Tuesday, 27 December 2011

What if Babbage?


From slashdot article


Thursday, 22 December 2011


Looking at getting students caught with level 2 computer science, one of the things that we have to look at is cyphers, looking at what movies have cyphers in then. One is Allendorf Cipher

I hope this video will still exist when I goto teach this unit www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqI3SwDYbj8

Yet another is the playfor? Cypher

Monday, 19 December 2011

The elephant in the room

This is going to be a post that will evolve over time, I came across this blog post this evening which has got me thinking about the difficulties of teachers evolving in schools with technology. http://blog.core-ed.org/derek/2011/11/elephant-in-the-roo.html - by Derek

Consider the following notes so I can get my thoughts in order, they are direct quotes from the link above.
  • The avoiders – "I'll make time for the ICT PD once I've done everything I need to for NCEA implementation…
  • The excuse makers – "My laptop has never functioned properly, so I can't really do that.."
  • The apologists – "I just don't seem to be able to make it work, it must be my glasses or something…"
  • The debaters – "We really need to be sure we're using the technology for the right reasons, not simply because it's there…"
  • The pessimists – "Technology is leading us down a road to destruction, there are so many problems lurking online…"
Consider now the case in a school, where, after consultation with the staff and parents, the decision is made to establish an online environment where resources and learning support can be made available for students to access in their own time. The school and its community agree that this is a positive thing to do in supporting students to become self-managing learners, and provides parents with the ability to take a more active interest in the work their offspring are engaged in. The action is included in the school's strategic plan and signed off by the BOT, with the expectation that every staff member will make a contribution to the online resource pool in order to make the online offerings complete. How do we then regard the teacher who, at the end of the  year, hasn't made any move to contributing, and defends his/her position with excuses/apology/debate etc.? No student has died. No student has been put at risk (apparently). But the fact remains that an expectation, agreed by the BOT and school management hasn't been met.

This is the elephant in the room. We don't want to offend sensitivities. We make excuses for the teacher(s) involved – they are overworked, they are too old (or too young), they have had a rough year, etc. Other staff attempt to 'fill the gap'. Resentments loom large and rifts begin to occur among staff. Expectations are revised, and in the subsequent year's strategic plan putting materials online for students becomes an 'option' for staff. The refusers win, and the learners lose.
Having heard of and witnessed such concerns for some time now, I have come to the following conclusions:
  1. It's time for leaders to lead. They must be prepared to take responsibility for following through on the strategic goals set by the school. These are not to be treated as a 'wish list', but as a plan containing specific actions and expectations backed up by evindence-based decision making.
  2. Every teacher should be be provided with opportunities for professional development that is relevant to their needs, and assists them in fulfilling the requirements of the job they do. Without it, such requirements become un-enforceable.
  3. Schools need to have a robust process for involving all staff and their communities in developing a vision and strategic plan, particularly where new initiatives are contemplated. Such decisions need to be reached on the basis of informed, future-focused thinking that is focused primarily on preparing students for their future.
  4. Teachers in schools need to be held to account for the contribution they are expected to make to the agreed strategic direction of the school. there ought to be clear links between the intentions of the school's strategic plan, and the objectives included in a teacher's performance review at the beginning of each cycle.
Such instances in schools may be rare – but where they do occur, it is the impact on students that I am concerned about – and of schools who remain continually unable to achieve the goals they set for themselves in terms of meeting their students needs. How much longer can this be tolerated?

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Southland accent

The good Lord blessed me with a thick Southland accent, including the famous Southland 'R' - misrepresented by Jim Mora in this mercifully brief documentary, which makes the spurious claim that the Southland 'R' pulls chicks.

Another feature of Southland speech is our single, multi-purpose vowel, which is best pronounced with a closed mouth and also sounds like 'R'.   Combine these two potent features of Southland dialect - the R and the R vowel - and you're living in a powder keg and giving off sparrrrrrrrrrrks. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Pencilchat outcomes

  1. No, we don't have an Acceptable Use policy for pencils. I refuse to do this, because I don't have a policy for slates, for compasses (for more dangerous, in my opinion) or for chalk. If you want it to be an issue of compliance, I'll comply - but only through paperwork. I don't believe in it.
  2. Pencil predators are real, but most abuse happens in-person via close social relationships. I suggest an open dialogue with parents about monitoring pen pal letters. 
  3. Pencils aren't making kids narcissistic. They're in junior high which means they are naturally self-centered. The good news is that pencils provide a platform for self-awareness.
  4. I see your concern about Pencil Citizenship and it's being addressed, but I'd like to push back a little and suggest that ethics and social justice might be a better approach. And not just with pencils, but with life. 
  5. Banning pocket paper devices (i.e. tablets) is a really bad idea. Yes, they pass notes, but they're also learning to use these tools well. Let's allow students to learn how to use these tools for learning.
  6. Please quit banning Bullying is a real issue, but the most common method is still verbal and the most common site is still the cafeteria. Are we going to ban food next?
  7. Students aren't addicted to paper. Really, they're not. They're addicted to social interaction in the same way they are addicted to water and to oxygen. 
  8. I see your concern with violent games, but I played Hang Man and I'm not violent. It's really not as big a deal as you think.
  9. Teachers are motivated to use pencils. The real issue is self-efficacy. Many of them want to use the tools, but they're scared. Slate-based testing is a major component to this. There is a fear that learning can't transfer from one medium to the next. 
  10. The real issue is pedagogy. The power in the pencil is the nuance, the paradox, the gray area. It's in the idea of portability and permanence. It's about empowering each student to learn in a personalized way. It's a chance to erase and thereby move away from summative and toward formative assessment. 
Link to original post

Thursday, 8 December 2011

ideas for 2012 for DTG

Bp tech challenge with club describing tech practice
Nzta tech level 2 ideas needed plus junior 4 lesson tech
Mk you think challenge
Binary challenge
Steve's insurance program
To come up with templates to help student and teachers with tech knowledge and practice and nature. Using a variety of different ideas
Ar drone and Getting student to learn to operate and challenge
Use vc unit to have real challenges with other students
Take mk you think to cs4hs and get teachers stumped over rules, when the rules havent been defined.
Challenge between schools, vs and over a number of days/afternoons throughout the year challenge students to think outside the square and be able to explain why/how technology has influcended there decisions
CCES competition to look at thinking skills rather than person that can do it.

Cup stacking competition - this is actually a sport and available in New Zealand - http://www.speedstacks.co.nz
What is sport stacking?
Sport Stacking with Speed Stacks is an exciting individual and team sport where participants of all ages and abilities stack and unstack 12 specially designed cups (Speed Stacks) in specific patterns with amazing precision and dexterity. Competitors stack on a StackMat®, either individually against the StackMat clock or head-to-head in relay teams.
Active and healthy, sport stacking improves ambidexterity, concentration and hand-eye coordination. A university study has shown that sport stacking increases bilateral proficiency; equal performance on both sides of the body, which helps develop awareness, focus, creativity and rhythm.

This is more about think and problem solving than doing
Byod debate, as part of the christchurch debating programme and record these for byod vln to show student voice
Newspapers from the press, contact them for numbers to help with no tech challenge. To take back bp tech challenge from science and win because we are technology. 10 challenges with points up for grabs between the schools, needs a trophy to make the point with principals.
Needs to be formalized and come with with a structure to show for students to come up with an answer. Want to move away from spegittei and marshmallows.
Shared course that we can develop.
Friday challenge days. Me to see if he can find the blog on the companies Friday afternoon challenge, ie graphic design,logo,game character, web site creation based upon existing work and imitating.
Main development is around thinking, key competencies!!!!

