Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Back to work

I have been putting off this post for a week now, this is because I dont quite know how I feel about returning to my previous position. I still dont really know how I feel about being back.

Sinced returning, I have found a security hole in our system, doing what I do well, finding issues and trying to solve them. Been a busy teacher and getting my classes back up to stream and getting them started on assessments.

Helped do the stage production set construction and lighting, that has been three days hard work. With this we created 3m high screens to project images and backdrop onto. Two of these had to be built. I managed to tonight to grab two wireless projectors and project images onto them, these still have to be mounted and setup. Though I found there are lights in the way and sound cable, so will work out those issues tomorrow night.

Requesting software for the students top be installed on our system, a mixture of open source and freeware. As these are the best as the students can download them at home and carry on using them.

Requests for software to be installed on ICT Block machines

*Scratch http://scratch.mit.edu for this GUI programming software to be available as a RM package

*Gnatt Software, open source to be available as a package http://ftp.gnome.org/pub/GNOME/binaries/win32/planner/0.14/planner-0.14.4.exe

*Update Google Sketchup which is currently a package on the school network to the latest version http://sketchup.google.com/ this was last updated in 2006 when I was teaching graphics, new features added since then

*Lego NXT, the package that was created earlier this year will not operate on a student account due to needing access to a particular file. Need to be fixed - Email sent 6/4/09, still no resolution
“the mindstorms software that we created a package for will not run on a non administrators account it throws up an error error Loading "fantom.dll"
A dynamic link library (DLL) initization routine failed.

To fix it we need to
Normally non-admin account don't have write permission on the All Users folder,
so the application was crashing because it was trying to write a file named "NI-VISA Shared Memory.tmp" into this directory:
"C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\National Instruments\Shared Memory\"
Now I just created a GPO and changed the file system permission on all my computers so that normal user can write into that directory. And it works.

*Request for Google Chrome and associated Google App links to be added to student desktops, needs to be a package that can be updated and distributed for security updates

Writing up a agenda item for our department meeting

There are a number of changes being proposed to the ICT area of the technology curriculum, these will change the subject from what it is and has been for the past 25 years. It will provide that focus that has been sought for from teachers ever since computer studies was removed from 6th form and bursay because NCEA.

These changes have been outlined by a professional body that has been made up of industry and education. It is called the DTEP and to read there findings

Future Subjects of Technology

The Ministry of Education has been exploring the place of technological knowledge and skills within the learning area of Technology. This project seeks to identify what might become the 'future subjects' of technology to support coherent learning programmes for students; and, in this context, develop technological knowledge and skills to support programmes in senior secondary technology through the provision of:

-Context specific knowledge and skill achievement standards for technology; and -Technology Teaching and Learning Guides.

Future directions of technology - http://www.techlink.org.nz/curriculum-support/NEEP-documents/resources/Future-Subjects-Technology.pdf
Outcomes from Digital Technologies Expert Panel / Ministry of Education Process - http://www.techlink.org.nz/curriculum-support/NEEP-documents/resources/Outcomes-from-DTEP.pdf
Press Release: Future Direction Of ICT Education In Secondary Schools - http://www.techlink.org.nz/curriculum-support/NEEP-documents/resources/DTEP-Press-Release.pdf

The second thing has been the change of Unit Standards and the need for discussion on the changes of standards from level 2 to level 1 and how are we going to accommodate these changes for the 2010-2011 years.

Third - DTG, Digital Technology Guidelines - our school becoming a member of an Auckland Cluster, what are the requirements and repercussions of this.
letter and expression of interest for the next phase of the DTG project - http://dtg.tki.org.nz/content/download/1311/6238/file/letter%20and%20expression%20of%20interest%20for%20the%20next%20phase%20of%20the%20DTG%20project.pdf

We have our Teacher only day coming up, attended two of the National Curriculum Support Days, one in Nelson and one in Wellington both had different focuses, but the push of them were the look at the new curriculum and the techlink support document on technology.
for the whole pdf of the support document - http://www.techlink.org.nz/curriculum-support/pdfs/technology-curriculum-support-2009.pdf

Thursday, 23 July 2009

subject choice .6c

Included in this years release is the change to preload subjects choices, this is at the moment being called out of the subject table, column new6, if there is anything put into this field it will be shown in the subject selection, the student cannot select anything else.

