10 months On

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

It has been 10 months since I moved to Kristianstill.co.uk and I still come back for help to WordPress.com. 2 quick points to make here.

If you are thinking about educational blogging then WordPress.com is a great place to start, there are numerous hidden benefits that you will only realise when you move on.

Second, I am back today for a little guidance, and you know what, WordPress.com delivered. So, a quick post to recognise WordPress.com and thank you.

Blog for students

September 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here is a thought – Spaces – blogging for students here or in Moodle?


January 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Thanks to everyone here at WordPress.com but I am moving to me…. www.kristianstill.co.uk.

At the moment there a link page, but hopefully I get that tidied up.

Brave New Worlds

December 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

About a year ago I mentioned to one of my IT technician colleagues that I would like to one day, move to my wordpress.com blog to my own domain name and wordpress install. I was keen to improve the theme appearance, functionality and personalisation offered by your own install, but I am not going to mislead anyone, there was a little professional vanity/motivation in there too. It was just a case of time and learning how to set up the MySQL database and purchasing Kristianstill.co.uk/ for the princely fee of £5 or so. Well, Santa delivered two emails this year, the first told me to visit www.kristianstill.co.uk, here I found an old avatar pic of myself and message ‘Click on me to enter my WordPress blog.’ The second email issued me with the link to my admin account, username and password. What a fantastic gesture, thank you.

So 2009 ends with our family back in our nearly renovated home, at new desktop PC, in our new guest bedroom/home office and theming and importing my old wordpress content to my brand new blog. With the support and generosity of my colleague, I now have www.kristianstill.co.uk to record, reflect and share my ICT journey in 2010. What a great way to see out the noughties. Now home, with connectivity (hurrah) I cant wait to find, test and trial new ICT with colleagues and students and share our finding through this blog…. talking of which have you seen Shrink Pic – Free photo resizer for email, IM, blogging and web galleries. Basically Shrink Pic runs in the background. It has a taskbar icon which tells you it’s waiting for photos to be sent and compresses pictures as you send them to your chosen destination.

The next step is to learn how to either direct Kristianstill.co.uk directly to the blog or creating a really fancy splash page…. I am not sure which yet….


December 23, 2009 § 2 Comments

DFSI? Simply,

Dashboards for School Improvement is a new service which provides tailored assessment intelligence capabilities to schools, through the construction and implementation of bespoke dashboard solutions. These interactive dashboards can be linked to live assessment data, providing up to the minute information about student performance. Dashboards can help schools to focus on key metrics, such as examination performance or CVA, and will enable them to present this information to teachers, parents and students in a variety of attractive and interactive ways.

So now you know. It is the final week and we are not winding down (in fact it took me a whole week before I had time to post this review). DSFI have been developing a product to display customised whole school KPI (Key Performance Indicators) in dashboard form. Dashboard and KPI are common parleance for industry and may well become so for schools, but as yet fairly new to schools.

We discussed the product at length at the SSAT09 conference; customisation, the tie into active directory, parental reporting, ‘what-if’ analyses, security, filtering of displays, remote access and staff training – and possibly a few more. With confidence in both the product and the team behind it, I was keen to showcase this product with our Leadership team, governors and Sims personnel. Arranging an onsite presentation was simple enough but you can review the product for yourself at the demonstration website (Login: dfsi and Password: dfsi).

At this meeting our Sims manager was suitably impressed and our governor endorsed this type of KPI tracking as common place within industry. Overall, a positive response to what I see as a potent tool for data driven education. I am very pleased to say that the product was well received, and given the time, I will write a rational for investing in this product that has both a startup and annual fee. We hope to work closely in the development and application of dashboards within school with DSFI and aim to offer a showcase event in 2010. I hope to post again later in the year following the introduction of the dashboard product.

Perhaps I have not given dashboards sufficient praise, so again, try it out fully for yourself on the demonstration website (Login: dfsi and Password: dfsi). Remember, the dashboard is fully customisable and built for schools and your schools agenda.

Forgotten Forms

December 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

AFL Radio Buttons and Drop Downs – the forgotten forms – and the time to write a post!

The much maligned ‘Assessment for Learning.’ Every student is expected to reflect on their learning and take responsibility for the quality of their work within out Department. To increase learner responsibility with 16-19 years was challenging, but with 14-16 its taken even longer for the learners to see its value. Every piece of work our students submit comes with a simple, but effective front sheet. Students have to tick/check boxes that the work has been reviewed and it is their own work. With Moodle, we have good intentions to extend AFL to offer more options with submissions but we are not there yet although the feedback module is installed and at the ready.

