Tuesday, 27 November 2007

more to hacker high school

Hacker High School - Security Awareness for Students

A link to the Hacker High School web site went to the AP CS list the other day. It is an interesting site with lessons and exercises about computer and network security. It appears to be designed to be used in either a classroom or a computer club or other after school program.

Some students today know a lot about network and computer security. Some of them use that knowledge for good and others, well, perhaps not good is a better way to put it than bad. Students are curious and they are going to try to find out what they can do and where they can get in. The other students, the ones who don't know as much, probably need a good education in security if only to protect themselves from their peers. And of course there are hackers out there who have clearly ill intentions and we need to protect people from them as well.

This Hacker High School page looks like a site that teachers and parents should know about. If nothing else you really don't want to be in a situation where the students in your life know more about security than the adults in their life.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Where am I today

well at the moment I am on Auckland's Queen street drinking at Starbucks and using the wi-fi access. I like my Grande Flat White.

But enough of the coffee talk, the reason why I am here and not at school today is Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is running an IT Symposium. This is the third year that it is running, kind of wish I would find this things out sooner, only problem is that the mail for this type of thing goes to one person who doesn't like to share. Just a side note: Give the person in charge of relief two weeks notice, not two days :)

I hope that I can keep this blog up-to-date throughout the entire day, I know that they have wireless at AUT, just need a login account.

Well now that I update this blog at 9pm at night you can take the fact that I was unable to get access to the wireless network. Which is a pity as now I have had to take notes on paper and enter them on here at another time.

The first speaker was Kathy Gordon talking about the future directions of AUT.
bringing together design
curriculum, students
new degree - bachelor of creative technologies (launch party tonight)
looking at high achieving all rounders
"A BA for the modern world"
risk, experiment, evolve, adapt
looking at 40 students to start the degree in 2008
based around a studio environment

Next was a speaker that looked at the perspectives from UK - ICT education in schools.
Looked at the real issues
the drop in the number of students entering IT courses

Gender imbalance
public image - stereotype of geeks/nerds/social interaction problems
- I like this quote "computer science is the queen of the sciences"
- study computing for problem solving, intellectual, complex problems...

Now he kept posing questions that we could not answer as he kept going. SO I have a number of issues that I want to write down so I don't forget. 

Some of the real issues?
-too many courses (too varied)
-the dot.com bust
-not seen as cool by the students
-too much change?
-why do a degree when you can learn on the job?
-ICT/Curriculum/Achievement Standards problems
-1996 to get a job you have to have tertiary education
-knowledge based economy
-schools view of computing - dumping ground
-mentioned that computing was seen as the same as law, psychology in 1980's
-applied mathematics before computing came around(new subject) maybe needs to be defined more
-many home have computers, so we need tertiary study yo be able to use it?
- 80% of the people at the IT Symposium do not have Computer Science degrees.

Some more of the session
Computing has only just started
It has evolved , there is still more to come.
deal with the real problems
computer technology is here to stay, but can we use this technology to help out the problems in the world, health, third world water, cancer, global warming
no professional body to get certification in NZ

Monday, 19 November 2007

Mountain Biking

I have been asked to write an introduction for the school sports page for Mountain Biking, I will use this blog entry as a place to write a refine the entry.

Mountain biking is a popular sport for the individual?

Helping U19's earn respect. the term Huckster means someone who hucks, which means jumping off any little rock, or down a bank and loving it.

We are actually a group of students who formed a group to try and gain some respect and action for riders who are at high school.

Main Objective is to have some fun, so we encourage discussion, problem solving and participation at all levels, while on two wheels.


As part of the 2006 ERO report into the school, an anonymous survey is to be given out to students to determine their views on bulling.

It was given out to three year 9 classes and 3 year 10 classes. Results were then tallied up and presented in  document that has been given out to staff, available to parents through the school library and also available to students through the library as well. I was skeptical about the report on first look, but now that I have looked over it and started to look at some of the comments from the students it is quite interesting.