Monday, 5 December 2011

perfect computer lab

Having traditional computer labs and not allowing kids to bring their own devices is not preparing them for college or life.

The Perfect Educational Computer Lab http://blogs.msdn.com/b/alfredth/archive/2011/11/30/the-perfect-educational-computer-lab.aspx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

missing Get Lost!

I am missing Get Lost! this year, a project that captured my imagination and use of Technology to solve puzzles, challenge students and all in all have a good time. However, with moving schools comes different challenges.

The school I am at has two activity days. I decided that I wanted to do something different as what I have done in the past is not available to me currently. There is no CBD, there are a massive amount of fences that surround it. There are other opportunities, but the two day period is prohibitive on creating something exciting.

So Get Cranked was born. Two days of Mountain Biking with a group of four students using the car as a way of getting from venue to venue, some hundreds of kilometres apart.

Day two's venue had to be changed due to information received last week.
An Alert was posted on the DOC website as well as the vorb.org.nz that Poulter River track was closed
Poulter Valley Track is closed
The track is closed between the Poulter Bridge (Mt White Rd) and Pete Stream due to recent flooding completely destroying the track in numerous sections. The washed-out sections cannot be safely crossed.

So a trip to Hamner Springs is on the cards instead, going and having some fun on the Mountain Bike Tracks, yes it does have some Key Competency links with the New Zealand Curriculum, but not the same as Get Lost!

In the last couple of weeks since working out what I was going to do I have thought about some other projects, more related to Community.
There is a community garden that is at the old Edmonds Factory site which had a large amount of liquefaction destroy its ponds and gardens, grabbing a car load of students and a trailer would have been a wonderful project to help assist one of the cities assets to come back to life.

Another was the idea of an outdoor classroom, in the middle of RE:start, for students to go around and document the development of the CBD as well as some of the emptiness around the town. Though we are not quite there yet with our technology it would have been possible to find some laptops and cameras and give it a go to develop a site to show those outside of the city what we have. Maybe this could be a field trip next year?


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

subject option choice

all first round of test data has now been imported and is checked,
-issues are tutor class being 4 characters, has now been changed to 5
-subjects are at levels not years for the system to work, year12 is level 2

just need to work on option lines locking down, as well as entering in curriculum data, including fckeditor
as the fckeditor does not exist any longer and I don't want to put on old software, I have installed the ckeditor  http://ckeditor.com

I have had a meeting with the client and they have requested a number of changes
1. Move the last years subject selections down, I am also thinking of adding in the options that they choose term 3 (completed 28/11/11)
2. If the student doesnt need to change options they need to confirm that they have accessed and confirmed there course.Working on this, it is not passing throw from index to confirm, message Data not entered showing up. - This has been fix and is now working fine, main reason way that I had changed the variable name from attending to returning earlier on without changing it throughout the program. (completed 4/12/11)
3. If they are leaving school, this needs to be sorted, drop down list with a " please choose from the options below message"(completed 28/11/11)
4. add into the sql statement that they have added in the destination, table attending. needs to be done on the first screen? if they are leaving then second screen should have thank you, you have been registerd as leaving school and going onto... - this has been completed, all data is now submitted into tables 4/12/11

Fix in hod editor-option line codes disappear- input type was set to number, needed to be changed to text as now optionline runs by like %optionline% to find options listed abcdef fixed 5/12/11

Sunday, 20 November 2011

How to change?

One thing I want to work out is how to develop change.

Computer science 101 via Stanford uni online

Came across this one today

CS101 teaches the essential ideas of Computer Science for a zero-prior-experience audience. Computers can appear very complicated, but in reality, computers work within just a few, simple patterns. CS101 demystifies and brings those patterns to life, which is useful for anyone using computers today.

In CS101, students play and experiment with short bits of "computer code" to bring to life to the power and limitations of computers. Everything works within the browser, so there is no extra software to download or install. CS101 also provides a general background on computers today: what is a computer, what is hardware, what is software, what is the internet. No previous experience is required other than the ability to use a web browser.

Course is available at http://www.cs101-class.org/
Wondering if it may be something to get my year 13 students involved with, though I need a bit more a guideline on what is to be taught each week, so I can prepare my lessons and check the content to suit

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Subject option choice .10

I have been asked to make some changes to the program to allow it to be used as part of an re-enrollment package for the beginning of the year. Once students get there ncea results they will have the opportunity to jump online and make changes to there subjects based on the information they have. This then gets imported into the SMS and a timetable is created. All good in theory, but how will it work in practical. I am going over my code looking for how I developed the system and am surprised to see that I have already coded some of this in, and left it either commented out or being used in the junior sections.

I have fixed up the messages code and included in a table that will be able to be edited by others, something I wrote in comments ages ago and had yet to do. Now I am trying to figure out how to include a extra drop down box and how this will affect the I am planning on leaving school, there are now 32 options afterwards on where they are looking at going. This could be added to the main table and if there is a leaver they will have a number added to a field that will be pulled out in a report. select * from table where leaver = 2 order by asc.

This needs to Include blank timetables or no passing of information through to the export and that filled==2

If a student is leaving school? Does a student need to have their timetable reported back into the system? yes, if they are leaving school and are not coming back, they may come back later on.

One thing that makes this one different is that I have to include option lines, the thing about that is trying to figure out a way to do option lines being the beast that they are. I thought about doing different database row entries for each line, but this becomes unmanageable. One way around this could be to use the LIKE statement to look for the option line in the option field, this would mean changing the field from INT to VARCHAR(6) as there is the possibility of six option lines.

Has every students selected subject lines == no, some students don't have subjects, so these would have to have dummy/empty lines attached.
what does does it go live? NZQA release there results - 17 or 20 Jan

Those not returning could possibility get a different confirm screen, this would allow then to select from a combo box on where they ate planning to go and would be simpler to program. Students would still need to have the filled==2, and it would be unlikely that they would relogin and change there selections

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Innovative learning network to lift student achievement

Innovative learning network to lift student achievement

This was announced today, I don't know where but I would have thought that #ulearn11 would have been a great idea to inform teachers of the potential benefits of such a network as they will be the ones using it.
More information will be made available next year for a 2013 launch. But I have an issue with the example, london learning grid, this seems to be an example of offering one service for schools, though what happens to the other systems that we have in place, we use google apps instead of live@efu, use moodle instead of ultranet, have our identity service with gcsn instead of watchdog. Is this still going to be a possibility?

Media release below:

Education Minister Anne Tolley has announced that a dedicated nationwide online network for New Zealand schools will be developed, to ensure that teaching and learning is at the forefront of global educational developments and makes the most of new technology.

The safe, secure system, called the Network for Learning, is estimated to cost between $300 -$400 million over the next 10 years, and will provide high-quality educational content and resources to schools and students, to help lift achievement for young New Zealanders wherever they are across the country.

The Network for Learning, which will be available from 2013, will also simplify and substantially reduce costs for schools accessing ICT content and services, including the cost of internet connections.

