Ulearn08 – Breakout 1 Mogulus September 30, 2008Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
Tags: Helen Hardie, mogulus, Tohatoha, Ulearn08
I have been beavering away for the last couple of days on my presentations for Ulearn. I have created a set of resources for the attendees of my breakout 1 session. However, despite re-assurances to the contrary from the conference organisers I am very nervous about the ability of those attending to be able to access Mogulus en masse, via the conference wireless network. I have no doubts that the network will be working, it is just that I know that Mogulus uses a lot of bandwidth; indeed I dubbed it the ultimate bandwidth killer when I first discovered it last year. Therefore, to have 31 computers all accessing the same site from the same wireless networkat the same time may be asking for trouble, especially as we will also be accessing You Tube at the same time…!
To combat the potential for meltdown I have made a series of pdf instruction sheets and a Ulearn TV station for the conference. I have combined all of these resources into a wiki. I will also be using Mogulus in my second session, however this time it will be to broadcast live my presentation via my other TV station, in order that Helen in the UK can see the tohatoha presentation. I will also be using Mogulus to record this session for later broadcast.
If you want to check out the resources ahead of time, or will not be attending my session, please use the links below:
Who will be the 10 000th visitor? September 24, 2008Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
Tags: clustr map, Google Earth, lurking, visitors
Like Simon a few months ago, who asked the question about the discrepancy between the visitor figures on clustr maps and the blog figures, I too am wondering about that. I have been keeping a closer eye on my red dots on my clustr map and see that by the time of my next update I should have passed the 10 000 visitor barrier. Just 533 of you to go. So if you suspect that you might be the 10 000th visitor, congratulations and let me know if you think that it is you and where you are from. Not sure that there is a prize in it, but a geographical role call where my ‘regular readers’ hail from would be great. Please respond to this post by commenting rather than lurking and simply state your geographical locale, I think that there is a Google Earth video in that. Thanks.
Preparations for Ulearn08 September 24, 2008Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
Tags: Microsoft Innovative Teacher, mogulus, Ulearn08, VITTA
1 comment so far
Ulearn08, New Zealand’s largest Education ICT event is but a few short days away and I am finding it really hard to settle to the task at hand. I have sat for hours in front of my computer doing everything else that needs to be done, except the job at hand, create my workshop presentation! I have booked my tickets to VITTA in Melbourne, reserved my hotel, booked my rental car and have chosen my breakout sessions. I have done the same for Christchurch and Ulearn. But still I have not, metaphorically, put pen to paper for the Mogulus workshop that I will be giving in breakout one.
I have designed my poster for the Microsoft Innovative Teacher Award, I have even blocked out my short 6 minute presentation for that too, but still my Mogulus workshop is not being created, I have less than two weeks to go and I am not in the least bit stressed about this state of affairs. Why should this be so? Am I so confident, blase about the whole thing? The answer is no. I think that in reality I am simply tired and by the time I have done a day on the Supertanker and got home I am simply too drained to be any more creative. As I said in a much earlier post this year, this year would be big year for me and I think that it has been bigger and more stressful that I could have imagined. My three hats have taken their toll and I am tired.
As the end of term looms, I am hoping that I will get a couple of days rest and then on Monday I will set to with a will and in a flurry of creativity produce my Mogulus presentation. For the thirty of you who have so far enrolled for this workshop, I certainly hope that this is the case. What ever is the outcome, see you all there! I could always blag it, Internet connection willing!
I must be doing something right! September 16, 2008Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
Tags: finalist, Microsoft Innovative Teacher, Tohatoha, Ulearn08
I have just learnt via e-mail that the Tohatoha blog and the work related to it connecting students, remote teaching and asynchronous collaboration; has earned me finalist status for this years Microsoft Innovative Teacher of the year award.
I now have to design a poster for display at Ulearn 08. So look out for that if you are coming to Christchurch.
Acer Aspire One September 15, 2008Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
Tags: Acer, Aspire one, ASUS, Connect, EEEPC, Linux, open source
add a comment
I was loaned another UMPC today, this time it is an Acer Aspire One and Gerrard from Connect was the man who dropped it off. Gerrard gave me a demonstration of the Linux version last week. As with the ASUS Eeepc it came bundled with a load of open source goodies. However, today I have the Windows variant and in this bundle there is a scarcity of programmes. Office is loaded, but I am not sure if this would be an additional purchase cost on the unit if I were to purchase one, knowing Windows I would expect so.
I only have the machine for 24 hours so I will not have long to play with it. My first impressions are very favourable. This model has a more shiny and up market look to it when compared to the Asus. For me the biggest plus is the larger keyboard. For that fact alone I prefer it as an option over the Asus. The Acer weighs in at 10g under 1kg so it is a lightweight bundle and would be ideal at conferences. The touchpad mouse buttons takes a little getting used to, but overall the whole layout of the keyboard is just great for adult sized fingers.
