Saturday, 30 June 2007

Timetable Changes

The following is the response from the "leaders of learning" on the proposed timetable changes

  1. Feedback to staff on proposed timetable/curriculum changes for 2008
    [The initial proposal was followed by individual and department submissions, discussion by SLT, meetings with HODs and timetable personnel and finally, group meetings of the Principal with HODs ]
  2. Almost universal agreement on the move to 5 one hour periods.
  3. Similar enthusiasm for the 2-2-1 split.
  4. Times for interval and lunch still to be decided. Lunch will need to be longer than interval to accommodate House activities. Possibly 25 minutes and 45 minutes?
  5. Staff PD still first thing in the morning – possibly Wednesday because of the number of sports teams that play on that day and the new timetable would allow for a slightly earlier finish on the PD day.
  6. Assembly and form time need same amount of time – first thing in the morning provides a buffer against lateness to learning class.
  7. 25 hour slots in the week, with 24 allocated to student timetables. This allows for 4 hours a week per subject in the senior school. The exception is Yr11 Gym and Financial Literacy/Health which will share a 4 hour slot.
  8. A fulltime teacher will therefore work 19 periods out of 24 with fewer for those with allowances. This clearly fits with the requirements of the Collective Agreement.
  9. Junior timetable will reflect the following changes.
  • Core subjects will have either 4 or 3 periods in Yrs 9 and 10. Exception is PE/Health which has 3 and 2 periods.

  • Arts, Technology and Languages will be compulsory for both years with allocations as per chart overleaf.

  • In year 10 the number of options has been reduced.

Some of the reasons for and consequences of this are:

  • New curriculum has 8 learning areas which students have the opportunity to study. No time allocations are provided, this is a school specific decision and our model is based on our staffing profile and the availability of specialist rooms.

  • Languages is now a separate learning area and its importance needs to be reflected.
    We wish to drastically reduce the number of split classes in the junior school to improve learning opportunities

  • We have to staff the changes from our current staffing as no extra staffing is anticipated in 2008.

  • Numbers of periods for junior classes have to fit into a 19 period timetable for staff e.g. 4,4,3,3,3,2?/ 4,4,4,4,3?

  • As some Yr10 courses have been dropped, content will be incorporated into those core subjects with more time allocation. E.g. History into Yr10 Social Studies, Human Biology into Yr10 Science.

We are is the technology part listed, they have split music and arts for half a year each, but they do not list how the technology will work.

This shows technology at 3 periods a week, but does not break down how they will be used.

We run at year 9, Soft Materials, Hard Materials, Graphics, Food Technology and now ICT will be included in that, how can 5 technology subjects be broken down?

ICT was its own sepearte subject at year 9 until now, with 2 x 50 minute periods a week. With the current changes we get moved into the technology area.

I talked to my HOD and they didn't know how it was going to be broken down, as they hadn't been informed, this was the first thing that they knew about how it was going to work.

Another term in two weeks, holidays at the moment, next term the students choose there subjects and we will see how things are going to be run. A nice comment from one of the Leaders of Learning about the person in charge of curriculum last year was that they did "nothing", and they are having to fix it all up. When the previous person misses a number of subjects off the option choice sheet, most of them were the technology subjects, we have to wonder if we are wanted. Why does the leader of learning still have a job?

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Digitial Immigrants, Digitial Natives

This was the topic of today's Thursday morning Professional Development. Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives. This is a topic that Marc Prensky has talked about for the last couple of years.

Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology are, and always will be compared to them, Digital Immigrants.

Digital Natives. Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.

The article in question can be read here.

However, I started to wonder as I listened to the presentation and what was being described to me...
They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age.
This may be true, but are today's students really digital natives,
- it has only been in the last five years that they have been using cellphones, ok, that may not be true, but txting and pxting has really only been available at lower costs so that they can use them, thanks to telecom's $10 txting plans (introduced 2004 with 500 txt for $10, unlimited txt introduced 2005?).
- Ipods, only in the last 2-3 years has the price drop allowed students to purchase them, before that there was the portable CD players.
- Cellphones with mp3 players in them, last two years.
- Internet access, broadband has only really been available at decent speeds, (still debatable) in the last 3-4 years, the power of the Internet and changing atmosphere of downloading music and making it available for everyone (thanks apple and itunes)

These are digital users, not digital natives, you may be asking why i have used this, well what do they use there cellphone for,
number 1 txting, being able to have that quick txt to say hi to someone in a another room, ask a question, get a straight away answer, abuse them if they do not respond within 5 seconds.
number 2, pxt, small digital camera to take those pictures of there best mate, or use the video recorder to record an event, eg, look what happened with the fight in Hastings, fight, record, youtube, within the time it takes to order a mcdonalds burger.
number 3 phone calls.
number 4 play games, and now with some it is there portable music player, what else does a cellphone have on it, do they use it?
Ipods (released 2001), Not really made available to students price range until 2006, Music player, what else does the Ipod do, do they use it, probably not, just the extra hard drive space it gives you to take homework home to complete a piece of work, or backup (have to be reminded to do that)
They are somewhat addicted to their personal websites, bebo, myspace, a quick way to communicate with someone, do they really use the full function of a computer to do this, no, they are users, not natives.

