A new journey in education

Archive for the ‘1 to 1 laptops’ tag

My frustration

with 2 comments

Today we ran another introduction to Moodle with only 4 people turning up. Extremely disappointing to say the least. From the lack of interest shown in Moodle and other educational digital technologies, what are the students going to make of their laptops if their teachers can not use the technology?

I find it so frustrating given that it is not the DET holding things up it’s the teachers yet they complain that the DET has not prepared them. So many people have sat on their hands and watched the last 20 years go by. How can anyone say they do not use email today? Email is almost 40 years old, have they used the older Fax  variant?(nearly 50 years old) My other frustration is that they have been in-serviced to the hill on how to use technology in the classroom yet so many continue to write it on a board or have it copied from a text book. Personally I only started using computers and associated technologies on starting University in 2003 (I have only been teaching since 05). No one gave me a paid in-service I had to teach myself and still do. Its about here I could go on a tangent about the pay scale, what a laugh that is.

I think I’m going to stop this rant here, because I know I am going to insult some one and thats not my intention.

The laptops started rolling out today. You should have seen the lucky kid’s at lunch laptop in hand, smiles from ear to ear keen to get to work. Only problem is their teachers are living in the 80’s.

Written by theMolisticView

September 16th, 2009 at 8:48 am

Posted in Challenges

Tagged with , , , ,

DET DER Software

without comments

The DET DER software package is huge!!! I forgot to mention in my last post that the software of the revolution is now available for staff to purchase under the DET license for home computers.

It is available via the ICT section of the intranet and the DET’s external provider of software to staff (SI Group). Both Adobe and Microsoft have separate license agreements.

The Adobe suite is huge and a mega saving. For $93.50 you get the entire CS4 Master Collection plus Captivate, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. Just the Master Collection would cost you close to $5,000 (currently advertised for $2,500 US). The Microsoft software is a lot cheaper at $39 for each selection. They offer more than Office as well so take a good look at what they offer and remember that the DET is not going to switch to Office 2010 for a long time.

I ordered my copies this time last week and they were delivered to school by Monday afternoon. Now that is the fastest I’ve seen anything move out of the DET!!

Just a warning though, if you intend on loading the Adobe Mater Collection you will need to ensure that your computer is up for the task. You will need a pretty smart machine to have hassle free running, something like 2GB RAM and a fairly large processor. If you find that you need to update your windows machine I would suggest you wait if you can and allow for Windows 7 to come out and quieten down then purchase a machine. These newer machines with Windows 7 will better than one you would buy today with that Vista thing on them.

An upside to purchasing and installing the Adobe software is that after you register your product, Adobe emails you a list of freebies to choose from. The pick of these I would say is the package. This provides a months free access to what is one of the best on line education libraries there is. They have plenty of series’s on the whole Adobe range from beginners to the advanced.

Written by theMolisticView

September 3rd, 2009 at 7:54 am

DER in-service

with 3 comments

You just got to love that name, someone is laughing hard somewhere.

I went to a regional DER in-service on Thursday. My main interest at the in-service was the DET blogging tool. Unfortunately there was only 6 of us interested so that was not run instead we got to see some screen shots. It looks quiet bland and unexciting from the screenshots. Not sure what the kids will make of it.

In association with the blogging tool, there was a lot of talk about centralising every thing. Even Moodle. The reason given was to assist all of us teachers and stop us  from reinventing the wheel. I’m all for stopping the wheel but I am not a big fan of centralisation. I am big on individuality.

Having kept a watchful eye on Curriculum support, TALe and CLI there was not much to take away for me on these presentations. The DER regional presentation seemed to me to be a lot of smoke and mirrors given the problems we have had at my school with the whole wireless and TSO.

The ITD presentation was aimed at computer coordinators who were few in number. The main thing I took away from this was that the Adobe and the new 2007 Office suites are now available for all schools to load on their T4L machines. The only hitch is how old your machines are as to which Adobe package you can run (there are three to choose from). I thought the whole T4L was dead as of this year but as I learnt it is only the software associated with T4L that has gone. So if your school has T4L machines which are nearing the end of their warranty it is time to replace them. The new T4L lenovo’s though will not come with the new software. The new software for the new machines will be available this time next year. The ITD also mentioned new costs associated with upgrading the interactive classroom technology (phone, remote controls etc.), it will cost each school $1,500 to upgrade but if you purchase a new room setup the cost is not different to before?? go figure.

