Bad design?

Click on the image below to view more poor examples of design.download (9)download (10) Capture

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How seriously do we treat students privacy?

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I have had ongoing concerns about how we treat students privacy in schools. Take the following two scenarios, both common in schools.

1. When we talk to students in class about their academic performance, return assessments etc… we typically do it  either at the desk in the front of the class or where the student sits. In both scenarios the discussion is effectively public.

2. We are required to have students sign a piece of paper that their grade in KAMAR (student management system) is correct. This is a printed list. When the students signs  they can read virtually any other students result from the same page. The list is generated as a standard KAMAR  report in hence used by many schools. I informally surveyed a class about this practice, 80% had an issue with this practice.

These practices would not be acceptable in a work place but are perfectly OK in schools.

I personally think not.

The current layout of schools does not provide private but visible work areas in each classroom where these types of discussion could take place… I suspect it may be better in open planned schools, but maybe not? Could a student lodge a compliant with the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner?

Something to think about.

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Cut and paste does not cut it

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I am reasonably annoyed…

I have been reviewing some senior students DT portfolios and am finding some do not know how to write correctly, or worse,  cannot compose an original thought. In some subjects I note that students just open a document and literally reword paragraphs directly into a corresponding Word document – and gain Achieved or better. Students are trying the same tactic for constructing DT portfolios but they fail to link the material to their own learning or life experiences. The result is a set of irrelevant and unrelated paragraphs – reworded so they make no sense whatsoever! Depressing really, but probably no different to when I was at school. Difference is, these students may well  go on to being a University challenge.

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UK: Compulsory programming from age 5

What’s changing?

The UK government has overhauled the way it teaches computing to children by adding mandatory programming classes.

Why is this special?
The UK is the first G20 nation to put computer science at the heart of its curriculum.

Why are they doing it?
The country is projected to have a shortage of 249,000 workers for technologically skilled jobs by 2020.

Will it work?
When kids reach 14, it will be up to them to choose whether to continue studying the subject.

We (NZ) don’t even have compulsory computing at Year 9! I suspect that our relative skills shortage will be just as great as that of the UK. I recall having my last year at University paid for by the NZ Government – to complete a Computer Science degree. We has a skills shortage even back in the 1980’s. Deja Vu. 

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Doctor Who club

Doctor Who is popular at WEGC. There appears to be a correlation between DT students and Doctor Who club membership. Maybe there is some merit in using science fiction to teach computer science – as this article suggests. The Doctor Who club communicate via a public  Facebook page . Feel free to have a look. Note the tardis dress.

I decided to attend the latest meeting and ended up in the annual picture.

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Killer Whale Flash file

 

A little source of amusement… sent to me by a student.

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N4L managed network YEAH RIGHT

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WEGC recently switched from the Loop to N4L . The Loop may not have been perfect but I cannot recall having very poor performance for 24 hours+ (2 minutes to load stuff.co.nz). This is totally unacceptable in my view. Can we get serious about having robust broadband to schools. We are rapidly moving to an environment of BYOD, meaning if the network goes down then “the learning” goes down also.

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