Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Things you can do with a Bluetooth proximity hotspot?
You can allow people to share files:

What files can I send through an Hotspot ?
Images as .gif or .jpg files
Text as .txt files
Animated images as animated .gif files
Audio as mp3, mp4, wav and ringtones
Video as 3gp or mp4 files
Macromedia Lite as .wmv files
Java Applications as .jar files
Business Card files and Calendar Event files (.vcf , vcard)
And any file supported by a mobile phone (even .xls, .doc, .pdf ,etc)
Applications (.sis)

Open source bluetooth stack
juts nee dto find some documentation on how I can use this to integrate it into what I need

one system I found is


what I am looking has been done before

more on what we are trying to do
Specific pieces at the museum that you would wish to provide more information about, like text about each piece, include a sound clip from the battlefield or maybe a short video of the production process of a piece. The user takes the information with them after leaving the Museum and can enjoy a 're-visit' by viewing files received or share the experience. Information provided adds another dimension to Museums and their exhibitions.

Secrets revealed - the mysteries behind the museum

In the right place at the right time?
We had a mass email sent out to us staff at school where it had in it that Auckland Museum were going to have the behind the scenes exhibit and that staff were invited to go along as a preview to this. So I jumped at the chance, one because I had never been to the museum in Auckland, and two, because I am starting to think how can I be a part of the integration of ICT in the New Zealand Curriculum.
While going through the exhibit I was approached by one of the staff who I got talking to, I got talking about the exhibit and what I found interesting and spooky, I hate loud clocks ticking and they have one.
i also started talking about what technology they had for the exhibit and other exhibits around the museum and this lead to a very interesting discussion. They have just created one of their first interactive/multimedia websites, so I talked about what I had seen at other places and how they used podcasts to describe artists impressions and how the galleries were using that information to educate their customers. Auckland museum have just started to develop these with this exhibit and are looking at furthering these with other educational aspects of the museum. But I started asking and TXT and BlueBlue and how PXT technology couldbe used. I was then asked if I was interested in becoming a member of a educational advisory group that will be meeting at the museum on the 4th September, hey, rugby will be finished around then, so why not.
Then we started talking about how students come in, are there for a day, doing reserach or something to that fact, have a looked around and leave, then teh next class comes in the next day and does the same. Why not introduce electronic worksheets that the student scan use, most have digital camera and work with them, why not use that information so they can take it away in a more useful form. This lead to how this could be carried out, My favorite app at the moments is google apps, Online documents and sites the students can create about a topic and post it up on the museum site so they can use it at school and the museum can use it to show other students what you can do. Its nearly and Virtual Learning Environment which could be another aspect that they could go down. I found out later that they are thinking of this.

But this brings me to my notes,
Use Bluetooth to send out instructions and exercise sheets to the students, pointsof interest, stories, digitial story of peron or object that they can listen to one their phone.
Use Digital resources to record experiences, upload to a VLE so students can take away their day and experiences, share with others.
SMS - ask questions, find a code and txt a number to gain more information, maybe link with telecom/vodafone.
Virtual Museum, when you go to a museum you can't go to everything or to some museums, you can't take a group of students to Invercargill to see the stuff they have down their on the whalers or anything like that. Develop some interest from schools on what you are going to see, "Virtual Field trip" 3D models, objects to take another look at.
PXT gallery, send your photos through
They have some smart boards at he museum in the learning classrooms, how could these be made more use of? How to integrate them with the museum.
how to create an instruction environment for an exhibit,

The secrets revealed
It is a staged walkthrough
What do you do when an exhibit ends?
How can people see past exhibits?

Linking in with other curriculum areas?

Bluetooth options or SMS?
Field trip to the museum to try those experiences out with Year 9/10?
Most schools send classes at a time and then the next class the next day. How can we create a more interactive/developed programme with the technology.

how can we get information on ipods/cellphone through the use of podcasts?
ways of getting podcasts out
Wellington Art Gallery uses podcasts to get information out on exhibits and information on various artists, how could we use the same technology.

Then there was a more detailed explanation upstairs in one of the Learning Classrooms
It is a temporary exhbition
It has learning potiential
Elements - designed
- threatre set
-uses diaramas?

They use traditional worksheets, workbooks.
Who (were), What (we do), How (we do it) are some of teh questions that this exhibit tries to answer.
There is support material,
They want to retain part of the website for eduction purposes.
Looking at students creating their stories
Secrets, within secrets
Postcard element on the website that students can create a postcard with various elements on it and email it home so their parents can look at it.
- labels, language that is used.
-expand create their own exhibition, unpack
-make more use of podcasts
- bring the community into the museum
-building the exhibition, uses the technology curriculum to create a ICT version.

There are also competitions.

The Secrets revealed website

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Google apps in schools

We have been using Google Apps for education for a term now, and have been finding it rather good, our biggest problem is not training or support, but rather our Internet Connections. We are a school of over 1800+ students. 
We have three ADSL connections into the school, all three are locked at 50 Gig of data a month. We constantly hit this with all three accounts and are trying to figure out ways to reduce bandwidth. 
We are on the lookout each day and week for the top websites of the day. Most of these are google sites but it is interesting how many of them are proxy sites for the students to get around our filters. These are a constant problem with student addicted to bebo. But that is another matter. 
It is great to see so many collaborative works in progress. With the ability to share documents the social studies department has become a hive of activity as students work in groups. This has not been able to be handled to great in the past with Microsoft ability, or non ability to do collaborative documents. Also the use of the google apps sites program, to create websites/wikis on topics and have other groups post information on topics they have worked on or provide questions and answers to topics. We are looking at how we can use these in other departments within the school. 
Staff are looking at a 21st century learning environment that is different. 
The ICT committee at school are looking at how to create a combined solution that uses Google Apps for student support - applications on tap but also KnowledgeNET for courses, tracking and support. KnowledgeNET is our Learning Management System. 

