Saturday, 29 September 2007

An interesting site

As I surf the internet I come across some interesting sites,

Kerpoof allows you to easily create pictures, stories, and animated movies. Pictures can be created by first selecting a scene from a variety of different back-drops, and then dragging and dropping objects (thousands of which are available) onto the 3D scene. Stories can be created by linking multiple scenes together and adding text.

Kerpoof also allows animated movies to be created with an intuitive interface. The animation interface has been designed to introduce basic concepts to children in a fun context. Kerpoof makes it very easy to get started but still provides flexibility and control. A rich character library is provided, with each character having numerous, built-in animated actions, many of them humorous. By mixing and matching the built-in animations with custom scripts and dialog, elaborate animated movies are easily created. More advanced capabilities allow children to turn their movies into interactive stories or adventure-style games.

Kerpoof provides various sharing mechanisms to allow users to publish and share their creations and to collaborate with other users on joint efforts.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Online Conference

One of the most enjoyable Professional Development sessions I had this year was the time4online conference that was run in New Zealand, some of my earlier blogs had comments on Student Voice and future ideas.

This one is a more international conference, and is available at Participate in the free K12 Online Conference so on the 8th October it starts.

Its better than paying $640 for a three day ICT Conference in Auckland :)

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Draft Curriculum

During the professiona development sessions on Thursday morning, different topics come up. Todays was on Professional Reading where we look at the Key Competencies of the Draft Curriculum due to come out soon. The reason why we are looking at these to to debate how we can include them in our school, where they fit into our school and how they could be assessed.

having a look on the draft curriculum site I found a discussion paper by Rosemary Hipkins, Sally Boyd and Chris Joyce from the NZCER on "Assessment of key competencies".

The above link is the location of this discussion paper and I should go home and read it tonight for some light reading so when we go through this at school next time, and we will, I know what is going on.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

books in the wild update

Content time now, and design of the stickers. It is getting down to running the wild on books competition at school and I have still to finish the database and webpages behind the competition.

I love this theme that they are using in the US at the moment, LOL @ your Library,

LOL! @ your library! Dates to be confirmed, Boost your endorphins, lower your blood pressure, and improve your immune system by stopping by the library during Teen Read Week to laugh with a humorous book or graphic novel! Stop by today and see what’s funny at your library, and pick up a page turner that you can read or listen to just for the fun of it!

Firstly, I know you’re thinking why is she talking about something that doesn’t even happen until October? Then I know you’re thinking, why do I really care?

Well, have you really ever considered some of the benefits to reading for fun? No? It just so happens that I have a list of the top ten reasons why you should read for the fun of it!

10) Books don’t get caught in your braces… if they do, you may want to seek help for that.

9) Unlike gym, you don’t have to shower afterwards… unless its a manga with a really cute purple haired guy in it. Then I might consider a cold shower afterwards. :) 8)

8)Reading won’t cause pimples… unless while you are reading you are eating a bunch of cheese doodles. Then maybe.

7) It will help you forget what they serve in the cafeteria. If however, you like chicken surprise, more power to you.

6) Magazines don’t “crash”.

5) Graphic novels look good with whatever you are wearing… unless you area wearing plaid skin tight pants with a bright pink shirt that has huge flowers and dolphins on it. I don’t think anything could save a fashion disaster like that.

4) Its cheaper than a new video game, and your fingers won’t hurt even after a couple hours of turning pages, unlike the controller to your XBox.

3) You can drown out your parents’ cheesy music listening to an audiobook… unless your parents listen to someone rad like Jimmy Hendrix, then you should listen to the music while you are reading so you can rock out. You know you want to. :)

2) You’ll learn words even your teachers don’t know. Like maybe, shenanigans, which in my opinion, is a most excellent word.

1) It’ll confuse your parents. I can hear your parents now. What? You’re reading a book, you enjoy it and you’re actually laughing? Who has stolen my child!

The main theme for the Teen Read Week initiative is “Read For The Fun Of It,” and includes a sub-theme that changes each year. This year’s sub-theme is “LOL@ your library®,” and it promotes humorous books and graphic novels as a tool for getting young adults to read.

