Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Term 2 Post

I decided not to write anything to the google that I belong to over the holidays. This has been a struggle as I normally post 1-3 items a day. I decided to give it a rest. However, it means that there is a lot to focus on when I get back on Monday. So, I have decided to use the my blog as a way to start to put together the information.

NZACDITT April News?

First CS4HS

Announced on the http://cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/cs4hs site is the three possible New Zealand CS4HS events this year. One in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

However, please note that there are differences.

Canterbury will run one that (like previous ones) is focused on the Computer Science and Programming Achievement standards, for teachers who are at beginner/intermediate level, so the discussions will be more focussed on getting started.

The Victoria one would be more general, looking more at areas of computer science that are of general interest, even if they are outside the standards (this is the model used for CS4HS overseas, and gives a broader view of the topic, which would be more suitable for those already teaching the standards.)

Unitec will also be running a CS4HS workshop this year, which is likely to cover mobile applications and devices, cyber-security, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Second, Electronics

It is important to remind people that there are five strands of Digital Technologies, Digital Information, Digital Media, Programming and Computer Science, Digital Electronics and Digital Infrastructure. 

Bill Collis from Mt Roskill Grammar School has made his entire teaching resource available, through http://techideas.co.nz, this is an expansive piece of work that show the commitment he has to the subject area. Courses ranging from Year 10 to Level 3 including Scholarship have been made available. Thank you Bill for making this work available.

Third Progression to Tertiary

As we know, there has been a large project by NZQA and IITP to look at the qualifications that our students could work towards at a tertiary level. This work seems to be coming to an end with some impressive results. It seems that have followed what happens with Senior Secondary and the Digital Technologies strands and aligned a lot of programmes to these. Rather hard when there are over 200 qualifications out there.

Fouth Promoting our subject - Digital Choices

Techlink have listened to what we had to say, I think they really didn't like it when we voiced our concern over the words Digital Technology... which should have been Digital Technologies. However, they have a rather impressive brochures now that will be useful at career evenings

New Futureintech brochure: Digital Choices
Front cover of digital choices brochureWe’ve recently published two new brochures about careers in engineering and IT – these are the two areas where there is the most confusion among students, teachers and parents/caregivers.
Written in consultation with industry and education stakeholders, the Digital Choices brochure provides in depth information about careers in the IT industry. We’ve created a diagram that gives an overview of tertiary qualification pathways, which reflects the new 14 qualification framework.
All of Futureintech’s print publications can be ordered online: www.futureintech.org.nz/order-form.cfm
We welcome your feedback on the brochures and qualification diagrams – please contact Megan Rodden, email: writer@futureintech.org.nz
Something else that can be given out at Careers evenings is the brochure from http://csanz.ac.nz/high-school/, which is the Computer Science Association of New Zealand. This brochure has good quotes and information on how each of the Universities see Digital Technologies - Computer Science and Programming and how it fits into their courses.

Fifth Brief Development

Craig Jefferies from Wakatipu College in Queenstown has been putting together resources to assist his students in the development of Digital Technologies projects. For those that have meet Craig at the various NZACDITT symposiums, he is a Technologist using Generic Technology and Digital Technologies Achievement standards together to create workable, sellable products. He has made these resources available through the NZACDITT website, 3.1 Brief Development, Year 9 and 10 Technology Resource
These are available through the NZACDITT website

Six External Standard Best Practice Checklist

With the release of the External Standards Report next week, I have been told that they will available the first week of Term 2. I know, please don't get me started. As we have all been told by our schools no doubt, to reflect on our results. The Best Practices Checklist is something that is worthwhile doing, something I do myself, all of the material I put together and have this wonderful book so I can look at the standard, the material and have it all in one place. It also reminds me of what I need to look for.

Seven Online moderation

Having just been through a moderation round at our school, it was pleasing to note that I was the only one that completed the online moderation, all of the others rushed to find work, bag and tag. This has been a no rush, no fretting exercise and was surprised how easy it went. For more information on how to do online moderation,  http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/about-us/publications/newsletters-and-circulars/assessment-matters/online-submission-of-moderation-materials/

Eight Digital Information

James Murfitt has produced a number of resources for use with teachers around the Digital Information Skills standards, Please note that these are not being presented as complete and perfect resources. This is what I created and used. I am not professing to be an expert, so I may have things wrong etc. However, I have put a lot of effort into these resources so thought that if someone else was struggling they could use them, or get ideas from them. www.teawamutucol.school.nz/DTC/index.htm
1.41, 2.41, 3.41
1.43 & 3.43

Nine Computer Science Club

Over the last few months we have been planning on how to restart the Computer Science Club in 2014 but also bring the learning experience to many more around the country due to the increasing demand. We have now changed focus and have joined forces with the New Zealand Institute of IT Professionals (IITP) to focus on developing a computer science badge system and supporting resources for school students that any club can run, instead of running a limited number of clubs in Christchurch.

