Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Starting a new year

Well I have been in at school a couple of times over the last week. It never changes, well some parts do, staff come and go, new computers come and need to be unboxed and setup. Unboxing and setting them up takes a fair bit of time, considering there are few staff around the school, most have IT problems, whether it be a interactive white board setup, SMS problems or they have been away for a year and there laptop has been setup for a completely different site. Where are the technical staff to help, on technician isn't enough, considering they have eighteen laptops to setup and get out to the new staff before Thursday. 

Students came and went today clasping their results in their hands, fearful they would not get into the subject of their choice. With their N, A, M, E, and the new one of SNA, some students surprised by gaining results in externals, while other have only just managed to reach double figures in Level 2 NCEA. It is a shame that the subjects they will be taking, the teachers will see then go before the year is up, as they leave school having not attained one NCEA certificate. Put in the work, attend school, and if there is homework, there must be a good reason for it. Do it!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Microsoft Education - bits and bytes

In my view this has been one of the most annoying part of researching a topic. Every time I think I have found all the learning and articles for a topic I then find more.

The Microsoft Visual Studio Express Editions Beginning Developer Learning Centre is my new find.

There is two parts to this, the Web Development, and Windows Development. The one I am focussed on today is the Windows Development.
Windows Development
Would you like to customize your desktop with cool utilities or build fun Windows applications and PC games? Then you should explore this Development Track
There are Five lessons in the Bits and Bytes section:
I am now working on downloading the various lessons both the audio and the articles, this will be an interesting addition to the microsoft virtual pc 2007, which as well I have just found out that it is free, I hope it will be better than the microsoft virtual pc 2004 that we have on the school system at the moment.

So I will have the bits and bytes series as well as the Microsoft Curriculum on Digital Literacy that I found the other day, or would it be better on the managed network, so it can be allocated to various rooms.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Microsoft Education in New Zealand part IIII

The awaited email from msdn alliance network,

Hello Gerard,

This is in response to your email regarding the MSDN Academic Alliance for New Zealand schools.

Thank you for contacting the MSDN Academic Alliance program for North America. For prompt attention, please contact the MSDN Academic Alliance support center for the specific country where you reside. You may use the following link to determine the correct support contact:

For Latin America countries, please use the following information:

54 11 4317 2606
Fax 54 11 4317 2607

55 11 3328-3700
Fax: 11 3328 3701

Netherlands Antilles:
001 800 872 2881+ 877 417 3460

In Latin America, if your country is not listed, call collect 661 702 2860, or email to

If there is anything else we can do for you, please let us know. Thank you for contacting Microsoft.

--------end of email-----

Umm yes, how about giving me the New Zealand contacts for one. Not the smartest cookie in the bunch are they.

Oh and when you click on the worldwide link in the mail, it takes you to a list of counties, one of which is not New Zealand. However Australia is there.

under the support contacts worldwide, I find an email address for Datacom in wellington., however there is no

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Microsoft Education in New Zealand part III

Yay, an email from msdn, however it is only an acknowledgment of receiving the email.

Thank you for emailing We have received your message and will reply within 2 business days. Our hours of operation are 6:30 AM to 5:30 PM PT, Monday through Friday.

If your message is of an urgent nature, please feel free to call us at 1-866-643-9421 in the U.S. and Canada. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, please contact your Microsoft Region Service Center.


Microsoft MSDN Academic Alliance

Monday, 21 January 2008

Unfinished work

I still have yet to write a quick introduction for Mountain Biking for the school sports page.

Mountain biking is a great way to explore the outdoors, stay in shape, or just have fun. Racing down the side of a mountain is a lot of fun indeed, although it can also be quite dangerous. Even though it’s dangerous, if you ride with caution, it can be enjoyed by the entire family.

At ******** School we mainly ride every second Sunday through various purpose built Mountain Bike Tracks in Woodhill Forest, Whitford Forest, and the Hunua Ranges.

There is opportunity to compete in the:

* Auckland Secondary Schools Cross Country Individual Champs
* Auckland Secondary School Winter Series, four events over the winter months in Auckland
* Auckland Secondary School Team Relay
* New Zealand Secondary Schools Indicidual Champs, in Levin
* Cateye Moonride, a 12 hour mountain bike race where you will compete in a team down in Rotorua Forests.

For more information please fill in the feedback form below.

Microsoft Education in New Zealand part II


The Microsoft Academic Alliance High School Membership is not covered by the Microsoft Schools Agreement.