Some of our draw backs have not been at school, but more at getting the infrastructure in place. getting our domain host company to create the MX and CNAME records, total of 3 weeks to get done. Getting Google to recognise the K-12 status of our school, took a week and a number of emails back and forth to explain to them how the New Zealand system works. 
Also the management of students, google do not provide a facility to place extra information rather than first name, last name, login name and password, you cannot create extra field like a ID number or year level. 
So it has meant that we do not remove students that have left until the end of the year, it also means that we have to individually find each student at the end of the year and delete the account. So for a roll of 1820+ we have 1950 accounts created on google apps.

Monday, 28 July 2008


I have been getting my year 12 programming students working through Microsoft's code rules, which is a self paced e-learning resource designed to build them from development through to production of application using visual basic. It has been interesting as it requires them to work through prove its and challenges, normally they were able to get through a section of work quite quickly, however they have been slowing down as the information they are required to use gets harder. However, this is not the reason why i write this blog post. 
It because of a comment one of my students said today while trying to sole this problem

Look out! You almost hit that Jack Rabbit crossing the road! 

Do you suppose that rabbit thinks it can live forever? Say, that gives me an idea. 

Suppose rabbits did live forever. Let’s say that there is an island somewhere with lots of vegetation for rabbits, and no predators. 

Suppose two rabbits are placed on the island and that every pair of rabbits has a litter of 4 rabbits. 

So after 1 generation there would be 2 + 4 = 6 rabbits. After two generations there would be 6 + 12 = 18 rabbits.

Show the generation number, the number of rabbits, and the number of rabbits per square foot, assuming the island is one square mile in size and that there are 5280 feet in a mile.

Allow the user to choose the number of generations to show.

How would the rabbit population grow with each generation?

"I hate algebra, but I had to use it to solve one of the problems today. I hate it but it helped me." It enabled him to put what he was working on in class into a more practical use. This is what I like and one of the reasons why it is stated in our programme statement, you need to have good math skills, yet no one believes it, due to they are used to end user programs. They think that computing is word, excel, publisher and powerpoint. Some of them still don't believe that they are the ones that are creating the program, it is because they have not crossed that divide. It is too hard is there favourite saying, but break it down for them, "Paint" the form, define what it is you want each element to do in English, then work on the code and debug the code if need be and then test the working program, it can be that simple. Just do one step at a time and don't look at the large picture.
I have also made a little competition with the students, they were to develop a random generator program, which we used to show how it could be used, it was an interesting lesson, then getting the students to get there random number generator working so they could all have an individual number caused some headaches, as normal, not all students follow instructions at once, which caused a few problems. Next comes the chocolate fish awards for most creative use of the button. I am still thinking about how I can do this but it should be fun.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Education Google Apps

I have been working on this for over a term now, first starting to get people in the school to see that google apps was a good alternative of providing email to students. Then getting a pilot group together to trial and use the google app environment within the school and outside.

I looked around at a number of  alternatives of providing student email. Exchange, live@edu teh microsoft branded site and google apps. I think it was that google was providing this and that most students are used to using google's environment took my liking.

But this is not why I am writing this. It has been three weeks since emailing our domain host provider for changes to be made to our domain. After three weeks of emailing them back and forth last night I check the DNS system to find that our requests have been made active. We can now provide the students with a simple web address and away they can go. Now I just need to go through and find the old csv file with hopefully a last name so I can go back and find the student ID number that is associated with it and import from there. 

But we need to start getting this out at school, I am thinking of writing a php file to offer this to year 13 students through the intranet homepage through a banner ad, it is a simple way of getting a year group to work with it and find any problems. But we also need our network use agreement to go out to parents. 

Friday, 25 July 2008


The first trial test was a success, with the 15 students that managed to bring their student ID cards to school. Though i now realease I may need a complete class to push the maximum connections that site5 allow.

two issues that the students brought up, index page only had DD/MM/YY listed as their password, however it is in as DD/MM/YYYY
Year 13 studenst cannot login in, however I knew this as they will not be here next year.
Also they have suggested teh teh list of subjects be in alphabtical order.

And need to check speeling through majority of the page for simple spelling mistakes, like chocie = choice

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Programming problems in High Schools

We use a managed network system at our school which limits the students ability to run .exe files.

I have been using gamemaker through a virtual environment and discovered problems that would not allow students to run the executable in the virtual environment, due to Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 would not allow a graphics card greater than 16meg to be created, gamemaker requires a 64 meg graphics card or greater. We solved this by enabling an area on the network to run .exe files so the students could test.

The other programming software environments we teach run fine in virtual environments, visual basic and visual c# run well in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, but this does not have USB support.

When my year 13 students asked whether we could create games for the xbox 360 through the XNA creators kit using the skills they have gained in Visual C#, I thought sure, this sounds like something we can do and works in well with Achievment Standards and the competition/learning resources for STUDENT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DESIGN COMPETITION located at

After a couple of months figuring out that Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 won't run the xbox 360 for windows game controllers, installing vmware player and getting all the systems working and testing we have encountered our next problem, vmware player does not support directx3d, there is no drivers or solutions around.