So far, three areas want preloaded selections, deaf unit, richards centre and lifeskills, all that is needed is the students school id number.

The next chance to be made is some minor interface changes to make it look a bit nicer, so far all testing is working and all students have been loaded.

Juniors insert in the junior table,
Seniors insert in the senior table, so all students can select there subjects at once.

1540 students this year so far will have the opportunity to select there 2010 subjects online.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Back to work

I am back at work teaching at the school I left last term for my leave. It has been interesting returning with new knowledge and an understanding of how another school runs.

Though today has not been a good day for me, well I won't put it quite like that, more like this afternoon was not good for me. I was informed of an issue and informed parties involved, but probably not the right person. Though i considered it important enough for it to be sorted straight away to prevent others from being informed. Sorry I cannot say what the issue was.

This annoys me as I return to a school that seems to have fits and spurts of issues like these and when you inform, either it is straight away response or it is left to be sorted out another day. Yet other requests are not carried out.

Argh, needed to go for a ride after school, I know it was dark, but I had a good 32.2km ride, though a Jet Park Airport Hotel shuttle driver needs a wake up call for almost taking me out on one of the roundabouts down near the the airport. Other than that it was an enjoyable ride.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Overhaul for school IT Classes

From todays Dominion Post

Overhaul for school IT Classes

Children in year 9 and below may benefit from what the Computer Society is heralding as the biggest overhaul in IT education in 20 years.

That is as long as students are fortunate enough to be at schools with the skills to teach the subject.

A Digital Technologies course that will cover computer programming, electronics and computer networking, as well as "softer" disciplines revolving around the application of technology, should be taught in schools from 2011.

The Education Ministry established a panel of experts to investigate possible improvements to IT education last year.

That was in the wake of a scathing report by the Computer Society that warned unrealistic and vague technology achievement standards were putting students off tertiary courses in information technology and careers in the industry.

The ministry has been working with the society to address the concerns. Students will be able to attain new NCEA level 1, 2 and 3 achievement standards that will be phased in between 2011 and 2013.

But Digital Technology Expert Panel chair Marg McLeod says it will be up to schools whether they teach the Digital Technologies course and, if they do, which parts.

At the moment, there is little teaching of computer programming or other core aspects of computer science, she says.

"Part of that is because we don't have a teaching force who have that particular expertise. One of the things that will need to happen is the development of more teachers with the capability to teach in those areas, and that involves balancing student demand and teacher supply.

"There will be people who don't have the competence to teach computer science and programming and so what they will hone in on is the applications. But in talking with industry and the universities there is a real willingness to assist with teacher development."

The panel's recommendations were nevertheless "groundbreaking, in that they were a recognition that we need to be offering those things earlier in the schooling system than at the tertiary level", she says.

The economic downturn might draw people with technical skills into the teaching profession but Ms McLeod was not aware of any anecdotal evidence that was happening yet. "It is probably a bit early. I know the job market in ICT is very competitive as well. It is an area of undersupply."
The panel recommended ICT professionals and tertiary experts developed the "body of knowledge" an unofficial curriculum that would underpin the Digital Technologies course. Ideally, ICT should become part of the school curriculum in its own right, but this was not pragmatic as there was an urgent need to improve teaching of the subject, the panel's report said.

Computer Society chief executive Paul Matthews said the society was proud to have been one of the catalysts to bring about long overdue change.

Comment from the listserve
This morning's DomPost heralds the Computer Society's work with the Ministry to overhaul ICT educationion and article suggests that students in Year 9 and below may benefit from the shakeup.

The formation and operation of the DTEP is explained with Marg McLeod expressing priorities on getting the framework right (phasing in from 2011 to 2013) and her concerns over the lack of teachers skilled in teaching in this discipline. In her view, there will have to be a balance between student demand and teacher supply.

Most of us know the troubled history of ICT in secondary schools but what took my attention was the very first paragraph which suggested that Year 9's and below may benefit from what Paul Mathews (NZCS) called 'long overdue changes'. Now, that's a measure of advanced thinking! I wonder if the Ministry's planning for this aspect has started?