We hope new and existing computer clubs in Christchurch and around the country will adopt this new system. These may be run during school lunchtimes, after school, at libraries, universities, or at workplaces in the IT industry. We will be helping establish these clubs around New Zealand, and once clubs start our website will list available clubs.

We aim to have several clubs running the Computer Science Badge system by the end of Term 2. Keep tuned to the website at www.computerscienceclub.org for more information over the coming weeks.

Thank you for your patience,

Jack Morgan and the rest of the Computer Science Education Research Group at the University of Canterbury


Friday, 25 April 2014

smart citizen update

I now have the Smart Citizen working, however there are two things I regret, one is not getting the solar panel, instead it is being hooked up to a USB charger to supply it power, the battery only lasted 11pm-3pm, which isn't enough for a days usage... The other was not getting the other enclosure. The one that I have I realise, is an indoor enclosure, which by the way came with no instructions on how to put together.

I have enjoyed getting the Smart Citizen working, and look forward to getting it working at school. With the idea of just using a sd card at this point. But, I have realised looking at the forum, this requires getting a battery to keep the clock going when it is turned off, else the date and time reset and I have useless data.

Smart Citizen are working on a feature that will allow me to upload the data from the card to their website, but at this point it is attach to an email and send them the file. Not that useful. It will be interesting to see how much data would be recorded in a day. Could be useful to talk to the students about how to store this data and access it.

I look forward to recording data for the rest of the year, however I am yet to figure out how to do this without a solar panel or a way to join it to our network-it doesn't do enterprise level wifi.

I would love to see how to develop this idea further, we have some free wifi areas within our city, I wonder if with some funding we could develop this for Digital Technologies secondary school students. .

This is the video from cisco live melbourne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spHx-GoABZs

developing sensing city, or develop a citizenship culture?

The more I think about the project, the more I start thinking broadly.

Are our trees mapped in Christchurch?

I have found this interesting website called, http://openplans.org/, all of there work is open source and available. Could this be the development of an interesting project for students to look at the concepts of developing a active online culture?

Linking two resources together

There has been a large project happening for a number of years, http://csunplugged.com, this project has simplified? the ideas of Computer Science for students. As I have heard it once called, making big words easy to understand.

All of these resources are linked to the New Zealand Curriculum. We need to have it out there that these resources exist, and can be used to help teach technology at lower levels of the curriculum.

There are twenty five tasks...
Binary Numbers
Image Representation
Text Compression
Error Detection
Information Theory
Searching Algorithms
Sorting Algorithms
Sorting Networks
Minimal Spanning Trees
Routing and Deadlock
Finite State Automata
Programming Languages
Graph Colouring
Dominating Sets
Steiner Trees
Information Hiding
Cryptographic Protocols
Public Key Encryption
Human Interface Design
The Turing Test
Phylogenetics Unplugged
Class Simulation of a Computer
Harold the Robot
Modems Unplugged
Santa's Dirty Socks

All of the ideas link to the Technology Achievement Objectives

How to develop a way to make this work...

UPDATE:  I have started to work out what links to what level in the Technology Achievement Objectives, and there are some that need some work on identifying what level they should be under.

Mathematics Level 1: Number strategies Use a range of counting, grouping, and equal-sharing strategies with whole numbers and fractions.
Error Detection 

Mathematics Level 1: Equations and expressions Communicate and explain counting, grouping, and equal-sharing strategies, using words, numbers, and pictures.
Image Representation, Error Detection 

Mathematics Level 2: Position and orientation Create and use simple maps to show position and direction.Image Representation Generalise that whole numbers can be partitioned in many ways.
Binary Numbers Find rules for the next member in a sequential pattern.

Binary Numbers Mathematics Level 3: Patterns and relationships Generalise the properties of addition and subtraction with whole numbers.

Binary Numbers Connect members of sequential patterns with their ordinal position and use tables, graphs, and diagrams to find relationships between successive elements of number and spatial patterns.

Binary Numbers Technology Level 1: Characteristics of technology Understand that technology is purposeful intervention through design.

Error Detection Technology Level 1:Technological systems Understand that technological systems have inputs, controlled transformations, and outputs.

Binary Numbers, Text Compression Technology Level 1: Characteristics of technological outcomes Understand that technological outcomes are products or systems developed by people and have a physical nature and a functional nature.

Error Detection Technology Level 3: Technological systems Understand that technological systems are represented by symbolic language tools and understand the role played by the black box in technological systems.
Binary Numbers, Image Representation, Text Compression, Error Detection

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Start with Code

Once in a while I come across an interesting resource, tonight its start with code. This seems to be a development within Australia.