We cannot create the exectable file and copy it through to another area as XNA reequires you to debug the program first. How are other schools providing computer programming experiences, do you dual boot, run liveCD's run off USB sticks? have a complete computer science lab that is setup just for those classes?

Your help would be appreciated.

Note: 28/7/2008 While reading Lance Armstrongs book, it's not about the bike I came up with the answer for my troubles, give the students privileged user rights on the machine. they cannot access anywhere else or so anything on the network due to permissions, but user rights on the machine might just work. I just need to work out what machines they privileged  use and grant them access, no messy creating different user rights or anything like that. Why did I not think of that 6 months ago. I think it because I had my mind on something completely different. Shows what reading a book can do for you. Also we can test out the web browsers that we are going to create...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

todays meeting

Todays meeting went well, noone has any serious problems with the system and what it is doing. Just need to go through the whole list of subjects with the deputy principlal and weed some of them out.

There has been questions asked whether I can export the returning, not returning, not sure details out of the system and into KAMAR, I looked at this after school and have figured out I can export the details out, will just come up with the csv import. I'll just try and do a test import tomorrow with some year 9 data I have to put in from last term.

I have been told I still have to apply some lip stick to the program just to make it a little bit nicer looking.

Also I was asked to get some software working for the food technology department. We have a multimedia CD from in reference to the education section.

I had been asked to get this working on the school network, the Link from the main application on the root folder on the CD loads straight from the CD, however when you go more in depth in the folder then you can get the program going by running master.exe I love shockwave flash multimedia development.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

subject choice bugs

working through the bugs in it, testing to see whether I can take subjects that i know are hidden is one of the bugs

SELECT code, name FROM table where year = " .$year." or year = ".$prevyear." and hide = 0 order by year desc

shoudl have worked, however it ended up to need some () in place to help with the and or statement

SELECT code, name FROM table where (year = " .$year." or year = ".$prevyear.") and hide = 0 order by year desc
is correct.

Now 13STU (13 Study) is hidden so they can not select it more than once. :)

I have a meeting with the development team tomorrow at lunchtime. This I hope will go smooth and they will come back with a few modifications. If they don't come back with modification I know that I have done something wrong, as they should be asking about features or they have thought of something that I haven't.

One of the issues that we have is that the curriculum guide has been developed without listing the subject codes that I use throughout my program, these are five digit codes that will go back into the student management system. What we are going to do is print a list off.

Also required is a list of the hidden codes so we can hide the information. However we need a way of getting the deaf and richard centre students in.

A check of all the information that we have in the subjects table. The problems we have faced the most is around 12 science with two 12SCI subjects, and 12 technology apparel which has two cost listings in it.

It needs to be pointed out in the system that this is preliminary and not the final subject choice as they may not have the conditions of entry, there might be a clash, class sizes might be too small or too large. This statement is being written up tonight and will be implemented into the system tomorrow morning during the ICT PD development time.

Monday, 21 July 2008

after the holidays

I have good reaction to my subject choice app with a number of people commenting how well and simple it is to work. It is now just the cosmetic changes that need to be carried out. The positioning of text, school logos and the words preliminary plastered all over it. The reason for these words is that it I was to create an indication of numbers not a final tally. The main questions I have had today is over printing of subject lists and numbers and letters back to the students. These I have said were not in the initial version as we are using KAMAR to do all the rest of the backend stuff. Why reinvent the wheel. Though I will probably throw in a numbers this just to see how things look. Just for me...

Also having to put up with the paint fumes in my classroom all today, I started to have spots in front of my eyes and things started looking awfully bright. I have a headache which is causing me some frustration at the moment.

Also we have developed a plan for the year 12 programming achievement standards and a topic.
Students have difficulty retaining information in some of their subjects, develop a range of tools to help other students in their studies. this will require them to develop some teaching notes or review notes and others (will get back to this later)

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Learning, Students need to major in Learning

I am currently reading a blog that has been written in regards to a Google Blog post that went on thier blog this week,

In the blog that I got the link from
In their blog they talk about students working through problems to find a solution, they need to think outside the square and move away from point and click teaching. Students today need to have persistence and willingness to work very hard, this is someting that many of them are lacking. You can have a engaging classroom that is also a challenging classroom.
Engagement in class, how do you provide engagement in class when the students dont want to be there...

There are some projects that they people in thearticle talk about,  Flast Classroom project, Horizon Project and Digiteen project. The Digiteen project sounds engaging. The didteen blog is located at
this focuses on the digitial citizenship programme, which sounds like what we are looking at with our new curriculum
The main website is located at I wish to try and find a location of the book to read. Also the digiteen project sounds like something I might try with my seniors next year to develop a learning outcome with the juniors that could integrate what netsafe have developed as part of their Cybercitizenship Pathway, outlined on the website.

Just an idea that may need some more thought and design

Friday, 18 July 2008

Library Competition

I am working on getting my clients for the classes Achievement Standards, I am looking at the students developing a solution for literacy in the school. This is the year 13 web design class. One is for the library to try and promote the borrowing of books through various means. They have to design a whole campaign around it. From posters, cards, through to a web site. That should make the design students happy. They might even be able to combine it into their design work in their class. I will have to take to the design teacher about it. The other involves the use of flash and some sound recording. Click on a sentence and it will read it out. This will involve patience and is quite simple to develop. Though they will have a rough client to work with.

