Thursday, 5 April 2007

Take Back your School Website!

Kids at St Joseph's are starting to take over their own class web pages. We have been exploring Protopage & here is an example from Room 8. OK, so still a little to learn about categories, tabs & widgets but they are getting there... Very cool tool & easy to use. They also started their class flickr accounts so it would be really good to work out how to get some of those cool flickr toys like bubblr into their protopage. Hhmmmm lots more play-time needed ;-)

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Gen-i Engineer 4 Schools

(Carl prepares St Joseph's new pod of laptops)

Carl has been working in our schools for a term now and all indications show that he is doing a great job for the 11 schools involved in the "Gen-i Engineer 4 Schools Project"

This is something i have been wanting to blog about for ages but have just been waiting for Carl & 'the project' to settle in as we expected.

This is an initiative led by Kelvin (Stratford Primary School), myself & Chris (Gen-i) in partnership with Gen-i, 11 Central Taranaki Primary Schools & WITT (Western Institute of Technology) based loosely on the DigiOps Community Technician project which we have previously been involved in.

Here's the blurb from our proposal that explains the project:

"The use of Information and Communication Technology within schools develops year on year. As needs develop the requirements develop, the result is more technology implemented into the school that ultimately should benefit the administration of the school, and the learning outcomes for students. However in a lot of cases the school itself is unable to support the environment due to lack of capability within its staff – who are of course teachers – not ICT experts. This means external support is sought. Unfortunately market rates for external support are in conflict with schools’ budgets and as such a lot of preventative maintenance, and or change, is not attended to, and teachers and students do not use the technology to its full potential.

This proposal sets to establish a graduate program between Gen-I, WITT and Central Taranaki Schools for the provision of an ‘Engineer for Schools’. This engineer would be employed by Gen-I for 6 months and allocated to schools as 1st level support at a rate that is basically cost recovery. All participating schools would book the engineers time across the school term weeks thereby sharing the resource.

Goals of the project

  • Schools have an economical, capable, trained 1st level support resource to attend to day-to-day support requirements so Teachers and Admin staff do not have to,
  • Schools have a technical resource that can assist them to maintain efficient, reliable and fully functioning computer systems
  • The graduate obtains industry experience directly after finishing their degree; preparing them for the workforce,
  • Gen-I can evaluate graduates with a view to them becoming permanent employees,
  • WITT has a mechanism to encourage students to achieve with a view to securing the graduate position

Technical Services offered:

  • Identify desktop component and server hardware problems.
  • Troubleshoot hardware and software issues, email, peripheral equipment problems and repair and correct as required.
  • Install, configure & upgrade software and operating systems using standard software packages.
  • Customise software to suit end user requirements.
  • Install and update antivirus, firewall and other web security applications.
  • Installation, configuration and maintenance of printers, monitors, scanners, digital imaging technologies such as digital videos, digital cameras and scanners.
  • Install and configure new desktop components such as hard drives, RAM, peripheral cards, CD Drives etc
  • Implement a programme of maintenance for ‘desktop health’ – desktop cleanup, malware scan, defrag, dusting fans & ventilation

Cybersafe Kids @ St Pats

Children need to understand the unique nature of the Internet; and they need to develop critical-thinking skills - to protect their personal privacy and safety online, to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to recognize inappropriate content if they encounter it. They need to learn strategies for being “cybersafe” at home and at school.
So that was the focus today at St Pat's in Inglewood where i worked with the Junior School & then the Senior School. I had come today all ready to make movies (now where did i get that idea from???) so thanks to Inglewood High School for providing a data projector at short notice and Kim for being so patient as i updated my cybersafety teaching resource.
You can find this resource on the Bard Wired Wiki.
Some notable kids cybersafety links to check out are the 'educational games' from the Canadian Media Awareness Network and with a New Zealand flavour Hector's World.
A great blog post with advice for parents "10 Principles for the Digital Family":
  1. Play with your child
  2. Go low budget
  3. Bring digital politics to the dinner table
  4. Be an Adbuster
  5. Distrust ratings
  6. Raise the issue of innappropriate behaviour appropriately
  7. Consider a computer in the kitchen
  8. Know the limits of educational games
  9. Set boundaries
  10. Wear your heart on your sleeve.
Read the full article here.