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Archived Posts from “Hardware”

picaxe 2007

12

September


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labdien lurkers

synopsis

anyone interested in playing picaxe perhaps over the holidays or even over a weekend early in term 4 2007, drop me a line. members of the wordstar users group will be meeting in the jim fuller room of our secret headquarters to play with these things. i do not claim to know much more than how to spell picaxe, and offer the usual vertical learning curve, familiar to those who like to tilt at windmills

picaxe

Picaxelet me wax on lyrically about the old daze, when men were men and monkeys ate cheese. back then, there was a subject taught in skools called komputering, done mainly by maths and science teachers with that sort of mind. it catered mainly for boys, and in those days dealt with peeks and pokes, code and sprites. and they were 8 bit komputeras. (whaaaa … ?)

anyway, these daze, with education in such spectacular shape here in the state of excitement, we find komputering is now called ict, the maths and science guys have either moved on, died or are back teachering lower school classes. we find komputering now largely taken over by *others* who have been press ganged into the game want to make sure the kids have nice borders around their business cards. they justify this by saying they are using komputeras as tools.

back then, i once predicted email would be big. i got a couple of others right, but haven’t got the buzz in moodle i thought it deserved. still, there are a whole bunch of secret squirrels nutting away over there on edna, so we can only hope.

so now my big prediction, 2007. the next big thing for teaching komputering/engineering/electronics and stuff for boys seems to be picaxe. a programmable computer chip that can drive electronic circuits. this could be the equivalent of john aloisi’s penalty against uruguay, and provide the lost arts of komputering a new breath of life.

http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/

it is supported by british oil and gas industries, has heaps of support on the website. this is seen as important, cos industry can’t get enough technical type folk to run their enterprises. there is support in Australia with projects made available from an australian company scorpio technology

http://www.scorpiotechnology.com.au/new.shtml

and picaxe chips available locally from altronics

http://www.altronics.com.au/

i suggested this about five years ago, but unfortunately, the shed men have grabbed onto it and claimed it as their own. and there is some evidence of industry sponsorship because it is more to do with *komputering* and little to do with *information technology*. there is allegedly up to the $2 mill up for to encourage schools to adapt this.

anyway, at my school, we are looking to introduce this into an info sys programme in 2008. i might even trial it in late 2007, depending on time. picaxe seems to break into two broad areas, introduction to electronics and programming the chip via a serial cable. lurkers can program using a flow chart and directly download this canverted to assembler and run straight off the chipp.

maybe there is a place to engage *boys* into the tattered remnants of what was once mighty komputering. by using this chip in ait in a kontext, this will baffle curriculum council snoozers enough to allow us to attract kids into something useful, and seen by industry as vital. .


iPhones in education?

29

January


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The big question is - will schools be buying them for Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) access during excursions and outside work? You bet - at least those with money will. It wasn’t until I came across this video, I understood what the web community is so amazed about. Kindy kids will be able to understand and operate that GUI! This montage from Rojo sums the combination up for a visual spatial learners like me:
iPhone new

Unfortunately, being able to access rich media via the school WiFi network changes the boundaries for school ICT resources yet again. With the new wireless capabilities of hubs like AirPort Extreme digital portability enters yet another dimension - can our school infrastructure and systems keep up? This sort of change in expectation displays the need for scaleable network and storage solutions. Instead of portable notebook trolleys will we see racks of iPhones in the library? I’ll check back on this post in 2008 to see where we are at.


Wikipedia and other tools on iPod

17

January


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IwriterAs more schools and students use iPods, educators are adding to their repertoire of teaching strategies such as podcasting. Tools such as iWriter for creating learning programs and iLingo for language translation are specifically being written for these devices. A current sourceforge called Encyclopodia project allows iPod users to download and browse Wikipedia on your iPod. While the interface screenshots look a little naff, it is interesting for the simple fact that the worlds largest and most dynamic user generated encyclopedia can now be carried around in ones pocket!

Encyclopodia is a free software project that brings the Wikipedia, which is one of the largest encyclopedias in the world, to the Apple iPod. Encyclopodia can be installed on iPod genarations one to four, as well as on iPod Minis and Photo iPods.