I have been working through new zealand library websites, a number of them have been doing some good competitions encouraging teenagers to read books at there library, fill in the details and work from there, Invercargill City Library has by the looks of it just recovered its password to its blog site and started posting again, the first time in two years. Which brings up when developing a website it has to be easy to use as well as maintained. If you want to create a web presence you have keep it going. It is no use just using it once then forgetting about it. You need to keep your audience and content up to date. Manukau City Libraries has put some work into their site this year with Manix 2. This seems to be going well and they have put some thought into their design and development. i hope that they keep it up. It would be interesting to see what your local city library is doing to encourage teens to read. For me, this was all started when waitakere city libraries started their books in the wild scheme through the local high schools, that is where I think it would be great for our students to do the same, develop something that they can start at our school. it is just a short time frame. Which raises a question, how much time do you give them for a level 3 achievement standard.

As I said before, I have gone through a number of city libraries websites and had a look, I have print screened these pages and put them in a powerpoint presentation which I have put up on google docs, I have still to do more work on this before putting it out as a resource pack to my students.

The year 13 programming class will have to develop a game for Intellectual property as part of a campaign to help promote it. thought it might be nice to use XNA development. The other would work to the ones that are more interested in Hardware, to develop a wireless hotspot for a motel. They have to look at all the equipment required, setup and installation as well as documentation.

I hope that we can get through all this, i have 12 weeks as well as exam time, though i am going to have to come up with an exam for all these classes. Something that is simple enough to mark and something that others can understand.

I still have to organise a meeting with team solutions about intergrating what I am doing into a more defined subject. It is just a problem when you do not know what your client are going to be or how they will work. I have to get this more defined and talk to them about what we are planning to do.

I am only doing this because twitter is down for maintenance for an hour, and I just needed to get something down on paper, ok, keybaord. The other issue I had today was that the hotfixes for the compuiter still had not been allocated, i had been told they had been. emailled the outside support desk and found that they were waiting for the servers to be restarted before they allocated the packages. I hope I do not get told off on Monday about this.

online subject system

Version 2008.3a

the ability to hide a subject from being shown in the student list is now available. When you change the subject details through the teacher part you can change a hide code from 0 shown, to 1 hidden. Later on I could make this a combo box where it shows the words instead of a 1 or 0.

But this makes it a little less confusing when students already have english selected for them, they cannot select another english subject again.

These changes have now been made tothe live server.

Require a list of subjects that cannot select, especially when it comes to esl english. Though how do we put in richard centre and deaf centre students, this question is still to be answered.

I have been thinking about the maths, english, science question that was posed to me early on and it was decided that it wasn't going to be developed under this version, however, if I was to develop it I think it would be a valuable part of the system. Being able to say that if your were english you could assign students to a subject, since all the information is in one column of data the UPDATE statement would be quite easy to do, though if the students had not selected their subjects you would need to use the INSERT...ON DUPLICATE KEY statement that I used when changing their subjects to allow multiple times.
All the csv files look for is whether it is filled in or not, SELECT details from table where filled = 1;
They would have something in the export to KAMAR file as their would be information in the transaction table. It would be just their compulsory subjects.
How would I want it to look, would you bring in all students at a time, or develop a login for teachers in a subject to change where they think the students should go. You would also have to include the previous years english class in the information, and at the moment this is spread over 6 fields.
Another question: I have to ask is how do they want the 11FIN/11HEA/11GYM details to be entered.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

subject system version 0.3

just in the process of uploading the work to the live site now for testing, I think I am going to break it, as the site does not allow persistent connection, so i may have to rewrite some of the code to put a mysql close statement in at the end of each query

So this could make it version 0.3, then if all the changes need to be made 0.3a

We will see with my amazing upload speed of 0.1K a sec.

It has taken me a while to get the site going, I had a problem with getting the sql data imported, it was producing a rails error. Going through the support tickets with the company they explained that it could not be carried out one way, and instead got me going through my site and through a port at the end. This proved to work, and all 372K of data was imported correctly.

I had a problem with the database not working, this was fixed by removing the user and recreating the user again. All seemed to work after that.

It is now LIVE

This is now been taken off the development server and made live to do some checking that it will work(issues identified above), as i have just put it on to make sure it works, I have not updated the version number yet, will probably go to 2008.3a

Have created some extra users and emailed details out to certain staff for feedback and ideas. I know I have to make some cosmetic changes but this was mainly to check that the functionality works.

What is allowed under Technology Achivement Standards 

I have just had a phone call from a client wanting a wireless hotspot setup for his motel, it requires that it be traffic shaped, logins, access controls, and the like. Under Technology Achievment Standards is this allowed?

There is some software that has been developed, it would require the students to implement a solution. Build the computer, install all the software, set it up and write a manual on everything he did.

AS90620 Develop a one-off solution to address a client issue

6 A client issue is one that relates to a person or group.  The client cannot be the student.  However, if the client is representing a group, eg sports team manager, the student may be a non-leading member of this group, eg team member.  The issue must generate a range of needs or opportunities for technological practice.

8 A one-off solution is a technological outcome that is developed to meet the need or realise the opportunity as defined in the brief.  Implementation of a one-off solution should be evaluated in terms of its fitness for purpose in addressing the identified 
client issue.