“This is hugely exciting for education in New Zealand,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The scale and complexity of the Network for Learning is enormous – with potentially over 2500 schools and more than 800,000 users this will be the biggest network of its kind in the country.

“The Network for Learning will ensure that schools get the most from their ultra-fast broadband connection, and will provide them with affordable access to the latest ICT teaching and learning developments.

“Location will no longer be a barrier for accessing courses. For the very first time every rural and urban school will be able to connect with each other to collaborate and share resources and best practice. For example, a student at a small rural school could take part in a specialist teaching class via state of the art video-conferencing with a large city school.

“Importantly, the Network for Learning will provide a safe and reliable environment, and will also allow schools to share information with parents.

“The benefits for students, families and teachers will be tremendous and we will work closely with the education sector to make sure it delivers the lift in achievement levels that our young people deserve and that parents want for their children.”

The Ministry of Education is working on the next steps for procuring the technical network, and determining how the Network for Learning will be governed and managed.

The Network is expected to be progressively available to schools from 2013. An update on progress will be provided in early 2012.

Questions and Answers

What is the Network for Learning?

Cabinet has approved a business case for a Network for Learning, a dedicated online network for schools, which will run over the ultra-fast broadband infrastructure currently being rolled out across New Zealand. The Network for Learning, available progressively from 2013, will provide schools with affordable, safe ultra-fast internet access as well as a range of online content and centrally-procured services.

Over the next five years, 97 per cent of schools will receive ultra-fast broadband connections enabling speeds of 100 Mbps plus. The remaining 3 per cent of schools, which are in the most remote locations, will receive a high speed wireless or satellite connection.

Why is the Government doing this?

The roll-out of ultra-fast broadband will lead to increasing demand for online education-related content and services among schools.

The Government wants to ensure that schools make the most of ultra-fast broadband and the educational benefits that go with it, while lowering the costs for schools. Through centralised procurement and management of online services, a Network for Learning will considerably reduce ICT complexity and cost for schools.

How much will this cost?

The estimated cost is between $300 -$400 million over the next 10 years. The exact cost will be confirmed following the procurement process.

What cost benefits will there be for schools?

There will be significant savings for schools. The backing of government and the combined purchasing power of schools will enable the Ministry to procure ultra-fast broadband internet access and other services much more cost-effectively than individual schools could obtain on their own.

The Network for Learning will represent much greater value for schools than they can obtain via the existing arrangements and should therefore make access to online content and services much more affordable for all schools.

What services will be available?

This will be determined in consultation with schools and during negotiations with providers. The intention is to have a range of current and new services that allow flexibility and choice for schools.

What funding will be available to schools?

In Budget 2011, the operations grant for schools was increased, with $4.8 million targeted at ICT in recognition of the growing demand for online education content and services. Schools will receive this increase from the beginning of the 2012 school year.

What support and training will schools receive to use the Network?

The Ministry invests $11.2 million each year in ICT professional development for teachers. Further help, including technical support, will be provided on an ongoing basis to schools to assist them in getting the most out of the Network.

When and how will the Network be procured?

A robust procurement process to obtain a provider for the Network and providers of associated services will be undertaken in due course.

Over the coming months, the Ministry will talk with a wide range of agencies and key sector groups to ensure the viewpoints of all potential users and suppliers are taken into account when planning for the procurement, build and launch of the Network. An update on progress will be provided to schools by early 2012.

How will the Network be governed and managed?

The Ministry is investigating governance and management arrangements. The Government has instructed the Ministry that schools’ views should be strongly represented.

Are there other education networks of this type in use overseas?

Yes, for example the London Grid for Learning.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

One of my favorite quotes

Don't plan what you're going to teach - that's about you - plan what they are going to learn. It is their education after all.

our bookmarks

Should we look at using delicious, as with all good things sometimes they are taken over by other companies and changed.

ASHS has a social bookmarking solution, based on Pligg[4]. This allows everyone in the school to save, share and find bookmarks that are use to them and their learning. Pligg supports tagging, RSS feeds, recent bookmarks etc. (Built by students for students.)

micro blogging

an idea that I have had for a while and that has been implemented within a school is the use of micro blogging, am looking at its first major use to display information relating to athletics, students have iTouch and running a local wifi will allow students to gain information needed? Plus am looking at the educational benefits of students being able to micro blog about the work they are doing for there projects, rather than keeping seperate journals.

Looking at what had been done at ASHS and there use of status net, I went about implementing it on one of the machines at school with the XAMPP stack.
Who would have realised that it would end up like this..

ASHS has a microblogging site, powered by the libre[4] application StatusNet and linked into their identity provider, so anyone with an ASHS username and password can use it without having to set up an account. Microblogging is useful for impact projects when teachers and project managers need to be able to see what all team members are working on, even when they are in different parts of the school or even the city. Microblogging is also a useful tool for students and teachers to share questions, answers, ideas and resources when learning. (Built by students for students.)
from: http://wikieducator.org/Albany_Senior_High_School/e-learning

downloading the software from status.net, great its a .tar.qz and i don't have a extractor on the remote desktop computer.
Download it at home, run it through the mac, and extract it, zip it and place it on google docs to download it at school.
Downloaded and placed into ourmicroblog folder,
Go to install it, create teh database and user in mysql to allow teh program to work.
run the installer, installer works but only to a certain point,
rerun the installer, goes through to the setup page,
input the information needed, great, lok liek I have it working,
wrong, admin account doesn't login... wonders what is going wrong.
try again. drop all tables in the statausnet database, and reinstall, same errors,
jump into php.ini and remove all errors for being displayed, try again, looks better.
Drops the database tables again and tries, still coming up with issues relating to PEAR?
end up having to do changes to PEAR as it has been updated since I installed XAMPP earlier this term
starts following the instruction, running php -q go-pear.php fails, tells me I am using to newer mysql, has to run go-pear.phar
has PEAR installed and running,
tries installation again, runs smootly, creates admin user,
is now able to login and access status net,
right now to change the theme, 1.0.1 has no admin - design features in it,
requires user to create the theme and modify in config.php
will have to leave this for later, now midnight.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Ministry of Health releases FAQ: wifi signals not harmful

The National Radiation Laboratory, a specialist unit of the Ministry of health has released on their website that WiFi is not harmful.
To read the entire FAQ fact sheet click here.

This is probably going to be needed as we move towards wifi developments within our school, parents concerned over cell towers and the mis information that is put out in the media. A FAQ would be of use.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Database Class - Professional Development

Stanford University is offering a free Database course from October 10 2011 to December 12 2011.
This is an online course,

What is the course about?

A bold experiment in distributed education, "Introduction to Databases" is being offered free and online to students worldwide, October 10 - December 12, 2011. Students have access to lecture videos, are given assignments and exams, receive regular feedback on progress, and participate in a discussion forum. Those who successfully complete the course will receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Jennifer Widom, the curriculum draws from Stanford's popular Introduction to Databases course. A high speed internet connection is recommended as the course content is based on videos and online exercises.

Why Learn About Databases?

Databases are incredibly prevalent -- they underlie technology used by most people every day if not every hour. Databases reside behind a huge fraction of websites; they're a crucial component of telecommunications systems, banking systems, video games, and just about any other software system or electronic device that maintains some amount of persistent information. In addition to persistence, database systems provide a number of other properties that make them exceptionally useful and convenient: reliability, efficiency, scalability, concurrency control, data abstractions, and high-level query languages. Databases are so ubiquitous and important that computer science graduates frequently cite their database class as the one most useful to them in their industry or graduate-school careers.