In order to reduce bullying it is important to know the extent and severity of the problem, One way to do this is through a survey of those most likely to be victims of bullying at secondary school - Year 9 and 10 students.

Is the school a place that you like to come to and enjoy yourself when you are here?
There is a significant number of students happy and enjoying themselves at secondary school. It is to be expected that the largest number of responses is in the 'sometimes' category. Students like staff, have their good days and bad days and the challenge is to increase the number of 'Always' students.

Have you ever been bullied at school?
At the school, we have a 'zero tolerance' to bullying, the results do show that a 1/3 of students have had some form of bullying during there time at secondary school. This is a disappointing result as any bullying is unacceptable. A positive picture could be painted by the figure of 2/3 of students who said they have never been bullied at our school. However 1/3 of students in years 9 and 10 who completed the survey have experienced some form of school bullying at secondary school.

What kind of bullying have you experienced at secondary school?
Verbal bullying is the most significant for both years 9 and 10 with this type of bullying forming the top five responses. With the advent of new technology it is interesting to see that text bullying is happening through nasty/threatening texts. Others that are a cause for concern are year 9 students are forced to do something as well as asked to give up money or goods. these could also be happening from older students and that the year 9 are new to secondary school and that older students may see them as easy targets.

Where did the bullying happen?
Most responses detailed that the bullying was happening 'in class'. This is a concern as this is a place where there is a teacher supervising and so students should be 'safe'. There is also a significant amount of bullying between classes/outside classrooms and in the playground. this is when the bullying will often happen as it is often 'lost' or 'disguised' with the number and rapid movement of so many students.

Who did you tell that you are being bullied?
The responses made to this question are similar to published research. Students are often unwilling to report bullying - the second highest response, and they will often confide in a friend for support and advice about the problem. Speaking to a teacher is often very difficult for teenagers and so they will also try to minimize the issue by downplaying it. 
It is surprising that no student indicated that they had spoken to a student leader. These year 13 students are closer to their age that a teacher, visible around the school and would be considered by many junior students as 'sympathetic' towards someone being bullied.

My own comment on this: at intervals and lunchtimes the year 13 students are often off site down at the dairy or away getting some food as the canteen does not supply the food that they want. Many of these students walk out the gate at the beginning of lunch and make there way back before the school bell rings at the end of lunch. I think that the school needs to look at this. Also many students who have study often leave the school grounds as well. When are the year student leaders actually at the school for juniors to talk to them?

If you have been bullied and you told someone? What did they do and was it helpful?
The support received by a bullying victim is very important and the responses show that while many feel alone and overwhelmed by the bully, they have some empathetic support. Often the right message is being given - tell a teacher, or dean, but often the victim is reluctant to do this.

If you have been bullied and you told someone, what would you have liked them to have done differently?
The idea of support is seen again with some wanting the bully to be 'warned off' or 'talked to'. They needed the help of others to challenge the bully to make them stop. The feeling of the victim 'being alone' to face the bully is strong along with the idea of payback with 'punishing', 'suspending' and hurting the bully for what they have done.

Have you ever been away from school because of bullying?
Some explainations were given for this;
[They] are still bullying us and could still be angry.
Because no one in my class would talk to me or be my freind or sit with me.
Because I got mocked nearly all the time.
I said I was sick and didn't want to face her.
The might smash me after school while I'm walking home.
Because I was sick of the talk and the mocking.
I didn't want to get hurt.
I didn't want to get bullied anymore.
I was getting fed up with the situation and I had family problems to deal with.
Because I didn't want to face the people that were bullying me.
I though that it would stop the bullying.
The explanations are very telling and it is easy to see the pain and sadness these students felt.


we use a product at school to test and record student literacy marks, the product is called asttle. When it works it does a great job, when it doesn't you have to come up with some creative thinking to be able to get it running properly again. Today was one of those days.

Thre are two versions of asttle, one that is pre-installed on a laptop, that is the single user, and the other which is a network version, the multi-user. the majority of laptops in the english and maths department use the multi-user. The teacher has been using for a number of years and when she got her new laptop didn't think to have it changed over to the multi-user. Now all of the year 9 and 10 english exams have been setup from her laptop on teh single user account. Imagine when it came to putting these results in by the teachers, they could not find the test, the other option was to redo the entire year 9 and 10 english exam. No way.