We do not hold any details on the Microsoft Academic Alliance High School Membership. You may want to contact Microsoft and ask them for details on this and also ask them if this available in New Zealand.

Ph: 0800 800 004

Still waiting on the other emails to come back from msdn and from innovative teachers network.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Microsoft Education in New Zealand

I have been to the Microsoft Education site in New Zealand a lot in the past years I have been a teacher. I have looked for may varied and interesting ways to teach a multitude of topics ranging from webdesign, piracy, ethics, and operating systems. You would think the Microsoft site would be a good place to start. Well you are right, just not the New Zealand one.

I subscribe to a number of Computer Science teachers blogs from overseas and have found in the last couple of days good resources from them, and they are from Microsoft!

Number One: Digital Literacy
The Digital Literacy Curriculum consists of five courses:

Computer Basics

The Internet and the World Wide Web

Productivity Programs

Computer Security and Privacy

Digital Lifestyles

Each course has an e-learning module and an assessment. You can also take the Certificate Test, which covers topics from all five courses. If you pass the Certificate Test, you can print out a personalized Digital Literacy Certificate.

This original version teaches generic ICT skills and concepts, and features screen shots and simulations from Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Microsoft Office 2003 to illustrate and provide hands-on examples for students. Version 2 of Digital Literacy uses screen shots and simulations from Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system.

Number Two
Microsoft Academic Alliance High School Membership

The alliance that I'm referring to is the Microsoft Academic Alliance which allows any high school computer science department and computer science students to install Visual Studio. In addition, you get the following:

Three Microsoft e-Learning Library (MELL) collections:

  • General Programming
  • Microsoft Visual Studio .NET
  • Programming in Visual Basic .NET
  • Teaching Tools CD
  • Student Tools CD
  • Teaching Tools Manual
  • Student Tools Manual
  • Introductory Kit
  • Monitored Newsgroups
  • MSDN Library
    • Documentation
    • Technical Articles
    • Code Samples
    • Access to the Member's Area of the Web site
    • Private MSDN Academic Alliance newsgroups
    • Additional "Members Only" special offers
    • 2 Professional Technical Support incidents

    There are three ways for students to obtain the software for their personal use.

    1. Member departments may make up to 50 copies of MSDN AA software for students to check-out from a library or lab. Students are required to return the physical media within a reasonable period of time.
    2. Member departments may put the software on a secure server and have students download directly from the server. If a department desires to utilize both methods, that is perfectly acceptable.
    3. Microsoft has partnered with e-academy to provide electronic software distribution for students and faculty free of charge.

    Students must sign an agreement before they can download the software. The school administrator keeps track of the software and the agreements.

  • Number 3
    Academic Resource Centre
    A number of programming resources are available here, as well as high education.
    I have gathered some C# and visual basic resoures that I plan to use with the year 12 and 13 programming classes.
    Code Rules: Introduction to Programming with Visual Basic - 12/19/2006
    Code Rules introduces students to basic computer programming concepts. The simulation involves four students who travel the country in a Winnebago stopping at offbeat places to face coding challenges. This is a complete introduction to a programming course using Visual Basic 2005 Express.

    This really annoys me, and I have made it known in a couple of emails, one to the msdn alliance, and the other to the innovative teachers Australia and New Zealand network. Why is none of this on the New Zealand Microsoft Education website, are we not important. No wonder that there is the call for Open Source. Ubuntu has just released training for students and instructors on how to use 7.10. Maybe there is the need to change. Just because Microsoft are stuffing us around.

    Sunday, 13 January 2008

    Where to start

    I have found the last week kinda fun. Finding resources, designing space invaders for the walls of my classroom. But one of the biggest challenges is where to start with the students. Do I get all the moderation unit standards out of the way first. It would help with the ethics, but I wanted to start the year with the 2783 unit standard first. I will have to wait till I return to school to find out when the moderation is due. One of the other things that I am finding is that there are very few xbox 360 controllers with usb cables on them. I need at leat 10 of them for the xna development. As well as waiting for xna academic to come out, there was an annoucement in December 2007 that there will be a academic account come out in Janurary. Other developments are that I have nearly completed the four house web house websites for the houses at school. I am thinking of a fifth for the staff versus year 13. I probably need to also look at what is required for the webdesign course. CSS, Flash and mySQL/PHP will be used. But one of the biggest things I have yet to do is come up with the course for year 12. Whether I stay with the current plan, but what to make for the assessment is still up for discusion. However the year 13 course is completely changing, problem is that I have too many resources for it and I am still to go through them to see what I can and can't use.