Posted on 05-06-2008
Filed Under (teaching) by gashed

The Computer Eduction Society of Ireland is a society of educational professionals looking to promote the sound practical use of ICT in the classroom.  It now has a great active mailing list that is well worth signing up to.

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Posted on 04-06-2008
Filed Under (Mobile technology) by gashed

It seems that Dell are to follow Asus and produce a mini-PC.  Michel Dell was spotted carrying the device recently, and Dell subsequently released pictures on its blog.  It is still not clear what size screen it will have or what the operating system will be.

Dell mini-laptop 


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Posted on 04-06-2008
Filed Under (Examination) by gashed

At the moment I am reading for the JC; essentially sitting in a room and reading the exam paper to a student.  This must be costing the Dept of Education a fortune – in our school we have about 18 such persons employed.
 
Is there not a technological solution; could the department not give students entitled to a reader a iPod with the paper recorded.  When the student wants the question read they simply listen to the appropriate track.  At the end of the exam the iPod is handed up.  The student could stay in the main exam hall, and there would be no need for all these extra readers to be employed.
 
Would this be easier and cheaper?

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Posted on 22-02-2008
Filed Under (teaching) by gashed

www.zulunotes.com is a wiki established to allow students to collaboratively establish an online resource for all leaving cert subjects. 

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Posted on 19-02-2008
Filed Under (Mobile technology) by gashed

Seems the Asus Eee PC has caused a bit of a stir.  Elonex has plans to bring out it own ultra laptop, ‘one’.  It is due to be released at the end of the year and will retail at under 120 yoyos.

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Posted on 11-02-2008
Filed Under (Mobile technology, Technology) by gashed

This is a headline from todays Guardian newspaper.  The laptop they mention is the RM Mini-computer, this the Asus Eee PC we mentioned before, but sold as a educational tool.  They look at the price and reckon for the price of a IT suite, a whole year group can be given their own laptop.  I agree with Stephen Fry, this is the future of educational computing.

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Posted on 09-02-2008
Filed Under (Creativity, teaching) by gashed

Returning to the purpose of education, what does our heirarchy of subjects say about why we school in the way we do.  The compulsary subjects of maths, science and english are placed above the humanity subjects, who are in turn seen as more worthy than the arts.  Whose subjects are thought so lowly of that, even in our education system, we don’t assess them.  Their is no Junior Cert in dance and movement.

 This choice of subjects arises from the interpreted needs of the world of work.  Schooling seems to have a narrow focus on preparing students to get employed.  This extends to the students and their families pick of subjects, where choice exsists.  You could agrue that the arrangement of the control structures in schools is to replicate the world of work as well.  I always find it amazing that we can have such faith in our capacity to predict the future that we will guide our children away from areas that they enjoy, and areas where they may excel, because we know where they will get employment in a decades time.  It is ridiculous and arrogant to think that we can forecast anything about the world in 10 years time.  The only thing that we can say about the future is that the children will need to have the capacity to learn and be creative.

The heirarchy of subjects seems to arise from our traditional view of intelligence.  School sometimes seems to be a protracted process for university enterance.  We seem happy to force children along a path towards university or the virtual world of work we invisage.  We ignore the vast diversity in childrens’ intellegences, interests, skills, loves etc. and corral them along this path.  If they don’t follow they are rendered failures.  This results in a waste of human potential and, critically, a lack of diveristy.  Diversity is strength; homogeneous opinions, skills and interests are inherently weak.  Lack of diversity removes the capacity for an interaction between people from which so much creative ideas emerge.  With so many problems in the world requiring creative solutions, we seem content to ignore talents that may allow us to build a society that may solve these difficulties.   More diverse and creative people will also result in a tolerent, less dogmatic society.

Apologies for the spelling. 

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Posted on 09-02-2008
Filed Under (teaching) by gashed

TED have posted a talk by Bill Strickland entitled ‘Rebuilding America, one show at a time’.  He rejuvenated an innercity area of Pittsburgh with a high crime rate and endemic racism.  He did so by giving people a vocational high school in a wonderful building; he gave people time, hope, respect and a fountain.  Well worth listening to his story.

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Posted on 09-02-2008
Filed Under (Miscellaneous) by gashed

Here’s something interesting.

All the English words for meat before it is cooked: cow, swine, sheep, calf etc. are Saxon in origin.  While the words for meat after it has been cooked are Norman in origin, e.g. beef, pork, mutton and veal.  Any idea why?

As the Normans conquered the Saxons in the 11th C, the Saxons became the servants.  In the kitchen they used their own words for the meat, but when serving in the dining room the Norman words were required! 

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Posted on 08-02-2008
Filed Under (teaching, Technology) by gashed

Damien wrote over on www.mulley.net about Mary Hanafin’s launching of a new Internet safety programme for kids, parents and teachers.  As often I find with this Minister, it is a good idea, but an isolated effort and it is unclear whether there is an overall philosophy or coherent plan behind it all.  At least this inititative seems to focused on helping teachers to help students understand their actions online and make good decisions.

I attended a NCTE Bebo bullying course last week; it was a fair introduction to those who had no experience of social networking and explained well the anatomy of a BeBo page.  But what was more interesting was the tremendous gulf between the teachers’ environments and the world the students communicate in. 

Technology training for teachers is a good idea, but unless it is part of an overall policy of closing the expanding gulf between the students world and the backward world of the school, it is doomed to failure.  I reckon anyway.

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