Saturday, 22 March 2008

The week that was

I have been struggling to get myself motivated to do the robotics unit this year. Issues have been virtualisation, waiting for assessments to arrive and the unknown if students are going to attend classes. I got stuck in on Thursday getting the virtualisation done so they students can start to program there robot and start to work on the assessment. One of the big problems I had doing this was that my account on the school system fried itself. Somehow I had create a 2Gig snapshot of the drive that I was working on and it got copied to my profile, which meant that I could not log in to any computer in the school. I have to find a way to stop this from happening on students machines or I am going to have some questions to answer on why the network stopped.

Also this week I have been working on solutions for the web design class so they could start there php and mysql unit. This involved some tricky work arounds on the linux server that I have. My problem is now that it doesn't support php 5 which I need to get installed to get silverstripe going, which is one of their projects. I don't want to have to virtualise everything I do, but it is starting to look that way. I wonder if I can grab one of the new dell machines and use that as a windows server with WAMP running on it to do the work. Or do I just go out and buy a big HDD and stick it in.

I have also been working on projects for when I am away from my web design class that they can work on throughout the year, one is a business card, two is a cd cover, and three is a website. I hope they will use some CSS in the website and not get stuck in with a simple design. I might have to add that to the crietia.

I did a mountain bike ride last week in the riverhead forest region and managed to turn a 1 and a half hour ride into a three hour uphill ride. Which was great at first, but now with the sunburn and 11 missed calls from one parent we need to make sure that we can find the trails next time. On Wednesday the first fifteen played a trails game against another school. 12 -12 was the final result with one fight just after half time. All was filmed and the dvd is getting created right now so the coaches can have a look at players and weather they will make the squad. The next game is in two weeks time against a under 21 team. On tuesday will be a sevens tournament that I might go down and watch. 

Also I have yet to finish some of the work required for the online papers. i must focus on these as I have paid for them.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

time management

I am starting to wonder where the time goes, I am now planning my lessons and having to incorporate calenders into my life to deal with the professional development, post graduate study and social life. To be able to create a work/life balance.

What is the best calender program to use,

Microsoft Outlook
Google Calendar
School Lesson Planner

Friday, 14 March 2008


In my previous blog I talk about some of the problems I am having with personalization with the xindows xp virtual hard drive. Some of the students have personalized it so that no-one else can log in.
I had my year 9 class today and they asked if they could change the background picture of the desktop. I am starting to think the days of DOS have gone. (I know, bad joke) But what is with personalizing everything, from bebo and myspace theme pages, changing desktops and themes, and one of the students favourite at school, they can change there mouse cursors, is personalization something the students can take ownership of it?
Back in the days of windows 98 running on the school system the students could change the desktop background, however when they logged off it went back to the original background image. Some of the images that they put on the background where offensive, now with the days of gang colours and gangster rappers these are what the students used to show. The same content the year 9's of today are downloading and want to show, the old gangster rappers have gone, but new ones are out there for them to look at.
Have a look at some of the themes on bebo and what they are using to show off there personalization. 
They need to understand that they are using equipment that does not belong to them, they are only using it for a purpose, that purpose is education. We are teaching these students skills, yo think and to learn for the future. 

Thursday, 13 March 2008

issues with computers

I have been busy trying to get the virtual hard drives working in my classroom, I had them all copied to the computers last week. I went in today to check on them to make sure nothing had happened as I knew that the other teacher was using them to teach his class some system clean up tips and found that they are now unusable. The reason, the students had personalised them, to the fact of creating user accounts with there own user name and password. Now there had been no administrator login created it was just, in, wham, thank you maam type thing. Now I have to go through and put a new virtual hard drive on these machines again. I think it is time for some education. Education on just because something is available for you doesn't mean that it is yours, others need to use it as well. These virtual hard drives are to be used in three different classess, what you do on it will affect others. How would you feel if your computer was taken over by someone else and changed so you couldn't use it. The same with this. We have a managed network because we need the computer to be the same for all users, we can't have one person wreak it for someone else, change settings, that would make it difficult for some someone else. The same with the virtual hard drives. 

A question: Why do students need to personalise everything that they get there hands onto?

Monday, 10 March 2008


I have ben working on my robotics unit plan for the term. We have a number of Lego RCX robots and a NXT robot available to us. I have been working on the theory behind the assessment. So far we have looked at Robots, where they fit into things, how they work and the three laws of robotics.

Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or the Second Law.
But are these laws safe, there is a website that looks at these issues

Is it possible to create ethical AI based on the Three Laws? Is it ethical to create ethical AI based on the Three Laws? What other solutions have been proposed for the problem? These questions are explored in the Articles Section. The articles give perspective on why the field of AI ethics is crucial, and why Asimov’s Laws are simply its beginning.

