Archive for December, 2010

Friday, 17th December, 2010

RSS and blog posts

The grade 7s spent a bit of a lesson posting a blog note about their poster project. I think this was a good way of having an accessible reminder of this project and went well with the picture record. For one group a few of them managed to give some peer review comments as well which is a good opportunity that would be difficult to reproduce in such an easy way to share.
Most of them seemed to be confident accessing their blogs and sorting out how to get a picture from flickr across, though some needed some guidance.
Looking through the blog pages there were some good examples but several who had not successfully posted – not sure why.
I tried to find a way of putting all the posts onto a quick check page. I thought I would try a non-google thing since the reader doesn’t come with the school account, so I used shrook. This seemed a bit tiresome to set up – it would be better f this was done for a class as a service. Also, I couldn;t find one student and another was not on the blog page and I guessed a few addresses.
The reader is supposed to synch on two computers but it did not show as read items I had marked as such on one. This might make it less useful for tracking updates. Also, one rquired a password – should it not or should they all? Some things to get advice on here

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Tuesday, 14th December, 2010

Quizlet test

Monday, 13th December, 2010

Always more tools

Seems that there is always something new to play with that we can come across. These are a couple of things that would be good to find some reviews of or try out. These applications seem to be ‘in the cloud’ which seems a bit like the old idea of the thin client, but with access to everyone else’s files.

Aviary: This seems like Google’s way of doing everyone out of business (is technology a public good now) with a set of apps which do image and sound. I guess there are other apps for this (garage band and adobe ilustrator at school) but this is free and drops right in to the google apps account that everyone in school has- even sets up a folder for files automatically. I think it would be good to have some fluency with this one.

Many eyes is a data visualization tool. Not really an alternative to graphical analysis for producing graphs for IBIA – more cool toys like word clouds and so on. Not really sure what it is for at the moment – maybe data analysis for text survey data.

Nice to have some things to play with in the holiday to reduce productivity!

Saturday, 11th December, 2010

Is education a public good?

I am not really sure what the question means – but it seems important.

This seems to become significant when we consider the transformative effect of technology (on education).

Education used to be a private good with positive externalities. Thanks to technology and government largesse it is no longer the case. It is being transformed into a nonpure public good.

Technology gradually helps render many goods and services – books and education, to name two – asymptotically nonrivalrous and nonexcludable.


Yahoo answer gives:

A public good is one that when used/consumed by one person, this does not take away from the consumption of another..

In this case, if your neighbor listens to the radio station, that doesn’t take away form your ability to listen to the station. However, education unfortunately, isn’t available for all, and there are capacity levels for every educational institution. This means that technically with every consumer of education means less available for the next person.

Technology would negate some aspects of the point above and support the idea that technology transforms educations from a private to a public good.

Perhaps the follow up question would be ‘so what?’ Maybe this relates to who is responsible for providing the good.


Thursday, 9th December, 2010

5 Step dance

Keeping it simple – a nice image for a development cycle

5 steps seem to be emerging on the dance floor…

  1. Strategy — what’s your big idea?
  2. Story — help people understand it.
  3. Tools — set up simple tools that make it easy for contributors to see what’s happening and get involved.
  4. People — who are you trying to reach? how can they help right now?
  5. Prototype — build fast. test and improve it together.
    (Shake and repeat.)


Wednesday, 8th December, 2010

todays meet gives a real quick display of comments from all the class and can be entertaining. It is very easy to set up and join and works smoothly.

There is a problem that it can easily get put of hand and get pretty distracting. It works fine if it has a specific purpose, but you can’t switch it off – it needs some ground rules like:

Use your name – nothing anonymous

Stay on task – this is a hard one as it would be really easy for people to set up their own backchannel and not use this one so it ends up being a policing thing

Slight issues are that there is a short lag, so competing doesn’t work, and that an archive of valuable info doesn’t come easily from this.

Possible uses would be ; quickfire questions and immediate responses (not anonymous though?), chance for students to ask questions (though why wouldn’t they just put there hand up?), …

All in all this seems like a neat app but not a good classroom fit for me.

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Thursday, 2nd December, 2010

Z Blogs | Facebook Vs Civilization

At the risk of pissing off a lot of friends, I have become steadily more concerned about Facebook to the point where I am beginning to feel that coupled with instant messaging and certain aspects of the world wide web, Facebook is precipitating the end of civilization, not just as we know it – but period. That is extreme I know. But, I can’t shake the feeling.

via Z Blogs | Facebook Vs Civilization.

Thursday, 2nd December, 2010


I spent some time learning to use Geogebra recently. This is a math tool that can be used for a variety of things. The principal one for Physics is the idea of modeling. Once I that got the hang of a few things it was possible to create a model for shm that had controllable parameters and a visual output.

Some of the nice things about this would be:

  • It is easy enough to use to expect the kids to be able to produce some things
  • It gives a clear visual display quickly
  • It is possible to produce neat looking artifacts quickly – (I sent a file to the OCC showing slopes, differentials and match data in an interactive web page)
  • Working locally it is a quick, responsive program
  • The math department use it and it is useful for the IBDP IA modeling for math students

To go with these there are some things about it worth remembering:

  • It’s no substitute for real data through data loggers. It would be worth thinking how to use it with logger pro effectively to analyse experimental data. Error bars would seem to be the missing thing here
  • It’s tempting to find uses for a tool (to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail) even when it doesn’t fit. Some things it might do would be; shm, shm energy, radioactive decay chains, thin lens equation, max power theorem, climate analysis or modeling.
  • it’s another tool and some kids will find it helpful, others not, so a variety of approaches is useful
  • it is tempting to spend some time putting bells and whistles in – this is not always good
  • it is quite fun, so it can displace the ‘main aim’

So overall another useful tool to be woven in with care