The Aspire has three usb slots, a vga out port, two SD card slots, Lan port, web cam and wireless 80211 b/g. Interestingly the Windows version of Aspire comes with the larger of the two solid state offerings, unlike the Asus version and has 1Gb of RAM. If all that matters to you is the look, then the shell is very cool and is available in four colours.
I will be asking the same class that evaluated the Eeepc for me to evaluate this one tomorrow and will feedback here on what they have to say about it. I am sure that they will be knocked out by it. The big question is, would I purchase several of these for a class instead of a laptop or a workstation? I am tempted to say yes, but would want to play with one for a little longer and install some other programmes to evaluate performance before I committed.
Gamemaker – revisited September 15, 2008Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
Tags: Bill Kerr, gamemaker, James Nottingham, lego, Lego Mindstorms, Logo, MSW Logo, New Scientist, Scratch, Softronix, The Pit
1 comment so far
I wrote a post last month on Scratch, and since then it has got me thinking. Scratch made a bit of a stir at Ulearn07 in Auckland and I know that one teacher from the Supertanker came back all enthused about the thinking potential of this one tool. She left at the end of term 4 and with her departure the enthusiasm for the tool’s potential to enhance thinking in the classroom evaporated too. No doubt on my return from Ulearn08 there will be a whole new crop of free resources that will be the new must haves for connected teachers and their classrooms. The New Scientist article got me thinking about all those other resources that I have catalogued on my Resources page, why catalogue them if we do not use some or all of them in our classrooms on a regular basis?
I have been trawling through the resources to see what is there and to my delight I re-discovered some great and free tools that I believe should be in every classroom programme. The old standard MSW-Logo is a personal favourite of mine, but now that there are more graphical alternatives, it is perhaps too esoteric for those teachers who are wanting to start to introduce a culture of integrated ICT and thinking into their classrooms.
James Nottingham came aboard the Supertanker earlier in the year and told us of his pit of dispair. This pit is where he suggests that all students need to be, especially our gifted students, as they especially can lack the resilience and crucially the tools required to claw their way out of their own cognitive pits of dispair. Our less able students are far more resilient, according to James, as they have to learn to suffer setbacks on a daily basis! James went on to argue that this is one reason why many of our truly gifted students drop out of their tertiary education, they lack resilience and the tools to cope with cognitive challenges. We have been working through the revised curriculum document over the last several staff meetings and the document expressly states that creating students that are resourceful, resilient and entrepreneurial are key visions for the document. We now have to create that vision in our classrooms.
So how can we create an environment that is authentic to students, one that puts all students in their own cognitive pit in order that we can create a climate that fosters resilience, get them thinkimg with a purpose and integrate ICT at the same time? A tall order? I have seen some great thinking in some classes come out of the P4C programme that James came to tell us about, those students certainly are thinking, but the ICT is minimal and not integrated.
I have long been an advocate of Lego Mindstorms as a tool that should be in every year five and six classroom, but the Mindstorms kits are expensive and so in reality my vision is not really feasible. Looking through my resources list again I re-discovered Gamemaker. I have been using Gamemaker as a lunchtime activity for two years and the students love it, it is always an over subscribed session and I always have to turn students away. In term 4 I have planned a unit with Gamemaker for our year 5 and 6 students, this time in the class. It will be part of their Numeracy programme and I am very excited about what will come out of it.
I know that motivation will not be an issue for the majority of the students. I also know that they will be thinking so hard to solve their over ambitious plans that you will be able to hear their brains creak! In addition, because the students will be too ambitious, they will be plunged deep into a pit of dispair. The depth of their dispair will necessitate them having to break their problems down into smaller manageable problems to solve. These smaller solutions will then accumulate to help solve the bigger one in small iterative steps. They will be motivated because they will be making computer games (and as they see it, not doing school work!) and as a result slowly develop resilience and the cognitive tools to climb out of their individual pits!
The problem that I have planned for them is to create an executable number bonds game for the year 1 and 2 classes. The extension will be to make it a multi-level game that gets progressively harder, I have called it ‘Oranges and Lemons.’ I have created the sprites for them to use so that they will not be able to waste time on fluff and dive straight into the objective, to get stuck and then claw their way out!
If this sounds like a project that you would like to be involved in, I would love the opportunity to spread and share the pain next term and beyond into 2009! I think that a collaborative Gamemaker project would have a lot of other benefits, especially when the revised curriculum is taken into account. I have additional tools to assist in real time collaboration between students if you are in a similar time zone to the Supertanker, if not, we can still work collaboratively, but just not synchronously!
If Gamemaker is new to you and you need some additional help and resources please look at the following links:
And what of Scratch? Well Scratch is a great tool, and has lots of potential and I think that it can be used in any class level, however, I am hoping to introduce it in the Year 3/4 classes next term too, I just need to speak to the teams and see what they want to do.
Let the games begin!