Thursday, 18 December 2008

Computer programming as a literacy?

Defining characteristic of web 3.0: the web that everyone can program. If web 2.0 has democratised the ability to publish to the web, will web 3.0 make the tools for programming the web equally accessible? This commentator thinks so. Marc Prensky - typically provocative - says computer programming is the next literacy.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

PS3 and game development

I have just seen one of the best game development tools around and its on a PS3, Little Big Planet, you develop the game and levels for people to try out. I imagine this could be a great way of introducing students to game design and storyboarding and development. I want one. Wonder if I can get school to get one, we have an xbox360 and a wii already, why not cap it off with a PS3

Thursday, 13 November 2008

computer science

I have been looking at computer science in schools a little more closely lately, there are a number of blogs

to which I subscribe to that have talked about a book called Stuck in the shallow end - education, race, and computing, by Jane Margolis. I have begun reading this and are part way through the introduction, The Myth of Technology as the "Great Equalizer". I will post more about this later on, but it has got me wondering how New Zealand have stuffed Computer Science in Secondary Schools up for so long.

It has got me thinking about some of the issues that we face in New Zealand, how many Pacific Island and Maori students are doing computer science?

What is computer science?

It is not computer literacy skills, such as word processing or Internet and Web Searching. While literacy skills are without a doubt a twenty-first century necessity. Succinctly-albeit broadly-defined, "computer science is the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their applications and their impact on society" (ACM K-12 Task Force Curriculum Committee 2003, 6).

Not only is overwhelming job growth in information technology and engineering projected over the next decade; computer science is one of the keys to innovation in general.

For an increasing number of jobs in the new economy, then, the cognitive bar has been raised, requiring a firm understanding of the problem solving process. And is noted that the line that marks the "digital divide" keeps shifting.

But it is not just the economic landscape that is changing. The technological world is reshaping culture and political participation. issues and events have that have profound consequences for the way we live our lives (from the creation of jobs, to scientific discovery, to fair voting procedures, to communication network) are all being reshaped by technological knowledge. Who has this knowledge and who does not is consequential for democracy. What John Dewey (1916) said almost a century ago is still true today: education will only prepare people for life in a democracy when the educational experience is also democratic.

It is during high school when students make academic decisions that have the most serious implication for their college and/or career opportunities.

We know that their are innovation schools that are trying to integrate the problem solving of computer science throughout the curriculum.

In America their is the No child left behind legislation, this has nominally been designed to narrow the "achievement gap", has instead narrowed the curriculum and, in turn, the intellectual paths for students in low performing schools.

Many well meaning people are at the centre pf determining which kids can learn what, and as a result, creating an unlevel playing field. But they are unaware of the role they or their schools are playing, or how their actions and beliefs-and the system within which they exercise them-are perpetuating a system of which they may not even approve.

In curriculum guides Computer Science is nowhere to be found; despite the role that it plays across multiple disciplines and arena, it is not considered a core academic subject.

A computer literacy test over there includes the following relatively rudimentary tasks:

Save a document into your travelling folder

Type, proofread, and correct sentences in a word-processing document

Adjust margins, alignment, change type styles, adjust type size, use bold, italicize and underline, and so on

Find information and images on the Internet, and copy them into a word-processing document

And so when it comes to technology, we see the same effect of testing pressures, but in reverse. Any attempts to teach to the test of technology competency will automatically concentrate on this basic level.

According to the Association of Computing Machinery, the nation's computer science professional organisation, and exemplary K-12 computer science curriculum should, among other things, prepare students to understand the nature of the discipline and its place in the modern world, help them to recognise it as a field that interleaves principles and skills, and equip them to use computer science skills (especially algorithmic thinking) in problem-solving activities in other subjects.

At schools with large percentages of english language learners, language issues are often cited as evidence that students are not ready or able to learn.

we get kids coming into high school here who are reading at the third and second grade levels. And for example, we tried to start a cisco networking academy here, but the students don't do particularly well because they have a reading level that's not sufficient to handle the online materials that are part of the course.

It is true that concentrations of English-language learner provide a real challenge for schools and the district at large.

Too often-particularly in subjects that are thought to be objective, like computer science-classroom practices can be disconnected from students lives, seemingly devoid of real-life relevance. Not only is it important for computer science teachers to show that there are computer scientists who "look like" their students, it is also vital that the communicate the fact that computer science is relevant.

Computer science teachers are traditionally isolated in their schools, with no collegial support in the planning and teaching of computer science. there is typically no computer science department within high schools, so computing teachers belong to various other departments, such as business, or math.

It is noted that many teachers enter the field with a moral purpose of wanting to teach and help children, they are missing the skills of change agentry, and as a result, many burn out and get discouraged. The capacities to become effective agents of change are not developed individually but must be nurtured and consciously shaped collectively in a professional setting.

Now for some links

computer science resources for secondary schools

Thursday, 6 November 2008

homebrew idea

I like to have a challenge for my students students each year and I have been waiting for this one for a while. I wanted something different to try and get some ideas about Robotics happening and came across this 3 years ago now. It is a Homebrew Underwater ROV and I think it would fit into a project for my students in computer science. Yes I know its not all about computers, but in New Zealand we fit into the technology curriculum, it would require them to documentate everything they do in a journal and would require some testing and deveopment. Thinking about places to try it out. We have a local public pool close by so we can do trials and development down there as well. Look out 2009. 
There buildlog is located at big problem is that the images downt load....

Monday, 3 November 2008


sorry been to busy to do an update to my blog, hopefully will have something posted next week after senior students have left

Friday, 3 October 2008


One of the projects that I am looking at for next year is mLearning, it is a definition that is being banded around.

M-learning, or "mobile learning", now commonly abbreviated to "mLearning", has different meanings for different communities. Although related to e-learning and distance education, it is distinct in its focus on learning across contexts and learning with mobile devices. One definition of mobile learning is: Learning that happens across locations, or that takes advantage of learning opportunities offered by portable technologies. In other words, mobile learning decreases limitation of learning location with the mobility of general portable devices.
Copied form: wikipedia

There is a conference on next week that I need to see if I can get some details and ideas from.

Now I need to figure out what is being done with this and how we can use this to create and distribute content to students.

I need to read some blogs and some ideas about m-learning

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Fun times

Today has been trying to get silverstripe working on ubuntu, oh well.

Instead I have a windows xp box running wamp on it. It currently runs Wordpress, and Gallery2. So why not install it on that machine. i know it has a limited hard drive, but this is a proof of concept. Hahaha, these normally turn into full running machines which never get turned off and end up with the system fan or cpu fan not working. More about these later.

better get back to getting silverstripe running.

now that I have it running it is getting to grips with what it can do. I am going to have to think, nooooo, getting used to templates and subdomains, right, need to start with the tutorials. It took me 12 minutes and a google search on how to change the title and subtitle.

You may now laugh at me...

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


It has been an interesting last week of term at school, and I am feeling lost in the mayhem that it is. I have marking to do with the senior exams that have been happening over the last two weeks, reports to write and teaching to do as well. I also lose my junior classes that I have had for the past 9 weeks. I am always at a loss at what to teach them in the last week. I want to play with scratch but the network is playing up and not allowing them to use it due to a software restriction, sometimes I hate RMSmartTools, it will work one day and no another.

I am starting to think what I want to teach next year, though I am somewhat scared of this. I have 3 year 12 programming classes, 2 year 13 programming class, and then 1 web at year 12 and another at year 13. I have no idea what I want to focus on. I love programming and the challenges that it places, and what the students get out of it. Though it is rather difficult when you are trying to find resources and get the students interested in working on a 16 week project that requires you to learn and work through solutions in the same context. Maybe I need to think about how this works a little bit better, how are other teachers making this work.

