Sunday, 11 November 2012


Year 11

This is a course which students integrate data from two application, word and excel. It requires students to gain knowledge in both. This is a simple start to the year and develops the students basic skills into something that they understand. Students need to look at design of the document. A number of students struggle to realise the potential of what this unit offers them, and a number stuck to the common wordart and centre. It is something that is difficult to break. I need to focus on style sheets for this, as this prepares them for level 2.
I developed the external this year and used the exam slot for students to write up there report, however I need to focus on operating systems sooner, so they can develop all four sections. I look forward to the results coming back and will reflect on how the students do next year.

Image editing and HTML and CSS. this is a course that I need to develop a bit more. I want to get students taking more of there own photos so they can develop there work, rather than using google images. Students enjoying developing websites and getting them linking to each other. However, I need to work on developing and extending the students that know how to do this already. Small movie making could also be a factor as we develop next year, things like mashups could add different factors and small movie could provide a different element for students.

Scratch programming, this is an interesting course that is working well, it provides four units of work, looking at students input, output, if statements and loops. Though a couple of students did not like the scratch environment and would have rather developed there solution in python. This raises the question of since we do scratch at year 9 to develop gaming, should we use it in a programming content or do we move to another environment,.

Overall the course suits the students, it is interesting and develops students understanding of digital technologies, however some students this was a course that bored them, these are the students that have interacted with computers for years and developed websites and programmed computers using a variety of different environments.

Year 12
The year 12 courses were developed around the students who were in the classes at he beginning of the year, now due to timetable issues a couple of students were moved and these students felt disengaged with the class as it was not the one that they wanted to do. Now talking to one of these students at the end of the year, he was annoyed when this happened, however he now has an interest in web design as we covered it more with notepad++ and codes rather than using a WYSIWYG.
The courses this year were supposed to be around 18-22 credits, however due to the fact the courses were first time courses as well as getting my head around the teaching of what was required and intepreting the new standards  and the students learning needs these were reduced. I realise that this has an effect, and i will look at the courses around these next year for workload and what is required and will modify as needed, but the students were informed along the way that we would not be completing the full course.

Digital Media
This programme looked at aspects of digital media, included Database with Microsoft Word/Publisher integration. Digital Media looked at a variety of aspects including Flash and web design incorporating HTML5 and CSS3.
This programe needed to have jQuery aspects built into it as well.
The students, some found the work an easy build up from what they did last year, however, students that did not do the course last year struggled to build up the level of skills required as well as missing the prior knowledge. Incorporating flash into the course also caused some issues as they did not understand why they were doing it. Needed to build more SLO around this to show the students it was around building knowledge of digital media. I felt this class was too social. I think having access to a webserver off school would have assisted the students int he development of there site as it would have given a real world experience rather than the contrived nature of developing it in class. I did not have the server setup as I normally did at my last school and this hindered some of the development path that I normally do.

The programme looked at two aspects, information and programming. Missing from this course was the computer science strand again, this is something that I need to come to grips with. The information built a lot of skills around linux, putty and mysql and php, this was a huge amount of information that the students had to understand and those that did not take notes of the first day struggled to develop there understanding and knowledge of mySQL. There was also a lot of confusion on the list server about what was required for the standard which added to my confusion, also doing two different lots of databases at the same time between the two classes caused issues between the two classes, one did access, the other mysql. Integrating the data from the mysql caused issues when introducing php through html. Although the students were taught html last year there was a sense of lostness within the unit. The assessment was way way way to big, 700 survey responses and the students working to get the information in, there was no way that they could verify their data. Each student had different numbers, trying to keep track of what survey they were up to and how were tehy going to display the result.
The second part of the course was the python programming, this was interesting as the build up last year was scratch, student had to work with the IDLE interface and get used to working to develop there own knowledge. The development work that I had put into the course and how to work on assessments I did not use, due to the fact it was for python 2.7 and not for python 3 that they were using and the university of otago book, It wasn't worth getting them confused. The assessment for them this time was simple enough, however it was difficult to work out how a student could get Merit.

Year 13
This is the last year that this course will run, a number of students were enrolled in the course without prior knowledge and reflecting on this there needed to be two courses running in the class, a level 2 course and a level 3 course, however with students passing level 2 they were not interested in obtaining level 2 credits. Should a student be able to do level 3 credits if they have not done level 2 credits and cannot show competence in using the program to the ability required? I am hoping that with the reflections of change that I have done this year with the practical computing course will help fix this issue. having a combined level 2 and 3 course where the students are working there level, if the pass level 2 then they have the opportunity to step up to complete the level 3 credits. Back to the course, students were offered to do databases, spreadsheet and word processing and they select the order for this, All the lessons had been broken up and placed into moodle for the students to work through and the next lessons would open up once the student had handed in the exercises. This worked well for a number of the students, however others found this a barrier as they did not want to do all the work before being offered the assessment, they wanted to do one part, skip another. These students struggled to get into the course and instead developed behaviours that were not suited for learning. I had to find other ways the get these students through the assessment which was offering them an alternative assessment which the other members of the class were annoyed at as the alternative assessment had an interesting aspect to it. The next assessment was databases, some students in the class had issues with the same aspects as the spreadsheet unit. However pairing them up seemed to work, though the students work pace reduced as more social aspects came into play, trying to get the students to work on a friday afternoon period 5 when they had period 6 study turned out to be a nightmare, and then there was the tuesday straight after lunch food rush and wednesday morning sleep in. The timetable kept hitting me at all angles. This class I felt disengaged with.

I think one of the biggest things that I struggle with in my job is that I can't modify my classroom. It is stuck in a design that does not benefit me as a teacher. I can't do the group development and peer work that I wish to. Yes, i can assign seats, but there is not space to spread out a students work and develop the technological knowledge and practice that is required of the students.

I want students to develop an understanding of other operating systems next year.
I also want to make a focus of the externals next year.

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