Wednesday, 30 January 2013

presenting - informing the community

With the changes around the new Zealand curriculum and the development of the digital technologies strands at ncea level 1, 2 and 3. We have a specific programming and computer science strand. With ncea level 2 and 3 looking at python as a preferred language.
The university of otago and the university of Canterbury have been helping provide resources. With the introduction of an online marking program called pycode as a moodle plugin to help students develop there understanding of python. How can the python community help us?

Monday, 28 January 2013

boarders dinner

Can boarders rate their dinner, how about crowdsourcing a rating. This is a project that I am working on giving a student.

The dinners at the boarding hostel are a six week rotation. With the work that was done by and her story about school dinners I have been thinking. I have a student who needs a project this year on databases, what would happen if he posted the school dinner up, what it was and got his fellow students to rate it. What else could we find out...

I understand there was an issue about the dinners last year, but it was handled the wrong way. This would be hosted on a server within the school, the student would have to create the software/website all by term 2 to get this working.

Rating and a comment would do... though I am wondering if we record ip address just to stop multiple postings during the dinner

Simple enough? This can be a relational database? Based upon the information from the standard it looks like it will be ok. There is going to be data updated from at least one table. There is going to have to be an edit based upon the information page if he enters something wrong.

How is he going to get access/information to what dinner is? Do we just do dinner or lunch as well?

Do we lock it down to a password or access time?

How the students feeling that day, their attitude, or do we just keep it simple.

Now I need to find out how to submit a photo...

Needs to average out the rating, use a star system, what rating, 1-10 or 1-5

specifications, must work on a ipod touch
must be informative,
must be able to see previous meals, though cannot vote for them.
comments are hidden from view
only able to see the rating

Friday, 18 January 2013

'Major flaw' spurs call for IT course review

'Major flaw' spurs call for IT course review

New secondary school computing courses designed to create more highly skilled workers are proving too hard for many students and teachers.
Now worried principals are calling for a review of the curriculum as IT experts predict a "major dilemma" ahead unless the training and recruiting of teachers are improved.
Computer course numbers have dropped since the new curriculum was introduced in 2011, mainly because earlier courses, which focused on basic skills, were considered a "bum class" for students wanting to pick up easy NCEA credits.
The new curriculum, which focuses on computer programming and web design, is much more advanced.
As a result, less able students are dropping out, while brighter ones are not signing up because the subject is still considered an easy option.
Secondary Principals' Association president Patrick Walsh backed the call for a curriculum review, saying the courses are too hard and there needs to be a wider range of standards available.
"One teacher in our school, who I would regard as being quite savvy in ICT, has said some of the standards are equivalent to a level 2 paper at university.
"So that's quite out of step with what we would normally expect year 13 students to have to do."
Waikato University computer science PhD student Michael Walmsley Jr said the idea that studying ICT was a "waste of time" or for "geeks and nerds" needed to change.
Students starting secondary school this year have not lived in a world without the internet. Most have been raised with laptops, smartphones, video games and social media.
And, according to Moore's Law, computer technology will quadruple in power by the time these students finish high school in 2017.
"We accept that it's an evolving area of technology, it's really important for our economy," Mr Walmsley said.
The Institute of IT Professionals New Zealand chief executive, Paul Matthews, was on the expert panel that developed the new curriculum.
He said ICT, which is a $19.3 billion industry in New Zealand, was expanding at a rapid rate and that it was essential schools were equipping students with the skills to fill the growing number of jobs.
"The technology industry as a whole is growing at a great pace and the export side of the industry has got massive potential.
"But the No 1 thing that's holding back industry is the fact that we just simply can't get enough people with the right skills."
A major flaw in the implementation of the new curriculum was the lack of resources provided by the Ministry of Education for training and recruiting capable teachers, he said.
Many schools had been unable to offer the new curriculum at all NCEA levels because of a shortage of staff with the skills to teach it.
"We see a major dilemma approaching in that there's not enough teachers now, a bunch of them are retiring and no effort's really gone in to finding more," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

minecraft in education

A school make minecraft compulsory in education

A Swedish school has made headlines, first at home and then abroad, by making super-popular build-em-up video game Minecraft compulsory for students aged 13.

Video games don't have to teach reading, writing or arithmetic to be educational. There's a strong argument that the best examples wear their educational merits lightly. Minecraft, which lets players share a procedurally generated world, and fill it with constructions built lovingly and painstakingly out of a variety of texture mapped cubes, is a stellar example. It inspires thought and creativity without repelling players with rote learning, rigid structure, or the fusty whiff of the classroom.

Minecraft's potential to inspire has been widely recognized, of course; not least by its makers, Mojang. Its commitment to a free edition of the game for the cheap-as-chips Raspberry Pi computer, itself an educational tool with enormous potential, has been rightly lauded.

Now, according to Swedish news sources, the Viktor Rydberg school in Stockholm has put Minecraft on the curriculum for its 13-year-old students. "They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future," Viktor Rydberg teacher Monica Ekman told English-language The Local. "It's not any different from arts or woodcraft," she added.

It's not as if Minecraft has replaced one of the core subjects on the school's timetable. This is merely something the school's students will do for a while when they're 13. But it sounds like Minecraft lessons might be a long-term fixture. "It’s been a great success and we’ll definitely do it again," Ekman said, while also noting that some parents were initially troubled.

It may be an isolated example, but it's fascinating to see the benefits ofMinecraft, or indeed any commercially successful video game, recognized formally by a school – even one in progressive Scandinavia.

Source: The Local

editors comment: I wonder how this could be used in school, I would love to see a copy of what they have planned and how it works.

Monday, 14 January 2013

servers and content management systems

This has been something i have been looking at for a while,

I am now looking at this a lot more now as I have been watching a developer at work today while he has been fixing a mobile website that is using jquery mobile. He is using it to display results for a competition that I am currently at.

I think this would be a welcome addition to the media side of the course.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

programming and moodle - coderunner

I am waiting for a new version of the programming compiler for moodle, we started using one last year with mixed results as it was for python 2.7.?, however we were programming in python 3.

There is a coding effort going on during these holidays to bring it up to python 3.

Monday, 7 January 2013


This is something that I would like to see more of,

This is one blog that I will have to follow more of

course confirmation

One of the things most schools do at the beginning of the year is to confirm the subjects that the students are wishing to take. This normally involves every senior student coming into school and saying yes, or ok, I did not get what I aimed for in my previous year and now need to look at an alternative course.
Why is this such a laboursome task. Schools get the results that same time students do, they see that students have obtained the requirements in the subjects, yet they are called in anyway to sign off there course. 
one thing I have worked on for the past two years is a simple course conformation app, it allows students to go in and say yes they have meet the requirements of the course, the students can make the choice and the school can check it against the information they have. You only have to deal with the students who have timetable issues and missed obtaining the grades required. Saves time and energy and you work with the students you need to.

Things I have notice with the schools that have done this. They have good timetable planning, they work as a team from teachers, deans and admin and work before school finishes to plan students courses. They have confidence in the idea. Be it that one of the schools I worked with last year now has removed course confirmation.

Schools that are starting to think outside the box and use technology.