So one thing about asttle is that it always, and I mean always backs up. Everytime you do something in it, it backs up. 
So we had a backup, we just needed another machine with single user on it to restore the backup and export the test to be able to import it on the multiuser program. 
c:\Program Files\asttle\asttledata <- copy this directory and paste it into a network area to be able to be copied to the single user machine. Then open and restore backup, next export the tests to a .ast file and open up the multi user admin mode. Then under the advanced options import the .ast file.
So in under 15 minutes the problem was fixed and the teachers are happy they don't need to see the exam supervisior to get 800 papers re-photocopied or retested.

Why don't we have access to e-asttle now? This may have solved half this problem, but does e-asttle have the facility of the current asttle system in being able to print off a test and the teachers input the results into e-asttle?

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Mountain Biking 2008

Since I have enjoyed the mountain biking this year, it looks like I could be taking it again next year. So far this year I have cracked a couple of ribs, I have a 2 inch gash on my arm and fractures my right shoulder. What a fun season it was. I found it great fun with the students who probably would never get the huge opportunity of every 2nd week to go out and do a sport that they enjoy. I think I have to get into it a little bit sooner next year to get some of them into racing mode for nationals in April.


So far the dates for the Auckland Winter Series are: AKSS WINTER SERIES:
Round 1: Sunday 6 May Riverhead forest
Entries close: 14 May
Round 2: Sunday 10 June Woodhill Forest
Entries close: 11 June
Round 3: Sunday 5 August Hunua Forest
Entries close: 30 July
Round 4: Sunday 2 September Whitford Forest
Entries close: 13 August

The new bike I am getting from Cycle City is a Avanti Hammer

Saturday, 10 November 2007

The new versus the old

This appeared in the nzherald describing the new versus the old curriculum.

I wonder how relevant it will be in the next couple of years when it has changed.

Friday, 9 November 2007

House websites

I have been running the house websites for a year as a proof of concept on how important they are to promote the house spirit within our school. They are used to inform students of upcoming events, sports rules, who won what, and how the points are going for the year. Many students have come up and said they have enjoyed jumping online after an event and seeing how wining or losing an event has had on the points.

One of the things has been having the time to develop these sites. Looking after four very individual sites has been a busy task. I did not use any Content Management System or online system either. All was developed and designed in Macromedia Dreamweaver, Macromedia Fireworks and Macromedia Flash (for those .flv files we all love)

Next year the house leaders will be looking after the content for there own houses. This poses a few technical problems, access to the web server, access in general, how can they post information online simply enough without having to know CSS or HTML.

I have looked at changing one of my five servers over to windows XP and installing WAMP on it as demonstrated at the TUANZ conference this year, built into it apache, mySQL, PHP, all up to date and integrated fine. For the house websites they will be running wordpress with customised themes for each house. This allows for house captains and leaders to put up there own content through online forms as well as I will look at putting gallery plugins on so they can upload photos to make things more interesting for the students.

I have now started on getting these up and running, and one of the problems I am now faced with is actually trying to find themes that are good. There are many themes out there but most of them are too simplistic, to be able to keep students attention, they have to be graphical and have colour. We are trying to promote house participation and house spirit, not "the monkey made me do it".

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Technology and Key Competencies

The Relationship between Technology and the Key Competencies

Technology, as an essential learning area, has a responsibility to work with all other learning areas, to ensure the key competencies are mediated into the classroom curriculum. The capabilities captured in the identified five competencies are all essential underpinning capabilities for the development of a technological literacy that is broad, deep and critical, in nature, and one that will result in increasing student empowerment for future citizenship.

Key competencies cannot be developed or evidenced outside of a context. Technology provides a range of diverse contexts, where students can develop their capability with regards to these five foci as well as use these capabilities to support their learning in Technology. In this way, technology-specific learning intentions and the competencies become integrated within the learning environment.