It is a pity there is no phone number to ring or definitive person to ask.

subject choice system

Version 2.0d
I have been thinking over the night that there is no security on modifying subjects or seeing who has or hasn't completed filling in the form. I have implemented a teachers table that hold first name, last name, login and password in md5 format and included session ids so that noone can make changes if they haven't logged in.

This is included in the teacher folder within the program, so it seperates the login form, and all the teacher stuff in another area for admin, or should I call it admin?

I have taken out majority of the development codes that I have used to check the passing of variables and added comments to various other parts in case I have to make cahnges.

I have to load up dreamweaver and do a search for all login-form.php and change this to index.php

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

online subject system

Version 0.2b
This was getting all the exporting systems working, these were mentioned in the previous post, these involved the export to KAMAR file, as well as who has not filled in their options.

Version 0.2c

In this version we have improved the display of the system, the top section that displays the users details.

Also am looking at including a print option so students can print off their options, this will be availble in a pdf format using the software below.

Also have to look at changing the versioning of the system to include the year, so we know hen it was last worked on.

All subjects have now been entered, working on getting the teach-edit system up and working, one to rip the information out of the database and insert it into the text fields, and two to submit it back into the database. I am having some difficultly getting the information back in with my UPDATE syntax, will sleep on it tonight and see what I can do on Thursday. I have the fckeditor in basic mode so all you can do is bold, italic, list number and unordered list working on two of the fields, content and assessment. the rest use textarea and input type = text html tags.

I have backed up the sql in case I break it over the next couple of days.
- I need to look at other pdf creators, I am unsure what I need to do to get this working, and what to put in it. I basically need to wait for the stakeholders to come back to work before continuing, but then I will have probably run out of time.

Another question is why i am looking at using pdf to print it out, maybe i should be looking at using print/css which would do the same

one of the things that I also need to do is print off screen shots so I can get someone to draw on them where they want objects to go. I can remember some of the changes that were suggested but not all.

Version 2.0c
Subject modification is now functioning in a webpage rather than just in phpmyadmin, you can select the subject and then submit, this will bring up the details of the subject and allow editing. Changes are saved. One issue with not forgetting to change the where the code = xxxx this was set to 12pro.

Thinking about changing the version to 0.2d with the changes to the teachers side of things. However I have one more thing to work on which is the ability to print a form off with the students details, options and previous options with a number of words that mention you may make changes up to this date...

Have to check to see if I meet the specifications of this project, I need to find my viusal diary to be able to read my notes. Also to go back through the blog postings to see if I have implemented ideas when working through.

I have been thinking about the hours that I have worked on this
Friday 9am to 5pm
Monday 9am to 5pm
Tuesday 10:30 to 5pm
If I was a student doing this as a project, how many weeks would that be approx 22 hours of class time, not including work I have done at home plus the 8 hours I did at the start to get the basics working for the beta meeting, 30 hours. Basically 8 weeks of work.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Check against the specs

I found one of my documents today from one of the development meetings that was held last term, I have been checking to see that I have done everything on it

Online Senior Option Selection 08
ReasonTo reduce work load for staff both ancillary and teaching. Bonuses: Can be done at last minute

Design: ease of use, allows for multi level, reminds/controls of subject prerequisites, shows present subjects.

insuring student can only select there own selection, importing into Kamar

when, how, via English classes/ option choice afternoon, via the internet?

Who has selection rights, student select? Teacher control., Parent input. When will changes take place? Before or after entry into Kamar

T2 wk 9? Hand out option books
T3 wk 2-4 Teachers inform/promote their class/level(Maths, Eng) selections
T3 wk 4 Form teachers advise (From teacher)
T3 wk 5 Students make selection online
T3 wk 5 English/maths teachers make selections online?
T3 wk 6 Data imported into Kamar, Option lines, class list.
T3 wk 7 Printout to subject heads? Comments
T3 wk 8-9 Kamar updated
T3 wk 10 HODs sort teachers requirements?

I also found a timeline, though I look at it and I wonder when I would have had the time. Though i wonder when I started developing this?
I think back to one of the first meetings that I had with the SLT incharge and the questions and work that was done back then
it looks to be around the 13 June from a previous blog post. That means I have developed this in around a month?
Now looking at the calendar below I am doing well. This was a calendar that was developed before my input.

Timeline for senior option selection

Date Task
T2 w3 Preliminary planning
T2 w4 Discussion with other stake holders
T2 w5 Main issues identified, initial design, procedures
T2 w7 Mock up of data entry, draft procedures
T2 w8 Demo to main stake holders
T2 w9 Trail run, data importing, reports
T3 w1 Trail run 2 with selected students
T3 w3 First run with whole class

Subject Choice system up to version 0.2a

Today was all about getting the fuctionality of the system up and going and the requirement of the various year levels working properly, below are just some of the features that i had been working on, some took me more time to implement as I had to learn how to use them using phpmyadmin just to get the syntax right.
i also started looking at getting the uptodate unit and achievement standards in, however the files are rather large, I am looking at approx 42 meg of text and these have a problem, they also include all the expired unit and achievement standards

I am working on having a release date this week due to the timeframes that are involved.

Also you may asking why am I versioning this app, the reason is I don't want to break it all, just a small component, that means if I do do some major damage like I did earlier in the build, I deleted a whole section and saved it, notepad only undoes once, not multiple times.

