Thursday, 27 December 2012

challenge learning

I am a digital technologies teacher and always trying to figure out how to get my students out of the classroom. Over the years I have meet a lot of people in the industry, and yet they like the outdoors, not for the scenery but for the challenge. Whether it be mountain biking, or rock climbing. Which starts off todays post. I have been talking over the last couple of days with family and what there kids are getting up to. One is interested in computers, and yet spends a lot of time playing computer games on the xbox, why, problem solving, he also went on holidays and enjoyed the challenge of puzzle world in wanaka and the clip n climb. Why, because of the challenge. I have thought about this for a while, and it would be an interesting experience for my students to experience this type of problem and challenge based learning. So now I am on the lookout for a clip n climb in my city.
What year level, my year 13 students :)

What can students learning from rock climbing about programming

EOTC - online PD Modules

New online modules can help educators to further their professional learning development for EOTC.

Special online self-paced learning modules (SPLM) have been developed to help people further their professional learning development (PLD) for Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC).

The modules can be completed at the time and pace that suits each individual, free of charge.
Education Outdoors New Zealand (EONZ), in partnership with the Ministry of Education, has created 10 learning modules to develop and support the understanding and implementation of the EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the Curriculum Alive (Ministry of Education, 2009).

The modules are designed to lead participants through the EOTC Guidelines, providing examples and opportunities for self-review and planning.

They are suitable for all teachers and leaders of EOTC, sport and EOTC coordinators, school leaders, providers, and Board of Trustee members.

Creating authentic learning experiences
The EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the Curriculum Alive is a foundation document, acknowledged as accepted best practice for schools and other educational organisations.

The EOTC Guidelines clarify schools’ legal responsibilities and provide guidance on the delivery of EOTC to meet safety and learning outcomes.
EOTC provides learners with authentic learning experiences, which bring learning alive. EOTC can enrich teaching and learning across the curriculum.
Learning beyond the classroom can develop a learner's sense of identity and connect them to the community, land and environment.
EOTC provides opportunities for learners to become lifelong learners and enhances the ability of all learners to realise their potential.
EOTC provides opportunities to develop positive relationships between teachers and learners – a key to engagement in learning and education.
When staff are confident and competent, EOTC opportunities are more likely to be positive, high quality, safe experiences for learners.

One thing that I have found out when enrolling in the course is that the modules have yet to be finalised. 
I have found an pdf that was sent out to all schools that informed schools that the modules would be available from November...

The Ministry of Education is also creating online, self-paced learning modules to build understanding and use of the EOTC Guidelines. These modules will be available from November 2012.

Considering a number of teachers would use the time over the holidays to work through the modules and do some PD I thought would have been the perfect time.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

projects for 2013

I would love for a student to develop the press cup competition that we started this year with the year 13 students.

Motion using kinect

Radio Station, design, software, the ability to play remote playlists and the website to display information about the project. Possibly remote radio station as well. SMS messages from students request back in.

stream monitoring program

aerial photography

ardunio design

school visual display - digital signage
From a tweet- Having heaps of fun with @xibosignage! Hacked together some widgets for a metro lo


Raspberry PI and concerto 1.9.3 Digital Signage system

@xibosignage The python client is great. Definitely the best project I've found for the price!
source available at though there is a v2 available

Html5 design for student info - mobile app
Daily prayer
Student info
Access to daily notices

MAME box

Minecraft server for nz school education

Monday, 24 December 2012

Inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy update

The finding of the submissions have been released

Government welcomes report on 21st century learning

Wednesday, 19 December 2012, 10:57 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government

19 December 2012
Media Statement
Government welcomes report on 21st century learning environments and digital literacy
Education Minister Hekia Parata has welcomed the Education and Science Select Committee’s report on the inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy.
“I recognise the changes happening in the education sector as a result of access to new technologies and greater access to online learning. The way our children learn today, let alone the classrooms children learn in, are very different to the classrooms many parents learnt in and they will continue to evolve and change. We want all our kids to be leaving school with the skills they need to reach their potential in a modern economy. 
“Our Government is aware of that and that’s why one of the first things we did when we came into Government was to invest in ultra-fast broadband infrastructure which will allow our schools to be connected to the best online resources in the world.
We are investing nearly $200 million over five years in connecting schools to ultra-fast broadband. By 2016, 97.7 per cent of schools will receive ultra-fast broadband connections enabling speeds of 100 Mbps. The remaining schools, which are in the most remote locations, will receive a high speed wireless or satellite connection.
“We have also set aside up to $400 million over the next eight years to support the Network for Learning, a dedicated managed network for schools, which will run over the ultra-fast broadband infrastructure. The intention of Network for Learning is to provide schools with affordable, safe, ultra-fast internet access as well as a range of online content and centrally-procured services.
“We recognise that parents want to be able to participate in their children’s learning using these technologies, that’s why in Christchurch we are in the process of setting up digital online communities so communities can be more involved in the education renewal programme there.
“I am keen that more work is done to ensure that our education system better reflects 21st century learning and that children and teachers take full advantage of the digital learning opportunities and resources available to them. 
“I appreciate the time spent by the Select Committee in preparing this report, and the work and energy that has gone into it over the last eight months. I will now consider the report and the contribution it can make to our digital literacy work and respond in due course.’’

