Friday, 22 January 2016

Please more open source

As per previous post I'm at BETT, sat in my hotel room and waiting to go and eat breakfast.

I wonder how much open source stuff I'm going to see today? My guess would be not a huge amount aside from the Raspberry Pi-ness, but I'm hopeful. Don't get me wrong, I really like a lot of closed source software, but can't help get the impression that education would benefit from broadening its IT infrastructure horizons. The cost saving alone would be huge.

That said, Google Chrome OS and android are Linux, so open source at the core. The Google classroom system opened up a world of savings when that kicked off, and it's only got better. 

Plus teaching pupils to use Linux is teaching them how to use the core underlying systems that run the majority of internet servers, and that's got to be a bonus!

I can't but help think we're missing a trick somewhere....

It's BETT time again!

I'm at BETT!

I came for the first time last year and I'm smitten, so this time me and my department head bought 10 other colleagues with us. Why? Because it is almost impossible to stay even vaguely up to date with everything the world of technology has to offer from Plymouth. However, I know that bringing this many people, some (or all of whom, including myself) will get over excited about the latest and greatest educational toy. To keep the focus on what will actually make a difference to the lives of the disadvantaged youngsters (there is no other type in a PRU) we teach is tough in the face of many shiny and bleeping gadgets. 

So I've set myself a little checklist this year-
1) does it actually do what it claims to do?
2) can it be implemented, bearing in mind our wierd but excellent IT infrastructure?
3) how long will it take to train staff?
4) can it work near enough instantly in a lesson? (If in lesson tech)
5) is it value for money? Or am I paying through the nose for a rebranded eBay buy...

Bring on BETT!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

New Year!

New Year's resolutions are not really something I do, they tend to be forgotten as soon as the school term kicks in again. However, if I was into New Years resolutions, maybe the following would suit my teaching-

  • Buy the finance staff more chocolate in the hope they put my departments stuff on English's budget
  • Make more cool raspberry pi stuff :)
  • Mark smarter, not more (as if this one will happen)
  • Always be pleased to see my classes (even if I inwardly want to bury 11TL under the car park...)
  • Use worksheets even less than I do (or I'm fed up with the photocopier jamming constantly)
  • Remember to eat lunch close-ish to lunchtime
  • Attend more teachmeets (especially those with free food and drink)
  • Become more competant at python programming (this should be easy given the start point!)

I'm hopefully going to be working closely with a local school on some curriculum stuff soon, which has got my thinking, more on that later. But for now I'll leave you with the following quote. I came across it in "Quartz and Feldspar" by Matthew Kelly, but it references "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon-

"Gibbon argued that great civilizations declined when they lost contact with their foundational principles and become decadent and ill disciplined. To be ignorant of a nation's history was to be blind to what made it great and might, given continued vigilance, ensure it remains so."