Overview of the system
login-form.php logging in
login-exec.php check the database to see if the user exists, and checks against the md5 password
member-index.php the main form that the student uses to fill in all the required fields
member-confirm.php a page that displays the information so the student can check the details, if there is anything wrong they hit the back button
member-finished.php does all the entries into the database

Version 0.1c

  • If they are year 13 then they have to have 13stu
  • If they are year 12 they have to have 12eng
  • If they are year 11 they have to have 11mat 11eng 1gym/fin/hea
  • Can a year 13 take year 12 subjects, yes this has been included, all years can take the previous years class, apart from year 11 who cannot take year 10.
  • AJAX working to display information about subjects. This just needs a clean up, as there is an issue with formatting not coming through, will have to implement HTML tags to clean up.
  • School and version created in a table, and reads into footer.php which is included on all pages at the bottom of the page.
Version 0.1d
  • Included a way to make changes to subjects you have already selected, using a function in mySQl that is MySQL INSERT … ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE syntax
  • If you have filled in the form already , it will display what you chose last time
  • Added in reserve options, in case you don’t get the options that you chose. These have been implemented as reserve1 and reserve2
  • You don't have to fill in all options, there is no error checking on that yet. Is this a requirement
Version 0.2a
  • added in returning to school, this will be shown as Yes, No, Not Sure, but when it goes into the database it is a number, 1, 2, 3. What you selected when you filled in the form originally will be shown when you enter in again.

Still to do,

make more of it using session ids rather than $_POST information through?
Tidy up Curriculum Guide - implement fck editor
Career goal? does this need to be added
Cleaning up the interface, css and maybe boxes around certain items this is the fieldset and legend html tags this allows you to put the information into boxes, I have still to figure out how many of these to create and where to put them, but it seems simple enough, 1 box around the 6 subjects, and another around the two reserve input fields, also are you planning on returning next year, for the selection. As well as another one around the details of the subject. Might use pencil in firefox, an addon to do some design work. on how it might look.

Final outputs - KAMAR and who hasn't filled it in.

  • ideas on how to put a file out to a csv file.
  • for the KAMAR export use "SELECT concat( '2009T_', id ) AS id, sub1, sub2, sub3, sub4, sub5, sub6, res1, res2 FROM subject_new"; though I am probably going to have to put a year
    Done Completed - Version 0.2
  • Note this needs to be fixed, add identifier in so we can use it for multiple years, maybe in the custom table
  • Have used the same code but modified to see is filled = 0, this is to see if teh students have not filled in the form
    Done Version 0.2b

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Subject Choice system

I spent the majority of today populating the tables required for the students subject choice system, inputting all the subjects, entry requirements, content, assessments and costs. this takes quite a while, it is having to be copied and pasted out of a word document into phpmyadmin. One of the issues with this is that all the assessment information is in a table, which I need to convert to text with a space separating the information instead of a tab. But it has got me thinking, maybe the next iteration of the subject choice system is to see how many standards are used and getting the staff to input just the standard number and the rest of the information comes up. Which means our curriculum guide would be up to date always. Just need a scheme to have the data to be imported correctly.
Which leads me to some of the issues I have had today, the number of options in the curriculum guide does not match up with what I have been given. There are two year 12 SCI classes, in which there should be one SCI and SCU. And does the hospitality course have a Nil cost or is it $35?
I have managed to get all the students subject information in correctly after a good couple of hours, some issues have been, how many subjects does a year 10 student do, 9 or 10? Which you export information out of KAMAR in CSV format there is a space between the comma and the subject, example , 12PRO, the space is counted as a character in my mysql table so I get the result of , 12PR, which of course is wrong.
And making all the students date of births md5 encrypted, hasn't been a easy job, considering the date of '12/12/1990' should be inputted as md5('12/12/1990') which I have had to use wordpad to do the adding of md5(' ') which has been fun as there is a student with a date of birth in 1987 which I missed and caused chaos to my importing. 2 hours to get the data scheme right with the right spaces. will have to work out a better way as this will be required to be entered by someone else next year, or do I make a macro in excel to do this? As well as encoding the md5 checksum?
But, it has been solved, and added, though I do not think I will be changing the details on these tables for a while now. Just maybe adding the odd new student in one by one might be safer.
And we now have working login system with session ID's. This has been worked through by the use of someone elses script, which after a bit of reading and some working through has revealed itself to be quite useful.
Though it did require me to work through how to decrypt a md5, the password on the account that is created is passme
I now have integrated the work that I have done already on the other pages to select the options, and insert the options into a transfer table.

To be done next is:
  • To get the Ajax components working, so when you select the 5 letter code of the subject it comes up with what the subject is and the entry requirements. I am using this tutorial to try and word out what I need to do though I keep ending up with an error
  • A way to make changes to the subjects that you have already selected.
  • School and versioning information included in a table to make changes specific to each school that it is installed.?
  • Are you returning to school, career goal?
  • What qualifications are you going for insert into the subjects table? NCEA level 1, 2, 3 see this for example
  • Next iteration, max number of students to take a subject. As this system could be used to handle suspended timetable days in which First in, First Serve needs to be shown.
  • Who hasn't completed filling out the form? select firstname, surname, year, form from subjects where completed = 0, 1 means they have completed it.
  • A way to display all the curriculum guide information through one page? curriculum.php?subjectcode=XXxxx
  • The exported csv done to meet the KAMAR requirements.
  • Do I record IP address that it was filled in on. date and time?
  • Reserve subjects, in case things just don't fit in right as we are not going with option lines.
Next iteration of the system
  • Input of standards, unit and achievement standards, gain the information from the NZQA database and import it into the system. I have the file already in my email, just need to find the schema so I can remove all the old and unused unit and achievement standards
  • HOD being able to change their subject details online, maybe using the YUI editor so they can do bullet points and the like.
    I looked at using the Yahoo editor and decided against it, I have instead looked at the FCK editor and decided I can integrate it easier into the current system and will do what i require it to do. The developers code to get it in is located here.
  • Max number of students to take a subject, this allows it to be used in a different way as describe above.
  • a way to make the importation of the SMS data into the system easier. 4 hours to modify, empty, insert, check, test, import the csv, export to sql, find and replace in wordpad because notepad sucks at this, is just crazy.
I have found it good just to hide away and work on this today, though I know I need more time to get it done, as well as the need to get the portal site looking good as well.

