Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Developing a sense of change

I have been working on a project for the last week to help assist the Physical Education teachers in developing a Journal for participation in sport.
This has been going since Term One and was developed using Google Forms, but there are some issues that we face with this. One of this being the ability to make changes to the form after it is submitted. Students take a long time to write anything and when the bell goes they are gone, work half finished. We needed a way for a student to save work and be able to go back and edit it.

The standard is AS90962.
90962Participate actively in a variety of physical activities and explain factors that influence own participation5 creditsInternal
The standard is available here

AS90962: Participate actively in a variety of physical activities and explain factors that influence own participation

Updated March 2014. This document has been updated in its entirety to address new issues that have arisen from moderation.

Explain factors that influence own participation

Using ongoing reflection, student responses must provide an explanation of the most relevant factors that influence their own participation.
The explanation should include:
  • what the factor is
  • how and why the factor influences own participation
  • specific examples of how the factor influences own participation in the chosen physical activity
  • a range of factors.
There is no step up required for the explanation.

Participate actively

Students need to participate actively in a variety of physical activities over a period of time.
For Excellence, students must consistently show a high level of effort and engagement in participation. This must include students’ regular contributions to support others to be active and/or showing a sustained effort to improve. Refer to the exemplars for examples of how the practical evidence may be interpreted.

Collection of evidence

Teacher verification of students’ active participation in a variety of physical activities over a period of time is required, for example, over the whole year or at least one term. Required evidence should include observational notes, verified self or peer assessment and/or teacher recording sheets.
The teacher may consider validated self and peer observation sheets as additional evidence to support judgements.

Interpretation of evidence for Merit and Excellence

When interpreting the evidence collected, it should be noted that the step up between Merit and Excellence is on the consistency of the criteria for a high level of effort and engagement in participation.

Overall judgement

A holistic judgement should be made as to whether or not the student has participated actively/participated actively with a (consistently) high level of effort and engagement in a variety of physical activities, rather than quantitative marks such as 80% participation to achieve with Merit. 

Going through the standard, I find this

See further details in the curriculum statement

Although it seems that that is an essential part of the resource material for the subject. But if it is they really need to fix the site up.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

School timetables, are they working for our modern students?

The purpose of the New Zealand education system is to equip all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful citizens. Educational curriculum should meet the needs and current demands of the culture, the society, and the expectations of the population being served. To achieve this vision, the Government directs what students should learn through its national curriculum.

In our rapidly changing world, continually updating school curricula ensures that the next generation is fully equipped to function well in society. There is a growing need for specialised training for certain career pathways, which requires more formal training. This has created greater demand for greater pre-professional and/or vocational education in secondary school, to help ensure a smooth transition into on-going education, training or work.

The New Zealand Curriculum
The New Zealand Curriculum is the statement of official policy relating to teaching and leading in New Zealand schools. It sets out the vision and principles that are the foundations of decision-making in school curriculum. Schools are required to base their curriculum on the principles of the Curriculum, to encourage and model the values, and to develop the key competencies at all year levels. The key competencies identified in the curriculum are:
  • thinking
  • using language, symbols, and texts
  • managing self
  • relating to others
  • participating and contributing

The curriculum also specifies eight learning areas
  • English
  • the arts
  • health and physical education
  • learning languages
  • mathematics and statistics
  • science
  • social sciences
  • technology

The learning associated with each of these areas us part of a broad, general education and lays the foundation for later specialisation. 

Under the National Administration Guidelines, the national curriculum is compulsory until Year 10, so schools are required to provide subjects that relate to the learning areas above and are compulsory for all students.

Currently, secondary schools in New Zealand provide a mixture of compulsory and elective  subject choices. For Year 9 and 10 students “core” compulsory subjects include mathematics, english, science, social studies, technology and health and physical education. 

School curricula must keep up-to-date with the continuous evolution of knowledge and technological change, so students and fully equipped to function well in society.
Specific issues have come up in the last few year relate dot the Global Financial Crisis, and the economy shifting away from the traditional production sectors, school curricula may not be developing the skills and knowledge to meet these challenges. Specific issues perceived as being important to address include:
a lack of financial education
failing participation and academic performance in “core” subjects such as science or mathematics
ensuring students have the skills to keep up with rapid technological innovation
“citizenship” classes to improve participation and contribution to society
environment and sustainability pressures.

Reasons for compulsory subjects
Compulsory subjects exist because the learning areas in which they belong are regarded as fundamental to building the key competencies of students. Some reasons for making some secondary school subjects compulsory include:
The perception that many students do not always know what might be best for their future learning or employment. This is highlighted by the shortage of skilled professionals in certain employment areas, and the comparative over supply in others.
There is a concern that current subject choices (and even achievement standards within subjects) by secondary schools could have a negative impact on our ability to replace our existing pool of science and Digital technologies professionals. A high level of knowledge in these learning areas is essential to developing a career in some professions. While to a degree this knowledge can be used at university, it is important that a “foundational” knowledge is developed at secondary school. 
Some knowledge is also essential for people to engage in public debates as informed citizens. 

