Friday, 18 February 2011

Trying new things

I have been working with our schools moodle, a couple of us in the department make use of this great educational tool. We have been busy trying new courses and activities. Though, I found today something rather interesting.

I started to do some work to enable an outside organisation to make use of the resources that we have available, a working New Zealand Moodle for Schools version and it being hosted outside the school. This is so they can access the Moodle for Teaching and learning course that was created as part of the project, which the New Zealand Moodle for Schools version was created as part of.

The students logged in today and straight away I had questions, why was there a new category in the moodle instance, what did this mean, was it part of a field trip, what's going on?

What shocked me was that the students started there inquiry, who was the extra category for, why was it created, what was going to be the outcome of it.

When I teach, they just sit there, they don't talk, I try to engage and possibly one of two students answer back, the rest just listen. Why don't students do the same type of thing when I teach a new topic? Question, ask... is it because this is what happens in every other subject.

I enjoy the fact that i am trying something different with the year 13 students this year, the guiding questions that are up at the beginning of class and them having to blog the answers has been insightful. One of the biggest issues is i started the class this way 3 weeks ago and I had a new student added to the class today and is lost in what is required and how the students have already developed there own learning space, be a blog and google apps currently, but when mahara is all setup with the saml authentication I will be using it as part of the learning space.

But what of my classroom, I have this great online presence, but the classroom is bland and empty. I need to find a way of getting these great environments into the visual space.

Onto something else,

I have been using the mail merge add-in with our e-asTTle PDF documents and it has been working great. We had an issue today that it wasn't until lunchtime when a brief discussion with the network manager happened. Around period 3 we had everything go to a holt for around 5 minutes, found out that the student server had no space left on it in its c: drive. All the space was used. When I thought about it it was due to the 699 PDF documents that I was printing. The print queue for the printer I was using was on that server. I went back to check the printer and have found that 60 individualised e-asTTle reading tests had not been printed. So I have someone going through the print out and working out which of the tests have not been printed. Will have to get these printed off on monday.

And now another,

I know this may look like a broken post, but it is always one of ideas and developments that is related to me.
I use dreamspark with my students, I need to get them sorted out with accounts through live@edu, though do I, some of the programming students would do quite well gaining access to this software as they are interested and play with different things all the time. While others just need to the software that is available, like microsoft visual basic express and microsoft expression 4 ultimate to play with and develop on.

What I need to do is export this from our SMS who needs accounts and sort out the codes...
I wonder if I can create individual printed books for the students with there name already on it for the programming class through the mail merge program.

I realise that I am doing a lot of things but that is part of being an innovator, Now that we have Single Sign on working for knowledgeNET, google apps and hopefully I wont have to manage the import of student accounts for much longer, I can pass this over to someone else. However, what I find is the development of these programs a concern. It is one thing to implement them at school, but I also look at the form and function that they offer and what will work for me with the kit that I have.

I need 5 laptops that can be networked up easily to share an internet connection, I am looking at doing a field trip and need a way for the students to use what they have rather quickly. Think of it as a race, students will be given an area and have to develop a website rather quickly to show off what they found and how it has impact on collection.

Jb hi fi have laptops for <$400 and these would be all that is required for the students to use.
I wonder if this could be an idea...

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