It is interesting when you find resources like this, and start wondering, why there isn't the same shift starting in New Zealand.


There is a number of different aspects that can be looked at, Students, Parents, Teachers, and others.

START WITH CODE / Australia’s Innovation Generation

What is New Zealand's Innovation Generation?
One place I am starting to look at is the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. http://www.med.govt.nz/ this is the website for Economic Development Information?

ok, now I am at http://www.msi.govt.nz/ Which is the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
This website contains information on a range of science issues including funding, research and development, the science + innovation community, major projects and events. The site is owned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

I have now given up, trying to find, have resorted to tweeting them questions. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


I have been asked to do some work on STEM, the focus being on air.

Though there is a problem, where to start? Multi Level, and the theme being air.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Where would I start looking for resources to support this?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Smart Citizen

http://smartcitizen.me/ I was watching the CISCO Internet of things that is being presented in Melbourne today, one thing that interested me was, Smart Citizen.

Smart Citizen is a platform to generate participatory processes of the people in the cities. Connecting data, people and knowledge, the objective of the platform is to serve as a node for building productive open indicators and distributed tools, and thereafter the collective construction of the city for its own inhabitants.

The Smart Citizen project is based on geolocation, Internet and free hardware and software for data collection and sharing ( Smart Citizen Kit - SCK , RESTful api, Mobile App and, the web community

Now the reason I am interested in this is around the idea of sensing. There is a project in Christchurch that is looking at sensing city. www.sensingcity.org, this was presented to us last year at the Christchurch Mashup. Now the idea is simple enough.

One of these has now been ordered and we look for a place to install it at school.

Some interesting stuff here. I like what the author refers to the citizens http://blog.r-a-u-m.com/post/58999796007/what-it-takes-to-be-a-smart-citizen

The Smart Citizen project is what Living Cities and OpenPlans call Civic Tech.  They define “civic tech” as the use of technology by cities for service provision, civic engagement, and data analysis to inform decision making. Civic Tech has the potential to transform cities and the lives of their low- income residents. They’ve published a report about their field scan, where you can learn more about it.
This come through the CISCO Live event from Melbourne.

This has started off a number of ideas, one of these includes a STEM event 8-10th October at CPIT, where students can look at the theme Air.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sharing Digital Technologies resources

These are my thoughts and not that of a sensible human being in the last week of a twelve week term...

I experienced tonight a fundamental shift in understanding. The codeworx event in Christchurch was a wonderful experience that I heard great things about from those that attended the Auckland event. I was not disappointed. For those that are not in the two main centres of Te Ika-a-Maui and Te Waipounamu, videos will be made available soon through the Codeworx site. 

It is interesting that we look at programming as in software development only, tonight I was shown a tweeting pot plant... When I look at the code, and what it does in less that 40 lines, would be less if there wasn't commenting in it... but as we know if a student doesn't have commenting within their code it is a not achieved. However, the idea of student integrating different technologies http://vimeo.com/87051055, I understand there is a teacher resource being made available soon.

But it has me thinking, new ideas, a search of the internet and I find this.. http://www.engineering.geek.nz/sites/default/files/attachments/VUW%20Multifunction%20quiz%20board.pdf where has this been hidden all this time... what else out there exists to gain interest in our area, what hidden work is there for information, media, electronics and infrastructure. 

As I write this, I start seeing more ideas of digital technologies, an electric car competition http://evolocity.co.nz/ that not only looks at the development, but social media, video competition and a sound synthesiser competition (why you would need one of them with an electric car?). 

I look forward to seeing who the winner of the Media Design School create a hero competition is, entries need to be in this Friday. This seems to be a competition for year 9 and 10 each year, details are on the nzacditt.org.nz site.

The Bay of Plenty have just completed a mashupcompetition, 
1.     The Trustpower Best Mashup 2014: Equinox from Tauranga Boys’ College
2.     The Avonmore Best Technical Mashup: Equinox from Tauranga Boys’ College
3.     The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic best designed Mashup: Whakamashers 2 from Whakatane High School
4.     The Technology Wise best managed Mashup: Solid Impact from the Katikati Home School group
5.     The Wharf 42 best marketed Mashup: Ghillie Enterprises from Mount Maunganui College
6.     Bay of Plenty Regional Council prize for best use of open data: Victorious Secret from Mount Maunganui College

An amazing effort by the students at these school to incorporate what they are learning within the school into real world applications.

Its only term one...

Back to my original start.. if anyone has found resources like the engineering.geek.nz which has NCEA digital technologies assessment material, please let me know... (I think everyone knows about instant and eduwebb) its the other ones that we need to share...


Tonight was the launch for one of the countries first Digital Technologies competition. codeworx in Christchurch. This is the second year that it is running. With over 500 Raspberry Pi's in the hands of students throughout the country we look forward to what they come up with.