joomla or Drupal depending on the class) is ready for them to use.
All the usernames and passwords are admin/admin – this makes it easy to remember – and I can log into their sites if they run into trouble – rather than running over to their computer (saves a TON of time).
Some of the stuff in the bag is mine – not OSTraining’s. The iPad is for viewing the textbook so I don’t have to carry the massive thing around. The Bose speakers are great for audio – as I mentioned in the video – they easily fill a room for 30 people.
One thing I should add – the projector I mention above is really perfect for this. It has auto-kerning so I just turn it on and somehow it adjusts automatically – almost never actually change anything except the focus.
hth 🙂

tdempski

I love the idea of the Mac mini server. That saves a lot of headaches when teaching and training and for under $1000, what a deal.

Rod Martin

Hey Tim – yeah – it really does the trick. I actually tried to configure the OSX Server software to do what I needed. I couldn’t make it work as easily as MAMP Pro. Literally – 30 – 50 Joomla! or Drupal sites ready to go in 2 minutes.

Rod Martin

As promised – a couple of images

ginger-kitty

sweet!

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