theMolisticView

A new journey in education

Archive for the ‘Cloud’ tag

Chaplain’s versus Laptops

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The Digital Education Revolution is dead; its death will take place sometime in December 2011 when Kevin Rudd’s original promise is reached and all that will be left is 20 million dollars of support for infrastructure for a two year period. At the same budget reading we heard about a nation wide drive for Chaplains in schools. Where did we as educators go wrong? I have strong memories from 1985 at high school of scripture class as it was called at the time and the issues that caused for those students who did or did not attend. Why is it back and Federal supported and funded at what blatantly appears to be at the cost of future proofing the nation and my retirement?

The death of the revolution will hurt me and teachers who, like me teach Computer Science based subjects. We teach the students how to use the trucks (thanks to Steve Jobs for that gem) that drive the worlds computing. The revolution in NSW brought equity to schools and their students. In NSW the revolution saved me from having to win a fight with my English faculty over spending $20,000 on the full Adobe Creative Suite which I was never going to win. It provided my students with a computer that was not restrained by what is now a 10 year old operating system which is XP, which by the way still has a massive strangle hold on my region which I cannot explain when other regions in NSW already are running the same hardware on Windows 7 and they could take them home and continue to work and learn through complex problems. What makes it even more painful is that this years cohort where the most excited since the revolution began and realised from the start of the limitations of their new learning tool.

These fore mentioned trucks (destop PC’s) have continued funding under T4L and wont be disappearing anytime soon, the only question mark over the T4L is the extra software contracts NSW picked up as part of the revolution and what is their expiry date.

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Windows Phone 7 Standard Applications and more…

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Windows Phone 7 comes with plenty of standard applications and features some of which I have already mention liked the Windows Live ID integration and Xbox Live if you have an account.

I’ll start by naming the worst application the phone has in my opinion, Internet Explorer. Now Microsoft said a long time ago that IE on the phone would be a mix of IE 6 and 7 made suitable for phone and would be updated over time once IE 9 has been officially launched and integrated into the phone. So I guess we can live with that for now, I just hope we do not have to wait a year.

Other standard applications which live on the start screen are Xbox Live, Zune, and the email accounts. So everything else lives to the right of the start screen as I mentioned in my last post:

  • Alarms
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Camera
  • Games
  • Hotmail
  • Internet Explorer
  • Maps (Bing Maps)
  • Marketplace
  • Messaging
  • Zune music and videos
  • Office
  • Outlook
  • People
  • Phone
  • Pictures
  • Settings

So more then enough to get started.

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October 31st, 2010 at 11:55 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 Acrobat.com (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.

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March 25th, 2010 at 9:43 am

So this cloud computing thing……

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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?

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August 8th, 2009 at 9:35 am

News from the intranet

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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 WordPress.com 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 🙂

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August 8th, 2009 at 6:15 am