Inherent in almost all the OCR National units is testing or seeking feedback, (see unit 7, 4, 22, for example). We have used a range of webware tools to upload and share student work (authorstream / voicethread), and we have polled students on their opinions / enjoyment and teaching-learning experience via Google Doc Forms. We really like the Google Forms, but we were looking for a quick and easy tool for ‘testing or seeking feedback’ so we looked at radio buttons and drop downs within WORD 2003. Both worked well and were easy to construct with a little help from the help tool (press F1). I have created a basic form and learnt how to add radio buttons and group them (taking longer than both Moodle Feedback and Google Forms). Now I need your help, when I open the aforementioned Word Doc/form, the form always opens in the design view. Does anyone know how to get the form to open ready to be used?

Second, its Christmas and a time for sharing. We are also developing a grades database with Unitary/modular grades, colour coding target setting and a student/parent conference display for parents evening. You are more than welcome to share and review this homebrew product, as long as you acknowledge the designer/author, my colleague Andrew Sangster. Drop me email if you want to review it.

Best of…

December 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

Half way into December, the best of 2009 articles are already regular titles in the RSS reader. Best free apps, best platforms, biggest failures, you know the drill. I think reviewing these documents often throws up stories, apps and tools you may have looked at, forgotten or simply passed you by. These somewhat annoying articles might just throw up a gem.

Only 888 Remains

December 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

I can remeber video and I kind of remember 8 tracks I played on a quiz robot. Technology moves at a pace, but today teletext annouced its was closing as of December 18th (with the exception of subtitles on 888). Content has migrated and the service, completely ad supported, is no longer ‘viable.’ I wonder if our students use teletext? 301 for sport headlines, 606 for whats on now and next? I doubt it, where would you post your status?

Moodle Moot 2010

December 12, 2009 § 3 Comments

Next year’s Moodle Moot is to be hosted by University of London Computer Centre on 13th and 14th April.

We will be hard at work, putting together two days packed with thought provoking keynotes and engaging workshops whilst offering you the chance to meet fellow Moodlers.’

6 months conversation and planning has brought us to a date, venue and planning groups. Are you Moodling? Developing, Integrating, Managing, or Teaching with Moodle then the conference will definitely offer an enthusiasm and inspiration injection. If you are thinking about Moodling, like I was this time last year, then may I say that there will be a fantastic community of support there to help you get started.

The conference will be held at Senate House, the University of London’s iconic Art Deco building, which has recently undergone major refurbishment. Please share and encourage all current and future moodlers to attend, please register your interest here.

In the meantime you can follow moodlemoot2010 on Twitter or search for #mmuk10 to get the latest updates and news on MoodleMoot UK 2010.

Its Rarely that Simple. 1:1

December 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

We have started our planning for Sept 10 deployment , sounds rather military and in many ways it is. Hardware infrastructure and capacity, in-house or managed, wireless, image, accountability of parents / students (this includes documentation, AUPs and SLAs) the impact and teaching and the expectations of teachers. How to support hard to reach families, disadvantaged families, students in care. Direct from manufacturer or through the ‘channel.’ Do you offer loan units? Power and battery life. Where to start the programme, Yr 7 or Yr 10? Whats is your 1:1 package, the unit (what screen size), warranty, accidental damage and/or theft, case, software, servicing? (we have not had a netbook stolen…) E-Learning Foundation or not, Monitoring or not? To sync files or not, propriety OS or not, Terminal Services or not, cloud or not, admin passwords for parents or not and any combination from the above. Where is the netbook office to be situated? Staffing? Do you as a school contribute to the cost of the units? What are the benefits of such a contribution? The failing purchase of netbooks and its impact on viability (the $/£ relationship).

New for 2010: 1GB or 2GB, Hard Drive or SSD, Securus?

Lastly, but very importantly, the context of your school. The financial position of your students, the maturity of your ICT adoption and traction and your schools readiness to change. Afterall, these learning tools will bring about change in how students (and teachers) interact and learn. To paraphrase George Siemens “It’s not about tools. It’s about change.”

I wish the decision-making process was a simple list or yes no questions and answers but its not. Many of the above questions are weighted and intertwined. (I hope to work on this diagram some time over the holidays with the input of our team at work). If you think its daunting for an individual school, give a moments thought to a national deployment of and 100,00 laptops or 1300 a day OLPC Deployment in Uruguay (Miguel Brechner).

Following a request from Huntington School to share in our experiences, I felt that I would open the planning and documentation for that day to anyone wish to explore this opportunity. If you are interested please send a request and we will reply with an invite to the project planning for our school collaboration day.

Alternatively, there are more links here.