We have watched a couple of episodes of "Lost in Space", the 1965 original and I, Robot. We are now working on creating a couple of robots and getting some programs into them. However, to do this we need batteries and a virtual machine with usb support, something that Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 or 2007 doesn't have.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

NCEA Technology Cluster Meeting

NCEA Technology Botany East Cluster Meeting
Wednesday 5th March 2008
Botany College
Focus - Level 3, due to the new schools starting in the area. Focus on Technological knowledge. <- all the PD for this, Kohia teachers centre.
Courses, Select, Secondary, Technology.
Courses through Kohia are a programme for the year, not just one off courses.
Look at standards
Title of the standard, skills and knowledge in the materials, this is knowledge and skills, not practice knowledge. This supports the students in their technological practice.
What type of skills and knowledge do the students need in the particular area. Look at Technology 2.7
Our role is to support the student to select the appropriate standard.
Should we look at the graphics standards?
Up to August to remove the standard, if they want to remove then you are allowed, it will be a school problem if they don’t remove it.
The standards are based on high level thinking.
Level 1 - Identify, (list, some detail, because)
Level 2, describe, explain (details, grunt, link it back to the specifications, example,
Level 3, Discuss
Scholarship, synthesize, critically analyze, integrate
Identify the knowledge from the technologist. Expand on there knowledge (explain, discuss), what is the knowledge that underpins a technological outcome. What knowledge is needed for the outcome, materials, ict...
we are looking at level 3 on the curriculum standards, we are looking at specific knowledge.
Level 2 -> level 3 is that they write a report
To be able to get excellence, they have to compare and contrast between two or more technologists. a venn diagram is only identify. Look at the DVD of exemplars for examples.
Print and cut out and get the students to look at and compare the technologists what are the key differences because, scaffolding in pace to enable them to get to that level.
Level 2, explain the knowledge that is used to develop the outcomes and explain how that has informed their practice. Give examples of what knowledge they needed and how it helped them. If not giving in a portfolio.
technology 3.4, wider responsibility to the community, legislation, codes of ethics and moral and ethics responsibly. These are constraints, what constraints are imposed on them to create an outcome. the technologist has to understand those things so they can come up with their product. They have to look at appropriateness and feasibility. technologist work within limits, and have to understand the wider community. Appropriateness might change depending in the end user. Engineers are constrained by standards.
Students need to understand constraints. example, go home, want to cook something and not have all the goods for the recipe, so what can we do next. budget, resources are constraints. What are the key factors that are vital for the project, what cannot be changed, deadlines, project management has to work within deadlines, so project milestones are important. Standards need to be looked at, and how desirable they are to meet that standard.
Diagram of vital things in middle, then very important, they clients and stakeholders needs are going between the two things. Non negotiable.
If the students look at the what if, they are looking at excellence.
Articles in the paper, matel toys, they were not using materials that were appropriate. implications for the end user. Just looking at little short clips so that they can look at standards, ethics and morals.
Chief assessors reports will be out soon.
Tech practice at Level 3
Must have a client, prior knowledge, consult with technologists (practice, and depth of knowledge), wider community (different perspective, implications, values and beliefs)
Achievement Objectives, use the new curriculum and the tech practice strand, planning for practice, brief development, Outcome development and evaluation.
Look at personal experience, prior experience of yourself. Have you bene a client, a technologist.
Profile the client, contract or agreement from between the client and students. Roles and responsibilities of both. need to understand that the client is there for a purpose, key decisions need to be between the student and client and not made by themselves. Need to give their client options, final decision needs to be by the client. Intellectual Property. These need to be looked at in the initial brief.
Who how client could, be, access, contracts, communication, when are the times, how often, initial questionnaire, the time for the client.
Techlink has resources for the client.
Beacon Practice, Case Studies, Materials, Client Based Practice, Delivery
This looks at the initial client questions, an ideas, understand what the unit is about through the background, profile the client relationship and the interactions.
Tech Practice, look at the technology curriculum, explanatory Papers, tech Practice, senior secondary.
Look at Level 7.
Brief Development
Planning for Practice
Outcome Development and Education
Unpacking the issue, what prior knowledge do they have, whose, where.
Self awareness, how to reflect. PMI, (Positive, Minuses, Improve)
Research skills, historical issues, innovations in technology and how they impact in their design. Production methods and commercial methods and how that impacts on product development.
Critically analyze, are we asking a surface question, or a deep questioning (what if, what could, why), answering the questions with reasoning and justification.
Work Ethics, own strengths and weaknesses
Understand a range of planning tools. (Visual Diary, Gnatt Chart, Journal)
Key Stages (assessment, clients needs, teacher?)
Look at explanatory notes Level 1, Level 2
resources, functions and aesthetics
impact on the environment
Codes of ethics
Codes of practice
Constraints (input form client, testing and trailing, mockups)
Clients needs, interviews, questionnaires, surveys, protocols
Documentation, justifying decisions. Resources in terms of time, expertise, materials and costs.
fitness for purpose, appropriateness, and feasibility.
how are we going to make the judgment, we have to document at least 8 students in full for moderation.
how the key stage has gone and how the feedback from the client has affected that stage.
Review and revise and record
Preempting and forecasting
Triple bottom line, social,
Must haves and wants, weighted wants
Must have weighting.
Not a credit counting course, we want a quality course in deeper thinker.
have to do 3.1 or 3.2 or 3.1 and 3.2
3.4 wider community,
3.6 knowledge
3.7 skills