Saturday, 31 May 2008

When is a rumor, not a rumor

I had an interesting experience on Friday, dealing with gossip, a rumor. There is a rumor that I am leaving my current place of employment. I have had the office staff ask me, and also the associate ask me if I am leaving. It sounds like my last day is on Tuesday. 
I am trying to work this out, what may have caused someone to think that I was leaving so soon, and why?
I am not leaving, not yet anyway :)

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

the event

ASUS eee PC event
eee PC roadshow
Microsoft 21st century learning
experience sharing
product overview
lighthouse program

$599 for 7” $799 for 9” retail price
XP support
under 1kg
solid state Hard Drive, no moving parts.
technology companion for students and staff
ultimate inline educational tool
designed for students in mind. - variety of colours, black and white in new zealand, small market in new zealand.
wifi, camera, speakers, mic
wired, wireless, thin client
product line up
4g, 512 meg ram, 4g hdd,
900 series, 1 gig ram, 12 gig storage. rrp $749
comes with works and windows xp home

Lighthouse program?
designed to implement ultra mobile notebook technology successfully into the curriculum and to promote education notebook excellence and leadership
number of benefits,
donation $10 per notebook
educational software at reduced costs
wireless and electrical
development of students and booklist programs
exchange the methods with other schools
publicity and public relations opportunities

continuos improvement in the use of learning technologies....
on-going evaluation of the effects of the use of notebook technology
pd for staff

the mobility of learning, not just the learner - all hallows school

all hallows soe
2gb sd card
adobe reader
ie plugin for flash shockwave

additional for charging batteries?

Microsoft - Tim O’Shea
windows live messenger ad - message in a bottle
g-768x432-1000k-64k audio
asus eee pc with windows live

I did not even dare ask the questions, will email them instead

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Questions to ask tomorrow

why do New Zealand School have to pay to be a part of MSDN alliance for High schools, 

To receive Expression Web and Visual Studio® 2008, via a free subscription to MSDN AA (Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance for High Schools)
we haveto pay for this at the moment, yet USA does not?

Microsoft DreamSpark, when is this being made availble to New Zealand Students

digital storehouse

Digital Learning Objects are a part of our learning landscape now. I have been trying to integrate these into our digitial video library and resource centre. We can integrate our own videos and clips as well as the odd teaching resource into this. However we also have available to us digitial learning objects. The New Zealand ministry of education and teh austrailian le@rning federation have a partnership where they are developing and delivering various digitial learning objects through to schools. A digitial learning object is

A learning object is a resource, usually digital and web-based, that can be used and re-used to support learning. source:

Now what I have been doing with the clickview software is to be able to integrate the learning objects available into the system. Easy, well thats what i thought. After a few emails and links to the knowledgebase(I still perfer FAQ). we come up with this.

Importing Learning Objects from a LORAX Proxy Server
The Learning Object Manager allows librarians and ClickView administrators to connect to a ClickView Learning Object Proxy Server hosted by your regional peak educational body. Thus allowing schools to download Learning Objects provided by the Learning Federation into your ClickView Library Server.

Simple hey, right lets connect to a LORAX server, sounds like something from Dr Suess doesn't it. Well you are right there, it is a word from Dr Suess. However, I haven't managed to find out what the LORAX this refers to.

They are busy working out how to get me setup as I will be one of the first NZ customers of this.

Sounds like other things that I am trying to do with my work, why am I always the first? Where are the others on my journey.

The other part to go with this is why I want to start using them. 

I am in search for some software that may have been delivered in the past couple of years to the school from the ministry (unfortunately after an exhausted search we have been unable to find these). I am in development of a unit of work for a year 13 class in Digital Learning Objects, as well as wish to use some of the resources in the Junior ICT programmes. As part of this I also require these DVD’s and CD to be able to provide the senior students with a rationale and context behind the level 3 NCEA AS project. If you have some copies of the follow CD and DVDs, please let me know.