Course Description

This course covers database design and the use of database management systems for applications. It includes extensive coverage of the relational model, relational algebra, and SQL. It also covers XML data including DTDs and XML Schema for validation, and the query and transformation languages XPath, XQuery, and XSLT. The course includes database design in UML, and relational design principles based on dependencies and normal forms. Many additional key database topics from the design and application-building perspective are also covered: indexes, views, transactions, authorization, integrity constraints, triggers, on-line analytical processing (OLAP), and emerging "NoSQL" systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What background do I need?The course does not assume prior knowledge of any specific topics, however a solid computer science foundation -- a reasonable amount of programming, as well as knowledge of basic computer science theory -- will make the material more accessible.
2. Is a textbook required? Detailed lecture notes are provided. Having a textbook in addition to the notes is not necessary, but you might want to purchase one for reference, to reinforce the core material, and as a source of additional exercises. Suggested textbooks and readings are listed as part of the materials you'll see after you register.
3. Will students receive a Stanford certificate or grade for completing the course?No. You will receive a statement of accomplishment from the instructor, which will include information on how well you did and how your performance compared to other online students. Only students admitted to Stanford and enrolled in the regular course can receive credit or a grade, so this is not a Stanford certificate.
4. Can online students ask questions and/or contact the professors?A discussion forum is included as part of the course website. Questions not answered by other students will be answered by the teaching staff; top-ranked questions will be discussed by the instructor in a weekly video.

Thoughts around SQL software

I originally looked at mySQL as a possible tool for lrearning, however I was informed from one of my past lecturers that SQLite maybe a better answer, as they can then have it on a flash drive to be able to carry on and do work at home...
Though they will need a GUI to be able to use it in some ways..
Install SQLite:

  1. Download SQLite: First visit this page to download SQLite. The Windows precompiled binaries are located near the bottom of the page.
  2. Unpack SQLite:In my case the latest version of SQLite was 3.6.14 so the downloaded file was named sqlite-3_6_14.zip. Right click this file and choose to uncompress in the same directory. This will produce a sqlite3.exe file.
  3. Install SQLite:Now double click on the sqlite.exe file to install SQLite.
  4. Test SQLite:To test SQLite open up a command prompt window and type “sqlite3″. To get some help with SQLite type “.help” and to close sqlite3 type “.quit” .
Create a Test SQLite Database:
  1. Create SQLite Test Database:Issue the below command to create a test SQLite database.
    sqlite3 sqlite.db
    Remember to exit out of the sqlite3 command prompt type the below.
  2. Create a SQLite Table: Issue the below command to create a table in the test database.
    sqlite3 sqlite.db "create table tb1 (tb1key INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,data TEXT,num double,timeEnter DATE);"
  3. Add Data Into Test Database: Now issue each of the three commands below to insert data into the test database table we created.
    sqlite3 sqlite.db "insert into tb1 (data,num) values ('Test data',9);"
    sqlite3 sqlite.db "insert into tb1 (data,num) values ('More test data',8);"
    sqlite3 sqlite.db "insert into tb1 (data,num) values ('Third set of data',7);"
  4. View Test SQLite Data:Now list all of the rows in the test table located in the test sqlite database.
    sqlite3 sqlite.db "select * from tb1";
Install SQLite GUI for Windows:
  1. Download SQLite GUI SQTView:Visit download.com to download the latest version of SQTView located here.
  2. Install SQTView:The downloaded file will be named inSQTV.exe. Double click this file to install SQTView.
  3. Test SQTView:Once installed locate the application in the Start Menu under Program Files in the APSoft folder. Now locate the testdb.db file you created with the sqlite3 CLI commands. Open this file to verify everything is functioning properly. You will not be able to edit the database with SQTView. This application is only for viewing SQLite2 and SQLite3 database files.
The above will allow you to create a sqlite3 database and view the database with the SQTView GUI for Windows.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Binary Number Game

I woke up this morning thinking about what to do with my year 13 class since they have finsihed tehre work for the year. I was going to do some office application stuff, but then thought of a comment one of the students made, this was around teh fact that the juniors are doing harder work that than the year 13 students at present. The year 11 stduents now have papers to do on Computer Science., Lucky that a tweet came through this morning with a binary number game mentioned in it.
So a lesson plan was born,
Work through simple binary
00001 = 0
00010 = 1
10101 = 21
01010 = 10
01100 = 12
10111 = 23
11111 = 31
00101 = 5
00000 = 0
10010 = 18

01000 = h
00101 = e
01100 = l
01100 = l

01111 = o

Then get the students to create a message for someone else.

Then to the challenge, what can you get up to in the binary number game... http://forums.cisco.com/CertCom/game/binary_game_page.htm

My score is currently 20500, one of the students reached 26000

Inspired from


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Goals for my new school

Realized that using this on an eportfolio app I was unable to show progressions in my goals, so this is my first post around this area.

My aim for the school is to:

1.To get a new Learning Management System set up
2.To develop some Professional Learning Groups inside the school
3.To establish a Portfolio system for staff and students to use
4.To get IT embedded in the classrooms we teach in
5.To lift Staff ICT Capabilities
6.To get student owned devices into the school and being used effectively
7.To offer extra curricular activities in Digital Technologies
8.To create a supportive space for teachers to develop
9.To embed these into any ICT plan for the school.

Number 1 is on the way, this was part established by the previous person. Theming and hopefully latest SMS-LMS Interoperability will be worked through in time for beginning Term 4.
Number 3 Now to get it happening with in classes, also to csv import all years 9 to 12 students
Number 2 I think will start as soon as number 1 training and work happens.
Number 5 looking at using short video clips to help staff increase there capabilities.
Number 6 BYOD, more needs to be looked at on www.vln.school.nz to see what others are doing.
Number 7 Could include VEX Robotics, first unit ordered.
Number 8 I think back to the events that have happened this year, in February there was a space created at South Learning Hub to help teachers develop there moodle skills and move resources online. This could be done in a classroom after school with staff coming in and plugging into a network switch or wireless node. This would help teachers develop there online profile and be able to gain support from each other. This would help support Number 1 and Number 2, as well as Number 5.
Number 9 happens Monday when I present to both Boards around SNUP and where I see our school heading if we don't put the time and money in that we should be putting in to make sure that we ate supporting our teachers and students.

As well as becoming a school that embeds elearning into its practice, next years Catholic Education Convention is all about elearning and supporting elearning within schools.

Friday, 23 September 2011

ICT for Teaching and ICT for Learning: They are not the same (article)

Its has been an interesting week, with the nzcs articles coming out and the discussion that has lead from them, especially around algorithms and computer science. Through to a Computing in New Zealand Schools article;

ICT for Teaching and ICT for Learning: They are not the same, Robert Douglas, Howick College, Manukau, Auckland.  I include an extract from the article below which looks at the conclusions that the author has come up with.


Schools need to be very clear in their thinking and communication regarding ICT for teaching and ICT for learning. Their communication to the students’ parents and the wider community must be very clear on the form of ICT that is envisaged. A New Zealand Herald article (Binning, 2011) suggests that in fact Orewa College is wanting its Year 9 students to be provisioned with IT for Learning yet the nature of the device is required is more ‘personal’ in nature, suggesting a move toward ICT for Learning. It is conceded that it may not be easy but every effort should be made by schools to ensure their communication clearly identifies the intended use the ICT in question.