I also want to revilatise the school intranet. It is a system that has been running for 6 years and is looking rather old and silly. I don't want to use knowledgeNET as it requires outside connection and internet access. I want to use what we have but make it interesting and fun, and that we can change the theme on it when needed. We can also get the year 13 students developing the themes and content and teaching others how to manage and use it. I know I want to do this each year, but I feel I can do it now with new management in. I am thinking about using silverstripe to do all the management behind the scenes, but this requires I update mysql and php on our IIS box. So I need to write some documentation to allow this to be done, so our IT Manager will allow it to go through. I can see huge benefits, however it will come back to why don't we use knowledgeNET to do this, why are we using another CMS system to do this. 
I believe that we have the students that are capable of being able to create content and keep it up to date and run it like a office. We need to have procedures in place and trust them. Make it part of the course. Though I will have to think about how much we open, do we make a student in charge of a department and get content from the teachers or do the designs and implementation of what we have there originally so they get an idea of structure. 
Do I look at the students being in charge of events through the school that they have to report on, linking media studies into web design and art design into the course as well through the creation of a theme as part of there assessment. How do I manage this.
These are just ideas and thoughts as I sit here trying to work out how I am going to complete this year and get the assessments completed in 4 weeks time, well 6 weeks time including holidays. 
Are there any templates or teaching getting the students to run a web design company through there school and procedures as I think this would be a great opportunity for them to do something productive as well as doing there normal studies.
What events do we have.

House Events
International Day
Special speakers
Music evenings
Parent Teacher Interviews
Open Day
Next year we have a production
School original Music CD
Exchange with another school

This needs some more thought and a discussion with the students on what they think.

Developing a theme for the departments - tutorial for silverstripe

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Playing around

It has been an interesting couple of days since my last post. I have had meetings with the Auckland Museum, looking at developing online exhibition spaces, ICT Committee meetings to roll out Office 2007 and Filemaker Pro 9 to which our Student Management System is run on top of. As well as getting to use a chainsaw to "trim" some trees around the place.

But that is not what this post is about. It is about what i am doing in class. We are getting our newly purchased second hand dell machines up and going, one of them we are playing around with as a wireless hotspot and the other getting LTSP running which is a Linux Terminal Server Project. I am just in the process of getting it downloaded, again from the site to try and install it again, never lend the development CD out to students. I am using the new browser called chrome to do this, something new and for the proxy logs to take in account :)

I have managed to download and install the alternate version of 8.04 and it is currently installing on the machine now, though I do think I may need to add some more RAM to it. Also looking at getting an alternative to mstc. As I think this is locked down in the RMSmartTools environment, so have download and run RealVNC to see what that will act like.

Just going through now and installing 118 updates to the system, and will then try and connect to it. Though I need to find a manual on how I update the local virtual image.

My big fear is that it will run its own DHCP server that will take over the schools already working DHCP server?

Also what port do I access the machine on?

*Note: This is rather an issue now, you cannot access this via rdc, it is a PXE boot only, words that cannot be mentioned here are echoing around the room I am in at the moment. I have spent all this time trying to do something that cannot be done, maybe some more searching and reading needs to be done. Well it is 7:40pm and I am still here, maybe I should go home and sleep on it.

I am also playing around with mobile technology to see what I can do with it, and what it has to offer, I can't wait for a presentation at the ulearn conference on how the teacher in Auckland is handling mobile technology in his classroom and field trips.

Now I have to get the Office 2007 installation CD and put it on my laptop, it just feels wrong to do this, but oh well.

Monday, 15 September 2008


Yay, he finally posted it online for me to use.

I have been waiting for this file for a long period of time. It has some fantastic images of robots and how they have changed over time and they are beginning to look like. I wanted to use this as part of a Unit Standard assessment in Computing.

Oh well I can always build on this as it would make a great resource.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Issues with mail

We have been having issues with our email at school, it comes into a an exchange server. now our domain hoster has been having issues with their DNS, and they are blaming us for these problems, as they seem to think it is our own making. Umm, sorry, who has access to the DNS records? We don't, but are now in the process of moving our domain hoster to someone who takes a lot more responsibility for their actions.
Though I am trying to work out how to get an entire list of the DNS settings for our domain, including all subdomain listings?
I know there is something out there and have used it before, but for the life of me I can't remember it now

Friday, 12 September 2008

Thinking about XNA development Next Year

It has been fun, but I need to get more of a handle on what I am doing

XNA Pong

Introducting the 2d game

Also looking at the Curriculum resources that Rob miles has been putting together to support this, though it does seem to be a simpler and more explained version of his book. Just waiting for the final 2 parts to be written. Thanks

Thursday, 11 September 2008

First Exam

Senior exams are upon us, and I did something different for the year 13 web design exam, I got them to present and boy did they surprise me, they did really well. I did a mini webmeet where each one of them had to prepare a presentation on the topic that they are creating there assessment for. Once they got over the shock and the time issues they got to work and meet their deadline. However we have got to get them presenting faster through, also it doesn't help with someone shuts down the presentation computer.

ALso I learnt something new today, i can get some learning resources going through a weblink, https://website/rf which is what I have been after to get going for a while. Just wondering how we can make use of this outside the school.

Today also sparked the beginning of my terminal server project. Also it has been a complete failure. I am using ubuntu server and tried following instructions to get it going, after a gutsy 500+ meg download which I will get told off for exceding the internet downloads and a number of reboots and apt-get and sudo commands it hasn't worked. I am now trying to think how I can download a 699M ISO image when I don't have internet access and all the wireless hotspots limit the data that can be downloaded in a hour now. Wonder who has access to a big pipe for me?

Meetings, meetings, meetings, today was about implementation and changes to our domain account today, we are getting sick of watchdog and their emails to us saying that it is our fault that our email server goes down, when it is in fact their faulty equipment. I am wondering how we can get a hold of the contract with the ministry about there terms and conditions and what they are supposed to offer.
Also looking at new library administration software that is web enabled so we dont have to install system files and other things to get the client to run.

Oh well, off to webmeet tonight for the IE8 and FF3.1 talk.

to do tomorrow, rest and staple the Unit Standard assessment.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Terminal Services

One of the things I have been thinking about with my new purchase at school is terminal services, but not the terminal services with windows, with ubuntu, I am working on how to get this up and going. I think it would be interesting to see it working and the kids would get a thrill of something different and fun. Now I just need to get some info on what I need and how to get it started. Though I am going to need some more RAM to get it going, off to the technicians office to place an order. Looking at the dell website, we can put 4 gig of ram in the machine, but it says that it will only use 3 gig? I know, we are not using windows, that only handle 3.2Gig of RAM. I love linux.

It looks as though this is going to be a piece of cake.

Straight off the Ubuntu site.

Ok, who is going to download a copy of Ubuntu Server Edition for me?

Also, I think I am going to have to move the box out the back, unless I find a couple of long network cables (which I think I have got) to hook it up to the network switch, this will allow for it to run in all its glory. Else it is just going to be a machine that sits there doing very little. I want this thing to be part of the work next year, not just something that is used for a day or two...
So we are going to have to look at software, open source I think would be best, what could and can we install on it. We have 160Gig of hard drive space to play with, also we need to allow access to RDP on the XP machines to gain access to this amazing resource. It is also going to have to go through the proxy, sorry boys, no games through this box.

Also looking around I found this website which looks at how ubuntu can be used in the classroom, through an Irish education perspective.

Ubuntu Networks Teacher education for sustainable development

Green computing with Ubuntu Terminal Services saves TCO
Ubuntu offers you an easy way to turn a desktop installation into a terminal server for your office or school to serve multiple diskless clients. 

The LTSP-5 Terminal Server implementation that was developed in Ubuntu together with and debian, is now being adopted into most other distributions (Fedora, Gentoo, OpenSuSE). With Ubuntu Terminal Services you get the most recent and reliable Terminal Server implementation currently available on the linux market. 

Recent studies have shown that using diskless Thin Clients in office environments saves on average around 50% of your power costs. Maintenance, user and software management of a Terminal Server is centralised on the server instead of maintaining individual work places. All data is stored on the server, so if client hardware breaks you won't lose data. Hardware replacement is as easy as changing a lightbulb, allowing users to carry on with their work in minutes.

