Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Under the radar

I got told today that "I was one of the boys"in reference to the students at school. It seems that I do things under the radar. Ok, I do. This one has been a fun one.

Since the quakes and the shorter day we have had some of the activities at school stop, plus it hasn't helped when one of the building that held some equipment is now to be demo'd.

B Radio
B Radio Logo
The school has a radio station which has been developed over a number of years and has all the gear to do something great. I looked at a similar setup at my previous school and it was looking to be over $10,000.

With building being demo'd we have been allowed in to recover equipment, in this case an amp, cable and outdoor speakers. These were sitting in a garage at school when I saw them while working on a fundraising cause. I then thought that at the beginning of the year we were looking at getting the station back up and going, but things change pretty quickly and roadblocks get created.

Radio Room and some
of the gear
So, in a quick chat with one of the staff, we talk about cleaning up the radio room, and the next step, this took a week to organise. The end of the year stuff is painful as the students suck so much out of you as they realise that they have credits to obtain and needed to have worked smarter through the year.
The second step was the location of the receiving equipment. The location suggested would require setup and packdown each day that would cause a number of issues with the room, so that was out. It was then suggested using the outdoor speakers on the hall, asking the right people and a quick check on what is there and how we could connect it up, a couple of days later we have developed a 50m extension cord to hook up the speakers from the old amp cupboard to the clock room 50 metres away with a cat5e cable. This allows for us to not have to enter the building again.

Receiver and connection

The amazing hookup
cat5e to speaker cable
Though it did raise the question of wether you could connect the equipment up through cat5e cable, a quick internet search and some ideas, it seems like you can, I have use a pair for each feed, so two pair for each speaker.

The station has a large collection of nzonair cd's which have been digitalised. This allows for a better mix as well as we can automate the station if needed.
So far 36 cd's have been stored, we have a couple of hundred to go, but this could be a project for a student as part of next years class.

Hopefully we will go live tomorrow and I will take some photos to add to the information here.

I am looking for different opportunities for students to be involved in activities at school.

Friday, 26 October 2012

What did you do in school today?

I just saw another teacher post what they did in school today, So I thought I would do the same.

Arrived at school and put some of my gear away,
Sat in staff briefing and listened to what is coming up as well as some information about what is happening during NCEA exams.
Period One, prepared to do some marking and update Learning Management System, got ready for period 2, today I was going to take an extension lesson for year 11 Digital Technologies so they could finish their external reports, also listening to a podcast around the #MSDWTF, got sidetracked trying to test the school network on a student account with the new windows 7 image. Managed to find a security hole where I had a the images username and password.
Got an email to take relief period 2,
Period 2, went to take relief and get setup to watch the clickview video, however the speaker wire had been cut, rang for new cable from technician. Spent rest of the period in workshop making sure the students were operating in a safe manner.
Had to send year 11 students that came for extension period back to class as I had a relief.
Interval, went for a cup of coffee and the social club raffle draw.
Period 3, Year 9 Digital Media class working on portfolio work, had year 11 students turn up to do the extension work. Also finished year 11 marking of assessments, posted results up on Learning Management System.
Period 4, Year 11 Digital technologies, had students complete their external work, and print and also submit a PDF of their assessment to the learning management system. Had students test there program for errors, show students how to test there work before handing it in. Resit on Tuesday,
Lunchtime, went out to watch senior house touch and take photos with new lens, 75-300mm :)
Period 5, Year 13 students trying to catch up on there work they have had all year to complete, as it is the year 13 last period one a friday they became silly.
Period 6. Year 12 Programming students trying to complete there python project, some good results, though they need to realise if it is not working, check there indentation. Some year 11 students back to try and complete work, also had another class sharing the classroom to complete work on computer.
Had Detention after school, this is for students who don't complete there homework during the week. An hour long session, number of students only had 10-20mins work to complete.