So anyway. What harm could it cause? You read some silly books and have *gasp* some fun too! I may put together some special programs during that week… something cool to give away or something fun to do. We’ll see.

Social Interaction Game

This was in

An Australian youth welfare group has come up with a novel way to improve mental health in young people: an online video game.

But players won't be gunning down hordes of alien scum a la Halo, or hooning around the track in a BMW M3, Need for Speed style.

Rather, Reach Out Central, championed by the Inspire Foundation, is an online role-playing game in which players can "test- drive life and play it when and how you want to".

Helping and befriending the computer-controlled characters that inhabit the online world is essential, and Inspire hopes skills developed in the game - and choices made there about friends, partying, work and life in general - will transfer to the real world.

Inspire Foundation's director of programs, Jonathan Nicholas, said the program, launched today, targeted young people aged 16-25. Young males had been particularly difficult to engage using other communication vehicles, such as information sites.

"The purpose of the game is to build social standing with other characters and progress through the storyline, and to do that and progress well you have to maintain your own happiness, maintain self-confidence and you have to have physical energy," Nicholas said.

He said a major focus was to develop a cool, fun game that looked good and was engaging. Engagement was difficult to achieve by simply shovelling booklets of information at young people.

Monday, 17 September 2007

More ideas for the history of computing

I am getting more and more interested in the history of computers and as most of the students either have heard of windows 95, I want them to tell me what the difference are between the MS DOS, window 3.11, Windows 95 and XP, and possibly vista.

One quick way to do this is to look at the promotional videos that came out at the times.

Windows 95 had Mattew Perry and Jennifier Aniston doing a comedy act on how windows 95 could help there lives.

Matthew Perry Jennifer Aniston Windows 95 guide Part 1
10 min - Dec 20, 2006 - (251 ratings)
A promotional instructional Windows 95 video starring Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston from Friends. It's quite strange, but funny!...matthew perry jennifer aniston friends NBC

Matthew Perry Jennifer Aniston Windows 95 guide Part 2
10 min - Dec 20, 2006 - (79 ratings)

Matthew Perry Jennifer Aniston Windows 95 guide Part 3
8 min - Dec 20, 2006 - (48 ratings)

Matthew Perry Jennifer Aniston Windows 95 guide Part 4
2 min - Dec 20, 2006 - (51 ratings)

One of the most famous videos from the time and never has been able to be reproduced by the company, although there are many more other ways of getting this blue screen, even turning your computer on does it sometimes.
Bill Gates Windows 95 "Crash" Video
29 sec - Apr 18, 2005 - (32 ratings)
Bill would like to forget; the machine he's using to show off the capabilities of Windows 95 "blue-screens" at the most inoppurtune moment

Last week of term 3

It is the last week of term 3 at school. We are now working on the final paper roll that I will have to fill out as a form teacher. Four years ago I said goodbye to the daily paper roll I had to take for each class I has at school, we moved to an electronic absence program. It is rather sad that I will miss the folder and the black pen I have to use to put a strike beside a students name if they were present and an "a" if they were absent for the half day.

Also as part of the school yearly strategic plan, we as staff have to fill in three things that I would not like to see change in the school, and three things that I would like to see changed. I wonder if we can put more than 3 for that second part. I wonder if I can put in the words "ban trademe and nzdating for staff."

Other things that are happening is more school house events with a school quiz, this is one thing I am starting to get more into as my time continues at the school. I see how important the school house events are for pastoral care. The year 13 versus staff events are also needed as its gets students seeing that teachers are human, especially if they manage to injure themselves putting there body on the line. Much to the amusement of the staff that don't compete. I have a couple of ACC claims for these.

Also busy working on the schools sports awards evening, waiting on the house captains to get me the captains videos, it adds something interesting to the event having pre-recorded interviews and summaries. Maybe look at getting in keynote this year rather than using powerpoint. Means I can use the remote control that came with my mac :) sorry I just love my toys. Might even take along my mountain bike :)

problems with year 11 accounts
Today we also had a problem, approx 250 year 11 accounts had there password changed without anyones knowledge, well someone does know what happened but they are not owning up. This affects all of us in the computing department, as we have 187 students, most of whom could not login today and resetting 30 accounts in your class takes a bit of time. We were not informed that this had happened until we rang the IT helpdesk. Come on, get your act together.