To use Ubuntu Terminal Services during Ubuntu install use the Ubuntu Alternate CD for installation, hit F4 at the bootscreen and select "Install a LTSP server" from the pop up "Modes" menu. If you use a machine with two network cards, your server will work directly out of the box (in the case where you have only one network card it will tell you what to do).

Visual Diaries

I work sometime wth a Visual Diary which goes with me to meetings and conferences, sometimes they doget a little bit boring of you really do want to take notes of what someone says or presents. I was looking at one I have used for a couple of years for ideas for my Year 13 assessment for web design tomorrow. I managed to find what I was looking for as well as the assessment schedule for it as well.

But looking through it i came across a page which caught my eye. I am unsure of the date but it is around teh time I created a piece of work called soccertape, which is on page 58 of a book I have calledx ICONS Web Design: Studios Ed Julies Wiedemann, which has a website for
Now this was an idea for a end of year assessment for this to be developed by the students and I even took images of grass that they could use as a background for lawn moving to get flowers to grow out of, I don't know why. But at least I can see when I imported the image onto my computer, this was around the 4/12/2006.

Now I see a Senior Curriculum Guide for 2008 listed on the next page and following that a description for Year 9 Technology ICT that lists that we have it fo 10 weeks and three periods a week. So I am trying to think when I wrote the Senior Curriculum Guide Information, it must have been 2007.

We need an online subject choice and information of subjects for the following year.
Needs to be simple to use.
Maybe print off final selections in a pdf document to be taken around to HoD to sign.
Selection by Year
By Subject/Group
Use 2007 data to trial this, what format could it be in.

I think this is just a preview of what we were looking at, it could be just the curriculum guide in a different electronic format, much less that what it is now. This was to just display the curriculum guide not make option selections. I planned this two years ago, as it lists the curriculum guide for 2008, we have now done it for 2009, which is for next year.

But I am amazed at what I wrote down and what it has become.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

programming for the mac

I have been asked by one of my students if he can program on his macintosh. Now one of this that you will need to know is that he has modified his mac to run bootcamp, first with windows xp, and now with vista. He has done this through his own research and has had to re-install many times, and now having learnt backup it is a little bit easier. Next he plans to get a time machine to back up the rest. Now what programming languages should he be looking at. I know there is a number of languages that look at development of software for the web and the iphone, should he be looking at these or at another language.

has a number of languages and explanation 

There is xcode 2.0 which is a developer framework for the mac called xcode, however the link on the page is out of date, in fact mac has moved on and it is now classed as obsolute.

Xcode is Apple's tool suite and integrated development environment (IDE) for creating Mac OS X software. The IDE provides a powerful user interface to many industry-standard and open-source tools, including GCC, javac, jikes, and GDB. Xcode is designed to fully support the Carbon and Cocoa frameworks and Java. It contains templates for creating applications, frameworks, libraries, plug-ins, Java applications and applets, and command-line tools. Developers can use Xcode to edit and manage source code, test code performance, and perform many other common development tasks.

there is also cocoa, another language we could look at

Just not quite sure where to point him too at the moment. But the question remains webDEV or appDEV.

Now there is a page that looks at where you want to go when developing for apple, 

One here is also listed different technologies for programming in apple. 

Somewhere for you to start is to look at this site, it has links to resources, software you will need to have on your mac as well as reviews of books that you may need to get your hands on.

a look at 2009

we have just received our numbers for 2009, and they are scary. Programming is taking a huge amount of students, and this is causing some concern for me. Why are they taking this subject, what do we have to offer our students and what do they think they will be doing next year. Too many students cause headaches for staff due to knowledge, understanding and resources.

I am thinking about creating a survey to ask these students hwa they thought about this year and what they want to do next year. With NCEA you can do just about anything, with some limitaitions, we cannot create a killing machine, but we can create a lego robot with attachments that can kill other robots. But what do they want to do and what do I have to learn to help with that. Of course I still have to cover some computer science curriculum, but do we have one at the moment to cover, no. We are still waiting for the digital Technologies Guidelines, and other various groups to get together and hash something out for Computer science.

Some of the things this year we have had to put extra permissions on the machines to get XNA to run. This would probably need to go over two classes next year. I would like to have RM Smart tools removed and a back to basic winXP operating system, or dare I say Vista installed on the machines. On its own subnet so the security issues and control still remain with us. This would allow us to do Hacker High School and do some more techniques than this year. Also the hassle of getting virtual machines and software installed on the RMSmartTools network has caused headaches and work arounds. Maybe the students could access a terminal server is they needed to do their work.

One of the projects that I would like to do is listed here,
It is to develop and underwater ROV.

More to come
Another one I would like to do is to create our own version of the touch screen. The reason for this will be apparent later on next year. There must be something out there that we can use to do this, look at what we have managed to do with a wii remote and something a little more like a tv remote.
Other ideas I am sure will come up.
But along the lines of XNA development is that Rob Miles the writer of one of the books that we use to develop XNA development is writing a curriculum which is mainly  powerpoint slides, why powerpoint, why not keynote? as well as some extra resources to help teachers develop this topic with their students. Sounds like a good idea.

the second dell machine

we have experienced some problems with the second dell machine,

The power light is flashing amber

Which means...

If the power light is blinking amber —
The computer is receiving electrical power, but an internal power problem might exist.
Ensure that the voltage selection switch is set to match the AC power at your location (if applicable).
Ensure that the processor power cable is securely connected to the system board.

I can find no fault of anything that could explain this.

Power supply is dead, we unplugged the power supply and hooked up the other one from the other dell machine that was brought at the same time. It brought the system to life. So I am now on the lookout for another power supply, must be 24 pin + 4 pin, and have SATA connections on it.

Update 2
We may have managed to find a supply for this machine, both through the technician at work and the other through a reader of the blog. Will update when we get these and connect them up.

Meanwhile the first dell machine is going hard at it, although we found another issue when reinstalling ubuntu 7.10. It would stop at 80% install. Thanks to one of the students looking up the Internet it was a simple fix, unplug the Ethernet cable and away it went. The first install we did we didn't have the network cable attached, I wonder why?

Update 3
yay, we managed to get a power supply that fits into the machine and connected. we now have ubuntu 7.10 installed and running on it. Now I need to get more network cables connected and work out how we can get a couple more wireless access points. I think I might need to raid the old ones from maths department

Monday, 8 September 2008

Motel wireless setup

the next project I am working on is setting up a wireless hotspot for a motel. This will then be used as a basis for another project dealing with wireless access for students at school. Something different.

We have managed to get some dell machines from an online auction house. These machines are Dell Opitplex Gx280.

We have some ubuntu 7.10 CDROM available to us which will allow us to get linux up and running on them. Who needs Windows.

Some of the software we are looking at installing and testing out is
Alternative link to the sourceforge project site is here.

We have done an initial install and tried to follow the manual on how to install it with some success. The only hitch we have have hit is getting CakePHP to run. This has involved some tinkering and some sudo commands to get access. However, most of the documnetation we read on how to fix this problem is for windows environments running WAMP, which hasn't been much help.
The cake Manual is available from here, it will take some understanding to be able to install it and some help from other websites as I am still having trouble trying to get the links to the mysql database working.

Part of the reason why I am looking at hotcakes is the features, it is customiable, wherei can put the logo of the motel in and personalise it just for them, its free. Which is always a good thing and it gets students involved in developing their own skills.

There are other alternatives out there, one of these is chillispot running on DD-WRT. Now this requires that you have a Linksys WRT54G Wireless Access Router and requires you to flash the device, however when you read the file you will see what challenges lay ahead. See the link to view more details

I do wish we had more time to get down and dirty with this, one hour periods are fine for juniors, but for senior students working on some serious projects, one hour is not enough each day. You only really catch up what you did the previous day and maybe work through one or two steps before the time is up.

Notes that I wrote up while in class working on this solution:
The seninario is:
To create a wireless hotspot for a motel owner to use with his current system.

