Monday, 30 November 2009

under the weather

No, i am not sick, the weather outlook for the three day project based learning is

Tuesday - Occasional rain, possibly thundery. Muggy northerly 22-18

Wednesday - Outbreaks of rain, some heavy. Northweste-lies dying. 25-14

Thursday - Rain at times. Easterlies developing. 19-13

Ok, so Tuesday we are based at school, that is not too much of an issue. Though, I have developed a 4.9km course that the students are going to have to do solving questions along the way. I hope some properties don't get scared with 32 students walking past there gate.
So questions will be asked when they get back. How difficult was the course, how easy is it without street names? Draw your route on the map. Was there any issues that you came across on the way. These questions are likely to be used again and again throughout the three days. There is not time limit on this exercise, though there will be time limits on the other ones over the next three days, how does this impact on your ability to think on your feet.

Planning for the domain drop is going well. Working on dropping the caches after 6pm tomorrow and looking at the light tonight, I guess we have 2 and a half hours to get it done, before we get darkness.

I probably have to get some more batteries for my GPS unit, and a $20 top up voucher, just to add some extra credit to the phone.

The third day still needs some planning on developing the coordinates required for the writing at victoria park.

Roles - 4 people in each group

What different types of caches are there?

find an earth cache, what is its purpose? GC1C31D

See if you can find a cache somewhere are new zealand that meets the guidelines, must be around auckland first, then you can go further afield.

Students could design their own cache, what could they put in it, where could they put it?

also some ideas for tomorrow, I like the one of throw the ball/kick the ball, graph them using a gps

Sunday, 29 November 2009

have been busy

All the tickets are brought, It is interesting going into brittomart on a saturday to pay for these, 35 discovery passes and travel on the train there and back the day before.
There are around 5 school groups jumping on and off the train on those days, so I think they may be trying to work it out. Spent yesterday running/walking around the domain, looking for cache sites.
1) Billy Goats Gruff
2) Cricket?
3) Holey Tree
4) Thomas the tank engine
5) Regeneration
6) Domain
7) Take a walk
8) between a rock and a hard place or hidden cave?

the caches have been made and will be dropped off to there various locations on Tuesday Night.

Currently loading all 35 contacts into cellphone and creating groups for this. Can't wait for the first full student message to go out. Looked at the vodafone symphony and the issues that they had with the network.

What is with the weather, is it going to rain or not?

To get credit for the cache, share your experience by composing a Cinquain Poem. A short description of a Cinquain Poem is provided.

A Cinquain Poem has five lines:
Line 1: Title (noun) - 1 word
Line 2: Description - 2 words
Line 3: Action - 3 words
Line 4: Feeling (phrase) - 4 words
Line 5: Title (synonym for the title) - 1 word

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

have been busy

Yay, now I have all 8 Garmin etrex h GPS Units, a nokia cellphone with the SIM Card now installed and all ready to go. Just need to find some batteries now?
Good thing we have a property manager with batteries for a lot of clocks. saves me spending 29.98 for 40 batteries.
Plan for tomorrow is now in place. Getting into Auckland and having a day of the amazing race, secondary school style!

Just have to remember to pack a lunch and water.

Oh, its not $5 on the cards, its $8. That means that the students will be able to do some other txting. Wonderful news for them.

Train timetable

have been busy

Ok, this is starting to seem like a theme with this "have been busy" but we have.

Had a meeting thins morning to talk through a number of things with all the group leaders, one of the biggest factors is the transport everywhere. I don't think the train company is going to like us, as there have been three people ring to book extra spaces. Oh well, all is fair in the placement of your students on the railway platform. Other things are just the emergency procedures if something does go wrong.

We are off to town tomorrow to see a few sites for the amazing race setup. Just have to figure out how long it is going to take us to get around town. + the extra time that could be allowed for ferry travel.

The students have been busy getting permission forms back and some have even emailed through some questions about how this is going to run. Things to remember for next time. Seperate all three days and make it clear where they are to be and at what time.

