Showing posts from February, 2013

BYOD --- Duh!!! ...

Chatting to a member of a schools senior leadership team at the moment. They were bemoaning the need to use Google Translate for their students, the time it took them as well as the need to book a limited supply of laptops as pennies are tight.

In an ethnically diverse area with an immigrant population. They have to consider some interesting languages when producing resources. I am sure there will be some who would have an issue with the idea of using google translate to teach in an english speaking secondary school. Let us leave that notion to one side.

Not missing a beat, I ask one question ... what about their mobile phone policy.

With glee they explain their complete ban on phones.

So thats your problem, I replied. You have 1000+ students, with access to over a £1,000,000 worth of IT equipment and you are stopping them from using it. On matters such as translation as well as all the other resources these devices offer.

It is not difficult to encourage good behavior amongst the st…

Dear Diary ...

Time is currently a bit of an illusion ... be nice when I get some.

Meaningless ...

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labours at which they toil under the sun?

4  Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

5  The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
... wisdom from the old testament I continually return to ... as issues come, go, return, get worse or better. One develops experience, trouble is that experience gives you the ability to see things often as they are.
Funny to watch things that play out and wonder if one should intervene, advise or to let those involved become more experienced. Sounds tough and unsympathetic, maybe, or the chances are that 
All things are wearisome, more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Sorta goes on doesn't it?
As you observe the bull and bluster…

Redaction ...

This post has been ████████ due to some ███hole taking um██████ to my otherwise excellent opinions. So, in the spirit of the concept, you are a complete and utter ██████, short of a few █████████s and devoid of ████████ and ████s.

Getting the message ...

Something that makes for interesting social commentary is how distributed groups of workers get different messages from the same information. Involved in three different distinct communities of practice. I see similar issues of cognicience accross all ...

You tell people the same set of facts, yet in their interpretation, you see some interesting translations.

If everyone did not understand the facts, you would consider the facts flawed.

If the majority struggled, the same is true. But somehow, there is always a significant minority for whom the facts present a challenge.

Worse, they all seem to create a new and unique way of missing the point.

Sigh, more to manage ...

Terrible news ...

Last night I was a little surprised to receive a call from a former student (who became a colleague). Whom I haven't seen since leaving my previous employer five years ago.

Have you heard about Sam?

Sam, was one of my penultimate full time students and a member of a tutor group I managed from 2006/2007. This was a group of Level 3, Networking students, covering topics such as the Cisco CCNA.

A vibrant soul, a sole female in a group of 20 males, she certainly made her mark, in personality, intellect and ability to handle the rest of her group. She was one of a small set of motivated souls I used to set extra challenges, when I used to try out some of my network simulation ideas.

The news, quite unexpected and something you never consider when it comes to teaching. The mortality of the youth you educate somehow doesn't fit into the equation.

Words fail me ...

Stuck in a Rut ... educators

Something that continually challenges and gives me the occasional moments of personal angst is the professional question ... am I stuck in a rut?

Whilst one cannot be all things to all people and be able to teach all technologies at all times. It is essential to remain current, open to change and open to the inclusion of a new technology in my teaching.
Yet, out there I encounter so many, abusing their students with a knowledge set, not only outdated, but with an intractable obstinance. 
They do not wish to change ... intent on teaching topics of little value, dated or inapplicable. 
Mostly out of a inability to change, often through fear, some lazy and many who seem to have trapped themselves into a view that they are incapable of learning something new for a multitude of reasons.

Are you in this rut?

O Internet, O Internet come to thee ...

It surprises me that many out there using the world wide interweb thing, has not grasped the nature of getting the internet to come to you.

Pascal ... you are kidding me ...

At another interesting meeting today where one can say that with unanimity everyone around the table likes Pascal as much as I. One of the more experienced souls found this from a well known national

It is a teacher resource and designed to encourage educators to choose Pascal as a the 'preferred' language.

To rant about this and express my full feeling on the matter would be defamatory and unprintable. The words I would use, would cause the mass suicide of thousands of kittens. What makes me more emotional is their own words "Java, C, C++, C# fall into the category of complex programming languages" ... they are advocating 'teaching languages' vs 'industrial languages' yet seem to pay little heed to the issue why many of our students struggle in the face of international competition.

