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Showing posts from December, 2007

Guitar Hero or Guitar Player?

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I posted a somewhat curmudgeonly comment on Derek's Hotmilkydrink back in October, to the effect that time spent playing Guitar Hero would be better spent learning to play the guitar.  As usual, someone else has said it better:

Texting Experiment

As I said last week, a pupil claimed to be able to text more quickly than she could handwrite. Ewan then kindly offered me a loan of a device that looks like a chunky mobile phone without a screen and operates as a usb keyboard.

With the Cre8txt device, my pupils did not manage to enter text very quickly. They complained that it didn't do predictive texting (it does have software to do this) and more importantly that it wasn't like their own phones.

I gave them the sentence "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" as a challenge using their own phones (so sack me!) and the quickest was 12 seconds. I reckon I can just about manage to handwrite that in 12 seconds, and can type it in 8 seconds, so 12 seconds is pretty good.

d pupils complained dat d sNteNc wz unfair cuz it didnt offer NE opps 2 uz d abbrz dat dey alwys uz!

One girl argued quite persuasively that they should be allowed to use this kind of txt-speak in their school notes. I cnt rly c NE diffrNce Bt…

Barcamp Scotland 2008

Barcamp Scotland 2007 was a brilliant event, so I was delighted today when I noticed that a date has been set for the 2008 edition.  It's on Saturday 2nd February 2008.  You can sign up on the wiki.  See you there :)

Speedtexting

I was talking to my S3 class the other week, and one of the girls revealed that she can text much more quickly than she can handwrite.  She didn't get the chance to demonstrate, what with the school rule on mobile phones, but her friends confirmed the fact.  I don't suppose that she is unusual.

Interesting.  I tend to take talk about mobile phones as the next big thing in education with a big pinch of salt, but I think I've based my cynicism on an assumption that the keypads are awkward, slow input devices.  Apparently that is not the case if you are 14 and female.

Guess the speaker

The main thing I have learned on this journey is that if you aren't governed by fear you can live truthfully and you can find a kind of beauty. If you are inhibited and fearful you will live a prescriptive existence. But once you get beyond the hedonistic first impulse of that philosophy you find that you need to focus on something wider, more permanent and beautiful and valuable. That's what I've learned. I think "I want to do something worthwhile".
Can you guess who said that?

Students 2.0

I have read more thought-provoking posts on students 2.0 (a collaborative blog produced by students) since it launched than on any other blog in my reader.  I thoroughly recommend it for that reason and for that reason alone.

If I were one of the contributors to the new students 2.0 collaborative blog, however, I think I'd be getting rather sick of the patronising tone of many of the comments - stuff like "I'm really impressed by the quality of your writing."  No one would say that to me (not even if they were impressed, which would be rather unlikely) so why say it to these confident young bloggers? Hopefully the virtual patting-on-the-head will end soon, and folk will stick to commenting on the substantive issues which are being raised so eloquently.

Or maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe the youngsters involved were worried about how they would be received, and are most grateful for the words of support.   What do I know?!

Is robert.jones.name worth $12 a year?

The title says it all.  I've registered on http://www.freeyourid.com for the free 90 day trial.  I was amazed that robert.jones.name was still available.

The .name tld is supposed to be used to provide a clear, unique URL for one's identity.  This can then be used as an OpenID... if you've been reading my previous posts then I'm sure you get the picture.

I'm wondering whether or not it's worth paying for this URL.  I can't really see why it's any better than using, say, robertmjones.co.uk which I already own, but on the other hand I can't help thinking that I might look back in 5 years time and curse myself for not grabbing it while I had the chance.  What do you think?

Delegating your OpenID so it works with Wordpress Plugin

I recently installed the wp-openid plugin on this blog, to allow people to identify themselves with an OpenID in comments. One downside (pointed out by John) is that when you do this, your name above the comment will link to your OpenID URL rather than to your blog. Bummer!

So I deactivated the plugin and hunted around the Web for a solution. This post will explain the solution: how to delegate from your blog to your myopenid URL, so that in effect your blog URL becomes your OpenID URL. Once you've done this, you'll be able simply to enter your blog URL in the Website field of the comment form. Neat!

OpenID delegation works like this:

You set up an OpenID URL at www.myopenid.com (or some other openid provider)
You put some fancy code into the header of your blog that points openid authentication requests to the OpenID URL you set up already
There is no step 3.

The fancy code should be as simple as this:
<link rel="openid.server" href="http://www.myopenid.com/se…

RIP Karlheinz Stockhausen

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7133571.stm

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0h0ApJAeSg[/youtube]

A Restorative School

We had an in-service session on Friday to announce the fact that we are planning to become a restorative school, and to give us some understanding of what this means.

Terri Kelly from the Better Behaviour Scotland Positive Behaviour Team gave us a quick introduction, and explained the process we will be going through to get all staff trained by 2009/10.

To quote from the Transforming Conflict site:
The restorative approach is based on the belief that the people best placed to resolve a conflict or a problem are the people directly involved, and that imposed solutions are less effective, less educative and possibly less likely to be honoured. In order to engage in a restorative approach to conflict and challenging behaviour people need certain attitudes and skills. Skills-based training can develop both restorative skills and attitudes.
I've been a big fan of Non-Violent Communication for many years, though I have not always managed to put it into practice, so I'm very enthusiastic…

Thanks to our IT Team

A while ago I grumped on this blog about the blocking of .ru sites by Websense at school.  In the interests of balance, I am delighted to be able to report a good news story...

On Friday, I noticed that the Open CourseWare site from MIT was blocked at school.  Not intentionally - just a weird glitch to do with the URL.  I emailed the IT team, and this morning it was unblocked.  

Thanks for the prompt action  :)

ICT Impact Study

I just found this study (pdf) from Insight.

It reports positive quantitative impacts from the use of ICT in education.

I'm rather hoping someone else might read it all and blog about it!  Otherwise I'll say something about it next week :)