A new journey in education

Archive for the ‘Future’ tag

PBL in Metalwork… continued

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Well today was the first real lesson this term of year 10 Metalwork, the class I started my PBL journey with last term. So time for a progress report.

I have set every group up with a folder containing all examples, project outline and other useful resources. Every student has their own folder with the project outline and KWL sheets for every lesson. They are expected to complete these every lesson and hand the folders back in so as to achieve weekly XP on top of the finished project XP.

To date each of the groups of around 8 students have had 2 to 3 in the group who have lead and collected all the information they need to make their final project. Unfortunately the other 5 or so students per group have not been so diligent in their work. This in a normal class would be a problem, though for this group of young men it is actually an improvement. I can have them engaged for close to 30 minutes which is 30 minutes longer then it has been previously. Along with this extra engagement, there has been an extreme reduction in whole class disturbances which previously were a real issue.

There are 2 boy’s who are loner’s, nerds if you will. They have no want to be in Metalwork, it was what was left available to them on subject selection night. I have to connect with these boy’s who sit quietly and work through improving their Minecraft worlds having finished the minimum work required. So today I quickly asked around those in the know on Minecraft to see if they could build a Blacksmith’s workshop inside their Minecraft worlds. It turns out they can, so in 2 weeks time that is what I will charge them with for their project.

Now no videos have been developed or produced, though 2 groups actually started looking at which camera to use for their project. So many would say it hasn’t worked, I would say progress is slow, many small milestones have been met and there are many more to come.  This class of disturbed boy’s from the western suburbs needs more time, time they don’t have. They have not been taught to learn, they have been taught to follow this, produce that and this your mark A, B, C, D, E. They just need more time.

I should reaffirm that I only have this class for one period out of their allocated four per two week cycle. I have zero control or influence over what happens in the weeks between. This also makes this particular lesson tougher.

Written by themolisticview

May 17th, 2011 at 4:44 am

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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My first Project Based Learning adventure – Part 3

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As promised my actual delivered project is in here. Before going into the delivery of the project I did something I have never done before, I had the work the students were originally asked to complete up on the board and I asked them a question: “In three words describe what you think of this” Their answer were as expected, some however realised that they needed to learn the content; they were just bored with the delivery.

Milling Machine Animated Video

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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

My take on SWSR

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Firstly I would like to thank the organisers for such a great venue and the WiFi provided. 7MB down was awesome and i’m sure others like my self who do not have such luxuries took advantage of this.

SWSR at ANZ Stadium

SWSR at ANZ Stadium

One of the first things to catch my eye was that my tweets with the #inspire2011 tag were not showing on the big screen. I guess someone has blocked someone, some where along the line.

The four keynote speakers were awesome to say the least this year. For me I wanted to hear Will Richardson. Will was one of the first prominent educationalists I followed on twitter. Having heard both Will and Steve Haragdon speak I was a little miffed. I have friends who live in New York State and in Washington State in the US. When I speak to them they only talk of how bad education is in their local public schools. Repeatedly it is that they have none or limited funding, old technology computing systems which are virtually unusable, and old text books that everyone works from in crowded rooms and so on. Steve and Will spoke like they had full access to modern technology in classrooms, were they could blog, connect to people outside their education system and more to improve what their students were learning.

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Written by themolisticview

April 2nd, 2011 at 3:36 am