Good grief – a CSV file with no C


The behavior of Excel 2016 has changed with respect to import and export of CSV files ie Comma Separated Values. By default we now have a separator of “;” rather than “,”. This is a result of a recent Windows 10/ Office upgrade over the school holidays. I wish I had known this before I gave students an assessment that required the actions of Excel to be predictable. Likewise with some Mathematics assessments. I remain mildly annoyed…

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A recent survey by Ministry of Education implies that Digital Technologies(DT) will not be in high demand in the next few years… (Generic Technology will be however, as will Hard Materials and Food Technology and the usual suspects of Maths, TeReo etc…). I suspect that DT teachers will not be in high demand because schools don’t offer Computer Science achievement standards… Why? Perhaps they don’t have the expertise, or they have decided in their Curriculum Committees that Computer Science is not important, or they just don’t understand, or teaching DT may involve change (and schools love change don’t they) …

Meanwhile… in America we have…

An unprecedented group of over 90 of America’s greatest leaders have joined in a bipartisan message: to ask Congress to support computer science in our schools. I can’t remember the last time I saw a list like this unite on any issue. It’s especially refreshing in today’s age of divided politics. Source: Hadi Partovi,Founder,

and in the UK …

From the start of the new term, children as young as five will be learning programming skills in the classroom

Seems like NZ may be out of line?

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Now I know how students must feel sometimes…

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I just completed a training course. The material was potentially interesting and valuable, and the instructor certainly knowledgeable. Unfortunately the speed of delivery was too fast for me, the assumed prior knowledge was too detailed and the focus was on skills not concepts. And, of course my technical environment was not configured correctly. This all led to a frustrating experience.

On the bright side it did remind me of how some students must feel, when I go too fast, assume too much prior knowledge , don’t explain how things fit together, and ask them to use technology  that doesn’t work as expected. That itself is worthwhile learning.

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Board Games can be an awesome experience


I just spent 8-9 hours playing a board game. No dice, just a set of rules, strategies and determined opponents (and maybe a glass of vino). I know you can play these games on line but it is so much more enjoyable in person. I wonder if many of my students (or most adults) would have the patience to learn and play this sort of game – where imagination and thinking dominates over short term satisfaction and trigger finger dexterity.

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Workplace safety and BYOD Part 3


Following on from my communications with Workplace Health and Safety I received the following response from Ministry of Education regarding BYOD obligations. In short … schools are on their own (sort of).

Thank you for your inquiry about the use of digital devices by students.

One important point to consider is that health and safety is everybody’s responsibility, not just staff. In schools the primary duty of care for health and safety rests with the Board of Trustees as schools are self governing. How Boards manage this process is the decision of individual schools.

To ensure a positive health and safety culture, as well as compliance, at all workplaces the general expectation is that schools will review their practices in this area to ensure they are meeting the requirements. Our practical guide and factsheets will support principals and boards to meet their obligations.

Recently we launched our health and safety practical guide for boards of trustees and school leaders. The guide provides clear explanations, example policies, procedures and checklists. We have also separated out the individual tools and put write-enabled versions under the appropriate sections on the webspace

The health and safety risks about students’ use of digital devices should be part of a school’s risk management plan.  Boards can seek guidance from agencies that have  professional oversight for health and safety, such as this Accident Compensation Commission guide on safe computer use. The following link may be of use:

The Ministry of Education has a range of guides for schools that touch on the introduction of digital devices, however they do not specifically cover the health and safety risks associated with long term use of those devices.  The guides focus on:

Guidelines aim to provide assistance for schools to identify any risks that may be associated with environment (school location), technology and behaviour (students or staff) so that the legally required procedures are put in place by schools and their procedures address their own unique circumstances and needs.

I hope my response helps

Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education | AG
33 Bowen St, Wellington


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William Mottram 1822 – 1896


Interesting and thanks to  Julie Blackman and my daughter using

Distant grandfather on my fathers side.When William Mottram was born about 1822, in Alderley, Cheshire, his father, Peter, was 29 and his mother, Sarah, was 34. He married Hannah BLAKELEY on April 7, 1842, in Andorra. They had eight children in 19 years. He died on June 6, 1896, in Llandudno, Caernarvonshire, at the age of 74.

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Flappy Birds – learning to code



I decided to give Year 9 students a fun introduction to programming. The exercise involved building a flappy birds game and then playing it either via desktop or mobile phone. Try it… (game built by Harriette B)

This was a little bit of an experiment in using resources provided by  It was quite a lot of fun, students learned a little about programming and I got to play with the teacher management tools. CaptureAs a set of free resources these are excellent, and cover computer science activities from ages 4-18. The approach incorporates “gamification” as a mechanism to engage students. All it requires from a teachers perspective is to invest a few hours learning what resources are available and how to use them effectively…


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