There was an Adobe presentation as well, lots of oooo’s and arrrrh’s with all the toys on display. These guy’s know how to make it all look so easy.

After lunch there were four in-services, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Premiere Elements, Microsoft Office 2007 and Smart board training for beginners. I got switched to the office one which was a bummer, it hasn’t changed that much. At the end I asked the regional head if they were going to offer any high end Adobe training, the response shocked me a little when he said ‘can you put something together’.

So hopefully in the near future I will get to the blogging in-service and see what is coming.

Written by theMolisticView

August 28th, 2009 at 11:57 am

So this cloud computing thing……

without comments

You may be asking why is this guy going on so about cloud computing.

To start how many times has this happened in your class,

  • I can’t open my USB Sir/Miss.
  • I thought I saved it!
  • My directory ifs full.
  • The computer say’s I’m not connected to the network!

More times than anybody likes to admit right.

Admittedly with students from Year 9 this year and on for at least three years (the federal money runs out), will not have these excuses because their netbook has 100GB of disk space and goes where ever they take it.

But what happens when the netbook die’s for what ever reason and their work is lost forever? It can not be retrieved, it has vanished like the money on wall street over the past 18 months. As everyone who owns a computer knows, you can not back up your files enough. Be it locally, on a variety of external devices and now on a variety of file sharing sites (the cloud).

Don’t get me wrong what the department has done and is doing is great, the new MyLocker (see my previous post), will be a great benefit for those who have small files. But what about the students like the ones I teach. I teach industrial technology multimedia and many of my students also study visual arts subjects which also require large files. The smarter ones will save their Photoshop, Flash, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, video files and more right through until they have finished year 12 because they know they may need them for HSC. Then they also need to save similar files of similar size for their visual arts subjects as well. If they can not afford the external hardware, where are they to back up their work for future use?

May be one file sharing service is not the answer, as Darcy Moore alluded to  in his post on Google docs (see Darcy’s post here). The only problem is that Google docs is only currently available for staff. Wouldn’t this be a great asset for teachers and students to share without the bounds of the portal? YouTube was recently made available though again only for staff. If you want for your students to interact with a particular video you have found, they have to wait till they get home and use the family computer (YouTube will be blocked on the netbooks). Of course the department says you can add your screen casts to ITunes. But I am not a fan of reinventing the wheel if it is easily available else where without breaking copyright laws through illegal downloads and re-distribution.

Another opportunity which is not cloud related is that of blog’s, for teacher, students and parents. Currently teachers have access to edublog’s and WordPress as do years 11 -12.  But what about the students who will benefit from blog’s and there own PLN’s in this years netbook roll out and the  year 8 cohort near Christmas. Personally I am looking into including WordPressMu as part of my schools website so teachers and students can interact with each other’s blog’s while at school (portal issue’s again), and they can share with their parents later. Darcy Moore had an interesting discussion on the purpose of school web site last week (see Darcy’s post here).

Well thats what I think. What about you guy’s?

Written by theMolisticView

August 8th, 2009 at 9:35 am

News from the intranet

with one comment

Today[Friday 7th] I decided with my little free time to stumble over to the DER page on the intranet page and see if there was anything new going on. The August bulletin had just been released with new information to fill in some of the blanks and questions some of us had with the introduction of the laptops (which we should be calling netbooks, but anyway).

  • Files on the cloud. Every student and teacher will have access to MyLocker which will have a capacity of … wait for it 2 GB. Seriously folks are they kidding, 2GB is not enough for online secure storage. A blog has 3GB. With students and teachers using captivate, flash, producing video content,  2 gig will disappear fast. A cheaper option (believing that cost can be the only valid reason behind the size), would be to supply sizable external hard drives. It is a start though.
  • Information packs for Year 9 parents will be distributed to schools from the 21st of August. The pack includes a magazine for parents, the laptop user charter and a welcoming letter from Julia Gillard. Schools receive additional resources for parent information sessions.
  • Printing services will be established at each school. This will be a big job for each schools individual TSO.

Teacher laptops and internet access

This were big brother comes in, while filtering is disabled at home for teachers (student machines at this point are filtered), all internet activity will be logged on teacher laptops and can be queried at a later date and teachers will be held accountable against the code of conduct and employer communication devices staff use policy.

So not long now till the mayhem begins 🙂

Written by theMolisticView

August 8th, 2009 at 6:15 am