And guess what? The Computer Society's list of schools wanting to take part in the schools based ICT-Connect programme includes a number of intermediate and primary schools. So yes, it's about time we took more notice of that virtual lake of talent in the junior schools. And it's also about time we started planning to enhance both ends of the student continuum.

Our students *should* have clear pathways in our discipline from the junior school through to tertiary or the workforce. The article mentions the DTEP's recommendation of an 'unofficial curriculum'. 'Unofficial' anything seems a bit second class.

But there's no cheese in the mousetrap. We've been told time and time again that we lack teachers in the core IT subjects - teachers at all levels - teachers in *any* of the disciplines (sigh!)

I've said this before but it's worth saying again - big secondary schools have trouble recruiting skilled/expert ICT teachers - small secondary schools find it ever so much more difficult largely because of collegial (ICT) isolation. Heaven only knows how the junior schools are coping. Let's face it - ICT teachers enjoy fine cheese. We definitely need some cheese!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

School blames ministry for antivirus failure

An article on stuff online, in the national, education section brought this to my attention

Virus-hit school in 'dinosaur age'
Last updated 05:00 10/07/2009

A school is demanding thousands of dollars in compensation from the Education Ministry after computer software it supplied failed to detect a virus.
Otaki College says its computer network has been crippled for more than a month after the Conficker virus infected it. It now expects a $10,000 repair bill.
The virus has infected millions of personal computers worldwide and hit the Health Ministry in January. A memory card was thought to have been the source of the Otaki College infection. Up to 30 other schools in Wellington are also dealing with computer viruses, but Otaki College was the only one with the Conficker bug.
Otaki College head of ICT Chris Magill said the virus took the school back to the "dinosaur age", with all 400 computers disabled, forcing teachers to take the roll manually and postpone reports for six weeks.
The college's anti-virus program was supplied by the Education Ministry, so it was only fair that the ministry paid for the repairs, he said.
"We had the program installed on all our computers and servers and the virus went right past it. We hope they come to the party. In some respects they have allowed schools to get into this situation by offering software that doesn't do the job."
It would probably be another 10 days before the problem was fixed.
However, the ministry said the school should have made contact as soon as the problem emerged.
"We knew nothing about the problems described at Otaki College until they emailed us with a request for a $10,000 reimbursement, one month after the problem first appeared," senior ICT consultant Douglas Harre said.
"If the school had contacted us initially we would have provided any necessary support to assist them, including the services of on-site engineers if required, at no cost to the school.
"We do not have a policy of reimbursing schools who, rather than contacting us about the problem, go elsewhere to have computer problems fixed."
The software, which has been installed at more than 2200 schools since 2003, was provided at no cost to schools. However, its use was not compulsory and schools were free to use other products.
Aaron Middlemiss of Norrcom, which provides IT support for schools, said computer viruses had always been a problem for schools, but this year seemed to be particularly bad.
"We are dealing with viruses at about 30 schools, but none are as bad as the catastrophe of problems that were caused at Otaki College."
Microsoft NZ spokesman Brett Roberts said Conficker could turn computers into zombies, allowing them to be controlled remotely. The virus could spread spam, steal corporate data or perform cyber extortion or cyber militia attacks.
By NATHAN BEAUMONT - The Dominion Post

Wasn't this the critical patch that was circulated October last year, microsoft informed people through it website?

Microsoft issued a patch for MS08-067 on October 23 2008 and rates the severity of the flaw as "Critical." for all previous versions of Windows 2000, XP, XP-64, and Server 2003. Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are apparently less vulnerable; Microsoft's aggregate severity rating for these two operating systems is "Important."

There's a story within the rise of Conficker that I think is worth exploring. Microsoft appears to have dealt with this issue in textbook fashion; the company issued a warning, released a patch, and (presumably) rolled that patch into November's Patch Tuesday.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Weetbix stuff up big time

And then it all went horribly wrong
In the final event, the Power Plays cards have created a viral level of buzz on Twitter - but it’s probably not the kind of chatter that Mr Andrews was anticipating.

A Twitter search for “weetbix” returns a hail of tweets by father, blogger, TV commentator and Datacom principal architect Ben Gracewood, accompanied by a blizzard of comments and re-tweets. It’s definitely gone viral, but the commentary is about as friendly as swine flu.

