theMolisticView

A new journey in education

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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

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

"where's my laptop Sir?"

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Today was the first year 9 Multimedia lesson of the term. Before I had opened the door to the room came the chorus, “where’s my laptop Sir?”.

Fair enough question form a group of students who have been kept in the loop since the laptop announcement.  The answer, “I am not sure. I can say you should have them by terms end.”

From this point my planned lesson had disappeared. The students attention quickly moved to the right off my Toshiba laptop, to what was quickly coined the ‘lunchbox’. I opened the lunch box to reveal the DER netbook to varying reaction. Most students were relived to finally see one of their promised laptops in the flesh. But as expected there were the doubters, with the cynical response of ‘why bother with that’.

For a large portion of the lesson I demonstrated the netbooks software and capabilities with the aid of my projector. For the last part of the lesson students took turns checking out the DER netbook for themselves, while I answered the many questions…

  • is it wireless?
  • will the Internet work at home?
  • does it have blue tooth?
  • will the Internet be blocked at home?
  • can I add limewire?
  • does it have MSN?
  • what games does it come with?, and so on.

The only school related questions were, ‘do we have to use it everyday?’ and ‘will we use it in every class?’

At the end of the lesson the kids had made the decision that I will spend 1 to 2 lessons showing them how all the software works and which classes will be best to use them. The only complaint about the DER netbooks that all the students could agree on was the annoyance of the scrolling screen (which bugs me to).

As most of the literature around 1 to 1 laptop classroom’s point out, the students are ready and chances are the first time they come to your class laptop equiped, it will be out, opened and running, awaiting your first laptop lesson.

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July 31st, 2009 at 9:33 am

Roll out laptop fixes???

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Having finally logged on to my laptop and comissioned 20 others, I can tell you all that the previously advised fixes from DET have not worked.

Not sure why but they will have to wait 2 weeks. Seems a bit silly that all updates can only be acquired through the DET ISP. [There probably is no other way]

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July 10th, 2009 at 11:30 am