The current system he currently uses is ZoneCD which runs on a LiveCD ( ia the development site, the commericial site is available at He uses a usb storage device attached to grab the configuration data. The only problem with this has been a lack of secure socket layer encryption. In plain laguage, it keeps cutting out.
This could have been due to his internet connection problems but has since change internet providers and routers which the same problem.

the logs state.
ermail log attached.MySQL Error: ()
~ 09/06/08 LogsMessage-ID: <>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Disposition: inlineUser-Agent: Mutt/1.3.28i
Your Daily Logs are attached for Database error: connect(localhost,free_web,PASSWORD) failed.

MySQL Error: ()

No other other log information is received through the email settings.

He would like a new system that is a little more stable.
The machine he curently has is an old pentium computer that has been running for two years without being turned off and is now making strange noises, This could be due to the fan on the processor or the power supply fan.
He has two network cards in the machine to allow for the filtering of traffic, so people cannot download torrents or thrash his network in any way.
There is no keyboard, mouse or screen attached to the computer so it cannot be interferred with by any staff member or minders. You can access the computer by ssh or remote desktop.
It is also stored in a storage area of the motel that has limited space.
Wireless access points, these are configured with static IP address and are open, the zoneCD is used as a firewall to stop outside people using this connection.
The other issue is that he is right beside a secondary school that has their own wireless access network. So channel and SSID settings need to be set up right.
He has a Linksys Wireless access point WRT54G and a Belkin Wireless access router that is being used to service the 14 units and the motel reception.
The system needs to be simple enough for him to create a user account and password, and allow them access for a certain amount of time.
Other issues with his current system have been the session popup box not connecting back to the server to give proper time, or having to relogin ever 5 minutes. There has been no support for the ZoneCD since Version 1.2-3 (Released 8 ·24·2005)
Future setups could be for our own secondary school to provide wireless acces to our students. So any development needs to be documnetated and amended as necessary.
Current Configuration Settings are available at

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

subject choice

Version 5.a
Add junior functionality, have added a table called subject_jnr

need to add junior export of data as well as change the export scripts not to export junior data just yet.

some extra functionality of exports is required

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Wii Interactive Whiteboard

We have it working, the IR's arrived last night and the electonics were hooked up in the pen today.

Connecting the wii remote to the bluetooth is a case of pressing the 1 and 2 button on the remote at the same time to put the remote into discovery mode.

Needed to install .net framework 3.5 to get the wiiwhiteboard software working,

Students have been having fun with it, thoufh we found the whiteboard that we have it too reflective for it to be used like a normal pen, instead we turned the marker around have been using in reverse with great response.

Other issues have been the wii turning itself off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
This requires you to re sync up the bluetooth and restart the wii whiteboard software after it has crashed out.
Also where the wii is placed, at the moment it is on top of the datashow, which is in a difficult place to get.

Maybe using velcro we could make something up that connects to the light fitting that is near the board to be able to hooked it up.

Students have been getting up and using it as I have had google earth running to show them what they can do, they then ask how is this working, the cannot see the other two interactive whiteboards within the school. I say I am using a wii remote they don't believe me, as they cannot see the wii. Thats one of the things I like about this, it makes them think about what they can do with accessories at home, why are they just used with one device, why not many devices.

Will look at creating another pen that we can use in reverse.

Friday, 22 August 2008

3d visual tour

Amazing software that I want to play with, might make a special trip the museum to try some of it out.

Microsoft just released some cool software to mesh photos together. After taking several photos, the array of photos stitched together to recreate the scene.

in three dimensions. It's one of those deals where you have to see it to believe it.  The product is called photosynth and you really need to think out of the box and be created to mesh your pictures together. The site has existing projects to view along with a blog.

This information is from the site:

You can share or relive a vacation destination or explore a distant museum or landmark. With a nothing more than digital camera and some inspiration, you can use Photosynth to transform regular digital photos into a three-dimensional, 360-degree experience. Anybody who sees your synth is put right in your shoes, sharing in your experience, with detail, clarity and scope impossible to achieve in conventional photos or videos.

Synths constitute an entirely new visual medium. Photosynth analyzes each photo for similarities to the others, and uses that data to build a model of where the photos were taken. It then re-creates the environment and uses that as a canvas on which to display the photos.

Subject Choice .4a

Year 9 moving onto Year 10
Option lines have bee added to the specific subjects to be in certain areas.
If I want to I can place subjects into option lines and display.

Code for this is in my book.

So it can be done, just need to develop database to take note of the change and carry them through to confirm and finish pages
At the moment this is on the usb drive 2008.4a

Problems getting this developed, because I do my best coding at night, information is not available straight away from people.
Taster courses and pre ncea course information from year 9 to year 10, at the moment they are 10jap and 10jap1, this breaks my schema of varchar(5). Don't believe I should have to change all of this to varchar(6)
Need to add import csv feature for students update. This is causing me a few problems.
Nieuan and kapa are in because they have standards attached. This has been an issue from day one of the development of this.

One of teh issues with year 9 to year 10 has been 
Question: what do we need to export, what information use to be entered in the past.
Every student need to take english, maths, science, pe and social studies, they only need to choose their language, arts technology options. 
This is the only stuff that needs to be exported.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

subject choice .3d

Changes to report systems in teacher part to allow for list to be printed in year and house order, and by form class order.

Also looking at being to integrate year 9 into the system, working out how I could work through the 19 subjects some of these students have into the 8 subjects that is currently in the students imported database.

got ahead of myself with the post, should have been .3d

technology integration into the museum

While doing a search on what the museum has to offer in the way of technology, I came across this, it is a blog from the NZ Herald website that has peoples views on technology

Friday, 15 August 2008

Wii Interactive Whiteboard

I had emailed to me this morning was a movie of a TED talk.
the guy has developed a wii interactive whitevoard. I had seen something through the internet earlier in the year about this, however I thought, no way, whatever.

Today, i have been down and brought a couple of wii controllers to play with and get going.
You dont need a complete wii, just the controller, yay

The talk that has inspired me is located at

Johnny's website is located here, this is where you can access information about his wii hacks and what his next developments are.

for the specific wii information that I require is available here.

i have to wai for my electronic supplier to get me in some iR LEDs

Also, there is a forum on tki on teh development of this

Thursday, 14 August 2008

subject choice

version 2.0c
fixing up spelling errors,
entering in last peices of text to help students, though i do need to modify one more part, they don't have to choose in options lines, there are no option lines.
Fix up list of subjects displayed for this year, subject 1 was shown twice, instead of subject 2.

and graphics as well as css updates.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

It's Live Day

Today is the day that we go live with google apps, what a shame it started off with a 502 error.
Also subject choice system is live today as well. It is all setup ready to go. Pity i won't be at work on Monday, I have some Professional Development I have to attended to.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

xbox 360 lessons

we have been working through the lessons by Rob Miles author of Microsoft® XNA® Game Studio 2.0: Learn Programming Now! and The students are loving it. Today we played around more with vibrating controllers. This bring me to todays work. We have 20 students in the class, 10 wired controllers, now that I have this class going they are starting to bring their own wireless controllers in and hooking them up. But how, they expect to be able to come in a get them going. They had yet to realise that they need a connection into the USB port on the computer. I am heading down to Dick Smith Electronics tomorrow to get some Wireless Adaptor for windows to be able to connect them up.
But now they are after some more competition, they want to be able to use these in different ways. I have looked through the book and we are looking at the first xbox 360 Gamepad racer. We are even going to dress then up in jockey uniforms.
This is something we want to emulate and put up on our website. Come on it would be something cool and different.

Also I have some students who have picked up on this so quickly, debugging, they can pick apart any program and explain what it is doing, capture the bugs that I put on the screen in an instant. It is fantastic to see students motivated and interested in something that they love.

Once we have worked on importing graphics into our XNA programs we will look at something I found at Brian Scarbeau's blog which was written by Dan Waters

Monday, 4 August 2008

is this what it is about?