Reasons for freedom of subject choice
Subject choice in schools is consistent with the principle of “self directed learning”, in which students decide what learning areas they have an interest in and would like to develop further skills and knowledge.

Greater freedom in subject choice in linked with greater student satisfaction, and higher performance at secondary school.

Somethings that need to be considered:
What key competencies and knowledge will students require to be successful in the modern workforce?
What key competencies and knowledge will students require to ensure they will be able to make decisions about complex social, economic and technological issues?
How important are subjects such as science, maths, digital technologies in modern society?
Should more subjects be compulsory? If so, which ones?
Should students have more choice about the subjects that they take currently? If so, which subjects shouldn’t be compulsory?

three years

It has now been three years I have been at the school. The classroom block I am in is now considered to be structurally safe and will stay. The classroom I am in is still the same as I entered it three years ago. Something has to change.

I was told no money would be spent on the rooms when I arrived as they did not know how much damage had been done from the earthquakes. Something that I am reminded of every day I am in the classroom block with reinforcing steel supporting the stairways that we use to gain access to the 1st Level, as well as the plasterwork in the office that I use as a base of operations.

I wish for them to remove a piece of old learning environments, the plynth at the front of the classroom, where once stood priests teaching lessons in a classroom. The computer LAB I am in still has one of those as well as it still has the french textbooks that used to support the priest when he was teaching in the room, these are in cupboards at he back of the room.

I wish to have my ankles heal rather than get the edge of the corner poking me every time I forget when walking backwards. I wish to not worry about wheeling back in my chair and not failing from a height onto the floor in front of the students. I wish to have space for change in the environment of the class.

At teh moment my classroom is a W shape with no way to walk around in a circle, makes for monitoring students behaviour and tasks quite difficult. I wish to have a classroom that wasn't designed by a non digital technologies teacher, I wish to have a classroom, not a LAB.

One where students can work together on tasks, rather than individually, one where the room could be reconfigured for different lessons. My students never look at the whiteboard, instead they are looking at a wall or out a window. The projector is also at the front of the class, something in which students hear, yes its loud, but never really look at. Maybe a couple of 60" monitors could go where the students are looking, maybe they will see what they are supposed to be doing.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Development - learning support

It has been a while since I went through and created the subject choice system, something that is now defunct as the Student Management Systems have now got into the act of adding these into their systems.

So what to do during this time?
Learning Support SAC Assessment System
I had the head of learning support come and see me about one of their current systems at school. This involves logistics, this was due to one of the students in my class suggesting that this be achievable within half an hour, not quite.
1. Students doing NCEA are supported through as Student Assessment Condition, this could involve a Reader, Writer, Extra Time or Computer to assist with their assessment. We have a large number of students who have SAC Conditions attached to them. What is required is a management system to assign a helper to each of these students with an SAC. At the moment this is all done through a whiteboard in the Learning Support Room. They loose access to their whiteboard for normal teaching and learning. Helpers have to come in and see what is available.

Design an online solution that allows helpers to access the system online and assign themselves to help.

What starts off as a easy solution,

Developing a visual reporting system?
This is only just starting as a conversation and would require drag and drop capabilities.

Level One PE Assessment Support System
Students need to keep a number of entries for NCEA Level 1, based upon a number of questions.
This needs to be easy to fill in, journal like, students need to be able to save and edit later on.
We started using Google Forms for this, however, students can't go back and change an entry, as well as they can't remember what entry they are up to.
We can use the existing data through google forms, based upon date/times and students possible entry data.
Need to have a way to show all 10 entries, Students wrote a couple of years ago the code that would assist a function of this, multiple checkboxes, with a field of data. This was done with the BYOD survey that we carried out.
Need to look at this code again and see how we can do some of the questions.

Needs to be as simple as Google Forms.
Teacher needs to access the system, have one input box on the right hand side to enter feedback on. Could be done through an iframe?
I need to have access to the google form and spreadsheet to see what I can develop, based upon teh information already.

image server

Been looking at an image server running at school, am looking at using piwigo as the gallery base.

This will be running on a ubuntu server.

ImageMagick is an open source software suite for displaying, converting, and editing raster image files. It can read and write over 200 image file formats (for a full list of formats supported, one could execute: identify -list format). ImageMagick is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license.
Here comes the small tutorial which tell you how to install imagemagick for PHP in Ubuntu or Debian.
Run the following command from putty or box shell of your server.
sudo apt-get install imagemagick --fix-missing
and then run the following command to install imagemagick for php
sudo apt-get install php5-imagick
Finally you need to restart your web-server, if you are using Apache, run the following command
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
If you are using PHP-FPM instead of Apache2 then restart it by following command
sudo /etc/init.d/php5-fpm restart
ImageMagick is installed in your server os and will now be able to run on PHP as well.