Just some information, I am using portable apps to run the development site on a usb stick, for those interested I am running it seems to be doing the job, you just have to remove the ticks beside the SVC in the console program. I have been running it on my eeepc and connecting to it through the wireless network at work, it just means I can take it and use it anywhere I need to, just a pity i can't run it on my mac.

This blog has had a number of changes to it along way in the last couple of days to accommodate my notes and ideas for the next version, I know I should properly use a wiki, but you use what you have at the time.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

growing a computer game

how do you grow a computer game and put values in it.

game cards are available here

for more details about this project and instructions on how to use the game cards

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Professional Development

what did i get out of todays professional development?
  • I got, how to use Alice to teach basic principles of computer programming.
  • where i need to heading in computer science.
  • resoures through the use of sceniarios to teach basic principles through story telling.
  • a development environment that is not complex, though it has yet to be finished off, with alice 3.0 intergrating the sims charcters.
  • the conversations in the breaks, these are the ones which you wis you could take a tape recorder to, to play back afterwards,
  • the last lecture is a must thst I have to watch and listen to, available on youtube.
  • contacts with my old lecturers so I can align courses that are helpful to them.
  • the ability to show off what the students have been doing with scratch.
  • a way of aligning sustainability with the new curriculum, this needs to have some more thought and be developed some more before it can be presented back to the department/school.
  • a sense that some things haven't changed much in the eight years that I left tertiary study.
oh and the data plans came out today for the iphone, $80 a month, it is an extra $40 than I am paying now, can I afford it, I think not. Maybe I just get a iPod touch instead.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Network Use Agreement

It has been three years since I went to the netsafe ict administrators level 1 course and next term will be the first we have a network use agreement that all students and their parents have to sign. It has bene a long road with blocks appearing as people dont want to handle 1800+ forms that have to be check and filed away. This gives the school a little more backup when dealing with electronic data and students that have been naughty. It has been a fight between education and policy. But my fight has been you need policy to be able to educate else it doesn't mean anything. The next thing that I am aiming to do is to get a staff network use agreement up and going, the reason behind this is that it is to protect the school as it then can be a dismissable offence. Great eh, though even if you are in employment elsewhere you would probably have had to sign something. It is part of the workplace now.
having the students sign this now allows us to get the student email accounts fully running, though I can see we may have more problems with data caps as a result.

Saturday, 5 July 2008


On Tuesday I have been invited to attend a workshop on a 3d programming language called alice. It should be interesting as it uses Java as it main driver. . I will give more details later on including what was covered throughout the day. Oh well, it is the holidays

Alice is an object oriented programming language and development environment designed to teach novices to program by using 3D animated objects. Although it was designed for a target audience of 8th grade (13 year-old) girls, it is now being used successfully to attract both male and female students to computer science at higher education levels as well.

The language was developed by Randy Pausch, then at the University of Virginia and now at Carnegie Mellon.

It is named Alice after Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland—Through the Looking Glass".

There is development on a programming module here that I am interested in using with my junior classes

Read this document on Scribd: Programming Module

Friday, 4 July 2008

NACCQ IT Careers Forum

Career planning for it students - career services

piloting an electronic template in career planning

careers sersevices - overview of what is career services

government agency

interactive tools, salary ranges, training requirements, interviews, cv and cover letteer templates

background to the project, the conversations and research that took place taht started of the development of the project.

benefits of developing a career plan

give you an advantage of recognizing and anticipating change in job market
your in control of career - self management
tracks personal progression
provides examples to employers that you are someone with potential
clear focuses on progression through training
The plan consists of a series of templates, will identify career progression

Presentation, quiz, shortage areas, key attributes for IT Professionals, employability in the 21st century workplace, workbook, templates and resources
workshop, presented to three small groups, went through templates with the groups, completed by email correspondence

Students come out with complete career plan,
they can use this for, CVs, cover letter, interview skills/material
Plan is a living document that can be updated as career progresses
It is a pilot, there are improvements that can be done as we work through this.

NZCS Forum

Technology Achievement Standards

What was done 10 years ago does not work now, we have moved on since word processors, spreadsheet and databases. 

We are using Technology Achievement Standards and the current unit standards because there is nothing else to use. We are there to teach the students using current assessment processes, We want these processes changed.

Three new ventures, 

NZC New Zealand Curriculum

Achievement Standards Review, MOE

Computing unit standards set by NZQA.

Existing standards may be modified or replaced with new ones.

Hybrid courses could use a range of AS from different Learning Areas.

Given the ICT sector and PPTA and undertaking to convene an expert panel drawn form all interest groups. Mandated to be with the new curriculum in 2010


reject the comment that was in the report was wrong.

there is a problem, it needs to be fixed. People throughout the country are in agreement. 

