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Archive for the ‘Digital Exams’ Category

Windows 8 is coming in November and we still have XP

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I have been watching the Windows Weekly podcast for nearly 2 years on both generations of Apple Tv. Paul Thurrott and Leo Laporte do an excellent job explaining the news from Microsoft.

On his site and to a degree in this weeks podcast Paul delves into the soon to be released Windows 8 OS. As a prominent Microsoft enthusiast and a journalist Paul is given early access to future releases of Microsoft products. Windows 8 is the latest Microsoft system of which he has access. As can be seen in a post yesterday on The Windows Supersite Windows 8 is very close to a public Beta release with some interesting new features including the “ribbon everywhere”.

This leads to the title of my post, we have to be one of Microsofts largest partners in the Asia-Pacific region if not the world. Our DER laptops had the first official release of Windows 7. Why are we still on XP in the classroom and 2003 for our local server technology?

My place of work is about to install a new Windows server which will be remotely managed. Problem is it will only be Server 2003 which will not support Windows 7 and beyond. Windows XP is over 10 years old! how can that still be in place? Many of the new Microsoft products from Office to Visual Studio and IE 9 are not supported fully or at all on XP, why do we still have it when we have such a partner in Microsoft?

Next year looks like the students will have Windows 8 on their laptops and we as teachers will still have XP in our computer rooms.

If your situation is different to mine I would like to hear about it.

Written by themolisticview

April 3rd, 2011 at 1:21 am

2nd year of electronic exams

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In a recent blog post Darcy Moore titled Pen & Paper exams. At the time I commented on my personal experience last year when I chose to have my HSC Multimedia class answer their half yearly exam with a word processed document (

This year’s HSC half yearly exam period at my school coincided with my recent trip to Sydney for the Adobe Refresh event, so I chose to have this years class complete their exam while I was away.

The way I have delivered this task in the past is to have the students open a BOS HSC exam as a PDF and answer the questions in a Word document, which when completed they email to me. This year though with myself being out of school I chose to use the classes  Edmodo page for delivery of the exam document with the assignments feature, which the students then upload their finished exam.

Unfortunately as it turns out I had decided earlier not carry my laptop to the city. My main reasoning for this at the time was because of the troubles I have been having with Vodafone’s 3G wireless network, so I would use my Edmodo app on my iPhone to keep track of proceedings back in the classroom. So with this in mind I had uploaded the exam and instructions to Edmodo the night before at around 2.30am.

Year 12 were due in class at 1.15 pm. Just as 1.05 ticked my phones email sound rang down George Street. 1 student it appears had jumped the class and gone in early against the instructions given them the day earlier. I received one more alert email just on 1.15 pm asking a question which could only be asked if the person had read the exam.

When I arrived at school the next morning my head teacher explained that even more silliness had ensued in the classroom. I down loaded and looked at several of the exams and noticed that the more reliable students in the class had been erratic in their responses to what would normally be easy to answer questions for them. On this evidence I decided that they would re-sit the exam the following Friday, I duly went the process of notifying all parties that the exam would be conducted again and what the rules for the exam were.

So Friday came and went and on the surface the majority of the class did as I expected from last years experience and answered more questions in more depth than they had in their Preliminary yearly exam by pen & paper. So given all the upheaval this year I am still committed to delivering my exams to my technology classes in this manner.

Looking to the future though, I will try to find more time to develop my own PDF version of exams which uses buttons to select multiple choice answers, text boxes for short and long responses and based on this year, only deliver the exam in person.

Written by themolisticview

March 23rd, 2011 at 9:26 am

An amazing thing happened today by chance

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Today being back at school after the SWSR inspire 2010 conference threw up a challenge and an opportunity.

To start the day, I decided to use my 3G wireless instead of the DET network for my internet so I could follow my PLN on Twitter during my HSC Multimedia class.

The challenge that arose was the printing of a previous years HSC exam had not been completed in my absence. I am not sure if I heard some one at the conference mention that electronic exams were moving forward or not but I had this idea floating around in my thoughts as soon as I knew I did not have the hard copies of the exam.

I went to class and explained to the students that their exam had not been printed on time and that I was going to give them two options to choose from.

  1. Go to the Board of Studies website and download the PDF version of the exam, then complete their answers in a Word.doc which at the end of the lesson they are to email to me. Or..
  2. Having downloaded the exam, write their answers by hand on paper.

Out of the small class of 8 students (2 of whom decided they had something better to do), only one chose to write out their answers. This choice was not a surprise to me, this particular student has never enjoyed typing on a computer. Yet if you saw her work, be it in Multimedia, Photography, Art and Music you would think she would be a natural at writing on a computer.

In a quiet classroom under exam conditions as a teacher you soon realise who is off the exam just fumbling their way through it. One of the students was this exact type, though to my surprise while observing the students, this student was focused and typing away at the answers.

Having logged on to Twitter earlier I quickly tweeted what I had done with the exam and what I was seeing happen with the students. Quickly my PLN was tweeting back at me.

@deangroom was the first: @theMolisticView which is exactly how to win the game. Read @teacherless blog on feedback. He’s a smart guy for a Horde.

He followed up with: @theMolisticView lit says that typed exams yeild better writing. It feels more important not being in your own hand.

@benpaddlejones tweeted: @theMolisticView there is some gr8 research showing 1:1 improves literacy because they acn write more and remodle on the hop

With these responses I decided to ask the students some questions once they had finished about the experience of completing an exam electronically.

Their responses where very positive. The only grip one student had was “looking back at the space on the exam to answer the question, I wrote far to much in my response. But I think my answer to that question and the others will be better Sir.” This particular student was the Dux of year 10 2 years ago.

Having looked briefly over their exams during a busy day, all I have to say is WOW. What an amazing transformation. Now this could be a one off fluke, but even the girl who I mentioned earlier who is normally lacking in engagement when it comes to completing theoretical work had actually answered all the questions and to a much higher standard then she has ever achieved in the past two years.

With the result from today I have decided that I am going to make year 10’s yearly exam an Acrobat PDF Form and host it on (which I hope is still available through the DET). it will be interesting to see how they respond to exams held in this fashion.

What do you think of this concept. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Written by themolisticview

March 25th, 2010 at 9:43 am