To be a native, don't you have to understand what is going on, how things work. Just because you turn a dial with your thumb and select your music file and can change the volume, does that make you a native? Can you speak the language, or is this a new form of pigeon language because they can't speak the real language?

Today's txting language, this has been around for many years, previously with Internet relay chats, ( used to be the one I went on), the geeks talking online with the old "BBS" bulletin board service, the "digital immigrants" were once the original "digital natives" and paved the way for today's students. Have today's trendy teenagers picked up what the "geeks" were doing many years ago?

What about the digital integrator, digital innovator, digital administrator, or the digital developer without these people there would be no digital native or digital immigrant.

Some resources for future use on this subject

The monkey wrench conspiracy
Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives Part 1
Pay attention - youtube

Notes from the meeting, Just found in autorecover - 2 July 2007
ICT PD Thursday June 28, 2007.

Thought provoking ICT professional development
Approach with an open mind
Think about it, listen to the thoughts, and how it relates to your own teaching

Digital immigrant, digital natives, based on the work by Marc Prensky.
Students now the technology, cell phones, ipods…

Students are digital natives
Teachers are digital immigrants

Look at text language and what students are using

Students Today:
“Our students today have changed dramatically, Today’s students are no longer the people our education system was designed to teach.”

Students don’t want to do one thing at a time,

Digital technology has caused today’s students to think and process information differently.

Students thinking habits have changed, we have to cater for the students thinking habits, and we have to change our teaching.

Students are digital natives; they are native speakers of the digital natives of the 21st century.
What is happening today, msn, bebo, txt, skype, ipods, im, surfing, all being done when they get home.

We are not digital natives; we try our best to assimilate to our new environment. Some of us we do a better job than others. But the majority of us will always speak with an accent.

Do you print our your emails
Do you print out information you want to highlight or edit?
Do you ask for a manual when you buy new technology?
Do you dread daylight saving because you have no idea how to change all the different clocks in the house?

Teachers are speaking a different language to their students.

Digital natives can multi task
Thrive in instant gratification

Digital immigrants
Are used to waiting
Do things slowly
Take things one step at a time
Complete only one thing at a time.

In the classroom, this can lead to conflict. In the classroom we don’t understand each other.
Educators blame students for not paying attention

We need to adapt and make changed to suit our new environment. Technology is not going to move backwards

Students are just as capable today as we were at that age.

They just learn and process things differently

We need to translate
We need to work though the changes as individuals and departments
We need to learn the technology available to us
Hot potatoes
On line surveys

The ICT committee are available to help you avoid getting “lost in translation”

Use the practical sessions after this meeting to guide you and come to us for help when you need it.

Monday, 25 June 2007

House Name Change

Today we managed to have a staff meeting, at this meeting a presentation was made by the head students who have been asked by the principal to participate in changing the school house names from Red, Green, Blue and Gold.

Here are some of the key points of the presentation:

The house name change has been a topic of debate for some time. This presentation was put together by looking at the options that staff and students have offered over the last year.

The house name change is not a “change” as such. Rather, we want to attach more meaningful titles to the existing houses in the hope of developing an identity for each house. The current house colours will remain the same.

Which of the following house names appeals to you? Indicate your preference by circling one of the following options.

1) Native trees (Pohutukawa, Kowhai, Rimu, Kauri)

2) Native Birds (Tui, Huia, Kakapo, Pukeko)

3) Iconic New Zealands (Hillary, Cooper, Blake, Rutherford)

4) Iconic former students (Clarke, Boucher, Goff, Herbet)

5) Islands in the Waitemata (Motatapu, Waiheke, Rangitoto, Kawau)

6) Keep the existing names (Red, Blue, Green, Gold)

Do you have any other comments?

Network Problem, Win32/Robknot.CA

On Friday last week the network went down, discovered 5 hours later, one of the network cards in one of the many servers that we have went down, this was causing intermittent network packets and bad packets to go flying around our network.

Now today we were looking at the network down again, one of the things that was looked at this time was the integrity of the network, were things were plugged in. We have had local loop problems before, but not on this scale. the problem was identified to be in E Block, so being told to get out of someones office, I talked to one of my colleges who informed me of a teacher who plugs her network cable into a the network plug beside her desk so it doesn't dangle. One quick run over and pull the network cable out the whole network goes back to normal. Why were both ports made active in the first place? There is only one teacher laptop!