I contend that schools need to decide very carefully what capabilities they desire in student-centric devices and publish these widely among the student and parent communities. This set of capabilities must be relatively simple and easy to achieve on a wide range of cheap devices. Ability to access wireless networks would be a fundamental to reduce costs to the student and enable functionality in the school. Such things as the ability to display 3G video and take text- or voice-based notes would be appropriate whilst ‘must be able to display PowerPoint presentations’ may well not be. Once communicated, students and their parents can make their own choices around the device and the school will have a baseline capability to work with.

The school may also suggest a suite of applications that the students are to have loaded on their device. Obviously this would imply that the students own a device that runs a specified operating system however with the rise in Android and Windows-based devices, as well as the iPhone, there exists a strong potential for a range of applications in appropriate formats to be made available to the students. This may well increase the anticipated capability in the classroom and provide some crossover to ICT for teaching. Careful selection of cheaper or free applications would limit the cost.

If schools require or wish to empower ICT for learning they will need to have a suitably robust infrastructure to do so. This will mean robust, high capacity wireless access that is carefully managed to avoid abuse by students. ICT for teaching will also be further enabled by such infrastructure.

Schools must be very clear about when ICT for teaching is appropriate and how to provision this in the school. This suggests that schools need to consider the nature of the computational devices they own and how these may be empowered for use in the classroom to support the teachers in their teaching.

ICT for teaching and ICT for learning are not mutually exclusive. Rather, each enhances the other and creates a strong learning environment for students when they can perform tasks as directed by teachers, then take the learning with them out of school and continue working with the task at times and locations that suit them.

Widely communicated and enforced protocols on the use of ICT for learning are a must.
I suggest that schools will not cease to own computational devices but rather will start to purchase specifically targeted devices to facilitate teaching whilst preserving teacher sanity. Teachers should be able to use school owned and managed devices with confidence that they are provisioned for the task intended.

Final Comments

The recent controversy regarding Orewa College’s requirement for students to have an iPad or other computational device (Binning, 2011) and the media publicity it gained showed how important it is for schools to consider carefully what they wish to achieve and to communicate this clearly to parents.

Schools that attempt to provide a crossover device that is both learning and teaching centric run the risk of achieving neither. In class use will be problematic with equipment failures from flat batteries to software corruption to physical failures. Student use may be hampered by the way the device is prescribed by the school and locked down to facilitate easier management.

Finally, it should be noted that ICT for learning and ICT for teaching are device neutral in that it is not the device that is important, rather, it is the use to which the device is to be put that categorises the ICT. Schools need to be very aware of how they wish to use ICT and to provision and resource the ICT accordingly. Great pains must be taken to ensure that parents understand what the school is endeavouring to achieve

Digital technologies news

Over the last week there have been a couple of artices written by the New Zealand Computer Society about Digital Technologies, mainly around the Computer Science and Programming stand.

ICT in Schools, whats happening. The article looks at the changes that Digitial Technologies offers students, rather than just computing, how these changes came about. What Computer Science and Programming has to offer our students and a challenge for teachers.

Another nzcs article has been written Developing developers instead of creating users. This one looks at the changes that the new standards are now offering our students and what is being done to support teachers.

Interesting that one of the areas of the NZACDITT group this week has been around the game Paper,-Scissors-Rock and the algorithm that could be used to play such a game.

One thing that is being talked about, and I would be interested in is what model are Unlimited School using for there tech practice, since they don't have a technically minded person modelling. It has been commented on in the nzcs newletters. 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Busy week

One thing I have found currently is how quickly my days at work are going. Under site sharing I start school at 7:45am and finish teaching at 12:50pm.
Currently I am busy theming our schools moodle instance. This required me to get one of my Dell boxes up and running with vmware esx sever, do I can take snapshots, and also run 3 instances of windows xp machines, moodle and mahara as one.
Development box as my second and the third will be a ubuntu server to all students to do some Linux work.

But back to my tine, reports are due on Monday, snup narrative is due Monday and the acceptable use policy is due on Monday
Monday is also a day I have a meeting with a managing director.
Friday was busy with the gcsn cluster meeting at the other end of the city.
Tuesday is a core breakfast looking at mobile learning and the cloud. With a then meeting of ictpd cluster discussing devices.

I have finished section one of the year 13 unit of work around networking.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

tablets in the classroom

this is a post that is going to develop over time as I start to link in all the things I have been thinking about.

1. Orewa College and the iPad
This school invited parents to a meeting where they talked about the need for year 9 students to bring a device next year as part of a stationary requirement. From the information provided, the best device currently on the market is the iPad due to its portability, battery life and function.

2. Kaitao Intermediate School (The 'wow factor' appeal device, sorry tablet)
Kaitao Intermediate School in Rotorua they've also announced a programme to provide tablets to every student at minimal cost to parents.
Parents are being asked to fund $10 a month for a device that possibly wont last a year

Finding out what the school is looking at surprised me, 
They are looking at UM00007 from China.  They are Android 2.2 10.1 inch.
And with the cleverness of google...
http://www.everbuying.com/product57826.html - Not where they are purchasing it from, only found for specifications
That lists the main features and specifications of the device.

The device is 802.11 b/g compliant, but does not incorporate the 802.11n frequency for 5Ghz networks.
The device using Android 2.2 OS, which is now at least a year out of date. 

I look at the possibly of parents paying $10 a month for a device that will possibly only last maybe less than a year. Best investment?

Is the possibly of the 'wow factor' appeal of these types of devices in schools are going to cause students to be turned off computing as the device won't meet expectations.

3. Rangitoto College is busy building a wifi network to cater for students to Bring Your Own Device http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/high-school-builds-wi-fi-network-for-3200-students

4. Burnside High school have currently made a wifi network available for year 13 students to connect there own devices to the network at school.

Friday, 9 September 2011

The wait is over...

Seems like this weekend we get moodle 2.1.1 update.
Hope to get the mobile interface working
And the changes to quiz
Plus getting moodle 1.9 backups restored easily

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Subject Selection completed

Amazingly we have completed the subject selection in a week, I was a bit worried, as last night we had 202 completed out of 469, with 348 completing subject selections by the  1pm deadline today.

This is the first year they have tried something like this at the school. normally it has been completed on paper and the issues related to it, with students crossing out and changing there selections and missing bits. This has been a easy to use system. Though one hiccup I would say is data. The data set that I grabbed for this was straight out of our Student Management System, something which needs some work on verification. Students birthdays not being correct, email address being wrong, all manner of things not correct.
If your school is looking at doing online options choice check your data first.
The other issue was the boys not being prepared, this starts with form teachers, they need to talk to the students about the selections that they are making, we are doing this tomorrow, making sure that students have completed the selections, this is being carried out on paper, and for some this will be a shock, as if the student does not turn up, the paper gets handed over to the house tutor for chase up. Yet another way of catching some of these students.