Friday, 21 December 2012

bugs in programming

I have decided to try something different next year and also take a leaf out of the software industry. I am going to pay for bugs in the programming textbook that we use. I am going to use the bug Bounty guidelines that Firefox have put in place
This will be my own bug bounty, but instead of money, I will be offering the rare chocolate fish as payment.
I have been working on twitter to find a supplier of chocolate fish, and the best I have so far is 40 for $25.

General Bounty Guidelines

Head Geek will pay a bounty for certain bugs, as detailed below. All bugs must follow the following general criteria to be eligible:
  • Bug must be original and previously unreported.
  • Submitter must not be the author of the buggy code nor otherwise involved in its contribution to the DTG project (such as by providing check-in reviews).
  • Students of the DTG course and its subsidiaries are ineligible.
Head Geek reserves the right to not give a bounty payment if we believe the actions of the reporter have endangered the security of the DTG.

If two or more people report the bug together the reward will be divided among them.

Payment will be a chocolate fish.


Please file a bug describing the bug. We encourage you to attach a "proof of concept" testcase or link to the bug that demonstrates the code fail. While not required, such a testcase will help us judge submissions more quickly and accurately.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

git and ncea

I have been thinking about this for a while and this year proved an issue when students were doing

there python assessment. Some students could have been using a versioning tool to help assist there development. When something went wrong it went wrong and the students were modifying the master file.

I get my students to save versions as they code, test and debug as a matter of course. I have tried to train them in this from level 1 through level2 and hoprfully they have the message in level3. Get a small part of program coded, tested and debugged and saved as version 1. Then save same code as version 2, and add in next bit. When debugged, save as version 3 and then add in next new bit. Means they always a good version to fall back on, if added bits crash their program. It''s just a technique I have tried to train them in.
have not used any specific software for version control.
I also try and get them to save on the school system as well as their USB so have a backup.... not always done though.....They learn the hard way.

Could something linke github be a good way for students to develop and get used to developing programming.
Now github has organisation accounts that we can apply for under our school login, this allows for 2 year accounts where students can develop and handin what they are doing. This would be long enough for students doing level 1 and level 2.
The micro accounts allow for 5 repositories, will this be enough for my students, through thinking about it, one for the tutorials and one for assessment each year only really looks at 4 repositories required in the mean time and one for them.

update: looks like i am ready for 2013, thank you github.
Hi *****,

I've gone ahead and upgraded your organization account to our Gold plan, giving you 50 private repositories for your students.

Please let me know if there's anything else I can do to help.

Spread the word -- We love giving free Micro accounts to students! Send them to:

update 2:
i have also been and applied to wingware to have there ide, they were a main sponsor of the pycon conference in dunedin. I found out that they have an education

Classroom Use

Wingware provides free licenses for students when Wing IDE Professional is being used to teach a course at a non-profit educational institution. For professional and corporate training courses, we can offer discount codes for attendees but not free licenses.

So i now have a number of licenses for the school and 6 month licenses for the students own BYOD so they can use it ask well.
I am also looking at wingware because it supports git, this is something that I want students to become familiar with. I just need to find out how to use git with github and private repositories based in a organisation.

cs4hs christchurch

I have been lucky enough to spend time for the second year with a great bunch of teachers looking at the emerging new standards around computer science in New Zealand. With the new Level 3 standards being made available in 2013 it is a chance to get together and talk about the new standard and what it means as well as looking more indepth at the topics that students can investigate.

Computer Science at year 13/level 3 looks at

  • Graphics and Visual Computing
  • Formal Languages
  • Intelligent Systems
  • Network Communication
  • Software Engineering
  • Complexability and Tractability 

Students need to be given a broad introduction to all of these areas, we will then investigate three of these and students can choose two of these to delve into and provide evidence for. this should provide a good avenue for students to get when looking at possible courses to do at University.

There are a number of videos that will be made available when they get them online. This will provide other teachers a way of seeing what we have. Though there are some which were not recorded. I would like to say a huge thank you to Jack for organising such a wonderful event.

There is the beginnings of a field guide being created to assist both students and teachers. Also it may look that I may have to delve into maths a bit more looking at matrixs.