So in all, both Friday and Monday, 6 hours of teaching with no network, unstable computers, and students. Things are now back to normal. Now for students to come running to me panicking about there assessments now being able to be handed in is all over.

One would have though things would be back to normal, however when our antivirus software Computer Associates eTrust starts throwing up errors and infected object windows it is not a help.

Win32.Robknot.CA, 258 Infections :(

From the ca website.

Date Published: 7 Jun 2006
Last Updated: 7 Jun 2006

Category: Win32
Also known as: Email-Worm.Win32.Brontok.q (Kaspersky), W32/Brontok-N (Sophos), Win32.Robknot.CA (EZ Antivirus), Win32/Robknot.Variant!Worm (InoculateIT), W32.Rontokbro@mm (Symantec)

Win32.Robknot is a worm that spreads via e-mail and modifies system settings in order to inhibit its detection and removal.
For more detailed information regarding the functionality of the Win32.Robknot family, please visit the Win32.Robknot description elsewhere in our encyclopedia.

eTrust Antivirus v7/8* (Vet Engine)
Removal Instructions

Signature: 12.6.2235

Removal Instructions:
Download and apply the latest eTrust Antivirus signature file update. Launch the eTrust Antivirus - Local Scanner and run a full scan on all affected computer systems, with the "Infection Treatment File Actions" set to "Cure File" and enable the System Cure feature.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


On Thursday we are having our ICTPD session. There will be a 30 minute session at the start.

The following was shown



This has been available in the school and we are looking at releasing it for the students to use in classrooms.
Schools have a commitment to provide audio and visual resources.
School has a video library, 500 hours worth of documentaries and programmes.
These are all on VHS and slowing getting transferred to digital.

ClickView, software application for Video on Demand.
Click View Library has around 1000 titles.
All areas of the Curriculum are available on it.
You will need a data show, and may like to consider getting some speakers.
Very much Australian based. Putting on New Zealand content ourselves.
Available on your own laptop.

ICT English – Short but sweet
KnowledgeNET, being used by two teachers.
Interactive Whiteboards – wow factor, capturing information, student brilliance, save, keep, look at it later.
Film study with year 12, look, leap, pause, explain and point.
Potential to insert clips, isolate moments.

ICT Science
Demonstration of a piece of software that is uses in the department
Projectiles, staff demonstration
Tracker, a java application: Video analysis tool, freeware.
You can record the video and play it back and analyse the path to show the students.
Identify frame by frame the position of the projectile.
Tracker is able to create a graph of the motion to show constant motion, also able to show the motion of the Y axis, also able to show the acceleration and declaration.
Able to show live interaction between the view and the graph.
Can’t show this really through normal methods, ICT is able to show the students in real time what happens.

The next 20 minutes will be set to individual teachers requirements. Ok, the individual teacher sessions are: Inserting tables in word, inserting an image in word, from digital camera to laptop, KAMAR attendance, KAMAR printing and students photos, ClickView, Hot Potatoes(wasn't installed on the computers in the classroom to be used for the training), Survey Monkey(removed) and Filing. Meanwhile the Social Science and Maths development will be doing development and training on knowledgeNET.

Now we have had TELA laptops for the last five years. Some teachers are still phobic about using them but slowly coming around. But how about some PD that relates to today for those teachers that feel like they are being under represented, here are some examples.
  • Blogging - KnowledgeNET (When Available)
  • Podcasting - subscribing and using in iTunes
  • Web 2.0 - what is it and how does and will it affect teaching.
  • GoogleEarth - Geography, Social Science, Science,. We are already starting to use it with science and the living stream project.
  • downloading flash movie files (.flv) and inserting into smart notebook.
  • TeacherTube
  • RSS Feeds
  • Web slideshow
  • ClusterMaps
  • Teacher related forums, there are some good ones provided on TKI for specific subject areas.
  • Photoshop simple editing
  • Creating games in flash? education purposes
  • Digital Learning Objects and how to integrate them into your teaching.
  • The interactive CD-ROMs available for English that have just been made available and how they will be able to work with the new Interactive Whiteboards.
  • Second Life
You may be asking why Second Life for professional development

Well in that I subscribe to had articles about Second Life and Teacher Tube

“Virtual island” offers real-world earth science lessons
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently launched what it says is the first government-sponsored, earth-science “island” on the popular virtual world of Second Life. Visitors to the site can virtually “experience” several earth-science phenomena while learning about the cutting-edge science that NOAA conducts regularly. Second Life is a three-dimensional virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. On NOAA’s island, users can soar through a hurricane on the wing of a research aircraft, rise gently through the atmosphere atop a weather balloon, or search for a hidden underwater cave on a side trip from an NOAA submersible. One climate-change scenario illustrates a warming world with melting glaciers and rising sea levels, while a virtual beach demonstrates how to recognize the onset of a tsunami—and eventually the site might enhance public awareness of rip tides, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.
To visit the island with their classes, teachers must sign up for a free Second Life account. After a short orientation process, users follow a link to be “teleported” straight to NOAA’s island. The site was developed by the NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab (ESRL).

