theMolisticView

A new journey in education

Archive for the ‘DER’ 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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Fireworks for DER NSW

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Shortly before term 1 holidays, I was asked if I could come up with a presentation concept for a conference coming later in the year. I racked my brain throughout the day, trying to workout what would be the technology basis for the presentation, I went home and still couldn’t narrow down on a concept which I thought would capture both teacher’s via the conference and then their students when the took the idea back to their school’s.

The next day back at school and it was time for one of my favourite classes, Year 12 Multimedia. During the lesson I noticed one of the less motivated students, still trying to piece together her design in PhotoShop. I went asked her, ‘what is the problem, you’ve been working on this for over 10 weeks’. Her answer was not as surprising as it may read given her interest, and class attendance during the course, ‘I am not confident in making the web site from scratch with only images and no starting code’. My short answer was for her to continue in PhotoShop with her design, so it was ready for the start of term 2.

At home later that night, I was going through an external hard drive and stumbled across a folder of videos from Lynda.com [When you purchase the Adobe software, a bonus on registering your product was a months free subscription to www.lynda.com]. I saw the folder named CS4_Fireworks, and it dawned on me, ‘hey theres a video in there of exporting a web page from an image mock-up’.

I opened the folder and started filtering through the videos, soon I came across the three which were of my memories. A quick search of http://www.adobe.com/devnet/ and there was more information about using Fireworks for producing web pages.

Now I have to profess, I only use three Adobe applications regularly. They are 1. PhotoShop 2. Acrobat Pro Extended 3. Flash. I rarely use any other products from the CS suite of apps.

Soon after I was having troubles organising Blogs and Wiki’s for my other classes, at the same time there was a lot of chat on my PLN through Twitter regarding the new BlogED Blog tool. I was soon allowed to look at a live example of a BlogED. I had a quick look through the code using my browsers tools. It was a fairly simple layout, wouldn’t be to hard to reproduce in a Multimedia Stage 5 lesson.

I then thought about this a little further, and quickly came to thinking this would be an excellent idea, but instead of going the normal route of PhotoShop > Dreamweaver, use Fireworks. I got to planning a 5 week schedule and thought this would make an excellent presentation at a conference.

Then I got to thinking how would I back this up at a conference and remove the hassle that normally takes place with electronic files. Set up a Wiki.

The Wiki, fireworksfordernsw.pbworks.com was born. Over a week I made documents to back up template files I have made plus several screen casts to help new comers to Fireworks to design and publish web pages easily. Now this Wiki is not a place for me just to share templates with everyone else, it is to try and build a community around the use of Fireworks, especially on DERvices. You don’t have to sign up the Wiki is accessible to all visitors.

To my amazement Fireworks for DER NSW Wiki even shows up in Google Alerts as the image below demonstrates.

So please all join in and make this a true community!

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April 17th, 2010 at 11:36 pm

DER roll out A day at the beach

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Well it was actually day 2 of our roll out. Came across some pitfalls though.

  • First one is pre-commission as many machines as possible to speed up the process
  • Have all of year 9 change their internet passwords the day before. Un like staff students are not forced to update their passwords every 60 days. The process requires that their passwords are freshly updated.
  • Have as many tech useful staff with your TSO as is possible.

As you can understand the kids are excited and impatient. Many have already told me that their teachers don’t want to see them in class. I guess this is because they go straight back to class and get them out ready to work. A group of keen boy’s has sussed out the best hot spot for breaks under the English staff room so they can play games.

Now we know the best approach they should all go out tomorrow and line up on Monday with all the faults.

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September 17th, 2009 at 8:35 am

My frustration

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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.

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September 16th, 2009 at 8:48 am

Posted in Challenges

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DET DER Software

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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 Lynda.com 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