After NBR’s original article, Mr Gracewood left the message:

“The Power Plays website is an absolute abomination and whoever spent $1.3m on its development should be fired immediately.

Why? Let's see:
- Forcing my kids to register with their email and date of birth
- Requiring a confirmation email
- Requiring a download and install of an executable file
- Asking the kids to read a legalese EULA on the download
- Installing a second Microsoft C++ runtime library without asking
- Shockingly bad user interface on the plugin ("Camera Selected" button that when pressed selects a camera)
- The HTML Title tag on the webpage is "Splash". Google will never find the page

Whatever company they used knows NOTHING about usability, website design, or web marketing.

The website makes me angry. It makes me never want to buy WeetBix or be involved in NZ Rugby.

Shame on them.”

Mr Gracewood also waxed lyrical on Twitter, at one point summing up his experience with “F--- weet-bix”.

He relates his experiences trying to get the Weet-Bix cards to work, blow by excruciating blow, on his Ben Geek site and adds for good measure:

"F--- you Sanitarium. Screw WeetBix and screw the All Blacks. All 15 of them."

Mr Gracewood - who stresses he's putting his personal opinion - says Sanitarium was badly advised. As an IT professional, he points out that there are lots of much more simple augmented reality websites around, based on Adobe's off-the-shelf Flash.

Kodu- thoughts

Having finished playing around with a few of the tutorials, I have come up with an idea. Those students who are not capable of producing a program for a client with the technology achievement standards are going to do something a little different and we have a client for them. Instead of using C# they are going to be using word or publisher to design a series of lessons to help teach Kodu to year 9 students. These resources will also be available to other teachers for use in their schools through the Academic Programme. This means they still get access to the XBox 360 and development tools on the XP Desktop.

I look forward to this as I see it will be a valuable experience for them.

Google apps more features coming

Google heads to grade school: New resources for K-12 teachers and students

6/30/2009 09:07:00 AM
We use the Internet all the time: at home, at work (especially at Google!), on the move, and, increasingly, at school. We believe that the Internet and cloud-based tools are a key part of a 21st century classroom, helping students learn and teachers teach in collaborative and innovative ways. Students use Google Docs to work on group projects; classrooms use Google Sites to show off their work; and teachers use Forms in Google Docs for instant grading and Google Calendar for lesson planning. Google Apps Education Edition is helping schools build online communities for students, teachers and parents, and we now have 4 million students using Google Apps Education around the world.

This week the Google Apps Education team is launching a few new ways to make it easier for K-12 schools to use Google Apps, and attending the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) in Washington D.C. To help address schools' email security needs,Google Message Security (GMS) will be offered free to current and new eligible primary and secondary schools globally that opt in by July of next year. GMS filters out email messaging threats, and education IT departments can customize the filtering rules and group messaging lists to suit their schools. We're also launching the Google Apps Education Community sitefor educators and students to share tips and ideas for using Google Apps in their classrooms, as well as the Search Education Curriculum and a Google Apps Education resource centerwith more than 20 classroom-ready lesson plans for teachers. We'll be adding more to these resources going forward.

If you're at NECC this year, come visit the Google team in booth #3148. If not, the teaching and learning continues with some cool presentations and lesson plans on the Google Apps Education Community site, or you can learn more at google.com/a/edu.

google chrome OS

What a time to be a teacher, especially in the area of Digital technologies, first the opportunity to use Microsoft Kodu on a PC and now announced today Google Chrome OS, I bet the people who wrote the Unit Standards for computing never thought of these developments.It's been an exciting nine months since we launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision. We're excited for what's to come and we hope you are too. Stay tuned for more updates in the fall and have a great summer.

Posted by Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management and Linus Upson, Engineering Director

Kodu-WHat to Expect

1. It is programming. Kodu's a real, albeit small and specialized language. Simple things are very simple to do, and complex things are possible. If you want to do something super-complex, you will have a learning curve, but nothing like what you'd see with a conventional programming language.

2. It can't do absolutely everything. We managed to squeeze in just enough (mainly camera support) for side-scrolling games, but there are still little annoyances: for example, you can make roads float in the air, (such as for a jumping game) but if two roads cross over each other, you can only place objects on the higher road. Annoying; we just didn't get to it.

