How It Works
Starting last year, every teacher received a Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet, along with a keyboard, charger, and docking station.
With the keyboard, you can use your Venue as a laptop. Many teachers take it home this way. Pros are portability and knowing that you have the same version of the same software, such as test generators, at home and school. Cons are small screen size (though see below for a tip) and how it’s, in the words of one of my students, “weirdly dense” and way too heavy to comfortably hold when not on a table or lap.
Without the keyboard, you can use your Venue as a tablet. This is useful in the classroom, especially when connecting to a projector with Miracast or to another computer with Doceri. And it’s not just useful for you: you can hand your Venue to students and give them a chance to write an answer or control a presentation.
With the dock, you can use your Venue like a desktop computer. You can receive power and wired internet from the wall, you can connect to a board and projector, you can keep your trusty old keyboard, mouse, and monitor, if you like. (Actually, we’ll get you a better monitor.) In some ways, you won’t even notice the difference, since you’ll be replacing the thing you interacted with least, the tower.
How It Breaks
It’s still a computer running Windows, so what you know in general still applies. There may be slight differences, in that some old software and devices won’t play as well with Windows 8 as they do Windows 7, which is what we’ve been using on the desktops. Even when it works perfectly, though, you may have problems if you aren’t used to Windows 8. And not only Windows 8, but newer versions of Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. Contact us if you have questions.
Windows aside, the Venues have had various problems. That’s why we’re testing them and not getting rid of other devices just yet. But we’ve been installing updates to the software and firmware which should alleviate or solve many of the problems, especially those related to power: screen brightness, overheating, and mysteriously dead batteries. Contact us if you have issues.
The keyboard and chargers seem pretty reliable, especially if you use the charger to charge the keyboard. See below.
The dock can break if you tilt the computer too far forward, so, you know, don’t do that. The dock can also be slow to register a new situation when the Venue wakes up or the projector is turned on.
How to Fix It
It’s still a computer running Windows, so what you use to find and fix things still applies. Task Manager, Control Panel, and File Explorer are your friends.
If the keyboard doesn’t work, charge it. (See below.) If that doesn’t work, contact us.
If the dock doesn’t work — for example, if the Venue is working but not sending video to the monitor — unplug the power from the back right of the dock, then wait a few seconds and plug it back in. If that doesn’t work, contact us. (But it will.)
If you find certain text too small, especially that of the PowerTeacher gradebook when its own zoom is not enough:
- Hit Windows key + u or search for “Ease of Access Center”
- Scroll down and click on “Make the computer easier to see.” (Ignore the “Magnifier,” which won’t do anything, anyway)
- Scroll down and click on “Change the size of text and icons” and move the slider up a few notches
The Venue’s keyboard has its own battery, which must be charged either on its own or with the Venue. If you charge them together, you’ll be fine, but if you charge your Venue on the dock, then you may need to give the keyboard some attention so it doesn’t feel left out: there’s a little MicroUSB slot on the part that connects to the Venue, above the F5 key.
If you need a CD/DVD drive, we have some you can borrow.
If you’re looking for My Computer, it’s called This PC, but instead of looking for it just hit Windows key + e, which is what the cool kids have been doing all along.
If you’re looking for anything at all, just go to the Start/tiles screen and start typing. You’ll love it so much you’ll forget how to find things any other way.
When in doubt, unplug the power from the dock and plug it back in. This fixes many issues and causes none.