In the holidays I have a conference in wellington to attend and then might fly down to the south island for a bit of a holiday then return to attend the ict conference ulearn being held in auckland sky city conference centre.

I am starting to play around with video on demand myself. I know that there is clickview, but this only available to teachers at the moment. So I can sitting here converting a number of videos I have downloaded from to .flv

It take around 3-4 hours to convert a 1 hour .mov. I wish it was a little bit quicker.

but I now need some space to record some of the code that I use. I hope that blogger doesn't convert the information to HTML.
Since I cannot past the code in here, I will include the link

This will make a huge change to some of my course especially if my students miss a class.

We also have a change to our school timetable this week. We are going to be running 5 period days for two days. This is going to be how we will go next year. Makes a huge change to my teaching load. I have 4 senior classes running at 5 periods a week and two junior class two periods a week totaling 24 periods a week. 24 x 50 minutes is 20 hours.

Next year I have 3 senior classes at 4 periods, 1 year te at 2 periods a week and 1 year 9 class at 3 periods a week. 17 hours work. Now you may be asking what is up with this, I am getting two release periods for some of the work that I do withing the school, only taken 4 years of arguments.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

BP Technology Challenges

I used to do these a while ago with my students, I stopped doing them, I don't really know why. However I wish to bring them back into my classes, especially the programming courses.

BP Technology Challenges are available from <- fixed="fixed" link="link" p="p">
One thing I notice is that they have changed and more up to date.

I notice in one of the challenges that they have to design a moa for a television broadcast. Using this one I can see getting the students to write the brief with all the technology stuff that we need, they will then need to do gnatt charts on how to build the project as well as provide sketches. Get them to plan a conceptual design? I know it may seem a bit over the top, but its trying to make the subject different and interesting and getting them to work with others, teamwork.

Stop the Press from
In a press conference held at Massey University earlier this week, scientists have released details of a long term project. Over the past several years a team of scientists have been working with genetic material of moa remains. After months of painstaking work they have managed to piece together the genetic makeup of a moa from 1000 years ago. The possibility of bringing a moa to life was raised. The excitement went further! It was suggested that the basic genetic makeup of the moa could be genetically modified to produce a moa that could survive most
significant changes to its natural environment by the year 3000.

Your Challenge
There is worldwide interest and for the TV news a lookalike live moa is needed. You are about to reveal to the audience the moa from 1000 years ago as well as the new age (genetically modified) moa.
Using the materials provided and members of your team to construct
• a lookalike of a moa from 1000 years ago and
• a genetically modified moa that would be more likely to survive the most significant environment changes in the next 1000 years.
Prepare a brief (20 seconds maximum) presentation for the audience which explains your genetic modification and why you made it. Be aware that there is a lot of controversy surrounding work with genetic material to create new plants and animals.
You will be provided with:
• corrugated cardboard (2 m in length) • egg cartons (x 4)
• newspaper (12 sheets) • coloured card (2 sheets)
• string (4 m) • paper rubbish bag (x 1)
• vivids (x 2) • cellotape (15 m roll)
• plastic bottles (x 4)
You may use the scissors provided only during the construction period then return them to your team judge.

Q. Are students doing 'technology' when they do a BP Technology Challenge?

It is important to remember that there are distinct differences between the type of activity involved in BP Technology Challenges and the technology curriculum. Essential Elements of the

BP Challenges are that they
- are fun
- promote the development of essential skills
- develop positive attitudes to learning
- can involve parents
- are both co-operative and competitive (in the sense of showing commitment, initiative, and perseverance)
- are motivational
- promote inter-school activity
- are practical (hands on)

Essential Elements of Technology Education as detailed in the curriculum statement are that it involves...

- investigation, use, and understanding of technological products, systems and environments
- development of knowledge of the principles and processes of technology
- identification and exploration of needs and opportunities
- creation and evaluation of ideas to improve or modify technology in relation to these identified needs and opportunities
- choice and use of materials, tools, and equipment skilfully and safely
- designing technological solutions
- working to agreed specifications and quality standards
- recognising the inter-relationship of technology and society now, in the past and in the future
- feeling empowered to contribute to a technological society.