I entered a competition to take a group of students down to the New Zealand Army camp for some rugby training. It was to write 150 words on why rugby is important to them. I asked the sports coordinator if I should enter and he said go ahead. Now I face a trip with 23 students down to Palmerston North to take part in the two days training session. But as normal politics are involved. What students to take, do we take the current team, the ones that deserve to go, and leave the ones that will now turn up because we have this opportunity. the hardest part is that I cannot tell the team yet because we have to sort this out. I see students working hard at training but not on the field... argh. But what do i mean by the title. Education and opportunities, This is a great chance to get the students out of our area and away from the pressures of family and friends and take them down to a whole new environment. It is an opportunity for us to see what these students are made of and what they will take out of this. I can see them reved up and itching to go. How many of them have not been on a plane, someone else in the island. How am I going to sleep tonight, too many things going through my head. I still have the subject system to finish, working through the bluetooth soution and my year 12 and 13 achievement standards projects. What a job.

What is involved in the trip
Day one, Welcome Brief, trg session 1, Lunch, Nutrition Brief, Trg Session 2, Admin, Dinner, Team- Building / Leadership Session
Day two, Recovery / Nutrition Lesson, Confidence Course, Game planning / Rugby Tactics, Lunch, Unit Visit, Depart and travel to home location.

I have also broken out the xbox 360 controllers in my classroom today. Year 13 programming are starting development of XNA. This has been a long time coming due to various issues, problems, and virtual machines not working with the states that they need to be in. But they are now controllers colours with there controllers, and getting the vibration to work. One student was heard saying "My mac made the Microsoft controller vibrate". It is great to see students having this much fun and realising there potential, it is this easy to get able to create something which has this much fun.
Now I need to get some wireless adaptors so we can have a wireless controller race.

Friday, 1 August 2008


I have been working on this for a number of days and today i have a solution working, well a trial solution.

One of the problems I had was that I needed a bluetooth module which I found at Dick Smith Electronics, I came back to school and installed it with the software. First Mistake, don't install the software that you are give with the module, a number of the applications developed for bluetooth hotspot and bluecasting wont be able to use it.

Once I had sorted this out and destroyed a one of my virtual hard drives I was away.

i started off with Proxmity Marketing Light, and managed to send a picture out to my phone, though I found this rather difficult and too locked down as a trial to use.

Next I tried out BlueMagnet and this is great I have managed to get mp3 files sent out to phone, though some phones it does take a rather long length of time to push out a 2 meg mp3 file. The best thing about this is that i have been running it for an hour now and students have been accepting the file. which is kinda bad. But so, so, so cool. i can use this trial for seven days at the moment.

All in all I managed to capture 48 blooth devices, I love being in an environment full of technology and stduenst are always willing to get involved. out of the 48 cellphones, the mp3 was sent to 9 of them. Your phone does not make a sound which is a bit of a problem, you have to be aware that content is being "pushed" out to you.

But is there any NZ company using blue tooth marketing.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Things you can do with a Bluetooth proximity hotspot?
You can allow people to share files:

What files can I send through an Hotspot ?
Images as .gif or .jpg files
Text as .txt files
Animated images as animated .gif files
Audio as mp3, mp4, wav and ringtones
Video as 3gp or mp4 files
Macromedia Lite as .wmv files
Java Applications as .jar files
Business Card files and Calendar Event files (.vcf , vcard)
And any file supported by a mobile phone (even .xls, .doc, .pdf ,etc)
Applications (.sis)

Open source bluetooth stack
juts nee dto find some documentation on how I can use this to integrate it into what I need

one system I found is


what I am looking has been done before

more on what we are trying to do
Specific pieces at the museum that you would wish to provide more information about, like text about each piece, include a sound clip from the battlefield or maybe a short video of the production process of a piece. The user takes the information with them after leaving the Museum and can enjoy a 're-visit' by viewing files received or share the experience. Information provided adds another dimension to Museums and their exhibitions.

Secrets revealed - the mysteries behind the museum

In the right place at the right time?
We had a mass email sent out to us staff at school where it had in it that Auckland Museum were going to have the behind the scenes exhibit and that staff were invited to go along as a preview to this. So I jumped at the chance, one because I had never been to the museum in Auckland, and two, because I am starting to think how can I be a part of the integration of ICT in the New Zealand Curriculum.
While going through the exhibit I was approached by one of the staff who I got talking to, I got talking about the exhibit and what I found interesting and spooky, I hate loud clocks ticking and they have one.
i also started talking about what technology they had for the exhibit and other exhibits around the museum and this lead to a very interesting discussion. They have just created one of their first interactive/multimedia websites, so I talked about what I had seen at other places and how they used podcasts to describe artists impressions and how the galleries were using that information to educate their customers. Auckland museum have just started to develop these with this exhibit and are looking at furthering these with other educational aspects of the museum. But I started asking and TXT and BlueBlue and how PXT technology couldbe used. I was then asked if I was interested in becoming a member of a educational advisory group that will be meeting at the museum on the 4th September, hey, rugby will be finished around then, so why not.
Then we started talking about how students come in, are there for a day, doing reserach or something to that fact, have a looked around and leave, then teh next class comes in the next day and does the same. Why not introduce electronic worksheets that the student scan use, most have digital camera and work with them, why not use that information so they can take it away in a more useful form. This lead to how this could be carried out, My favorite app at the moments is google apps, Online documents and sites the students can create about a topic and post it up on the museum site so they can use it at school and the museum can use it to show other students what you can do. Its nearly and Virtual Learning Environment which could be another aspect that they could go down. I found out later that they are thinking of this.

But this brings me to my notes,
Use Bluetooth to send out instructions and exercise sheets to the students, pointsof interest, stories, digitial story of peron or object that they can listen to one their phone.
Use Digital resources to record experiences, upload to a VLE so students can take away their day and experiences, share with others.
SMS - ask questions, find a code and txt a number to gain more information, maybe link with telecom/vodafone.
Virtual Museum, when you go to a museum you can't go to everything or to some museums, you can't take a group of students to Invercargill to see the stuff they have down their on the whalers or anything like that. Develop some interest from schools on what you are going to see, "Virtual Field trip" 3D models, objects to take another look at.
PXT gallery, send your photos through
They have some smart boards at he museum in the learning classrooms, how could these be made more use of? How to integrate them with the museum.
how to create an instruction environment for an exhibit,

The secrets revealed
It is a staged walkthrough
What do you do when an exhibit ends?
How can people see past exhibits?

Linking in with other curriculum areas?

Bluetooth options or SMS?
Field trip to the museum to try those experiences out with Year 9/10?
Most schools send classes at a time and then the next class the next day. How can we create a more interactive/developed programme with the technology.

how can we get information on ipods/cellphone through the use of podcasts?
ways of getting podcasts out
Wellington Art Gallery uses podcasts to get information out on exhibits and information on various artists, how could we use the same technology.

Then there was a more detailed explanation upstairs in one of the Learning Classrooms
It is a temporary exhbition
It has learning potiential
Elements - designed
- threatre set
-uses diaramas?

They use traditional worksheets, workbooks.
Who (were), What (we do), How (we do it) are some of teh questions that this exhibit tries to answer.
There is support material,
They want to retain part of the website for eduction purposes.
Looking at students creating their stories
Secrets, within secrets
Postcard element on the website that students can create a postcard with various elements on it and email it home so their parents can look at it.
- labels, language that is used.
-expand create their own exhibition, unpack
-make more use of podcasts
- bring the community into the museum
-building the exhibition, uses the technology curriculum to create a ICT version.

There are also competitions.

