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.


December 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

The UK government has pledged to get another one million people online by 2012 as it pushes ahead with moving the majority of its services onto the web. (

Also in the article, ‘some two million people are estimated to currently use UK online centres, which were set up in 2000 to tackle the digital divide.’ Having posted the notion of opening up school ICT suites and wifis, surely school are in a position to support this agenda? Weekends, evening, it would be interesting to know when these centres are most used.

At the same time the BBC is reporting that lessons in using the internet safely are set to become a compulsory part of the curriculum for primary schoolchildren in England from 2011, unveilling the ‘Click Clever, Click Safe,’ strategy.

Google Hit Hard with 5 New Features

December 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

Almost every feed I follow covered Google yesterday as they unveiled a number of “incredible” new features. From voice search and translation, to location and visual search, as educators our job is to customise and use them for education where appropriate.

Near Instant Voice Translation – that will translate between English and Spanish in the cloud, via your mobile phone. Well that is MFL sorted. Future international conferences will run smoother as long as delegates bring their Android smartphone.

Customized Suggest Based on Location – The feature will soon make use of location information when searches are performed on mobile devices.

Google Product Search Combined With Inventory Feeds from Local Retailers – local mobile product search will soon tell you where the nearest store with a product is and whether that product is in stock. So that is the retail market at the beck and call of Google.

Next, Google Launches Real-Time Search Now  – click that button and you’ll see the closest-by search results ranked by user rating. Handy if you are looking for a restaurant in Birmingham during the SSAT conference?

My personal favourite, Google Goggles – if not for the name. Visual search, take a photo, click a button and Google will analyze imagery and text in the photo for your search query. Pretty exciting.  With 1 billion images included in the index today, excluding facial recognition until privacy concerns are figured out, this could be exciting. But how will we use it, answers in a comment please….


December 4, 2009 § Leave a comment

According to a recent survey of around 3,000 kids, those who text, blog and use social sites such as Facebook have better writing skills than their less technologically inclined counterparts.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, told BBC News. Meanwhile, those forward thinking educators look over their shoulders and muted…. ‘really?!’

10 Teaching Days

December 4, 2009 § Leave a comment

At present we have 3 projects launched, but in their infancy, 2 projects were are working on and 2 in the planning stage. Keeping these 7 projects up to date and on schedule or in development is a real challenge.

We have been communicating and directing these projects through traditional meetings and conversation but keeping each project on track and all parties informed soon became overwhelming, so we added Collonas Workplace to our project management. It take a little while to get the settings right and proxy set up, but since then, its been a really useful tool.

Collanos allows unlimited number of members to work, communicate in real time or asynchronously reducing the need for constant email updates and permitting fewer meetings.

Projects and related projects are stored in a single, consolidated workspace. From now on we all access the same project-related activity / task / comments / documents without the need of going back and forth between multiple tools / channels. Meetings, now less frequent, are also more productive due to our shared understanding.

Instant notification is possible, but a little annoying when teaching so I have turned my off, the IT team however find it useful. Collanos Workplace also allows you to send instant messages to team members (all with set permissions) and alerts you when updates have been made. The usual, ‘Im busy’ or ‘Im available’ is useful but its a feature we have come to expect.

Did I mention Collanos Workplace is free! The service is backed by premium services or bespoke solutions, but as yet, its done all I need and more. We have set up a Collonas to help support and encourage communication between the network managers in the county. I am keen to see how it is adopted.