BP Challenges complement the Curriculum Framework, but used on their own, do not allow students to explore the full breadth of technology education and to participate in authentic technological practice. The strength of the BP Challenges is the manner in which they provide a motivating context where the essential skills can be developed in a supportive atmosphere and where teams of students can compete to meet pre-determined success criteria, rather than against each other.

Answer provided by Debbie Chan, Co-ordinator BP Technology Challenges, The Royal Society of New Zealand - May 2000

Ethics in Computing

I started off this year with Year 12 Programming looking at ethics, some of this involved some brand new resources from microsoft. They have the privacy page there with a number of GSI videos that microsoft has developed to educate the public.

There are four videos on the microsoft privacy site at the moment all looking at different areas of privacy, from licensing, counterfeit, piracy of software, and the proper licensing of software.

These are some fantastic resources for my students.


Proper Windows Licensing

Piracy Perils


How do I put this together, information packs for the students, online kit? Or direct them to the site? What is the best way for this information to be passed down? I have to start looking at how I put my lessons together. Do we need to use computers all the time. My view on this at the moment is that they can cause a distraction, they have to play with them. Even getting them to stand up away from the computer just to get their attention they have to touch the computer. I have another way of getting there attention through a network monitoring program that takes control of their computer, they have to play, just to try and get around my attention grabbing technique.

I look at the other material I have looked at lately that I have posted to this blog and even though it is in electronic form I still have printed it off, I have made notes on it and included it in my reference library. Could this be the same for the students, would they keep copies of it? Do I make them include it as part of the big project. Research to be included as part of there technological knowledge.

This is where I start to get confused. Technological knowledge is more about the "technological design? process" and not about the knowledge and skills of computing. Or is it. Even though the technological process involves ethics, knowledge, skills, constraints in the key factors and constraints. Under the brown technology curriculum document there was a strand on society. This is probably where I am aiming this to go. But under the new draft curriculum I am not too sure where this goes.

Going back to the earlier section on how could I use this, electronic portfolio, use blogging as a new means of assessment, however this does lead to a bigger issue of whether it is the students own work, or have they copied it from someone else. Email it into me would be another and then I have to put it onto a site for them to include as there electronic portfolio. maybe use knowledgenet new reflection and assessment tools available next year.

I am working on two things, a keynote show to display the information contained in the pdf's as well as have them downloadable for the students to use if need be. Also having the magazine and whitepapers printed out for students to work through questions and form an opinion of the information contained in each.

The next thing is to have all of this available on the net... probably do this at school next week.

The use of this blog to down my ideas is fantastic, I think of it was a notebook or visual diary. Being electronic helps me, I also carry a visual diary around with me in my bag when I am out as well as a digital camera, just in case I see something and might want to use in in a class of mine.

One problem however is going over my cap on my internet account, just means I have some slow days at dial up speeds <64 kbps.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Year 13 Programming - Hackers

Have rethought about the topic of this, more of a year 13 course topic.

I have been thinking about my programming course and enjoyed the lessons on gaming addiction as seen previously in this blog,

I am now looking at hackers, this actually provides a great bit of history within computing and looks at some of the founders of the computer industry and how they came to be, Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak (Apple Computers)

'Invasion of the data snatchers,' screamed a New York Times headline in 1989, reflecting rising panic over insecure computer systems.

A hacker is a brilliantly devious criminal mind breaking the world's most secret IT systems for money or political espionage, if you believe many similarly hysterical press reports. In fact, the truth is a lot more intriguing.

The Secret History of Hacking uncovered the real story of a counter culture that has corporate America on the run.

Confusion and anxiety surrounds this word hacking, yet, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, hacker simply means 'an enthusiastic computer programmer or user' or 'a person who tries to gain unauthorised access to a computer or to data held in one'. There was nothing sinister about these early hackers, or phreakers. The driving force for this band of techno wizards was exploration.

The same spirit was at work with the appearance of the home computer. The pioneers were keen to share and explore the technology for its own sake. Among the most prominent players was Steve Wozniak who went on to develop the Apple computer. Only when the commercial element crept in did the shutters come down on the ownership of ideas.