I feel like I have had a pretty good day, though getting the relief and detention caused a bit of a headache for me to manage my workload. Need to get junior reports completed.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

social bookmarking

I am still thinking about some of the applications/services that we could look at for our students and there byod programme.

Albany make use of a number of services. Could we look at the same.
Email | Calendar | e-portfolio | Documents | Intranet | Library | Wikieducator: Staff/Students | OurBookmarks | OurTube | OurMicroblog | ETV | ParentPortal | Careers | Alumni | Helpdesk (internal)

Monday, 15 October 2012

raspberry pi ships with 512Meg of RAM

I wondered what was happening, was just about to place a classroom order on and noticed 512Meg RAM and thought... haven't seen this announced. two minutes later your site updates. I am happy that you are keeping the price the same. It will certainly make some of the students more happier. Currently thinking MAME project to create a link between Digital Technologies and Manufacturing for the cabinet to house the equipment. Thank you.

kinect to scratch

There are a number of ideas on this site to help assist the motion project that I have an idea of, it seems like it is simple enough, though may take less than the time I thought. I think a student could have this working within a week.

mobile development

I had a great tweet from a colleague who has been watching my developments, I am struggling for a framework to develop a mobile site for school.

I was put onto

A unified, HTML5-based user interface system for all popular mobile device platforms, built on the rock-solid jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. Its lightweight code is built with progressive enhancement, and has a flexible, easily themeable design.

This allows me to download a framework that I can put onto a server and develop then publish. It also allows me to then use the published development

Thursday, 11 October 2012

developing an idea

With all the demolition at school at the moment it has been a busy time recovering different items that we can use to develop and enhance life at school. Some of these items have been used in the past to provide some enhancements and need to be reinvigorated. We have new students starting every year so some of the ideas may seem new to them, yet the year 13 students may have encountered this before.

Items recovered:
two outdoor speakers,
speaker wire

Now this may seem weird, but our school has a special asset, we have a working radio station. Something I would have liked at my previous school. What a way to get students interested in radio broadcasting or sound technician or even an interest in music.

Now with this, the radio station is a mess after the painters were in earlier this year repairing earthquake related issues. Now, if the radio station needs some work in getting up and going again, how long and do we wait. Or do we look at other alternatives. How could be deliver music to the school. Using the gear and the students itouches, we could hooked up a 3.5mm cord and link it in, however do I want students to be able to do this, will it cause issues. However, we could use a fm radio transmitter hooked up to a itouch and tune the radio in, but this could mean multiple devices trying to play to the same frequency as there is only a limited amount on offer with these devices.

Using airplay could be an answer. But it would require a apple airport extreme to be able to connect up.
First question is, could you hooked up a device to the amp without a ethernet connection. This has taken some time and also trying to source a device.

Open trademe and start bidding.

Done, wait till delivery.

Now test and try out at home, plug in, why is it flashing amber, reset configuration to be able to access this device as it was setup for someones else network.

Create my own network and attach...
Done, now Airport utility is accessing device, why it is showing 3 errors, ok, no internet connection, no DNS and no IP Address - ignore all three errors.

Light goes Green :)

Hook in a old pair of headphone, find wifi network on iphone, and now find music and push through airplay. Add a password on airplay connections to stop other students from pushing there music to it.

Now to find out the range and try out at school.

Should be an interesting monday at school lunchtime.

Now there is another question, can I push the music from that is going through into a stream so that students can connect to the school wifi and listen through there headphones, as the itouch and iphone do not have a fm receiver built in.
Could this be part of a students technology project next year?

A possible way to install icecast server on Ubuntu

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Quote I like

Who are we most likely to learn from? Those who DON'T have the same world views as you- those who push you, challenge you. #gafesummit


Sunday, 7 October 2012


I posted a while ago that i would like to do a project that used a human as the input, using kinect. There has just been an ad on tv that looks at motion and sound and using it as a v motion project. This is something I would love to challenge my students to create.