And on teachertube

Education veteran creates “YouTube” for teachers
Given the enormous popularity of YouTube, it’s not surprising that an education-specific version of this videosharing web site should emerge—and on March 6, that’s just what happened.

TeacherTube, the brainchild of 14- year education veteran Jason Smith, gives teachers a more educationally focused, safe venue to watch and upload videos that help demonstrate a new concept or skill, address specific learning objectives, or provide professional development for their fellow educators.

TeacherTube includes daily featured videos on topics such as teaching about the digestive system, or how to make classroom posters with Microsoft Excel—and it also offers a video tutorial on how to upload your own videos to the site. Users are able to rate videos and leave comments; search for videos by tags; find, join, and create video groups to connect with people who have similar interests; and even customize their experience by subscribing to member videos, saving favorites, and creating playlists. When you upload videos to the site, you can choose to broadcast them publicly or share them privately with only those you invite. The site is offered free of charge for all users.

Network Security

Only available on the school network, to be used for one of my programming classes

Monday, 18 June 2007

Interactive CD-ROMs from the Ministry

I have been doing a bit of work lately for the Learning Support centre at school, They had sent to them from the Ministry of Education an interactive CD-ROM and needed to get it loaded onto the network for it to be able to be used in all classes, and not have to install it on separate machines. Easy enough to do with a network share. But that is not all.

I then started to do some research and found that the Ministry had sent a number of these CD-ROMs out to schools for the past five years. The question was, what are they and where are they.

An example of the CD-ROM The Game and other stories, this was the first one that was sent out in 2002.

An introduction about the CD-ROMs follows
The CD-ROM and has been distributed to all New Zealand full primary, intermediate and secondary schools. The Teachers' Notes booklet that came with the CD-ROM made links to the curriculum, provided ideas for introducing texts, follow-up discussions, and related learning experiences.

The CD-ROM had a positive impact on students' attitudes to reading and students' reading achievement as
  • students' oral reading fluency and confidence improved significantly;
  • it engaged students' interest for the entire four-week period;
  • the students rated their enjoyment and interest in using the CD more highly than their other school reading experiences;
  • students' motivation to read the CD-ROM texts carried over into lessons based on these texts; and
  • most students considered that their reading had improved since using the CD-ROM.

The teachers were enthusiastic about

  • the potential of the CD-ROM to engage and support reluctant readers; and
  • the relevance of the CD-ROM to the target audience of Māori and Pasifika boys, and its potential appeal to other groups of students, including girls.
Listed on the website and available from learning media

Interactive CD-ROMs for years 7–10

  • The Game and other stories, item 26577 (2002)
  • Swimming with Sharks and other stories, item 27494 (2003)
  • Punk Junk Mailer and other stories, item 30088 (2004)
  • Taiaha and other stories, item 30864 (2005)
  • Creepy and Other stories, item 31375 (2006)
  • Just Swallow the Camera, item 31987 (2007)
We are now looking at getting some of the younger ones designed for years 5-6 as well to help those low level readers.
What an idea this has given me for my students to do an achievement standard, we have many school journals here at school, how about getting the students to create their own interactive CD-ROM in macromedia flash.

Note: I have managed to find 5 out of the 6 CD-ROMs within the school, just working on getting Taiaha and other stories.
But it does raise the point, why haven't these CD-ROMS been made available before, they started arriving in 2002 and we get one each year. It doesn't take a lot of effort to make these things available school wide. A quick copy/paste and create a shortcut, put the shortcut into the management console, and the next time a student login, it is there, ready to be used.
I wonder what else is around the place that I can get going. Or is that someone else's job.