3. The characters all move differently to support different design goals. If you're into fast, twitchy action, go with the saucer, wisp, or puck, all of which can turn on a dime and accelerate very quickly. Most of the other characters are a little slower, some a lot.

4. Everything has a cost. Sometimes some fairly simple things can be kind of expensive when the game is running. We try to warn you when you've got to much going on in your world - look for the thermometer - but we err on the side of letting you go for it, so it's up to you to keep things running smooth by trading off how you're using different features. For example, if you have a bunch of characters that are all trying to look at each other (using the "see" sensor,) they'll be doing a lot of expensive tests against the terrain. This applies to other things as well: for example, if you drop 50 coins in a level and program them all to react when bumped, they're all doing a little bit of thinking each frame that really adds up. Better to program the character to detect the coins, so you only have one brain running rather than 50. Hint: hearing is more efficient than seeing, because it doesn't have to check if something's blocking.

5. It's a 1.0 from a small team. We do work at Microsoft, but the Kodu team (design, dev, and test) is only six people. I'm sure we missed something. We are standing by to fix any bugs the minute they appear and to flip a service build quickly if necessary. I've been in software long enough to be quite sure we'll need a refresh at some point.

6. If you've been in the playtest or review, your worlds will not be available in the retail version. This is a security thing on the Xbox 360; we can't do anything about it. If it helps, I've rebuilt dozens of levels many times. You get pretty fast at it.

7. The built-in games are just a start. We've put a good double handful of prebuilt content, all built by the team and our early testers. We expect you can do way better. We have designed each of these worlds to show some realistic techniques. We'll be doing some deconstructing of these levels on the blog so you can see why we "did it like that." It's our hope that you can find the world that is closest to what you're thinking of, and then go from there.

8. Kodu is for making small games. We considered many features that would support very large worlds and very long campaigns, but were very conscious that the toolset stay simple and streamlined. Some of these calls were wrong, but we are very happy with the balance we came up with - a set of quick, simple tools for making very cool small games. If you're careful with performance, you can make significantly larger worlds, but you're not going to make Gears 3 with Kodu 1. Haiku is a word that comes to mind. Here again the built-in levels show you some of the tradeoffs you can make.

9. Use the tweak screens. Select a character and press , or go to the world settings tool (far right in the tool palette.) These let you change a lot of nerdy - and very useful - things like the sky color, basic lighting scheme, character speed, bullet speed, smoke trails on your missiles, and lots more.

10. You are Kodu. The success of Kodu depends entirely upon what people build with it. I have been really surprised by what people have pulled off with it already, and supremely delighted to see the level of buzz in the community. It's out of our hands now, and we are counting on all of you to realize the dream of the Kodu omniverse. We're all just getting started...

Microsoft Kodu

I have been waiting for this to be released for a while now,

On the 30th June it was released to the Xbox 360 Live Community environment, ok, so I needed to jump on to my Xbox which is in Auckland, pity as I am in Nelson for a time.

instead, i noticed through one of the blogs that I follow that they were releasing it for windows, contacted the person involved with the blog, He was fantastic in giving me details of who I needed to contact and where to sign up.

Today I now have Kodu running on my laptop, problem is that I have to find a controller to work on it. that will be my lunchtime run to get one, this afternoon i hope to have some screenshot of it working and some resemblance of a unit of work ready for when I get back to school after the holidays.

Environmental Impact

Calculation based on the figures from PaperCut, see previous post

Based on a 80,500 A4 sheets make up a tree
8.6g CO2 per sheet
17Wh per sheet

number = pages * copies;

tree = number / 80500 * 100; this makes it a percentage
carbon = (number * 8.6) / 1000; grams to kilograms
power = (number * 17 / 60; no conversion required, though may need to put it in kWh

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Environmental Impact

unsure of what to call it needs some extra features, just for fun.

Environmental Impact :)

What is the environmental impact of printing a book, thnaks to papercut I can find some of these things out

The Environmental Impact section is available to end-users via their web summary
page (See the section called “Environmental Impact” for more details). Administrators
also can view the impact of a user and a printer via the details pages in the admin interface.