This may be the closest we’ve come yet to the Hitchhikers Guide. Weighing in at a >800mb download the Wikipedia eBook carries with it some heavy issues like bias and source reliability. However, with appropriate critical literacy skills students of all ages will continue to find Wikipedia a good starting point in their research. Even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales warns against it’s use as the be-all-and-end-all resource in educational settings:

Speaking at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania on Friday called “The Hyperlinked Society,” Mr. Wales said that he gets about 10 e-mail messages a week from students who complain that Wikipedia has gotten them into academic hot water. “They say, ‘Please help me. I got an F on my paper because I cited Wikipedia’” and the information turned out to be wrong, he says. But he said he has no sympathy for their plight, noting that he thinks to himself: “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.” Source: chronicle.com


IT equipment for a Science Department?

23

July


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The Head of my Science has asked me to come up with some recomendations as to what we should ask for in the way of IT equipment for the science department. In particular, she wants some amunition about what other schools have so we can justify it.

What should I be asking for in order to bring us up to par with most schools?

As I don’t even have a computer or network access in my classroom, I’m sure some fellow science teachers can provide examples of better equipped science departments.

We will be getting access to a room with 14 computers to share between the various science classes. How does this rate against the standard?

How many classes have data projectors set up?
Does anyone use Smart Boards or similar?

What schools have laptops provided to teachers?

Any assistance welcome.


More Info On Live Cams

04

June


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After reading the FishCam post from Reg, I thought I would put this information forward as if you are an Apple School like mine you already (usually) have the facility to enable the cam scenario and much more. It takes a little planning and setting up but once in place you have a huge potential facility to interact through multimedia.

A couple of years ago my school wanted access to video libraries so to cut a long story short I went down the road of setting up a a quicktime streaming server which is just a matter of starting this service up in Tiger Server (don’t forget there is a free version called Darwin Server that you can download). Once set up it’s accessed by admin from anywhere in the school using a remote tool and students use a web interface to access content. Anyway using Quicktime Broadcaster (as you know free) you have a live feed from any camera and the control of access, streaming the feed if you wish, capturing and compressing the feed if you wish and forwarding to the internet is very easy with QT server.

You could actually just use an eMac as your server for small scale things and your eMac could also be the computer that has the camera attached. The larger your school the more of an expensive it may be if you scale to meet demand but its worth messing with if you already have the server software to try it. Anyway just in case it was not considered I thought I would mention it and if you teach Media and Music in a large capacity it is a great tool.
Steve


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  • Julie: I am sorry that Rainbow Maths has been forced off the web. My daughter loved it so it is missed. Any idea when Jenny may put it back on the web with added security measures to prevent it being copied etc?
  • Jen Zupp: I totally agree with Jenny's reason to take it off. I have spent thousands of hours keeping my website up which is pretty much a directory of quality websites I find online. If I had created a masterpiece like...
  • Kristy Dickson: I agree with Paul, $20 000, $80 000, or whatever they cost, kids are losing interest. I think they have their place for a bit of drill and practice occasionally, but I wouldn't pay for them. Motivation and...
  • Ingrid: I'm distraught that rain forest maths is not available. My 3/4 kids loved it. My kids loved it and it is so easy to cater for their abilities with the different levels. Anyone know if there's a chance it will be up...
  • Azam Ali: my kids love this site, they come on rainforest to learn. Anyone trying to stop kids education is playing with our future. Shame on people who are greedy for money and dont care for the future.
  • Bryn Jones: Channel 4 in the UK has £50million to develop new media content. Ewan McIntosh has some role in it as Digital Commissioner for Scotland. Jobs open now! http://www.4ip.org.uk/
  • Thomas Goodwin: Paul Reid has pointed educators in the right direction (create and collaborate) however he started from an incorrect premise; The Learning Federation's Digital Resources are completely different from the...
  • Patricia Corby: Phew, what a terrific wealth of useful info here! Thanks Paul. In reference to this comment "They need to move from static to dynamic in form" as an overall comment it is relevant but being fair some are...
  • Paul Reid: If everyone's Math is correct the Teaching & Learning Federation pays $20k for jpeg pictures Learning Objects! eg these ones shown here http://www.thelearningfederati on.edu.au/for_teachers/what...
  • Janice Millard: its not fair that my class can't go on rain forest maths because of other people copying we were going to do a test on it but it was closed down my class was very upset not very happy!