  • The Learning Object Collection CD – containing the first 200 items of digital content developed by The Le@rning Federation (TLF).
  • TLF Digital Content DVD – containing the latest collection of digital content.
  • Digistories DVD – containing four digital stories about the use of this content within New Zealand schools.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Kiwi students being 'put off' computing

Kiwi students being 'put off' computing
The Dominion Post Monday, 26 May 2008

Unrealistic and vague technology achievements standards are putting school pupils off tertiary courses and careers in the information technology industry, according to a highly critical report commissioned by the Computer Society.

The society commissioned a team of high-powered academics to investigate the 18 technology achievement standards approved by the Education Ministry as part of its National Qualifications Framework. They found none of them were appropriate.

Education Ministry spokesman Mike Bodnar said the ministry had not had time to consider the report but agreed assessment standards for computer science could be improved.

The ministry was undertaking "substantial work" on the senior school curriculum though its Digital Technologies Guidelines that would provide pupils with programmes that were "clearly focused on areas of future training and interest", he said.

But the report's authors – Auckland University of Technology lecturer Gordon Grimsey and Lynfield College computer teacher Margot Phillipps – say that using those guidelines to tackle the problems it identified would be "like painting over flaking paintwork adhering to rotten timber".

Several university professors were among a team of 11 academics and Computer Society office holders who reviewed their findings.

The number of secondary school pupils achieving unit standards in physics and calculus at NQF level 3 exceeded those achieving in computer science by a factor of five-to- one, the report found.

Many achievement standards were "unachievable" by most pupils or didn't assess pupils' competence in any detail. There were also "huge gaps" in the coverage of the skills and knowledge assessed.

"We suspect there is a huge number of potential computing professionals who have already opted out of the discipline during secondary school, either because of the lack of relevant achievement standards, or because of the unpalatable offering of what they are told is relevant for a future computing career," the report says.

The Computer Society commissioned the report after becoming concerned with the suitability of the assessment of ICT pupils at secondary school level and after discussions with the Post Primary Teachers Association.

Computer science needs to be given its own curriculum, which could be aligned with the mathematics curriculum, the report says. "Without this, we see the downward trend of computer science tertiary enrolments in New Zealand continuing. As a nation, we are spurning massive opportunities that come with having highly-skilled computing professionals in our workforce – something we can ill-afford to do.

"The New Zealand curriculum document ignores ICT completely. There is no reference to ICT, IT, information technology or computing anywhere in the document."
The report noted there were few teachers with the necessary skills and knowledge to teach computer science in schools. But it said that if non-specialist teachers were to be encouraged to take these courses, "they should not be put in the position of trying to make unworkable standards work".

Education Minister Chris Carter announced last week that schools would get extra funding of $65.3 million over four years to help meet the costs of ICT.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

lol @ your library

details of the lol at your library reading week

Saturday, 3 May 2008

replication and pizza

One of my experiences in helping the computer science programmes grow was in the form of mentorship.
Through my teacher training I was put into three very different schools and worked with the computer science teacher in the school there. They were passionate about their subject. The would try different things with their students. In one school the teacher always wanted to do beowolf clusters with the students, so we modified the course I was to teach, the students had to put computers together, make their own network cables, install a linux distribution and then link all the systems up to create the beowulf cluster to render a 3d image. I know it might not seem much, but I still remember the students who would come in during their study period and roll the system out, plug it into the data projector and work on it while a junior class was working on another task. It showed the junior students what the seniors were working on and got them interested in taking the subject later on in their schooling.

You have to be passionate about computer science, don't worry if something doesn't work right or if you don't know how to do something. Build on these with your students, they find it great if you cannot do something and you work on it together to get the answer. It creates a team building atmosphere.

The teacher is not there always to teach, they are there to facilitate learning both for themselves and for the students.

Tell new teachers not to be worried if they don't know it all, ask the students what they want to learn, make it real world. They love working on real world problems.