The Secrets revealed website

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Google apps in schools

We have been using Google Apps for education for a term now, and have been finding it rather good, our biggest problem is not training or support, but rather our Internet Connections. We are a school of over 1800+ students. 
We have three ADSL connections into the school, all three are locked at 50 Gig of data a month. We constantly hit this with all three accounts and are trying to figure out ways to reduce bandwidth. 
We are on the lookout each day and week for the top websites of the day. Most of these are google sites but it is interesting how many of them are proxy sites for the students to get around our filters. These are a constant problem with student addicted to bebo. But that is another matter. 
It is great to see so many collaborative works in progress. With the ability to share documents the social studies department has become a hive of activity as students work in groups. This has not been able to be handled to great in the past with Microsoft ability, or non ability to do collaborative documents. Also the use of the google apps sites program, to create websites/wikis on topics and have other groups post information on topics they have worked on or provide questions and answers to topics. We are looking at how we can use these in other departments within the school. 
Staff are looking at a 21st century learning environment that is different. 
The ICT committee at school are looking at how to create a combined solution that uses Google Apps for student support - applications on tap but also KnowledgeNET for courses, tracking and support. KnowledgeNET is our Learning Management System. 

Some of our draw backs have not been at school, but more at getting the infrastructure in place. getting our domain host company to create the MX and CNAME records, total of 3 weeks to get done. Getting Google to recognise the K-12 status of our school, took a week and a number of emails back and forth to explain to them how the New Zealand system works. 
Also the management of students, google do not provide a facility to place extra information rather than first name, last name, login name and password, you cannot create extra field like a ID number or year level. 
So it has meant that we do not remove students that have left until the end of the year, it also means that we have to individually find each student at the end of the year and delete the account. So for a roll of 1820+ we have 1950 accounts created on google apps.

Monday, 28 July 2008


I have been getting my year 12 programming students working through Microsoft's code rules, which is a self paced e-learning resource designed to build them from development through to production of application using visual basic. It has been interesting as it requires them to work through prove its and challenges, normally they were able to get through a section of work quite quickly, however they have been slowing down as the information they are required to use gets harder. However, this is not the reason why i write this blog post. 
It because of a comment one of my students said today while trying to sole this problem

Look out! You almost hit that Jack Rabbit crossing the road! 

Do you suppose that rabbit thinks it can live forever? Say, that gives me an idea. 

Suppose rabbits did live forever. Let’s say that there is an island somewhere with lots of vegetation for rabbits, and no predators. 

Suppose two rabbits are placed on the island and that every pair of rabbits has a litter of 4 rabbits. 

So after 1 generation there would be 2 + 4 = 6 rabbits. After two generations there would be 6 + 12 = 18 rabbits.

Show the generation number, the number of rabbits, and the number of rabbits per square foot, assuming the island is one square mile in size and that there are 5280 feet in a mile.

Allow the user to choose the number of generations to show.

How would the rabbit population grow with each generation?

"I hate algebra, but I had to use it to solve one of the problems today. I hate it but it helped me." It enabled him to put what he was working on in class into a more practical use. This is what I like and one of the reasons why it is stated in our programme statement, you need to have good math skills, yet no one believes it, due to they are used to end user programs. They think that computing is word, excel, publisher and powerpoint. Some of them still don't believe that they are the ones that are creating the program, it is because they have not crossed that divide. It is too hard is there favourite saying, but break it down for them, "Paint" the form, define what it is you want each element to do in English, then work on the code and debug the code if need be and then test the working program, it can be that simple. Just do one step at a time and don't look at the large picture.
I have also made a little competition with the students, they were to develop a random generator program, which we used to show how it could be used, it was an interesting lesson, then getting the students to get there random number generator working so they could all have an individual number caused some headaches, as normal, not all students follow instructions at once, which caused a few problems. Next comes the chocolate fish awards for most creative use of the button. I am still thinking about how I can do this but it should be fun.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Education Google Apps

I have been working on this for over a term now, first starting to get people in the school to see that google apps was a good alternative of providing email to students. Then getting a pilot group together to trial and use the google app environment within the school and outside.

I looked around at a number of  alternatives of providing student email. Exchange, live@edu teh microsoft branded site and google apps. I think it was that google was providing this and that most students are used to using google's environment took my liking.

But this is not why I am writing this. It has been three weeks since emailing our domain host provider for changes to be made to our domain. After three weeks of emailing them back and forth last night I check the DNS system to find that our requests have been made active. We can now provide the students with a simple web address and away they can go. Now I just need to go through and find the old csv file with hopefully a last name so I can go back and find the student ID number that is associated with it and import from there. 

But we need to start getting this out at school, I am thinking of writing a php file to offer this to year 13 students through the intranet homepage through a banner ad, it is a simple way of getting a year group to work with it and find any problems. But we also need our network use agreement to go out to parents. 

Friday, 25 July 2008


The first trial test was a success, with the 15 students that managed to bring their student ID cards to school. Though i now realease I may need a complete class to push the maximum connections that site5 allow.

two issues that the students brought up, index page only had DD/MM/YY listed as their password, however it is in as DD/MM/YYYY
Year 13 studenst cannot login in, however I knew this as they will not be here next year.
Also they have suggested teh teh list of subjects be in alphabtical order.

And need to check speeling through majority of the page for simple spelling mistakes, like chocie = choice

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Programming problems in High Schools

We use a managed network system at our school which limits the students ability to run .exe files.

I have been using gamemaker through a virtual environment and discovered problems that would not allow students to run the executable in the virtual environment, due to Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 would not allow a graphics card greater than 16meg to be created, gamemaker requires a 64 meg graphics card or greater. We solved this by enabling an area on the network to run .exe files so the students could test.

The other programming software environments we teach run fine in virtual environments, visual basic and visual c# run well in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, but this does not have USB support.

When my year 13 students asked whether we could create games for the xbox 360 through the XNA creators kit using the skills they have gained in Visual C#, I thought sure, this sounds like something we can do and works in well with Achievment Standards and the competition/learning resources for STUDENT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DESIGN COMPETITION located at

After a couple of months figuring out that Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 won't run the xbox 360 for windows game controllers, installing vmware player and getting all the systems working and testing we have encountered our next problem, vmware player does not support directx3d, there is no drivers or solutions around.

We cannot create the exectable file and copy it through to another area as XNA reequires you to debug the program first. How are other schools providing computer programming experiences, do you dual boot, run liveCD's run off USB sticks? have a complete computer science lab that is setup just for those classes?

Your help would be appreciated.

Note: 28/7/2008 While reading Lance Armstrongs book, it's not about the bike I came up with the answer for my troubles, give the students privileged user rights on the machine. they cannot access anywhere else or so anything on the network due to permissions, but user rights on the machine might just work. I just need to work out what machines they privileged  use and grant them access, no messy creating different user rights or anything like that. Why did I not think of that 6 months ago. I think it because I had my mind on something completely different. Shows what reading a book can do for you. Also we can test out the web browsers that we are going to create...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

todays meeting

Todays meeting went well, noone has any serious problems with the system and what it is doing. Just need to go through the whole list of subjects with the deputy principlal and weed some of them out.

There has been questions asked whether I can export the returning, not returning, not sure details out of the system and into KAMAR, I looked at this after school and have figured out I can export the details out, will just come up with the csv import. I'll just try and do a test import tomorrow with some year 9 data I have to put in from last term.

I have been told I still have to apply some lip stick to the program just to make it a little bit nicer looking.

Also I was asked to get some software working for the food technology department. We have a multimedia CD from in reference to the education section.

I had been asked to get this working on the school network, the Link from the main application on the root folder on the CD loads straight from the CD, however when you go more in depth in the folder then you can get the program going by running master.exe I love shockwave flash multimedia development.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

subject choice bugs

working through the bugs in it, testing to see whether I can take subjects that i know are hidden is one of the bugs

SELECT code, name FROM table where year = " .$year." or year = ".$prevyear." and hide = 0 order by year desc

shoudl have worked, however it ended up to need some () in place to help with the and or statement

SELECT code, name FROM table where (year = " .$year." or year = ".$prevyear.") and hide = 0 order by year desc
is correct.

Now 13STU (13 Study) is hidden so they can not select it more than once. :)

I have a meeting with the development team tomorrow at lunchtime. This I hope will go smooth and they will come back with a few modifications. If they don't come back with modification I know that I have done something wrong, as they should be asking about features or they have thought of something that I haven't.

One of the issues that we have is that the curriculum guide has been developed without listing the subject codes that I use throughout my program, these are five digit codes that will go back into the student management system. What we are going to do is print a list off.

