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Ministry discovers Blender February 22, 2008

Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
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I have just spent the last few days at the Learning @ Schools conference in Rotorua.  This was the first conference that our cluster has attended, it was also the first at which I presented.  It is now official I have been bitten by the presenting bug and wish now that I had submitted several proposals to present, still there is Ulearn later this year.  The conference itself was the usual mix of trade displays, keynotes and breakout sessions.

My presentation was not without its angst ridden moments, not the least because the wireless internet connection to the centre on Wednesday was flakey in the extreme!  It transpires that Rotorua was experiencing connectivity issues and so the wireless within the conference venue was not at fault.  My entire presentation was based around a practical session for the attendees using the Internet, so in the two hours prior to my presentation I desperately cached all my web pages.  I did this to ensure that in the worst case scenario they would at least have something to look at.  As it turned out the Internet connections settled just after we got under way and all was fine  until the dying moments when my machine froze, but we had covered what I wanted to and my audience left very happy.   Now as I have already said, I want more!

On the Tuesday of the conference I had a really good conversation with Douglas Harre from the Ministry.  We talked about our satellite connection at school and how that is working out.  We also talked about my plans for implementing open source software on the supertanker, he seemed to be really interested in our plans.  He explained to me how the agreement with Linux, that the Ministry has brokered, works for schools and as I understand it, the cost to schools will be nil in licencing terms.

Open sources seems to me to be a perfect solution for schools, there is now a perfect opportunity to break away from the stranglehold and rhetoric of the big two,(well very big one and 5% other with a rabid fan base), especially as all operating systems now work on the Intel chip set.  Genuine choice for schools is now here and all this fuss over the look and feel of  expensive plastic casings that come with “free software” or the cheaper plastic bricks with a less than perfect operating system will be relegated to the irrelevant.  I will be experimenting with implementing SUSE Linux on some of our legacy machines in the coming months to see how the older machines cope with Linux or to be more exact see how Linux copes with them.

We already use open source software in school,  Open Office, Inkscape and The Gimp for example.  As part of this exchange Douglas asked me if I had heard of a Blender before.  I was delighted to be able to tell him that I have been using Blender for four years, Blender is a really cool program and one that I have used with children as young as year 5, although it has to be said that they found it difficult!  The software for learning site is trumpeting this new discovery.  If any educator out there needs some tutorials on how to use this really cool open source 3-D animation program, just ask, I am willing to help.  Maybe the Ministry would like me to do this for them?  Any offers?  Any requests?



1. Helen Hardie - February 22, 2008

Let’s hope your presentation success continues in Prague!

2. Artichoke - February 23, 2008

And as someone seated in the audience at Learning@School David I can thank you for 90 minutes of my life where I saw enthusiasm, confidence, competence in a presenter.

When this is linked to effective time management, clearly sequenced instructions and an articulate rationale when setting up a Blogger blog and embedding Bubbleshare photos in school settings, clear handouts and online support with pdf links – I can persuasively argue that you should persevere with this new adventure.

And I like the way you note that “new” and “trumpeting” as descriptors of discovery (much like notions of like creativity) have a cultural context

3. Miss Thomas - February 23, 2008

Well done David, I knew your presentation would be great. I only wish I could have been there too!! I just selfishly hope that your success doesn’t lead to you getting a new job at the ministry or something as I want to continue working with you at Meadowbank!! See you on Monday!

4. AllanahK - February 23, 2008

It is a bit of a bug that you can catch- I wonder why?

We put ourselves on an emotional roller coaster when attempting to share with others- no one quite knows the angst until they have sat in the hotseat for 90 minutes of presenting- why is that? We do it everyday without a tremble- our audience at school is generally shorter- that ‘s all???

5. Fiona - February 24, 2008

Its a great way to connect with other teachers, I am also liking meeting people F2F that I have only crossed paths with online. Well done on your first conference presentation, I know there will be many more from both you and your cluster.


6. Suzie Vesper - March 11, 2008

I enjoyed presenting this year as well. It is good to start contributing to the larger ICT community. I am not so sure that I like being labeled a rabid fan! 🙂 Still, I do agree that schools now have solutions at their fingertips that move beyond any particular type of machine with internet tools being so fantastic.

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