Note 2: The rest of the missing CD-ROMs arrived today and have been installed. So now all the years 7-10 have been installed and two of the Years 5-6 CD-ROMs are running on the network, as well as links provided on the network for teachers laptops being able to run them.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Books for course next year

Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
by David Freeman (Author)

Just doing a search for this, I never thought google would be a place to find a full copy of this book, however, is an exciting place, and unfortunately looking at it a bit more closely, it wasn't a full copy of the book,M1

A sideline is this article I found an essay on video games

One of the pieces of this puzzle started off at this website

Some ideas

One of the main points for putting this information here is to guide me on my journey through game creation. It is a topic that the students are finding interesting and informative. I have put exercises and tasks on knowledgeNET that some of the students are doing for homework at nights and weekends. It is always interesting to see how well they have feared and what issues have come up while creating them, most want to build extra features in the exercise and develop it more. This raises new questions on whether it affects game play. This is why I am starting to look at what other books are out there and to look at increasing there game design experience. Should it be called computer programming, or should I aim it towards gaming design and creation.

Thank you for your recent order for "Creating Emotion in Games: The Artand Craft of Emotioneering".

We regret to inform you that this titlewas listed in error and is unavailable.We sell many thousands of titles and rely on an electronic inventorymanagement system to ensure that our availability information isaccurate.
The system is robust and generally extremely reliable, however occasionally there are errors made.
Please accept our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience that this error will cause you.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Attendance Code Explanations 2007

This morning we had one of our first ICT PD sessions, first it started off looking at a DVD from the SMS Roadshow, presented by Mark Tredwell, it was an interesting look at what he thinks will be happening in schools with the ability for inquiry learning, no more long nights cutting and pasting and photocopying articles and information from books, instead he should the group how we will just copy and paste information from creative commons (CC) on the Internet into our LMS and work that way.

I am sorry, but for four hours I spent getting the inquiry learning ready for my students on gaming addiction was not just done like that. And someone says to me after this comment, "you will have it all prepared for next year!" I teach ICT, we move with the current technology, this will possibly be the only year I do this because the students I have next year, I don't know. Will the even be able to cope with what I am teaching now, possibly. But everything I do, I rework.

Next came the SMS(Student Management System) talk about the new changes especially in the attendance area, when a student is not marked now, it will be treated as a Truant, not a present, and instead of

*= Present,
E=Explained Absence,
O=At school, but elsewhere,
S=School Trip, D=Doctor/Dentist,
P=Parent phoned in,

We now have 25 codes, listed below is what the Ministry of Education wants reported on, How quickly can we work out words to go in our absences, 6 periods a day = 6 characters we can play with.

One question however, what happened to Z?

Ministry of Education 25 character attendance code reasons and explanations

T Unexplained/Truant (This will usually be a temporary code in which case it will be updated, but it could remain Truant)
This is the initial entry for a student not in class and the reason is unknown. It will be edited as relevant information becomes available about the reason for the non attendance. Depending on school policy the code remains T when no written or phone explanations are received, or the explanations are like the following:
• …I don't like my Maths teacher so I took the period off
• …I had an assignment to be handed in the next period so I took this one off to finish it
• …I was hot so went down to the river
• …we had a test and I wasn't ready for it
• …I was at the shops
P Present Student is in his/her regular class
L Student Late for class School policy (or teacher policy) will determine when this entry is made.
eg. School may decide that more than 5 minutes late is considered 'L' and more than 15 minutes late is considered 'T' truant
S Sickbay Student is known to be in the school Sickbay
D Doctor/Dentist Appointment Under existing legislation this type of absence is deemed to be Present when calculating ½ day summaries, provided there is documentation verifying it.
I Internal school appointment – Dean, DP, counsellor etc
This includes students who are out of class on an administration activity such as messenger, collecting attendance etc It should not include a student sent out of class (during the period) to the administration area for disciplinary reasons, they would be coded P in the class and possibly changed to R by the senior staff member attending to them
E Student is absent with an Explained, but unjustified reason
This is for an explained absence where the explanation is accepted by the school as the reason for the absence but is still not a justifiable reason to take the student off school. (Even though the parents may think it justified)
e.g. “Molly had to stay home to look after her younger brother” or “we went for a two week family holiday in the South Island”
M Student absent due to short term illness/Medical reasons.
Student is at home, with an illness or medical reason. The school should request a medical certificate for prolonged illness. eg 3 days or as school policy requires.
V Study Period This code is for supervised (and possibly unsupervised study periods). A school’s process should include the means by which the codes are collected and entered for non supervised study.
N On a school based activity The intent of this code is for a school-based (on-site) activity. However code N and the codes for Q (school trip) and C (camp) may be seen to overlap and some schools may choose to use one of them only, for activities such as the bulleted points below. (They all map to the same audit, truancy and ½ day summary codes)
• cultural/sporting presentation/practice
• one to one tuition either as tutor as tutored
• [school trip (sporting, cultural or academic) or camp]
Q Attending a School trip Off-site excursion. Schools may choose to not use this code and use code N instead.
W Work experience Student is working for a recognised employer as part of their course (eg. Gateway)
R Removed (temporarily) from class
This code is for students who for a number of periods had an arrangement for alternative supervision, which may be in the admin corridor or in another teacher’s class, instead of the regularly scheduled class
C Attending a School Camp Off-site camp. Schools may choose to not use this code and use code N instead
X On Exam leave Under existing legislation, a student on Exam Leave from school is deemed absent in calculating ½ day summaries.
O Student is on Overseas holiday Under existing legislation overseas holidays and New Zealand holidays are treated differently
B Family circumstances / Bereavement
This code covers exceptional family circumstances or bereavement. (Note the change in order of the words circumstances and bereavement). It is likely that in 2008 the letter of the code will change and it will then also include the bulleted reasons below. (Some schools may like to apply this now)
• The code will also cover a range of what mostly will be unintentional absences such as a bus breakdown, accident, road closure etc
• It may also include non attendance which is pre-arranged and justified such as national/local representation in a sporting or cultural event
K Attending a Teen Parent Unit The student is not in class, is on the school roll but funded elsewhere
A Attending Alternative Education The student is not in class, is on the school roll but funded elsewhere
Y Attending an Activity centre The student is not in class but in an approved environment for which the school is entitled to be funded
F Attending an off site course/class The student is not in class but is on a legitimate school-based activity
H Attending a Health camp/Regional Health School/Residential School
The student is not in class but in an approved environment for which the school is entitled to be funded
J Student is attending Justice court proceedings
Under existing legislation this type of absence is deemed to be Present when calculating ½ day summaries
U Student is temporarily withdrawn/Stood Down
This code (U) overlaps with the next code (G) and schools may prefer to use one or the other, although the ideal would be not to have to use either!
G Student is Suspended This code (G) overlaps with the previous code (U) and schools may prefer to use one or the other, although the ideal would be not to have to use either!