Also required is a list of the hidden codes so we can hide the information. However we need a way of getting the deaf and richard centre students in.

A check of all the information that we have in the subjects table. The problems we have faced the most is around 12 science with two 12SCI subjects, and 12 technology apparel which has two cost listings in it.

It needs to be pointed out in the system that this is preliminary and not the final subject choice as they may not have the conditions of entry, there might be a clash, class sizes might be too small or too large. This statement is being written up tonight and will be implemented into the system tomorrow morning during the ICT PD development time.

Monday, 21 July 2008

after the holidays

I have good reaction to my subject choice app with a number of people commenting how well and simple it is to work. It is now just the cosmetic changes that need to be carried out. The positioning of text, school logos and the words preliminary plastered all over it. The reason for these words is that it I was to create an indication of numbers not a final tally. The main questions I have had today is over printing of subject lists and numbers and letters back to the students. These I have said were not in the initial version as we are using KAMAR to do all the rest of the backend stuff. Why reinvent the wheel. Though I will probably throw in a numbers this just to see how things look. Just for me...

Also having to put up with the paint fumes in my classroom all today, I started to have spots in front of my eyes and things started looking awfully bright. I have a headache which is causing me some frustration at the moment.

Also we have developed a plan for the year 12 programming achievement standards and a topic.
Students have difficulty retaining information in some of their subjects, develop a range of tools to help other students in their studies. this will require them to develop some teaching notes or review notes and others (will get back to this later)

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Learning, Students need to major in Learning

I am currently reading a blog that has been written in regards to a Google Blog post that went on thier blog this week,

In the blog that I got the link from
In their blog they talk about students working through problems to find a solution, they need to think outside the square and move away from point and click teaching. Students today need to have persistence and willingness to work very hard, this is someting that many of them are lacking. You can have a engaging classroom that is also a challenging classroom.
Engagement in class, how do you provide engagement in class when the students dont want to be there...

There are some projects that they people in thearticle talk about,  Flast Classroom project, Horizon Project and Digiteen project. The Digiteen project sounds engaging. The didteen blog is located at
this focuses on the digitial citizenship programme, which sounds like what we are looking at with our new curriculum
The main website is located at I wish to try and find a location of the book to read. Also the digiteen project sounds like something I might try with my seniors next year to develop a learning outcome with the juniors that could integrate what netsafe have developed as part of their Cybercitizenship Pathway, outlined on the website.

Just an idea that may need some more thought and design

Friday, 18 July 2008

Library Competition

I am working on getting my clients for the classes Achievement Standards, I am looking at the students developing a solution for literacy in the school. This is the year 13 web design class. One is for the library to try and promote the borrowing of books through various means. They have to design a whole campaign around it. From posters, cards, through to a web site. That should make the design students happy. They might even be able to combine it into their design work in their class. I will have to take to the design teacher about it. The other involves the use of flash and some sound recording. Click on a sentence and it will read it out. This will involve patience and is quite simple to develop. Though they will have a rough client to work with.

I have been working through new zealand library websites, a number of them have been doing some good competitions encouraging teenagers to read books at there library, fill in the details and work from there, Invercargill City Library has by the looks of it just recovered its password to its blog site and started posting again, the first time in two years. Which brings up when developing a website it has to be easy to use as well as maintained. If you want to create a web presence you have keep it going. It is no use just using it once then forgetting about it. You need to keep your audience and content up to date. Manukau City Libraries has put some work into their site this year with Manix 2. This seems to be going well and they have put some thought into their design and development. i hope that they keep it up. It would be interesting to see what your local city library is doing to encourage teens to read. For me, this was all started when waitakere city libraries started their books in the wild scheme through the local high schools, that is where I think it would be great for our students to do the same, develop something that they can start at our school. it is just a short time frame. Which raises a question, how much time do you give them for a level 3 achievement standard.

As I said before, I have gone through a number of city libraries websites and had a look, I have print screened these pages and put them in a powerpoint presentation which I have put up on google docs, I have still to do more work on this before putting it out as a resource pack to my students.

The year 13 programming class will have to develop a game for Intellectual property as part of a campaign to help promote it. thought it might be nice to use XNA development. The other would work to the ones that are more interested in Hardware, to develop a wireless hotspot for a motel. They have to look at all the equipment required, setup and installation as well as documentation.

I hope that we can get through all this, i have 12 weeks as well as exam time, though i am going to have to come up with an exam for all these classes. Something that is simple enough to mark and something that others can understand.

I still have to organise a meeting with team solutions about intergrating what I am doing into a more defined subject. It is just a problem when you do not know what your client are going to be or how they will work. I have to get this more defined and talk to them about what we are planning to do.

I am only doing this because twitter is down for maintenance for an hour, and I just needed to get something down on paper, ok, keybaord. The other issue I had today was that the hotfixes for the compuiter still had not been allocated, i had been told they had been. emailled the outside support desk and found that they were waiting for the servers to be restarted before they allocated the packages. I hope I do not get told off on Monday about this.

online subject system

Version 2008.3a

the ability to hide a subject from being shown in the student list is now available. When you change the subject details through the teacher part you can change a hide code from 0 shown, to 1 hidden. Later on I could make this a combo box where it shows the words instead of a 1 or 0.

But this makes it a little less confusing when students already have english selected for them, they cannot select another english subject again.

These changes have now been made tothe live server.

Require a list of subjects that cannot select, especially when it comes to esl english. Though how do we put in richard centre and deaf centre students, this question is still to be answered.

I have been thinking about the maths, english, science question that was posed to me early on and it was decided that it wasn't going to be developed under this version, however, if I was to develop it I think it would be a valuable part of the system. Being able to say that if your were english you could assign students to a subject, since all the information is in one column of data the UPDATE statement would be quite easy to do, though if the students had not selected their subjects you would need to use the INSERT...ON DUPLICATE KEY statement that I used when changing their subjects to allow multiple times.
All the csv files look for is whether it is filled in or not, SELECT details from table where filled = 1;
They would have something in the export to KAMAR file as their would be information in the transaction table. It would be just their compulsory subjects.
How would I want it to look, would you bring in all students at a time, or develop a login for teachers in a subject to change where they think the students should go. You would also have to include the previous years english class in the information, and at the moment this is spread over 6 fields.
Another question: I have to ask is how do they want the 11FIN/11HEA/11GYM details to be entered.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

subject system version 0.3

just in the process of uploading the work to the live site now for testing, I think I am going to break it, as the site does not allow persistent connection, so i may have to rewrite some of the code to put a mysql close statement in at the end of each query

So this could make it version 0.3, then if all the changes need to be made 0.3a

We will see with my amazing upload speed of 0.1K a sec.

It has taken me a while to get the site going, I had a problem with getting the sql data imported, it was producing a rails error. Going through the support tickets with the company they explained that it could not be carried out one way, and instead got me going through my site and through a port at the end. This proved to work, and all 372K of data was imported correctly.

I had a problem with the database not working, this was fixed by removing the user and recreating the user again. All seemed to work after that.

It is now LIVE

This is now been taken off the development server and made live to do some checking that it will work(issues identified above), as i have just put it on to make sure it works, I have not updated the version number yet, will probably go to 2008.3a

Have created some extra users and emailed details out to certain staff for feedback and ideas. I know I have to make some cosmetic changes but this was mainly to check that the functionality works.

What is allowed under Technology Achivement Standards 

I have just had a phone call from a client wanting a wireless hotspot setup for his motel, it requires that it be traffic shaped, logins, access controls, and the like. Under Technology Achievment Standards is this allowed?

There is some software that has been developed, it would require the students to implement a solution. Build the computer, install all the software, set it up and write a manual on everything he did.

AS90620 Develop a one-off solution to address a client issue

6 A client issue is one that relates to a person or group.  The client cannot be the student.  However, if the client is representing a group, eg sports team manager, the student may be a non-leading member of this group, eg team member.  The issue must generate a range of needs or opportunities for technological practice.