All aspects of Technology education would support and be supported by an increase in sophistication across the key competencies. Examples of how the key competencies are embedded within technology learning experiences are discussed below.

Relationship: Thinking

Critical and creative thinking are essential in Technology education, as is the development of a high level of awareness of the nature of thinking underpinning any decisions. Being able to step back from a situation and answer questions such as ‘what is happening?’, ‘why is it happening?’, ‘should it be happening?’ and ‘how could it be done differently?’ rely on sophisticated thinking skills.

These thinking skills are required across all three strands of technology education. Such thinking is essential for making informed decisions that are based on ethical, as well as functional grounds, allowing for an understanding of fitness for purpose, as well as explorations of the fitness of any stated purpose. For example, opportunities for the enhancement of such thinking are clearly identifiable when:
  • undertaking technological practice within innovative problem solving situations;
  • understanding the nature of technology through exploring examples of existing technological outcomes or developments, debating contentious issues, or projecting into alternative scenarios; and
  • developing key technological knowledge that is then used to evaluate within technological modelling, or to explain how and why products and/or systems work.
Relationship: Using Language, Symbols, and Texts

The specialised language of technology provides significant opportunities for enhancing students’ competency in using language, symbols and texts. This will be reinforced through informed technological practice where critical evaluation, as part of ongoing experimentation, analysis, testing and final evaluative judgement, requires students to understand specialised language, symbols and texts. They will also need to use such language to explain and justify their thinking across a diverse range of contexts.

Because Technology draws knowledge and skills from across a range of learning areas, and additional disciplines, it allows students to appreciate how and why language, symbols, and texts differ across disciplines and contexts, and why what is thought of as accepted knowledge and skills, also differs across disciplines and contexts. Understanding these differences supports students in their ability to interpret and use language, symbols and texts in appropriate and informed ways in their own lives.

Relationship: Managing Self

When undertaking their own technological practice, whether individually or as part of a group, students are required to develop self management skills in order to effectively plan ahead and manage resources efficiently. The ability to understand and undertake technological practice that takes account of wider social and physical environmental factors allows students to develop a strong sense of self, and recognise how they can manage themselves within and across a range of life situations inside and outside of formal education communities.

Relationship: Relating to Others and Participating and Contributing

Technology programmes provide opportunities to develop ongoing and mutually beneficial community relationships critical for developing student competency in relating to others and participating and contributing. Because of the inclusion of a range of knowledge and skill bases in Technology, both technological and those from other disciplines, it is common practice in Technology education to draw expertise from the community and/or industry. Inviting people in as valued experts provides a meaningful opportunity for the development of relationships with a range of people from local and extended communities. Students also often work alongside service organisations, local businesses and other community groups to meet an identified school or community need. This type of working relationship allows all parties the opportunity to develop a better understanding of the ethics, beliefs and understandings of respective groups and individuals, and thus enhance future interactions.

All technological practice and resulting outcomes are situated in specific social and physical environments, resulting in both opportunities and constraints. Conflicts and the need for collaboration are common factors that students in technology have to deal with. In turn, students become empowered to operate across a wide range of social groups. This is key to increasingly sophisticated technological practice, and the development of a broad and critical understandings of technology’s role in contemporary society.

copied from http://www.techlink.org.nz/curriculum-support/tech-key/page2.htm

programming ideas


Game programming links

Monday, 5 November 2007

The New Zealand Curriculum Online – launching 6 November 2007

The New Zealand Curriculum Online will be launched on 6 November 2007

can't wait, are they going to annouce how it is going to be implemented in schools. Teacher only days to get it going and schemes changed. Or is it just going to be the big stuff.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Subnetting a network

One of the things that I have trouble with when setting up networks is the subnetting part. On digg.com today they an article that talks about how to setup a subnet for schools. This could be interesting part to talk about when doing the networking unit at school or the hacker high school.


Denial of service attacks and how to prevent them

Now one of the things I like about the learn-networking is that they have is a quiz at the end of each.