Rules for Audit Codes

S = that the student is not in class but on a legitimate school-based activity
J = that the student is not in class - absence justified (Ref 1998/48 Circular)
F = that the student is not in class but in an approved environment in which the school is entitled to be funded with the required supporting documentation
U = that the student is not in class - absence unjustified
P = that the student is present for tuition in class
N = On School Roll but funded somewhere else

Rules for Truancy Codes

J = Justified Absence
U = Unjustified Absence
P = Present
O = Overseas Holiday

Lets see what happens later on...

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Technology Curriculum - NZ update

For your information:

I wish to tell you about what kind of second tier support will be available initially to support the release of the finalised technology curriculum later in 2007. Please share this information across your communities.

Upon release of the finalised New Zealand curriculum, support for technology will include a package of support materials online at Techlink ( and hopefully on TKI. This will be in the form of an interactive website with hyperlinks between achievement objectives, indicators of progression, explanatory papers and case studies of current practice.

The first phase of this will coincide with the release of the curriculum most likely in September or October 2007.

The website will include the following:

1. Explanatory papers – one for each of the eight components across the three strands.

  • These are clear descriptions of the each component, suggested examples from technology, and suggested learning experiences with a discussion of what student achievement might look like at different levels within different contexts.

2. Draft Indicators of Progression papers: One for Technological Knowledge and one for the Nature of Technology.

  • This work was developed from the Ministry of Education contract for research into the two new strands, 2005-2007.
  • Each paper looks at the components within the strand, and provides indicators of how these may progress from level 1-8. This progression is based on the achievement objectives of the curriculum.
  • Each paper includes a component description (and a cross reference/hyperlink to the explanatory paper), and a description of possible supporting learning environments that might assist student achievement at each level.
  • The indicators and supporting environment descriptions for Technological Knowledge and the Nature of Technology are in draft. These will be trialled and revised as part of a three year research project funded by the Ministry of Education.

3. Indicators of Progression paper: Technological Practice.

  • This work was developed by Compton and Harwood, from research undertaken during 1999 – 2003, and has resulted in a set of indicators for each of the components of technological practice. This work has been made available to support the reviewed technology curriculum.

4. Discussion Document – Background Information on the New Strands

  • This paper has been written to explain the thinking behind the two ‘new’ strands (Nature of Technology and Technological Knowledge) that have been developed as a part of the reviewed technology curriculum.

5. Discussion Document - Design Ideas for Future Technology Programmes.

  • This paper suggests a set of principles that could underpin programme design within schooling in keeping with the direction of technology education. This paper supports programme design within schooling that is in keeping with the aim of technology, that of developing a New Zealand student technological literacy that is broader, deeper and more critical in nature.

6. The best practice case studies on the Techlink website will be continually added to over 2007. These case studies are of student work, teacher’s practice and programmes and industry practices in technology.