The AS are not in place, no development, no body looking after. Needs to be brought into alignment.


Not against Tech AS, they have a purpose and have a place. There is a place for these standards, good for getting students to get a real world project, planning, arranging a project. There is a place not for them. They do teach skills, working a project through, planning a project, valuable and specific, maybe MUSAC could use these skills to develop there own software. NZQA and NCEA is still to be used. We can crate courses that captivate and engage our students, mixing these standards with others.


Teachers who are struggling, we all teach differently, 20 year timeframe that is still going, we are in a industry that keeps changing. ICT/Computing/ Digital Technology, keeps increasing. We are lost, we do not have the clout, ability, organisation to help us. 

If Secondary teachers do not do there job in ICT, tertiary will not get students, business will not get ICT capable students. Has to be teacher led.

we have to look to the future, how can we make it work. someone's to work on own behalf.
these things are done ever so slowly, we cannot afford to do this, as our industry is forever changing. Lets use the gifts of the Computer Society, the PPTA

DTG starts at year 11, needs to be started earlier.

Australia Guy, lost in the curriculum, key learning areas come under seven brackets, how do you put technology into ICT, or ICT into technology. No national support in ICT here in New Zealand.

ICT cluster, most of the teachers are uneducated in what they are teaching. Teachers haven’t got the skills to be able to teach what is required. There is a level that is not being addressed. Typing backgrounds or other backgrounds, not specific ICT teachers. Howard, skill shortage in ICT skills in New Zealand and this is in teaching. Teacher capability is not there. Teaching does not have the drawcard power, money, time. People coming in from a creative background, digital media, english graduates with media and film. theatre studies. How does this help us? It is in the minority as the youngsters are concerned. Moris Alford form Linton High school uses the CISCO academy, he finds that code cutting, students not interested.

Young people is changing, end user experience.

If the government is prepared to acknowledge that there is a gap, tertiary is able to help.

Approved subjects, losing students because of the approved subjects.

Moris article, would students be happy if they had to write briefs, they are happier doing an industry exam rather than briefs, planning, gnatt charts. 

Who isn’t happy with what we have done? Who like the Achievement Standards, Internal ones being used. How many are passing moderation. Computing teachers being creative in interpreting standards.

no UE approved from computer skills, but will not be able to enter uni.

students don’t understand programming, programs are how computers work, the basics will help you with understanding, problem solving, developing projects, life skill? What a program is, what a variable is.

a sense of hope that something is being done to address this issue.

how do I change the outcome of a game, this is a problem when we cannot have any assessment in it. Students are hooked into computing but they don’t want to just do word processing.

Howard, we have problem with teacher capability, we don’t have people that are like ourseleves available to offer high level computer coming in or being offered ways to upskill.

Are we dumbing down the subject? Where is computer science going?


Assessment has been a major project that has come out as part of this work.
What is currently being taught is being looked at and developed, The DTG is looking at 

Information management, school certificate typing in Drag. the place of IM will be considered along withe the other AS under the AS review.

Why start at year 11, it is too late.

Year 1 to 9 is dealt with by the NZC, it is up to the school to develop.

What is a guideline, it is a support document that supports the new Curriculum

it recognizes that other subjects need to use technology, embracing technology in other subjects.

The computing stuff at the moment is laughable.

Has 2780 changed? asked MoE, this has not changed much in the years it has been out.

Draft Unit Standards are excellent, they are being held over until the other review process goes through

What are ghost credits? disadvantage when using NACCQ courses or CISCO courses, don’t appear on their record of learning.

the language needs addressing in the achievement standards.

NZQA has been told that they can release the new computing unit standards, MoE has told them that. NZQA probably need to finish their process yet.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

IT Careers Forum

This is what I am going to on Friday, should be a good day.

The IT industry have noted concerns regarding the skills shortage, historical negative images relating to IT careers, and the fragmented linkages between high school, tertiary and industry IT sectors. This forum will bring together IT educators at secondary and tertiary levels, with government policy makers and IT industry employers as recipients of the graduates from the education sector.

The website address for information about the conference is at:

This event will provide an excellent professional development opportunity the sector as we endeavour to create a seamless pathway for IT study and vocational outcomes in New Zealand.

The conference will update us on the progress of government-backed initiatives designed to assist our sector; such as the MIT/Career Services IT career planning pilot which has great potential for the conference’s national audience of IT educators and for other disciplines.

We are hoping for a good turnout from the IT industry, tertiary providers, and especially secondary schools to enable productive and open dialogue to take place, and to address the educational and other challenges facing the IT industry. Importantly the conference will offer insights into how we can better prepare graduates for the broad and interesting range of career options available.

NACCQ Conference 2008 is the 21st annual conference and is the premier computing education conference in New Zealand which spans all disciplines of computing and information technology education. While focusing on tertiary education it also provides links from secondary education and also into the computing industry. This year the conference is adopting as a special theme a one day “IT Careers Forum” at which industry leaders and secondary school teachers will interact with the tertiary sector to address the issues facing the IT industry in the current environment.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Poll widget

I am having problems with the poll widget in, I was to use this as a way to record the students votes on who they wanted to go through to the final, however this seems to have been a bust as when they submit there cote is comes up "cannot be processed" which is a pain in the butt, there isn't anything in the known issues of blogspot, but it is being mentioned in the google groups forums that a number of people are having the same problem.