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“Warp factor 5 Mr Sulu!” January 30, 2009

Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
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Warp Speed

Warp Speed

Monday sees the start of a new year, a new term and most importantly a new era on the Supertanker.  2009 will be a very exciting year for me, the crew of the Supertanker and most importantly for the students.

The latter half of term four last year saw me project managing  a huge infrastructure change on the Supertanker.   Two huge new switch cabinets were installed on either side of the gully, with four additional pairs of fibre cables connecting both sides of the site terminated in these cabinets.  Three new servers with massive storage capacity were installed, we now have terrabyte drives with RAID 1 swapout drive bays.  Cabling between core switches was rationalised into one of the new cabinets housed in a new purpose designed and air conditioned server room.  Every server has its own UPS and all the core switches are now on a UPS.  The new three phase power supply to this room has different hardware on different phases.  All of this infrastructure was put in place and cut over to without the staff or students even noticing that it had happened, to the extent that many of the crew do not know that I have already moved into this new bespoke server room or even where it is! (Long may that last!)

In addition to this we also purchased a raft of new equipment for the classrooms.  Every classroom is now cabled to Ministry standards with 6-8 data outlets and has a Smart Board and data projector in it.  In addition every classroom has the same kind of computer with identical specifications.  What we finally have is a level playing field.

For two long we have struggled with old tools, broken tools and oases of newness.  This led to ‘grass is greener inertia’ from both crew and students alike.  With a level playing field we have created an environment of collegiality and homogeneity.  Today I gave my first introductory whole crew lesson with Smart Notebook 10.  I have held back on introducing this product so that today we all installed this new product and the new version is sufficiently different looking to even fox those that have been using Smart Notebook 9.5, it was a great leveller.  Today I have seen staff all helping each other to get their boards and the software up and running for Monday.

I have been working with many of the crew who have been energised by the potential that they see for increasing student outcomes in utilising the tools now available to them.  The ideas being discussed and possibilities to extend them have futher motivated the staff.  Good teachers need good tools, the Supertanker now has both.  Maybe what the new tools have given them is a sense of reliablity from that new plastic smell!  It is as if the latent potential for innovation and integration of ICTs into their pedagogy has burst forth.  By the end of today the one member of the crew who I least expected to make significant inroads quickly had produced an interactive registration document for her students to use on Monday when they arrive.  To continue the Star Trek theme, may this initiative and others like it  live long and prosper on the Supertanker.

Come on 2009 the Supertanker is primed and ready to sail!


So what did you do this summer..? January 28, 2009

Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
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As we all head back to school, a  similar range of questions will be asked of thousands of colleagues in hundreds of staff rooms throughout the southern hemisphere.  I thought that I would first ask and then answer my own question on the blogsphere and hopefully many of you will answer this same question and link to here and share your summer, so here goes.

…Well.  I decided to get away from it all, 2008 was a fantastic year and I needed to re-charge my batteries.  I switched off my phone, packed up my camera gear and headed with the family to the South Island, with the intention of getting way off the beaten track.  We did it last year too, but focused on the Marlborough Sounds and Golden Bay.  This year we went to the Alps and the deep south. What follows are a selection of images from this most recent trip.

We watched the rain lift and a full moon light Aoraki/Mout Cook at 11:00 pm


I photographed this Yellowhammer at Lindis Pass


I stood in an icy alpine stream at Monkey Creek to photograph this mountain in the Eglington Valley


We stopped at the Chasm to let the brakes on our vehicle cool down, eggs could have been fried on the rims they were that hot!


I got up close and personal with several Kea, this one is scavenging some discarded Kumera.


This Bell bird serenaded us for hours when we camped in Atholl


At Slope Point, the southern most point of land on the South Island, this brooding sky and crumbling cliff greeted us!


We decided not to purchase this ‘investment property’ in the Catlins!


Getting to this part of the bush in the Catlins was a bit hairy, the rain poured down and on a particularly steep and slippery section of the gravel road, the vehicle lost all traction for a while and we slid, for far too long!  All good in the end, but collective blood pressure rose!


However the sliding and the rain and the subsequent walk rewarded us with this:


This is part of what I did this summer, how about you?

“Take it easy out there…” January 28, 2009

Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
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The quote is from the 80’s cop show “Hill Street Blues.” And at the end of each daily briefing the duty sergeant would say that.

I am prompted to write this as we all start to head back to school after a long hot summer vacation. I was on the Supertanker today and it was a sea of hazards. Piles of books, crates, desks, computers, all the paraphernalia of daily school life, spilled over every class. To top it all, many members of the Supertanker crew were in, preparing their classrooms for the start of the new term next week. In several classes I witnessed the classic, “it will only take a minute” actions of near accidents. A teacher balanced on a desk, pinning stuff to a wall and over stretching.

Nothing happened, but as my wife found to her cost just before Christmas, the “it will only take a minute” action can also end in disaster. The image below is my wife’s foot 8 days after a very large book case, she thought would only take a minute to move and without my assistance, obeyed the laws of gravity and crushed her foot in the process!


For those who are not taking it easy out there, the following sites might be a timely reminder!

Habit at work

Department of Labour


So as you all return to your classrooms and especially this weekend, when I know a lot of you will be in class frantically trying to get your rooms ready for the new year; take it easy out there and have a fantastic 2009.