What is worse, the document is dated so recently. I suggest you read this document and form your own opinion.

I am now wandering around the house, spitting programming b…

Efffing Pascal (again)

Been chatting to a number of Computing educators over the last couple of days, from Schools and Colleges across the UK. In sincere unanimity, we agree, no more (insert swearwords) Pascal. Now to the point where some of the units being developed in a new national qualification will nail down the need for students to learn a 'current' and 'applicable' language.

Everyone was able to share where they have had to rid themselves of souls and their practice, entrenched in the idea that Pascal is appropriate.

Pfft ...

My research in plain, very plain english

The upgoer 5, is a project devised to explain the Saturn 5 rocket within the 1000 most common words. As part of a research event within my faculty, we were all encouraged to 'boil' our own research down to these simple and appropriate terms. As words like Internet and simulation is not in the top 1000, you have to use your imagination.

Read on and tell me what you think.
I look at how we can build a pretend world wide talk thing, to help others learn how to build real ones without breaking them as well as making the people that own the real world wide talk things sad or angry

What verbs in assessment actually mean ...

Research …              to effectively copy and paste from Wikipediausing Google on more than one termsuccessfully using another search engine that is not an onomatopoeia (Bing!)
Investigate …              stealing the content from your classmatemaking a random guess in the hope that it ‘works’
Implement …              avoid death through practical experiencesurprise oneself that it actually works
Test …                         apply a set of random interventions in the hope that it may be based on scientific principlefudge the results to meet an expected outcome Evaluate ... write a load of waffle about something you want to fit your view of the world Justify like evaluate, but with some tenuous facts to back it up Compare wow thats big? Present

bore them crapless with powerpoint

It is not what we remember ...

More what we forget that defines who we are.

It is difficult not to recall every slight, every issue, each critique. More as a defence mechanism, we recall each insult with ease yet neglect many compliments.

Forget those insulting memories, not easy, but it is worth it. Instead try and remember that small compliment, good moment and happy memory.

Well worth the effort, but difficult to accomplish alone.

Talent for teaching

How would you define a talent for teaching; for many it is based on the results (the number fo grade A's etc). Yet if you have a capable group of learners who are able to assimilate complex concepts by themselves, how would you know if it is your input that is aiding their achievement.

Where talent lies, is in my view getting those who struggle with a concept to a place where they are comfortable, if not proficient.

It does not need to be in a classroom, it can be as a mentor with your apprentice or an off cuff conversation with another. We are all teachers, some are simply more attuned to bringing others forward.

So, dear educator, what do you think is your talent for teaching. Are you an orator, impatient with those who don't receive your excellent wisdom. Or are you an educator, sharing, coaching and encouraging those around you to come closer to what you understand.

But we are a distance learning university?

Something that has struck me over the last (almost) five years at the Open University is the view amongst many within our lofty spires. That anyone engaging with us should immediately understand the fact that we are distance learning based.
Irrespective that most souls have experienced and term based, autumn start education that is primarily in the classroom with some out of class homework and assessment.
So, when we have software that is campus licenced and the software providers struggle with our distributed model. Or a potential partner asks to speak with our students at a lecture. The first response is “don’t they know?” of course they bloody well don’t we are still quite unique.
I still think back to 2002/3 when a dear friend and colleague was slowly coaching me in how the OU worked. Jointly there was an idea that we could create a module in Cisco networking, but it needed me to coach him in the dark arts of Cisco, as he needed to do the same for distance learning and me. I am …

I wonder what the new generation of Watches brings ...

I am sure many reading this, are aware of the next generation of watches, these so called ePaper devices, that sit on your wrist and offer many other services. Whilst this is not news, as there where digital watches in the 1980's offering a range of features. Recalling my Casio data bank watch, which I used to store phone numbers (and useful it was too).

What has changed, is what they can offer and what could be accomplished with this. As a bluetooth parasite device, it becomes a front end and remote to your discretely located mobile phone.

So, I wonder that this will bring ...
Thought one ... double muggings, if I can see that you can afford one of these watches (not that they are too expensive), I can assume that on your person you also have a nice phone for the pickings.Thought two ... exam cheats, now one can have notifications to the phone via a variety of platforms. Can a corrupt teacher pass messages to their class? Could a student prepare a set of reminder notifications du…