We needed to have more time, possibly a couple of more days
We needed to have students use form time to get the information in
Parents needed to be notified that it was only years 10, 11, and 12 that were doing this and not year 9
Year 9 will be done by paper this year, next week, though it may be suggested that hey do it online as well.
Curriculum guide needs to line up with subject selection codes, these need to be listed beside the subject.
Possible SAML hook in for username and passwords?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Computational Thinking

Advances in computing have expanded our capacity to solve problems at a scale never before imagined, using strategies that have not been available to us before. Students will need to learn and practice new skills—computational thinking (CT) skills—to take full advantage of these revolutionary changes brought about by rapid changes in technology. ISTE and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) are collaborating on a project to prepare young learners to become computational thinkers who understand how today's digital tools can help solve tomorrow's problems. CT is vital to all students as we work to raise the level of achievement, prepare students for global competitiveness, and blend academics with real life.
Download the Computational Thinking Teacher Resources now. CSTA and ISTE intend for the CT Teacher Resources to reflect our commitment to the universal idea that CT can work across all disciplines and with all school-age children. The CT Teacher Resources are an introductory package of prototype materials which include:

•   An operational definition of CT for K-12 Education
•   A CT vocabulary and progression chart
•   Nine CT Learning Experiences
•   CT classroom scenarios
The Computational Thinking Leadership Toolkit is now available for download. This companion piece to the Computational Thinking Teacher Resources, includes:
* Making the Case for CT
* Resources for Creating Systemic Change 
* Implementing Strategies Guide

Radio station part 2

Thanks to one of my former students, he put me in contact with @thecheesefm
aha. Best to stick with high bitrate mp3.. Rivendell is a free automation system for Linux http://www.rivendellaudio.org/ ...
... I use for windows Stationplaylist.com it costs but haven't had any issues with it.
... And make sure your APRA and PPNZ licenses are up to date ;-)

Do I need to get the ppnz license if I already have apra
yes.. One is for the composers the other is for artists. Plus you'll need to pay for two licences should you stream on net

there's minimal website info.. Try http://www.low-power-fm-radio.spacejunk.co.nz/ also sign up for http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/LPFM_Radio/ ...

Saturday, 27 August 2011

School radio

The school has all the gear to run a radio station, and has for a number of years. However, due to things that have happened over the past year it hasn't been running. I found out that the computer running part of it was donated a number of years ago and is pretty much dead. I have managed to get another one up and running.

We have all the nz on air cd's and are looking at converting them to digital.
Windows media player or iTunes? To create play lists or is there possibly something else?

Is there an open source radio station agent?

But it also gives me something to do with my students, creating material for the station.

Monday, 22 August 2011

microblogging within school

I see that ASHS students have been busy upgrading there statusnet server,

W00t! Students have finished upgrade of our #statusnet server. Let the microblogging resume! Gwibber integration test tonight.

could this be something that i could get my students into?
As this can be downloaded and installed on our our servers, there is a development version available for us to try out.

Getting Started: status.net/wiki
To get started with StatusNet, from installation to basic configuration, this is the key resource.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Subject Selection

We have been doing online subject choice selections for three years now, using an inhouse designed subject selection web application.

The idea around this was to get rid of the time it took to do the data entry as well as getting better data from the students and also to remove the half day of students running around getting sign off from teachers in charge. Also we wanted the ability for parents to have some input into what there child was choosing.

Luckily our SMS provider helped us out in the early stages of developed on how to do the import from a CSV file into KAMAR, this solved the major issue of data entry and we can now close off the web application and in 10 minutes have all the subject numbers given to the principal to start making his decisions about classes.

The process
Students are given the curriculum guides, to take home and have the conversations with their parents.
Form teachers also have chats with the students in their class about what they are looking at taking next year.
They then can access the subject selection website at home, school, on smartphone and choose what subjects they wish to take the following year. They can do this as many times as they want to, the web application is designed to show what they selected the last time. It also states that there choices are not final, and that subject requirements, course sizes and other factors may exist that they course may not run. the students are given a choice of some reserve subjects in case some subjects do not run.
This is done over three weeks.
Students that don't choose there selections are followed up by the whanau house leaders, or the Senior Leadership Team.  

On the close off day, the data is imported into empty lines in the Student Management System,

The students are then given a time to talk to a mentor about what they have selected, and whether the selections they have made match up with there possible career, that they have previously had with the careers adviser. If there are any issue, they are changed in the Student Management System straight away by the mentor.

This has reduced the beginning of the year changes quite significantly, where we are running full timetables with no more changes after two weeks of school starting.

We chose to do the year 10, 11, 12 students first as a trial of the system, it worked so well, that when the junior subject choices were to happen we did online subject selection for year 9 as well. out of the 1200 students, only 100 students did not complete their selection, this statistic was better than when we were doing the paper based system.

We also had conversations in the school about pathways for students, we started to move away from year levels courses say 11ENG, 12ENG, 13ENG to a more level based course ENG1, ENG2, ENG3, this enabled some of the stigma around students repeating or doing a level below to be removed. The web application was designed to take this into account, where a year 13 student could do level 1, level 2 or level 3 courses, and a year 12 student could do level 2, or level 1 courses. Allowance was made to students that were operating at a level above, some year 12 students were allowed to take level 3 courses, these changes were made during the mentor meeting.

The web application also locked certain courses in for students, A year 11 student had to take, English, Maths, PE/Health/Financial Literacy and had three other options available for students.
The year 12 student had to take English
The year 13 student has to have Independent Learning(aka Study)

The web application also had in it a section on a student leaving school, or possibly not coming back so help and guidance was able to be offered.

Why post about this: there are a number of schools which are looking at doing subject selection online, they have trailed it with one class? they are still doing it by paper, which must cause errors somewhere through the process. This is how showing how we have done it, and now as I move schools how the development of this system is carrying on to my new school.

Friday, 19 August 2011

subject option choice .9a

changes have now been implemented to take into account the students login name instead of studentID number,

Changes have been made to code for the new server and website database that it is now hosted on

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Why am I waiting?

Sorry this is a gripe post,
I have been waiting since the release of moodle 2.1 on the 1st July 2011,

Since then 2.1.1 has been released late July
on the 3 August 2011 moodleinschools.org.nz had there update, and since then I have been waiting for our hosted supplier to update to the new version.
I look at the new version and it has a number of things that we need as a school to get up and running:
-Mobile device integration
-Updated Quizes
-Being able to restore courses from 1.9 to 2.1
-Moodle 2.1 comes with a built-in web service designed for mobile applications (required to run the official Moodle app)
-Enable mobile web services documentation for details
-Improved Support for Mobile Themes and Browser Detection

How long should I wait for our supplier to update before I get angry...

Auckland Museum: AQUA Trail

I visited Auckland Museum a couple of weeks ago and got to try out there new AQUA Trail.
This has been something that has been in the process and been through a number of ideas an iterations through reference groups and new media departments for a long time.
I wrote about Auckland Museum Secrets revealed - the mysteries behind the museum in 2008. Since then technology has improved, the museum has wifi installed and we got to play for once. I had been to a number of LATE nights at the museum where we got to use the wifi, in the case that I was using it for twitter updates to communicate with others that were at the event as well as the organisers.

But how can you use a technology when it is locked off, You can use it heaps. as i got talking to the new media team and coming up with ideas on opening wifi up on a VLAn and only hooking into one site and being able to access content off it they went away and developed something that I could only dream of. the developed an HTML5 web app which is simple enough to use, has interaction in the form of polls and quizzes, links to content held in various media streams and has some interesting facts for parents to be able to use with groups of students.

More to come...