7. Papers giving guidance to schools for delivery of technology programmes based on the new curriculum.

  • This guidance will include implications for Primary, Intermediate and Secondary schools regarding the form and function of quality technology programmes.
  • As this advice needs to be in line with general guidelines from the Ministry of Education it is likely that these would be developed later in 2007 or in 2008.

Finally, I would like to invite further feedback from you as to what other support for the technology curriculum might be useful for schooling further down the track.

email address provided

Regards Geoff Keith

Senior Advisor Technology Ministry of Education.

My Notes: One of the things I would like to see is clusters getting together to discuss this, kind of like the introduction to NCEA that we had 5 year ago. that is one of the only ways that this type of new curriculum document will get owned by the teachers. Discussion with others, not Discussion documents is what is needed.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Safari and KnowledgeNET

well it has been a busy day today,

Safari 3 beta for the mac was released, and so it was for vista and xp (sp2), now I though, great lets update my mac to give it the clean new look, well no, I can't. The reason is I have 10.3.9, I require 10.4.9 to be able to run it. Bummer for having the old OS X running on my system at home.

KnowledgeNET had a steering committee meeting today which I was fortunate enough to attend. I got to use the new FCK editor, a much improved editor on the one before hand, though a few simple things are yet to be cleaned up. The new image gallery works a treat, I will have to show this one off. Just getting to use knowledgeNET for a day was the best part of all, and to be able to ask questions to the people that make it was excellent. I must try to get time off to attend the next meeting, now that sounds a bit like AA.

Somethings that are coming in the pipeline under the title PITCH 3 sound like what we are waiting for, the e-learning, a e-reflection are just another term for blogs, one allow students to answer a posed question, the other is for the student to reflect with the teacher and their peers in open communication (blog). Though this is always the taster and the hook, these wont be made available until later in term 3.

We looked at the caregiver side of things and how reports could be changed from sending to parents three times a year to almost weekly/monthly communication/reporting. Attendance linking in from the SMS, and the caregivers access to information from the SMS in a web environment. To me it looked good, though I am not to sure whether the ORRS should have been included and the assessment data needs a summary page before getting into the nitty gritty of the students assessment work.

It was nice seeing these various tools that have been under development. And being able to discuss what the next 100 hours worth of development time could be used for, the group came up with some excellent ideas that will be interesting. It is what teachers need, surveys/quizzes with added function, the assessment drop box. I know that web 2.0 is upon us and that other vendors are sitting in the wings to be able to show us there ideas, and knowledgeNET know this and are looking at there systems and going well is that what teachers/administrations/parents want. Normally the answer is yes, but it is getting that information through to them, that has been the difficult part. That is why this steering committee has been formed.

Now after this went to new era IT to have a look at microsofts new offering to education, scholaris learning gateway. This is what I call knowledgeNET on steroids. email, portal, sharepoint, sql all in one easy to use package. This is what I had a few years ago with portal and encarta class server, how I miss this application.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Timetable changes

We had a look at the new timetable proposal for our school this week, we are moving from 6 period days 5 day a week to a more manageable 24 period week, 4 days a week with 5 period and 1 day with 4 periods. 1 hour for each period.

Now our department has always been one of those departments who look at our students and go how can we help them, we give them some skills to work a computer other than for internet and games. We give them the tools to be able to create assessments, design posters, put artwork online and in print, create a presentation, cybersafety, and so some simple maths and graph the results.

What they are looking at is giving us 3 periods a week for one term, or 3 periods a week for a half year. Now this might sound a lot, but we only get 2 x 50 minutes periods with them now. Dropping this down to a shorter timeframe might be benifitial to them, but having them for a whole year you could get to know them to be able to do the reports for them.

Now for some maths

What we have now
Year 9, 2 x 50 minute periods a week * 40 periods a year = 4000 minutes = 66.667 hours

Year 9 3 x 60 minutes periods a week * 10 weeks for the term = 1800 minutes = 30 hours
Year 9 3 x 60 minutes periods a week * 20 weeks for half year = 3600 minutes = 60 hours

There is the maths.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

First Person Shooter

I am in the development stages of writing the assessment for my year 12 programming course. The course so far is looking at the development and design of games using the software gamemaker, this software is a GUI with GML if you are inclined to write your own programming. I found a really good book to go with it as well, The Gamemakers Apprentice. This has easy to work through exercises for the students and gets them developing some interesting and worthwhile games. Each lesson is then put on the knowedgeNET (LMS) website so the can access it at home and do some homework.

Now why this is labeled First Person Shooter is the fact that I have found a video that was developed by a parent who was concerned about his child's addiction to Counter Strike, a first person shooter game. Now finding the video was one thing, trying to find a legal copy of the video is another. Google Video has the Video here. I am looking at incorporating this into the technology curriculum we have at the moment.