The meaning of the reported values and how they are calculated are detailed below:
Environmental Impact Reporting

Description Trees
This value corresponds to percentage of a tree that has gone into making the paper.
The value assumes the user is printing on standard A4 or Letter sheets and 80,500 sheets make up a tree

This value corresponds to greenhouse gases released in the production of the paper(CO2 equivalent). The value assumes that the user is printing on standard A4 or Letter sheets and one sheet equals 8.6g CO2

The default value takes in account CO2 produced as a byproduct of the paper production only. It does not take into account the power consumed by the printer or power associated with the ink / toner use and production. Finding referenced figures on these values is difficult, and one could argue that the printer power consumption is not a function of the user's usage as the printer would be there consuming power even if they choose not to use the device.

This value represents the manufacturing energy used to produce the paper. The energy value is represented by relating it to the equivalent energy consumed by a standard light bulb. This provides users with a real world understanding of the value.
This value assumes the user is printing a standard A4 or Letter sheet and that the manufacturing cost per sheet is 17Wh

This is an appropriate amount for virgin office paper. 12Wh is more appropriate for 100% recycled paper

A single tree can produce about 80,500 sheets of paper according to How
Much Information? 2003
filed by University of California at Berkeley,

Office paper produces 0.53 metric tons of carbon equivalent (MTCE) per ton of
paper, according to the USA EPA report Greenhouse Gas Emissions From
Management of Selected Materials in Municipal Solid Waste
, 1998,
This amount is equal to 1.9 metric tons of CO2. The
Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the
U.S. Department of Energy indicate that there are about 220,000 paper sheets in a ton:

According to the Environmental Energy Technologies Division
of the U.S. Department of Energy, the manufacturing cost of
virgin office paper is 17 Watt hours:

According to the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the U.S. Department of Energy, the manufacturing cost of 100% recycled office paper is 12 Watt hours:

Friday, 3 July 2009

Technological Knowledge and Skills documents

Today the Ministry of Education and DTEP released a joint statement committing to the future direction of ICT education in schools.

This announcement marks the most significant change to ICT education in schools in 15 years.

From the techlink site: officially

Future Subjects of Technology

The Ministry of Education has been exploring the place of technological knowledge and skills within the learning area of Technology. This project seeks to identify what might become the 'future subjects' of technology to support coherent learning programmes for students; and, in this context, develop technological knowledge and skills to support programmes in senior secondary technology through the provision of:

Context specific knowledge and skill achievement standards for technology; and
  • Technology Teaching and Learning Guides.

  • Future Subjects of Technology
    (PDF download, 271Kb)

    Digital Technologies Expert Panel

    The Ministry of Education and the Digital Technologies Expert Panel (DTEP) are pleased to jointly announce the high-level outcomes of the work of the DTEP.

    Outcomes from Digital Technologies Expert Panel / Ministry of Education Process (PDF download, 159Kb)

    Press Release: Future Direction Of ICT Education In Secondary SchoolsPDF download, 5Kb)

    Now for the other stuff,

    anyone else look at this as being one of the biggest croc of s**t around.

    Lets look at the recommendations from the DTEp about removing ICT from Technology, oh look its now back in Technology, you can tell that that is a Ministry thing, heaven forbid they don't want to admit that they f**ked up. Instead we are going to have to live with this for the rest of our lives.

    Professional Development, this is going to be a big one. The majority of ICT teachers in New Zealand are not trained ICT teachers. Yeap, they are teachers that have had an interest in computing, know how to use a few software applications, have been forced to teach ICT because they have a gap in their timetable. There are but a minority that have ICT degrees in the subject. Training for these teachers is going to be interesting. I am waiting for the part from the Ministry that is like the G3 debate from years ago, we are going to have to sit a qualification to say that we are capable of teaching the subject. Who is going to create this test, some busy body at the Ministry of Education who isn't an ICT teacher themselves and doesn't have any qualifications in ICT, hmm I feel like this is deja vu, wasn't this how we got Technology Achievement Standards in the first place, they we by a Physicial Education Teacher.

    Let the rant stop, and being the last day of the term, have a break for two weeks. Yeah right (I am a fan of the tui ads)

    Thursday, 2 July 2009

    online office apps

    Considering the last post was about one of the issues that we have with students bring in files now, this post is about online office apps.

