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?