The Technology Curriculum statement is as follows:

Strand C: Technology and Society

Students' technological experiences should reflect the interlinking nature of the strands: technological knowledge and understanding; technological capability; technology and society. When involved in any technological activity, students should adapt and apply knowledge, understandings, and skills from a variety of sources.

Within a range of technological areas and contexts, students should:

    7. develop awareness and understanding of the ways the beliefs, values, and ethics of individuals and groups:

      - promote or constrain technological development;

      - influence attitudes towards technological development;

    8. develop awareness and understanding of the impacts of technology on society and the environment:

      - in the past, present, and possible future;

      - in local, national, and international settings.

Now the one I am looking at is developing awareness and understanding of the impacts of technology on society. So what I am looking at will be something similar to what is below, also included will be some readings for the students to do at home for homework (not something I usually give out, as they complain that they don't have a computer at home.) I may think about getting them to do it as a blog, just got to work on getting the LMS vendor to include a decent blog in their development, and one that teachers can access, maybe multiple subjects/areas? - Something to think about.

Reference material and formative / school assessment tasks:


The teacher will conduct an anonymous survey about video games with the class. If you want to the teacher will give you multiple copies to conduct this survey outside of the class, as part of your own research. You may do this as a group too and combine your results to get a bigger sample.

Questions: Starting points for thinking and discussing the video

1) What positive things does Counter-Strike give to Griffin and his friends?

2) Does violence in video games like Counter-Strike make it more likely for those who play it to resolve problems violently?

Violence in entertainment is an old debate – Plato, Aristotle quote?

3) If you were Griffin’s parent how would you have handled his “obsession” with Counter-Strike?

4) The father (who has written the script of ‘First Person Shooter’) feels at the end that he has fought a battle with his son and lost. Is that the way you see it? Are there other ways to look at it?

5) Is addiction always bad? Can it have a healthy side? Can you think of examples of bad addiction, good addiction and part good, part bad addiction?

6) The video suggests that the game rating system doesn’t work? Do you agree? If so, how serious is this problem and do you have any suggestions as to how it could be overcome?

So that is the development of the work so far. Maybe I should start a wiki for developing more of this stuff.

Now looking at the Achievement Objectives for the technology and society strand,
Technology and Society Level 6

Achievement Objectives

Within a range of technological areas and contexts, students should:

    7. identify and assess the factors that affect the ways different groups have responded to, promoted, or inhibited some technological innovation, such as agricultural exports;

    8. examine and compare the factors that have influenced, and may affect in the future, the development and impact of some major technological innovations, such as the Internet; data matching.

So I am thinking reading this that is what I am doing Level 6 or should I be doing level 7, I am in the process of trying to find the lovely image of how the strands fit together. Below is the image

I should be aiming for at least Level 6, and possibly Level 7.

Now Level 7 strand in Technology and Society looks at:

Achievement Objectives

Within a range of technological areas and contexts, students should:

    7. investigate, assess, and report on the factors that led to changes in attitudes among some identified groups with regard to some technological developments, such as vaccination; bar-codes; microwaves;

    8. investigate and debate the perceived social and economic impacts of some specific examples of technological development, such as those associated with military hardware; developments of new drugs.

So looking at that they need to investigate, OK we can do that through the survey and get them to do some analysis of the results.
Also looking at the readings that will take place through the investigate method and get the students to debate on paper not in person the results. Do they think that gaming may provide an addiction, what other habits can come out of it. Now some of the stuff I am looking at is 5 years old, now with research coming out that games are good for students in a educational context I am not to sure.

But looking at the Achievement Objectives levels it does show that the current curriculum is strange and convoluted. But I have to remember that it does bring in many areas of Technology, Biotechnology, Electronics and Control technology, Food technology, Information and Communication technology, Materials technology, Production and Process technology, Structures and Mechanisms.

After reading a conference paper on I have also begun to develop some work on Google Documents, that I may be able to link in to knowledgeNET.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Guidelines for the online publication of Students work

Through the time4online conference one of the themes that is consistently coming up is the online publication of work.

Now for this work to be published online don't the parents have to say that it is able to be available. Maybe the content of it or other people accessing it could be a problem. I know at our school some parents are not allowed to have contact with their children. Could this break that. What about student images that label other students by first and lastname.

Maybe I am being the devils advocate here.

But the ministry has put some guidelines out that I put in place in a previous workplace. Kind of strange when I think about it, it has been seven years since these guidelines came out and still some schools have not put them into place.

The Ministry of Education published guidelines for schools in 2000. The website is still running, check out
This is some of the information and guidelines for developing policy and authorisation forms.
You may be able to also get it as a book through learning media New Zealand