Also got told today that this project based learning will be running next year, but with a better planning and leading up time. Start planning term 2, for a term 4 run.

have been busy

Ahh, 2degrees mobile, we thank you,

I first put up if you can help tweet on twitter, next thing I was being Direct Messaged by 2degrees for more information. It is great to see a company able to help us out. Thank you for the SIM cards and credit to get started on this project.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

have been busy

Ahh, the struggle of the end of the year. We had our first meeting with 30 of the 32 students today. They seem eager to get out there and get going. We started off handing out the letter to parents and the permission form. And then went through various scenarios with them, I then realised that the letter should have contained a disclaimer about what happens if their child does in fact become lost. We had a hour to fill in, so I managed to find some question sitting on the net for students to go through and find the answers relating to geocaching, what different terms mean and so on. I had to change some of these, especially some which related to some unfortunate sites, also included an incident in Auckland earlier this year, just to get some students to see the seriousness of what we are planning to do.

We used this time as teachers to go into a room next door and discuss what is happening from today to next monday, what needs to be done, what needs to be carried out, and what will be happening thursday as we go into town to get the amazing race going. We have a plan that we will start off with and location, realising that it will be around 1 hour to 1 and a half hours to complete the devonport section.

I am working out what to do with the 2degree SIM cards at the end of the project, plans were that we would hold on to them to be used for another project next year, but after talking with the students, they seem keen to take a memento from the project, this could be the 2 degree SIM cards, they will also get a geocache item to take with them as well.

Working out prizes for the top group as well came up today, and to be honest I did not even think about that.

Also dealing with getting the GPS units for this. Went down to dse powerhouse today to pick up the units, only two had turned up, 4 are still in transit, and the other two were coming from other stores and had not yet made it, or knew where they were. I managed to get one from a store close to me, and the other from the store that is at the super centre. So I have four with me at the moment, 4 hopefully arriving tomorrow. I have two others from previous activities and interest. So we will have 10 GPS units when the project starts

Just thought of a cool thing to do at the park. GPS writing, students will have to follow a set of coordinates to write a word out in the park. They wont know what the work will be as they will have to decrypt it using there code sheets at the end. Its makes use of a big space :) YES!

Map of auckland domain, showing tracks :)

Looking at creating a book of things for the students to help them along there journey

A pamplet about geocaching

John campbell episode about geocaching, have email them for permission to use.

general geocaching resources

Monday, 23 November 2009

have been busy

thought about yesterdays post a little more,

there has been all this rush to get the new curriculum sorted out and implemented in the school, though since the beginning of term 4, it all has gone astray. We are now project 72 orientated. I think of all the work I have to do with changing standards, trying to get the junior ICT programme more aligned with technology Achievement Objectives, and yet we are doing all this other stuff.
We are different, because computing is not one of the tight five subjects, english, maths, science, social studies and art. We seem to get left out in the cold. We have had a number of changes come in over the past 9 months, new standards, the dtg starting to take hold and a number of other initiatives, yet do we get any time to implement these. I suppose if english and maths had new standards they would get the time and allowance to deal with it.
Maybe its just our own fault with being so accommodating, or is it that people just don't know what we do.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

have been busy

I don't think management just know how busy we are at the moment.

I spent the first two hours on Friday in a meeting looking at hour senior subjects in our department, most of this meeting was looking at what the various course offer as well as where things are going next year. With the change in standards happening it gave us an opportunity to start looking through them and deciding what to do with these subjects and students. We have also been told to cut the number of classes on offer and this has lead to even more meetings and discussions with other department and a trading of teachers. I still have to write schemes for next year as the standards have changed, as well as what I plan to teach or have been told to teach has changed as well. I am thinking of the barista competition happening again that the students could do an assessment for. Thinking about balance and harmony which are the new in words for design in the standards. But do you think I can find a document which describes these.

I have also been busy getting all of our e-asttle logins and assessments sorted out. We are about to throw 770 students through a e-asttle maths test, which we will be able to compare the results with the one carried out in the first term of school. Issues surrounding this have been the reset of every single year 9 and 10 account. Luckly we didn't have to do this, instead this was handled by the provider of the service, who has not assured me it will be written into the updated code, I don't think he liked reseting all those passwords individually.