A strong undercurrent of mischievous daring runs through the hackers' ethos. Since the sixties, hackers have been breaking into much of the globe's state-of-the-art electronic systems involving government, military institutions, businesses and individuals. The code was always 'look but don't touch'.

But now, as the world becomes ever more entwined with the internet, some hackers are becoming more sinister, spreading damaging computer viruses and capitalising on access to personal files and millions of bank accounts.

I originally found the video on youtube, however it was in 5 parts, I wanted the whole thing, is a wonderful resource.

Video is available here @

Now is the time to look at creating a lesson plan to go with this and some type of learning outcomes. This is one of the things I need to start working on a bit more, time to put that ATOL training to good purpose.
I have already managed to download the video to my computer and will be putting it on the video on demand system that we have.

Also one of the issues that I am thinking of including within the lesson is the issue of "hacker" versus "cracker" and how the media perceives the two. What were the original terms and why has the media changed how the terms are perceived. The change of the hacker and cracker, now instead of cracker it is now "black hat".

While doing research for this lesson I came across a copy of the letter that is talked about in the History of Hackers video. It is a fantastic read, especially from the point of Bill Gates about who owns software.

A fantastic site for looking at simple computer terms and how to integrate them into your lesson is @

Also to be looked at is Revolution OS, a documentary that looks at open source software and free software movements, and its available at my favourite video website, it is a bit longer than the other one I am looking at using, but they look at two different areas of the computer world, hackers, open source software and GNU. 1 hour and 25 minutes long for Revolution OS, versus 50 minutes for the History of Hacking.

As I think more and more about this idea and research more on the internet, one site I have found is called Hacker High School and it has some great lessons for students on securing themselves on the net from attacks

Today's kids and teens are in a world with major communication and productivity channels open to them and they don't have the knowledge to defend themselves against the fraud, identity theft, privacy leaks and other attacks made against them just for using the Internet. This is the reason for Hacker Highschool.

In HHS, you will find lessons on utilizing Internet resources safely such as web privacy, chat protection, viruses and trojans (malware), and the over-all
focus on how to recognize security problems on your computer. All lessons work
with a free "live linux" CD which will boot off any PC with a CD-rom drive to perform the lessons. HHS is a great supplement to student course work or as part of after-school and club activities.

I am actually enjoying putting this unit together, though I have to think of some interesting learning outcomes, as for the impact on society, it will be interesting to see how the students take to this idea, it is being presented from two sides, the side of the old hackers, who pulled apart computers and built there own and developed the software to run on them, through to todays "media hackers" and the terrorist label that they have been given.

Just looking at this a bit further will the Bill Gates letter, there were some responses to that letter that were published in the homebrew newsletter. One of the ideas is to get the students to read the original Bill Gates letter to the homebrew club and maybe the responses from the homebrew club members and get the students to look whether in the last 30 years has this has changed, people still pirate software, why, are they the same reasons?

It is worth an idea as this would go well with the literacy environment that we have at school.

Some ideas from the Start up lesson website are

1. What is the Hacker Spirit? What is the Entrepreneurial Spirit?
As a class, discuss what is meant by the phrase “Hacker Spirit” (joy of experimentation and innovation, the competitiveness with friends to build upon discoveries, the communal nature of dialogue). Brainstorm some terms and list these on chart paper.
Then discuss what is meant by the term “entrepreneurial” (risk-taking, extreme commitment, competition, improvisation and innovative approaches). List these terms on paper. Taking direction from students, create a Venn Diagram, listing descriptive words and terms that fall into the “Hacker circle,” the “Entrepreneurial circle” and the area of overlap.

2. What was HomeBrew? Discuss the development of computer hobbyist clubs like HomeBrew. These groups felt strongly that computer enthusiasts should share As Jim Warren states, “The whole spirit there was working together.....was sharing.”

3. Individually, students read Bill Gates’ letter to the editors of HomeBrew magazine.

4. As a class, discuss Bill Gates’ letter. What was his opinion? Do students have questions about his argument? Gates felt not having proprietary influence over software prevented good software from being written – why would a professional work for free? Others who defended a more communal nature software development argued that an ethos of community and sharing would produce more innovations, with developers building upon and improving each other’s work.