Looking from the outside in

One thing that keeps me thinking is, should I be showing this blog at my appraisal meetings? This blog is my thinking. It shows me learning, trying things out and reflecting on what I have learnt. Though it is also about me being able to write down what I am struggling with, who I am struggling with as well. Sometimes it is management of my school, or with a certain company that I am dealing with.

This blog provides me notes on what is going on at certain times of the year.

To share: to share what I have learnt, be it with my subject selection app or some new technology that I have an idea in out to evolve it.

To learn: this is very much an unintended benefit of blogging but the act of writing posts and decideing how I wish to organise my thoughts, but it has also made me think of how I will encourage future students to start to organsise there thinking.

Managing my emotions: Being a teacher in Digital technologies, I find that I am constantly on the go and have a range of emotions that can be picked up from a simple grunt to a happy face when something works.  Being able to write about the process of developing an application, or about an incident that happened at work, without using names has been of great benefit, even if the post does not get "published" I have at least been able to get my thoughts in order, and that it is saved somewhere, even if I don't wish to access it again.

To effect change: A couple of times I have had people stumble across my blog that have commented on a piece, once I even got another job out of it. But this is more about how technology has influenced my practice in my career. Education has huge benefits, something which sometimes I forget. I look at our new standards in Digital Technologies - Computer Science papers, these are now the envy of the world, and others are now starting to catch up. I want to start to go through and post some more blog posts around Computer Science and get teachers to see it differently, not just as Programming, but more around the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their application incomputer systems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_science

Telecom Paint Wall

Telecom Paint Wall, using hand movements, or in my case a iPad, I was able to Paint on the Wall. This is a great thing to start doing when you have some time to spare, or in my case I got many strange looks when I started to interact with the wall. Is it because I am an adult, or was it the fact that people around me couldn't understand how I was able to interact.

I look at what the Kinect SDK kit now has to offer, it is one thing that I plan on using with my lessons with juniors, I want them to interact with the technology, I would love to find the kit that they used to create this fun way to spend 20 minutes while waiting for a flight

It also looks like the wall gets used for other things as well, as a tweet wall...http://envycollection.blogspot.com/2011/06/telecom-tweet-wall-auckland-airport.html

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Computer Science at High School

To give you some idea, here is what is now available for our students in New Zealand

Based upon the Curriculum Guide http://seniorsecondary.tki.org.nz/Technology/Specialist-technology-areas/Programming-and-computer-science-PROG

around the Basic Concepts in Computer Science http://seniorsecondary.tki.org.nz/Technology/Achievement-and-learning-objectives/PRCS-6-1

Demonstrate understanding of basic concepts from computer science

Demonstrate understanding of basic concepts from computer science involves: (Achieved)
• describing the key characteristics and roles of algorithms, programs and informal instructions
• describing an algorithm for a task, showing understanding of the kinds of steps that can be in an algorithm, and determining the cost of an algorithm for a problem of a particular size
• describing the role and characteristics of programming languages, including the different roles and characteristics of high level languages and low level (or machine) languages, and the function of a compiler
• describing the role of a user interface and factors that contribute to its usability.

Demonstrate in-depth understanding of basic concepts from computer science involves: (Merit)
• explaining how algorithms are distinct from related concepts such as programs and informal instructions
• showing understanding of the way steps in an algorithm for a task can be combined in sequential, conditional, and iterative structures and determining the cost of an iterative algorithm for a problem of size n
• explaining how the characteristics of programming languages, including the different characteristics of high level and low level (or machine) languages, are important for their roles
• explaining the need for programs to translate between high and low level languages
• explaining how different factors of a user interface contribute to its usability.

Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of basic computer science concepts from computer science involves: (Excellence)
• comparing and contrasting the concepts of algorithms, programs, and informal instructions
• determining and comparing the costs of two different iterative algorithms for the same problem of size n
• comparing and contrasting high level and low level (or machine) languages, and explaining different ways in which programs in a high level programming language are translated into a machine language
• discussing how different factors of a user interface contribute to its usability by comparing and contrasting related interfaces.

The basic concepts from computer science are: the concept of an algorithm; the concept of a programming language; and the concept of a user interface and its usability.

An algorithm is a precise unambiguous specification of how to accomplish some computational task in a finite number of well-defined steps. An algorithm is distinct from a computer program. An algorithm has a cost (the number of steps it will perform) for a task. Different algorithms for the same task may have different costs.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Development of Environment

Since joining with the school, I have busy implementing a number of half finished projects that need to be up and running.

First was Moodle 2, this was up and running from the hosted supplier in May, however the issue was the SMS system doing a sync of teachers, students ad classes. This was first completed on the 8 June, and has not been run since, today was the next successful update.
It seems the issue was around java, since java failed on the system the upload did not take place. It has taken two days working with the supplier to get this working. The next issue is that when the upload takes place, the moodle sync requires user intervention currently, after a month of running this will be automated.
One issue I am having is with the auth/SAML module, as the module we are using is out of date with the one that is now available.

Next was Google Apps, we use the Google SAML module to manage this between Moodle and Google Apps, since we have been getting Single Sign On working, we have had to disable the module till some work happens

SSO, we have SSO up and running, this required up to enter each students SMSid into a field in Active Directory. We have had a number of false starts with this, but now it seems like it is up and running.

myportfolio is our eportfolio system, this has been up and running on an internal authentication system based on the hosted site, we have just gone through and linked it into our SSO, however, it requires that I go through and link up each student with there network username. There is only one issue that I see with this currently and it is around what the students called themselves when they signed up, I have a number of students that I am trying to work out who they are so I can get them access.

I am looking at other SSO server, luckly we have just had a site called www.iam.school.nz created to help us. I am thinking what other things we use, or have potential to use,
Once thing that is not helping me, is the data that is being brought out through the SMS - LMS interoperability, as the SMS is not provising all staff users, one thing is that the principal needs access and is not include, also we need to think about the teacher aides that work with students, they nee access to the moodle courses that there students are in.

Once thing I looked at today was the SMS providers blog, I decided to post a few comments around some the issues:
Is our SMS doing any work around how it handles IAM/IDE requirements that school are now looking for as we move towards Single Single On.
Is our SMS doing anything around being able to handle Single Sign On requests on it Library webOPAC?
How is our SMS taking a more leading role as SMS schema v3 is being developed?
It will be interesting to see how they are going to respond to these questions.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

change of school

Seven weeks ago, I left one workplace to start work at another. It has been a difficult shift. From head of department at a decile 3 school, with 1800 students, to a teacher in charge role at a decile 9 school with 800 students.
I have been thrust into a school of change, and little leadership in the development of change. They seem to think that I can implement the changes required within a short amount of time and a full teaching load.
The staff at the school are looking forward to the changes that have been in the making for 4 years, however, them seems little thought in the way that they will impact the teaching and learning.

So far:
Google apps implementation has been setup by watchdog, provisioning has been setup from moodle to create and manage users
moodle2 has been setup and implemented by dataview, through a rather difficult and issue prone MUSAC websync
myportfolio has been setup and developed by the previous teacher
Single Sign On, this is being developed by the new providers of the idp service here in the city. It is taking longer than I thought.

All of these things are great and we spent 5 years developing, implementing and accessing these at the previous school, however, I am having to get these things done in 5 weeks, through rather difficult conditions.