8 A one-off solution is a technological outcome that is developed to meet the need or realise the opportunity as defined in the brief.  Implementation of a one-off solution should be evaluated in terms of its fitness for purpose in addressing the identified 
client issue.

It is a pity there is no phone number to ring or definitive person to ask.

subject choice system

Version 2.0d
I have been thinking over the night that there is no security on modifying subjects or seeing who has or hasn't completed filling in the form. I have implemented a teachers table that hold first name, last name, login and password in md5 format and included session ids so that noone can make changes if they haven't logged in.

This is included in the teacher folder within the program, so it seperates the login form, and all the teacher stuff in another area for admin, or should I call it admin?

I have taken out majority of the development codes that I have used to check the passing of variables and added comments to various other parts in case I have to make cahnges.

I have to load up dreamweaver and do a search for all login-form.php and change this to index.php

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

online subject system

Version 0.2b
This was getting all the exporting systems working, these were mentioned in the previous post, these involved the export to KAMAR file, as well as who has not filled in their options.

Version 0.2c

In this version we have improved the display of the system, the top section that displays the users details.

Also am looking at including a print option so students can print off their options, this will be availble in a pdf format using the software below.

Also have to look at changing the versioning of the system to include the year, so we know hen it was last worked on.

All subjects have now been entered, working on getting the teach-edit system up and working, one to rip the information out of the database and insert it into the text fields, and two to submit it back into the database. I am having some difficultly getting the information back in with my UPDATE syntax, will sleep on it tonight and see what I can do on Thursday. I have the fckeditor in basic mode so all you can do is bold, italic, list number and unordered list working on two of the fields, content and assessment. the rest use textarea and input type = text html tags.

I have backed up the sql in case I break it over the next couple of days.
- I need to look at other pdf creators, I am unsure what I need to do to get this working, and what to put in it. I basically need to wait for the stakeholders to come back to work before continuing, but then I will have probably run out of time.

Another question is why i am looking at using pdf to print it out, maybe i should be looking at using print/css which would do the same

one of the things that I also need to do is print off screen shots so I can get someone to draw on them where they want objects to go. I can remember some of the changes that were suggested but not all.

Version 2.0c
Subject modification is now functioning in a webpage rather than just in phpmyadmin, you can select the subject and then submit, this will bring up the details of the subject and allow editing. Changes are saved. One issue with not forgetting to change the where the code = xxxx this was set to 12pro.

Thinking about changing the version to 0.2d with the changes to the teachers side of things. However I have one more thing to work on which is the ability to print a form off with the students details, options and previous options with a number of words that mention you may make changes up to this date...

Have to check to see if I meet the specifications of this project, I need to find my viusal diary to be able to read my notes. Also to go back through the blog postings to see if I have implemented ideas when working through.

I have been thinking about the hours that I have worked on this
Friday 9am to 5pm
Monday 9am to 5pm
Tuesday 10:30 to 5pm
If I was a student doing this as a project, how many weeks would that be approx 22 hours of class time, not including work I have done at home plus the 8 hours I did at the start to get the basics working for the beta meeting, 30 hours. Basically 8 weeks of work.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Check against the specs

I found one of my documents today from one of the development meetings that was held last term, I have been checking to see that I have done everything on it

Online Senior Option Selection 08
ReasonTo reduce work load for staff both ancillary and teaching. Bonuses: Can be done at last minute

Design: ease of use, allows for multi level, reminds/controls of subject prerequisites, shows present subjects.

insuring student can only select there own selection, importing into Kamar

when, how, via English classes/ option choice afternoon, via the internet?

Who has selection rights, student select? Teacher control., Parent input. When will changes take place? Before or after entry into Kamar

T2 wk 9? Hand out option books
T3 wk 2-4 Teachers inform/promote their class/level(Maths, Eng) selections
T3 wk 4 Form teachers advise (From teacher)
T3 wk 5 Students make selection online
T3 wk 5 English/maths teachers make selections online?
T3 wk 6 Data imported into Kamar, Option lines, class list.
T3 wk 7 Printout to subject heads? Comments
T3 wk 8-9 Kamar updated
T3 wk 10 HODs sort teachers requirements?

I also found a timeline, though I look at it and I wonder when I would have had the time. Though i wonder when I started developing this?
I think back to one of the first meetings that I had with the SLT incharge and the questions and work that was done back then
it looks to be around the 13 June from a previous blog post. That means I have developed this in around a month?
Now looking at the calendar below I am doing well. This was a calendar that was developed before my input.

Timeline for senior option selection

Date Task
T2 w3 Preliminary planning
T2 w4 Discussion with other stake holders
T2 w5 Main issues identified, initial design, procedures
T2 w7 Mock up of data entry, draft procedures
T2 w8 Demo to main stake holders
T2 w9 Trail run, data importing, reports
T3 w1 Trail run 2 with selected students
T3 w3 First run with whole class

Subject Choice system up to version 0.2a

Today was all about getting the fuctionality of the system up and going and the requirement of the various year levels working properly, below are just some of the features that i had been working on, some took me more time to implement as I had to learn how to use them using phpmyadmin just to get the syntax right.
i also started looking at getting the uptodate unit and achievement standards in, however the files are rather large, I am looking at approx 42 meg of text and these have a problem, they also include all the expired unit and achievement standards

I am working on having a release date this week due to the timeframes that are involved.

Also you may asking why am I versioning this app, the reason is I don't want to break it all, just a small component, that means if I do do some major damage like I did earlier in the build, I deleted a whole section and saved it, notepad only undoes once, not multiple times.

Overview of the system
login-form.php logging in
login-exec.php check the database to see if the user exists, and checks against the md5 password
member-index.php the main form that the student uses to fill in all the required fields
member-confirm.php a page that displays the information so the student can check the details, if there is anything wrong they hit the back button
member-finished.php does all the entries into the database

Version 0.1c

  • If they are year 13 then they have to have 13stu
  • If they are year 12 they have to have 12eng
  • If they are year 11 they have to have 11mat 11eng 1gym/fin/hea
  • Can a year 13 take year 12 subjects, yes this has been included, all years can take the previous years class, apart from year 11 who cannot take year 10.
  • AJAX working to display information about subjects. This just needs a clean up, as there is an issue with formatting not coming through, will have to implement HTML tags to clean up.
  • School and version created in a table, and reads into footer.php which is included on all pages at the bottom of the page.
Version 0.1d
  • Included a way to make changes to subjects you have already selected, using a function in mySQl that is MySQL INSERT … ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE syntax
  • If you have filled in the form already , it will display what you chose last time
  • Added in reserve options, in case you don’t get the options that you chose. These have been implemented as reserve1 and reserve2
  • You don't have to fill in all options, there is no error checking on that yet. Is this a requirement
Version 0.2a
  • added in returning to school, this will be shown as Yes, No, Not Sure, but when it goes into the database it is a number, 1, 2, 3. What you selected when you filled in the form originally will be shown when you enter in again.

Still to do,

make more of it using session ids rather than $_POST information through?
Tidy up Curriculum Guide - implement fck editor
Career goal? does this need to be added
Cleaning up the interface, css and maybe boxes around certain items this is the fieldset and legend html tags this allows you to put the information into boxes, I have still to figure out how many of these to create and where to put them, but it seems simple enough, 1 box around the 6 subjects, and another around the two reserve input fields, also are you planning on returning next year, for the selection. As well as another one around the details of the subject. Might use pencil in firefox, an addon to do some design work. on how it might look.

Final outputs - KAMAR and who hasn't filled it in.

  • ideas on how to put a file out to a csv file.
  • for the KAMAR export use "SELECT concat( '2009T_', id ) AS id, sub1, sub2, sub3, sub4, sub5, sub6, res1, res2 FROM subject_new"; though I am probably going to have to put a year
    Done Completed - Version 0.2
  • Note this needs to be fixed, add identifier in so we can use it for multiple years, maybe in the custom table
  • Have used the same code but modified to see is filled = 0, this is to see if teh students have not filled in the form
    Done Version 0.2b