5. Individually, students write a letter to Bill Gates, responding to his arguments and substantiating their point of view.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Unit Standard 5968

Unit Standard 5968 Social Implications of Information Technology

I have had a look at the Unit Standard, in the special notes it lists aspects of society as

"For the assessment of this unit standard aspects of society can be selected from the following: copyright, crime, privacy, security, ethics, culture, economics, education, employment, health, politics, organisation, international affairs, leisure, safety, public morality, social interaction. At least three aspects of society must be considered."

Being able to look at the past and compare with the future aspects of society, I tend to look at this and think about the Internet and its predecessor, (BBS) Bulletin Board Services, or Web 1.0 versus Web 2.0 in the way of privacy, culture and social interaction.

Cell phones versus landlines, with they way communication has changed, social interaction through txt, no more conversation, one on one, txt language and the changes that has brought to grammar and spelling (nzqa allowing text speak in nzqa exams, November 2006), leisure (always on 24/7 and the impacts it has on the family) and safety (txt bully)

Computer gaming, copyright, crime, culture, health, leisure, public morality, social interaction. Gaming addiction through WOW and other MMORPG and other first person shooters i.e. counterstrike and what impact they have had on society. Also how computer games are now being used for training for employees, this is not a plug but looking at Marc Prensky's book Digital Game-Based Learning, looks at how organisations are utilizing game-based techniques for there business and training of employees.

All of these have social impacts and the research is out there. It is how you look at it.

I would probably get them to think about a specific issue in there life and then research what was available in the way of the past versus the future.

It doesn't state in the Unit Standard what the future is, whether it is 6 months, a week, a year, a decade. The choice I believe is yours.

As for assessing it, verbal versus written, integrate it with another unit standard in presentation: US 5940 Produce a presentation using a desktop presentation computer application level 3 worth 5 credits and have the student present there findings to the class using presentation software. You might have to video tape it to provide evidence to the moderator.

Sorry not resources or assessments, but you have me thinking that I could use this in my course.

I would not like prescribed unit standards on what you had to do for the context, made by someone else i.e like buying them, this allows for teachers and students to pick ideas that relate to what they are being taught and teaching at that time. I look at the unit standard I have just written about and think about the gaming addiction assessment that I gave to my year 12 programming students earlier this year and think, have they reached the standard, even though at the time I did not write the assessment for any standard. It was just a task to get them to do that they loved researching and making there argument about “Computer games are addictive and violent. They should be banned.”

Also reading the original email below about computers and people and that every needs to learn to drive a computer I think back to a commentary that I read called aardvark, the author for a number of years has tried pushing for a license to operate a computer on the internet.

Original email details...
Some of my year 13ICT class are just about to start US5968 - Discuss the social implications of information technology. L3 Credits:3

Just before starting I thought I'd scour out some extra information to help them along the way as I'm not happy with the amount I currently have specifically in a New Zealand context. The unit standard refers to the NZQA website at: so I thought I'd have a look.

Below are the resources on computers and people... (don't blink)
Computers and people

Everyone needs to learn to drive a computer, and many of the standards in other areas reflect those skills. Computers also have social effects on our community, and there are units relating to this as well.

Page updated: 20 May 2004

Yep folks that is it. Is it any wonder our subject area sometimes has issues with standardising to the same material, level and assessments.
This section was right at the bottom of the page. I also noted the last update on the page - 20 May 2004. I guess any developments in our area are definitely not a priority.

So what's the point of my email? In a nutshell DISSAPPOINTMENT. But, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I did buy some commercial stuff, but that has also been a disappointment. Given that a teachers life is now so busy with assessments, documentation, ero, moderation etc. Oh and teaching.
I do wish we could look to somewhere for some support materials and always come up trumps. Oh well, maybe I should check out some UK government resource sites.

Is anyone able to point me, (and my students) to some wonderful, (preferably free) resources in this area.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Year 9 ICT Course

We are looking at changing our year 9 mostly IM orientated course to a more ICT based course, so I am looking at what other school have in place to help facilitate the change to our programme

Rangiora High School have a wonderful programme, Promoting ones self, I like the idea of a theme for the terms work
One of the applications that they use is anim8or a free 3d animation solution, there are a number of tutorials on the site that can help with that hard part of getting started.
Also the use of Microsoft Photo Story, this is a wonderful application, getting students involved with digital camera and creation, sounds like something different than using word and publisher.