We are also playing around with KAMAR's web portal for students, a great addition to what is already a great product. This is on the first step of the SMS-LMS interoperability that we are working on. The product that we are playing with currently is provided by KAMAR, but we are looking at implementing the parent portal from knowledgenet. Playing around we it, we were amazed at he instantness of the updates, and what it will provide students, parents and caregivers. Issues surrounding pastoral care still need to be sorted out. But parents looking at the attendance of their students live could be interesting.
The other part that this has opened up as well is the iphone app. KAMAR have produced an iphone app that means that we can get down to basics. Though at the moment we can only read what is in the system, we cannot put anything in yet. Though I wait with baited breath on when the attendance function will be written so I can get these things out to all the PE staff so attendance can be done live throughout the school.
I have already been onto KAMAR with a couple of bug/features that could be added to both of these systems. I will see what the response is on Monday.

Project 72 is going ahead quite nicely, I have most of the caches setup and ready to go, though will need a couple of days in the city just to finalise day three, the amazing race. though I did not realise how far the ferry was from north head, this may factor into one of the puzzles. Saturday was spent at the auckland domain walking around the cricket players trying to find puzzles and locations for caches to go. 8 need to be planted around the domain for this to work.

I also have reports to write. These are due on Wednesday. I have one class and the form class comments to write up. though I do not think staff realise that 1.3 errors for all the comments for all your reports is where things need to be at. I know myself that even when writing code you get more errors than that.

Where do I find time to do all the stuff that is required of me.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Well the website is now offline, on Monday at 3:30pm it was removed as this was the time students had been told to complete their selections, out of 769 students, 143 did not complete there selections by this time.

Things to look at next time. We have to get a better lead in time, getting the site up and going took the time. The reason for this was waiting on a spreadsheet to get the main information in.
Other things, uplaoding images of the powerpoint slides seemed to fail at almost every upload, these had to be uploaded through the file manager on the website.

I am trying to work out when the site went live. I know students were shown the idea of the project on Wednesday 11 November, in which caused a number of issues, as students were logging in later that day and selecting options, which had to be stopped. 10 students completed their selections based on the test data alone.

keeping studenst up to date on what was happening was needed, so the colour RED showed that the website was offline, ORANGE that website was going live soon, GREEN that the webite was live.

The site went live on Thursday at 11:30am, the students had till monday 3:30pm

Very few changes had to be written for this, just a change of a slide and a change of cost of one of the activities.

Issues surronding this, number of students wanting to do one of the projects, 175 students selected one of the projects, where a number of the other projects had very little students wanting to particpate in. One of the original design specs for this was that when a project reached its number that it would close off and not be available to show again. This needs to happen with next years project based learning.

Another issue is communication, I thought that if I exported a list of students and their selections that this would have been imported into our SMS and groups created and printed from there. No, I had to go through and export all the selections based on select1 and id from the database and print them off to be keyed in by someone else. This was a suprise to me and I was not prepared for it this morning, had I been told what was happening I would have managed to get all the data off last night and emailed through for the person first thing this morning, I had five projects that I had to re-export due to the LIMIT 0,30 that phpmyadmin sets in the SQL field. This caused me a little bit of an issue, once I realised what was happening I retified the problem.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

year 13 webdesign project

I am looking at this as part of a project for my students, to create a website for teh national cycleways project

Trying to find anything about this has been difficult, though through the use of wikipedia, I have manged to find this

which lead me to the governments page

the seven tracks around new zealand have been outlined here

updates about the project, though the first start of work on the waikato trail, which is started today, is not mentioned

Released today is the logo for The New Zealand Cycle Trail, does this really reflect the nature of such an important project. I think not. I am looking at what my class will be able to come up with next year as a assessment for my project.

John key unveiled the cycle way logo, which will be used on track signs.

The logo, Nga Haerenga, means "the journeys" and will also be used in offshore marketing.

So do we really want this on all the signage!

Oh no, it just got worse, I found the branding handout... two pages of words and the other is just images of the country with the brand over the top.