Get innovate, think outside the box. There is one unit of work I do with my students, they learn networking, linux, netbasics. It's called "hacker high school", now when you say it fast it sounds like "hack a high school" they love it, and they learn so much from it, for the resources they are at

Start reading blogs of other computer science teachers, I found some real cool ones on xna development in high schools, which has got me and my students playing xbox 360 in class and designing simple but fun games. We have just fund raised for a xbox 360 dancemat to make a physical game that you have to move around in for our learning support centre. It doesn't have to have the greatest graphics or sounds the students have found out, it has to have decent game play, realistic goals, and realistic attempts.

Look at other areas of the school and get involved. We have a Library of 10,000 books yet we have an average of 2.4 books per student a year borrowed, so the students designed a dynamic website using php and mysql that the students could enter a competition based on the number of books that they read and entered on the website. This has increased the junior school (aged 13-15) borrowing an average of 5 books per student. The thing is it is a start.

Don't just offer microsoft software, look at open source, I have microsoft virtual pc installed running ubuntu, they enjoy personalizing another operating system and they then can compare windows xp with linux. I even have vmware player running with mac os x. It is fantastic seeing them trying to work it out.

Mobile apps for their cellphone is next, though I am waiting for the iphone to come out in New Zealand before I start looking at what I can do with that next.

Don't just do the same thing each year, you have to move with the times. Computer Science is an ever changing area. The concepts are the same, but the applications blow your mind.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Back to basics on the net

from the digital strategy draft 2.0 document

In April 2008, NetSafe will launch a new online animation campaign highlighting the importance   of computer safety and security. Called Net Basics, it features the Jones family, who buy a new  computer and find out that online, things are ‘not always as they appear’.  

Net Basics pits three heroes – AntiVirus Authority (AVA), Anti Spyware Software (ASS) and the egotistical Software Update Programme (SUP) – against the evil Rapid Spawn, Pixelmania and Fiona in a battle for the Jones’s family computer.  

Each animation introduces a computer security concept, such as the importance of firewalls and  keeping security software up to date, and is followed by clear and concise advice on that concept.  

The new Net Basics campaign includes nine short animations and a website   ( explaining home computer security in simple terms to anyone with an  internet connection.  

The project is supported by CPF funding. 

netsafe netbasics

NetSafe breathes life in Computer Security Advice
Tuesday, 8 April 2008, 11:24 am
Press Release: Netsafe

NetSafe breathes life into Computer Security AdviceA new and engaging campaign advising New Zealanders on how to keep their PC and information secure will be launched on April 9. The NetBasics website advises home computer owners on how to protect their computers [Note that many of these computers are also used to manage small businesses and community organizations. ] and the data they hold.

“With the ever increasing volume and complexity of attacks on home PCs, the need for home computer owners to understand and implement security measures is greater than ever,” says Martin Cocker, Executive Director of NetSafe. ”The arrest of Owen Walker (aka Akill) is a timely reminder that the criminal fraternity has really switched on to the ‘opportunity’ of the internet.”

Many members of New Zealand’s cybersafety and security community will gather at Auckland’s Transmission Room to witness the official unveiling of the NetBasics. A video teaser has been posted on the YouTube video sharing site ( -keyword search – NetBasics).

“On its own, computer security is a pretty dry subject. We needed a delivery vehicle that effectively explained the concepts and was also entertaining enough to keep the audience engaged,” says Cocker. “Animation allowed us to get creative and bring new life to this subject matter. I’m sure people will enjoy the animated episodes that introduce each security concept.”

The NetBasics was partially funded by the Digital Opportunities Community Partnership Fund. Other major contributors include InternetNZ, Westpac, the Ministry of Education, and TradeMe.
I am annoyed I have only just found out about this, it came out earlier in the month when I was teaching this subject. Normally is one of the first places that releases this information. ICT in education, there is even a community on it, instead I find out about it through the digital strategy 2.0 draft document (pdf), mind you this was posted on

I have requested the media pack from netsafe to be able to play with it more in my classroom, with the year 12 and year 13 students. Maybe it can form part of my study as it looks at hacker high school which I have talked about before in my blog.

I am just annoyed I found out about it now.