    There was a posting on a listserve about what schools are using as there email solution and preferred online apps. this has made me start thinking about what we are offering our students and what has evolved since then.

    Google apps - education (currently using) There has been a number of posts lately looking at google apps and what they are planing on doing to the documents/spreadsheet/presentation apps, it sounds like we may not recognise there future iterations. But is this a good thing or a bad thing.

    Next is the Live@edu, microsofts answer to the online app

    Though there is another player in the market, it does not provide email services but I have been starting to play around with what they have, acrobat.com, the word processor app is called buzzword.acrobat.com and it has some interesting collaboration features.

    Virus outbreak at school

    No we haven't got a case of swine flu, instead we have another virus.

    Win32.Sality.A is a polymorphic virus that infects Win32 PE executable files. It also contains trojan components. Win32/Sality has been known to be downloaded by variants of the Win32/Bagle family.

    This was brought in on a usb stick and quickly infected the network due to some incorrect permissions on certain shares, this is likely due to the progression from NT to Server 2003.

    A number of years ago just as we were staring to roll out windows xp on the desktop machine we were infected by a staff laptop that brought in the Sasser virus, this was able to be tracked and keep on top of, plus we only had one lab at the time running xp and some office computers, the rest ran windows 98 and were unaffected.

    Trouble Maker Tag

    This week at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC this year but it will be called ISTE next year) a lot of attendees wore ribbons on their badges. These ribbons denoted the usual conference indicators, speaker/presenter, board member, SIG member, etc. But there were also other ribbons that are less traditional. I picked up one that said edublogger for example. And there were several versions of Twitter ribbons. But one of the most coveted ribbons said “trouble maker.” People really wanted to wear those. I did get one by the way and it was the only ribbon(of the five I wore) that anyone asked “where did you get that?”

    I think that is interesting as well. The teachers who asked about a “trouble maker” ribbon are often seen as trouble makers in their local schools. They disrupt the status quo and a lot of schools, and administrators, and other teachers resent change. many of the teachers at NECC, especially it seems the ones who hang out at the blogger cafe but many more besides, are not happy with the status quo. They want to change things – to be disruptive influences – and make things better. These people are the exciting people to talk to. These are people who are in it for their students; who want to change the world through education. These are the people who put themselves and their careers at risk (some more than others of course). But boy are they sure exciting to talk to and learn from. At their own schools trouble maker may be a derogatory term but at NECC which is about change and using technology in new and different ways being a trouble maker is a badge of honor and many wear it proudly.

    Wednesday, 1 July 2009


    Even though i am not at school at the moment, we have our annual talent quest which I should have thought about sooner, and got someone else to manage while I was away. The talent quest is a great way o see the talent that we have in our school. The competition has been developed from something that was a bit of a joke through to a highly thought out and professional production. Now this has required us to think outside the square on a few parts. We thought about the use of txt voting for an audience vote, but due to the cost of setting this up we decided not to. Instead we run a blogspot account and get the audience to vote through the internet. It seems to be working well with around 80 people each day putting there vote in. It has meant that I have had to update the intranet site with new graphics and developments to help promote this awesome event.

    The second thing thing is our annual house reading competition, I will have to put a graph up to show you what is going on. This is the third year we have run the competition as a house event. We are about to blow our previous borrows out of the water depending on the number of books issued this week. But early estimates will be above 200 books from the previous two years.

    One thing I have not been able to work well on due to lack of information this year was the house soccer, for the previous events I have put up a draw of who was playing whom on which day where, it gave the students more information. Problem was that no information was coming back to me to put up on the site, in fact very little information was going out to anyone. No information in the school notices, for the house competition to work there has to be transparency in all that is done.

    unsure of what to call it yet system 1.4

    Live day,

    this project went live today, its a rather good feeling when something you have ben working on goes live.

    It also means that the people that are going to use it start making comments on its usability and function. Ok so there is a little bit of learning that has to go into it, but one thing is that it shouldn't have displayed the number of pages in a book as 181.15274, I guess I forgot to look at the round() statement for that one.

    Other than that, the more more information that goes into it, the richer it becomes. It will start looking at the number of quantity of books that are priced through it, and the next stage is to use this information.