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 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... - 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

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?