Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ tag
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.
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.
I need someone to explain a couple of things please.
First, I noticed this week while working on some of my web sites that there was a difference between the page rendering on Google (see Images below). At first I just thought hey that looks great, Google is styling things up a bit. Then I hopped over to my School machine, I searched a little without first noticing there being a difference. But then I clicked on the expand button Google provides with search results. I had a double take. My 13″ MacBook Pro’s Safari browser was displaying (rendering), a different page to that of my 17″ MacBook Pro. I can’t explain it? can you? Just look at the images…
The 13″ MacBook Pro’s display of a Google search
The 17″ MacBook Pro’s display of the same search
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.
- 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..
- 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.
Having bought an iPhone just before Christmas and learning its capabilities and down falls, I started to look into how it displayed websites such as those which I have developed, specifically the schools website. Without any iPhone specific changes they worked ok, using the phone network only, they took to much time to download. These sites are not big in size and download to the desktop extremely fast.
So what to do? First I thought lets find out how many of these devices are out there? Well finding information out about phones is difficult normally, the iPhone specifically even more so. After searching the web I found this little snippet…
The iPhone is selling well in Australia. Research firm IDC reports that the iPhone has taken 21% of the Australian smartphone market share in the past 12 months, putting Apple in 2nd place behind Nokia and just ahead of Blackberry.
I imagine having seen more and more iPhones and other smart phones in the hands of people over the holiday break there are even more out there then these figures suggest. Google has released the Nexus one Google phone. Although not available in Australia until some time later this year, this device will have more smart phones in the hands of people who are not keen on an Apple iPhone.
So back at the start of a new school year with an Apple announcement in a few days, I did a quick survey of my students. Who has an iPod Touch?, who surfs the net with it. More then half of 60 students answered yes to both and added that the local burger joint now has a free wireless service again.
A couple of days later Apple finally showed the world the new device, the iPad. The iPad takes your smart phone and makes it bigger. It has most of the functionality of a smart phone, minus the phone. Obviously we now have a world of smart portable devices, connected to the internet all the time. Which leads to my question.
“What would you like from a School based web app ?”
Web apps are not just for the Apple mobile devices, any mobile device that uses the Android (Google developed) system can access most of the same features which the Apple devices enjoy. These modern web apps all use the new HTML5 and CSS3 standards, unlike your Windows based desktop or mobile devices which are not compatible unless they are running the Google Chrome Web Browser. Web apps also are not like the applications you have to purchase from iTunes or the Google apps store, they are actual web sites/pages which you can download to your mobile device or desk top if compatible.
There is so much more technical detail I could go into, but if you have seen an iPhone or an Android phone in action with web apps like Flickr, Google etc… you can see what the future holds for our students. The future is web apps, it may not be visible to all this year or the next, though when Windows and Internet Explorer become aware of the new HTML5/CSS3 standards it will be like a punch in the face.
So please, anything you would like to see easily available through a school based application for mobile devices, let me know in the comments. I would like to develop an initial web app which would portable throughout the NSW DET.
Note: Not just for Apple mobile device systems.