Also this from Geraldine High School
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 2 periods per week for 1 term

In addition to improving keyboard skills, the students apply the technology process to an ICT environment. They learn to use a database and movie programme, and then design one of each for a given situation. This requires them to research the requirements, design a database and movie to meet the identified specifications, create and improve upon their designs and finally evaluate the finished product. This sets the groundwork for the technology section of the Year 10 and Year 11 Information Management course.

One of the other things that we are looking at is the way evaluation sheets should be included in the curriculum. A example is here this is one for a graphic product, look at visual style and visual elements.

Also a excel sheet looking at multimedia, integrating excel use into the course

Computing Acheivement Standards - the rationale continues

I have been looking at what other schools are doing for Programming Assessments and have gathered a variety of information, most of them however are doing Unit Standards, this is one thing that we are trying to move away from at the school I am at, we are looking at Achievement Standards. However we find that they are difficult as the Technology Process is different from the commonly used System Development Life Cycle.

Here is the information that I have managed to find: located here

The Process of Creating a Computer program

The Technology Curriculum from the Ministry of Education uses a Technology process to develop programs which was designed for 'hard' technologies such as Wood, Metal, Food, and Clothing.

This process was never intended for, nor is it optimised for, creating Computer Programs. This means that NCEA assessments (Unit Standards) based on the Technology Curriculum, require students to use a different, non-standard design process to design programs.

According to Dr. Peter Andreae from the Computer Science Department at Victoria University, the design and planning process encouraged by the NZ Technology Curriculum has been shown by international research to be inefficient and inappropriate for creating computer programs. Certainly in my experience the NZQA Unit Standards do not encourage a process that easily leads to robust, well-designed programs.

It is obviously necessary to use the Ministry's process to gain Programming credits in NCEA, but for other purposes we will be using a more industry-standard method - one which is commonly used by programmers world-wide.

You can compare the two different processes here:

Technology Curriculum Programming Process
Industry-Standard Programming Process

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Professional Reading

During our Thursday morning Professional Development sessions we have looked at a number of things, one of them was Best Evidence Synthesis.

Now one of the sessions has been on the new draft curriculum and how it can be integrated into the school and the also looking at beginning the design of the curriculum in the school.

I looked around for some more information and found some great research, the one I am looking at is the HALO effect on the BES (Best Evidence Synthesis), this is a great debate over the use of Best Evidence Synthesis and the 9 Delusions that leadership have

Thursday, 6 September 2007


Here I am in a Starbucks waiting for my meeting at 6:30pm to come around. It has been a busy day today with no exams. I have been involved in a project with wai-care in developing a online website for the community on a local stream and the effects that we and the local residents have on the stream. It has been great getting out of the classroom and doing something different for a morning. Is this what teaching is about, getting away from the students and doing something different. It makes me a bit happier.

Something I found while sitting here in Starbucks watching youtube

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Exam Time

It is senior exam time at school at the moment, which while waiting for my exams to happen and the marking to come in I have some spare time on my hands. So today I was busy working on the schemes for my year 12 and 13 programming courses, It is strange to try and create a course with a mixture of unit standards and achievement standards.

Also today I worked on the development of the books in the wild project.
Tomorrow I also have a presentation on a project I have been working on for the last 4 months, it is a development website on the environmental impact of the stream near the school, using blogspot, sideshare and some other web 2.0 tools. We are after a way to get students into reflection and analyzing their science objectives in another way rather than using pen and paper. It will be a way that it can be used for many years to come.

Ahhhhh, the other thing I am slowly working on and waiting from Amazon for the book to be published is the Microsoft XNA creators club. I am busy trying to learn as much as I can in the development of Xbox 360 games using Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express. - one site that I will go back to, has some sample code and instructional video.

I will also see if I can get a hold of the book called Microsoft® XNA Game Studio Creators Guide, how, I have no idea yet.

Monday, 3 September 2007

books in the wild

I have been doing more of the planning and design for the "books in the wild", a trip out to West Auckland was needed, unfortunately I did not find any "wild books" but did manage to find one of the advertising posters.