I am also going through a number of other issues at the school through the development of ICT infrastructure, my classroom looks like something from 3 years ago, with a mixture of 14", 17" CRT screens and at least I have a slightly up to date computers in the room, though they look rough and have PS2 mice connected, which seems to have an issue of be unrecognized by the OS, which mean you have to unplug then, plug them back in and restart the machine, which impedes learning for the student and develops issues within the class.

The classroom, although an interesting design has its own issues, I need to remove a computer from the back of the class which students seem to like sitting at which does not allow to see the board or projector.

The projector is something out of the ark, I have been told that it is probably one of the first ones that was put into the school. Although the remote for it is still in the class, it does not seem to want to work with it, which means climbing onto a desk and turning it one and off by hand.

I keep getting told how great things are now that we have webmail, as well as remote access to the system, something I have been used to for as long as I have been teaching. Considering I now believer that teachers own devices should be allowed to access email systems so they can keep in contact with what is going on.

There is also the development of ICT within the school, I keep getting called into meetings that I am unprepared for around the development of a strategic plan.

21st Century Learning Facilities?

Sadly most of our teaching and learning spaces are 19th century spaces. Needs have changed. We need classrooms with improved technological capabilities, and multi-functional capabilities to enhance leaning by including facilities such as a video conferencing suite. The BOT needs to be proactive in working with the BOP to ensure a major upgrading of facilities which will meet 21st century teaching and learning requirements.

IT needs both now and in 2-3 years

Decile 9 Orewa College has recently hit the headlines “since telling parents the ipad 2 will be a compulsory stationery item for all year nine pupils next year.” While the move is welcomed by IT specialists, critics say “the device is not an affordable option for all parents.” The ipad sells for between $799 to $1148.

“Principals Association president, Patrick Walsh, said it would probably only be 4-5 years before ipads became compulsory but the question remained as to who was going to pay. In lower decile schools the Government needs to intervene and pay, or provide a subsidy if we want to keep pace with the world economy.” He went on to say, “There’s no point the Government rolling out the ultrafast broadband if they’re not going to help provide resources in schools to use it.”

We are a decile 9 school. Would our parents be willing to purchase this technology?

While I do not think that we are ready to make a laptop compulsory, I do believe it is a future consideration. In the meantime I am keen to explore ways to increase student engagement in learning using something they all have great ownership of, their cell phone! This has the potential to take this technology from their pockets and put it on the desk thereby solving a current classroom management issue – undercover cell phone use in class!

We are now connected to ultrafast fibre and while our IT contract over recent years has helped upskill our teaching staff, our infra-structure (both computer and facilities) is not 21st century and we battle to find significant funding to keep pace with modern technology.

Within the next 2-3 years we want students to be engaged in their learning through the opportunities we are currently putting in place. Most importantly we want to be developing and assisting students to access course material at home and continue the learning from class through resources and activities. We want to see students developing their lifelong learning portfolios, their eportfolios and we are putting in action Google Apps – online office and productivity suite to help students communicate online with their teachers and their peers. All of these are available easily for the students through Single Sign On, which allows them to access all of these through one username and password managed by the school network.

Currently we are beginning to see the development of on-line resources in the Learning Management System with the introduction of Moodle this year, both in collaborating in teacher resources and professional development, but much more is needed.

We are also in the process of upgrading the school network to cater for the changes of learners needs, with the School Network Upgrade Project (SNUP), this will allow us to make use of the Ultrafast Fibre connection to the school, as we upgrade the internal workings within the school. Also with the upgrade of the school servers this allows us to develop our internal storage capacity and allow access to services from the outside. However, there are some more developments that need to be made, establishing a backup server to allow us to continue if one server fails, as well as adding a SAN (Storage Area Network) which allows us to build our storage capacity as we move to meet the requirements of Learning and Assessment through developing all of our subjects through digital literacy.

Next steps for us include:-

- Video conferencing facility
- Library computer suite upgrade
- Multi-purpose (or multi-disciplinary) computer suites
- Ability for students to bring own devices to connect to the school network through wifi access, (improved access for boarders to the Managed Learning Environment)
- Investigation of Interactive Whiteboards to assist teachers in developing materials to assist in student learning.

am I enjoying it, I think I was at my last school for way to long and was lucky with what was available for me and my students, something that I think will take a long time to become available at my current workplace.

Hacking Versus Programming

I found this an interesting blog post, something which I want to use with my students,
This is a blog post from http://blogs.msdn.com/b/alfredth/archive/2011/07/27/hacking-vs-programming.aspx

I have many students that ask me to show them how to hack, normally of which the answer is no, or we go through the hacker high school unit of work, which normally gives them a sense of satisfaction. But I had never thought about hacking as ruthless programming.

What is the difference between Hacking and programming? One opinion I have heard expressed is that a hacker can put a lot of code together in a hurry but if a change is needed the code has to be completely rewritten. A programmer may take a little longer but if changes are needed they are more quickly and easily installed without the need for a complete rewrite. One source I heard attributed an observation like this to Maggie Johnson of Google. It rings true to me though. Hacking is usually described as “quick and dirty.” You though a bunch of code together and make it up as you go along. Some hackers are quite brilliant and can do amazing things in incredibly short periods of time. And then they move to the next thing. Or perhaps they stay with the same thing because no one else can understand it well enough to fix it, modify it or improve it. Job security? Perhaps but not a good thing for the people who use, or importantly pay for, the software.
I do a little hacking – that is to say toss something together in a short period of time without a lot of planning – from time to time. I’m not a genius though and typically this ends poorly. The performance is poor, the maintainability is poor, and no one else wants to use it. This may make be biased against this way of doing things I guess. I prefer to program – to think things out, to plan, to proceed in an organized fashion. I saw the difference made clear to me my first year of teaching (a long time ago). I was working on a little game programming of my own and decided to show it to some of my students. As I explained how I had set things up around a number of constants that is hoped would make the program more easily expandable one of the students turned to another and said “Look at that. He’s just starting and already he is planning for additions.” That is one of the real keys, in my opinion, to real programming.
I was a major in Systems Analysis in college. This was during a time when computer science majors were rare and software engineering majors rarer still. But one of the things my professors drilled into our heads was that programs had to be maintainable and extensible. We were taught from day one that programs are not finished but, in a sense, abandoned. More likely at some point you declare victory and more on. But others will maintain these programs and expand them and adapt them. Making their lives easier is a good thing. Think of the Golden Rule – program was you would want the programmers whose code you are modifying to have programmed. I think that is how it is written. Smile
The hackers get a lot of attention these days. These are the basketball players who make the slam dunk that makes it to the highlight reel. But basketball games are won by teams of players executing on the basics – the solid play well executed, the dribble, the layup, the pass that gets the ball to the star. In the long run we need more real programmers to make solid, dependable programs that don’t have be be rewritten from scratch when a change is needed.

Monday, 18 July 2011

subject option choice .9a

complete rewrite of tables within the databases is having to happen. Now that I have changed schools and the new school wishes to try this out.

So far the changes are going to be around holding the student data.
SMS ID is having to grow
students are not provided there SMS ID here, instead we will use there network login, so have added an extra field
Form Class is somewhat different as well, here it is a four letter character
though this is going to have some impact on chasing students at the end, or is it, how did the rewrite for the previous school go on for area, more around the fact that it is based on being a senior student, and checking against a flagged item, when submitted.