Datacom hosts Level 2 Programming course

Datacom Course

I spent part of the school holidays at Datacom, Wellington, teaching teachers how to teach Level 2 programming using Python (both technical and pedagogical aspects). As a follow on to the course, participants have access to technical support, advice and moderation (at least first time through). This would not have been possible without Datacom sponsorship and support, they are leading by example when it comes to businesses working with schools to benefit students.

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Schools need to do better

Kirk Hope

Kirk Hope of Business NZ writes regular articles for Stuff. A common theme of his articles is the mismatch between what the education system produces and skills required by NZ businesses.  A recent article stated:

“Engineers are needed, and qualified IT people, and tradespeople, and technical workers of all kinds.”

I don’t agree with everything Mr Hope suggests in this article eg “careers advice needs to start earlier than year 9” … most Year 9/10 and indeed older students cannot even articulate a 12 month goal let alone something longer term, BUT he is on target when he suggests:

“We should work towards getting a more responsive education and training system to produce more of the skills we need.” source  here

Many colleges (especially girls colleges) find it a challenge getting students to take IT courses (programming, algorithms, computer science etc..). There are many reasons for this, including caregiver and student perceptions about what subjects are important… and IT skills do not always figure. It is not just caregivers and students that need to get the message it is Career Advisers, Deans, and Senior Management.


Fortunately help is on the way…capture

Google has launched a “Careers with Code” initiative which is targeted at 14-18 year olds. The most recent focus is on combining computer science with students interests… and is certainly worth a read, not just by students but by Careers Advisers, Deans and caregivers.

While this is not a panacea to the problem it is a welcome contribution to increasing the number of students studying Computer Science.



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Teachers moving jobs…

Couple of interesting processes when it comes to moving jobs…

  1. Each year teachers in many schools are explicitly asked to signal their intentions for the following year. This is where a teacher may may indicate that you are looking for a new role in a new school.
  2. When you apply for a role in another school, the school in many instances rings referees before interviews. This could be awkward!

I don’t recall similar processes in any businesses I have worked in, but given the annual cycle of a school business and lead time to fill roles(especially the hard to fill ones) I can at least understand the processes.

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Someone can’t drive…

photoSomeone cannot drive for sure… Actually some truck drivers cannot navigate a cul-de-sac. It actually got a lot worse once the third truck went over the verge. The culprits are the Recycle truck, Rubbish bags truck and Wheelie Bin truck. I decided to ring Wellington City Council in the hopes they could ask the respective companies to talk to their drivers. No such luck! Seems I need to obtain the registration numbers. Why? Surely companies can work out the drivers give date and location?

Curious this has only stated happening in the last 12 months, are the trucks getting larger or the drivers more careless?

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Strange what you see when you turn up at school in the holidays


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Google HTML/CSS style guide – a few surprises


This is quite interesting and contradicts some of what I have been teaching. For example I insist on a document having a head/body structure. Goggles advice regarding optional tags ( I may have to update the lesson plans) …

<!-- Not recommended -->
<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Spending money, spending bytes</title>
<!-- Recommended -->
<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Saving money, saving bytes</title>
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Pikachu still popular with teens


Seen at WEGC. The computer club voluntarily watches Pokemon TV shows. I personally don’t get it. (And these are Year 11-13 girls.)

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