Thursday, October 30, 2008

Australian First

I just got back from my Albany trip - It was amazing - we saw over 11 schools and everyone likes ebeam and TurningPoint - we will be very busy over the next couple of weeks I think with quotes and orders.

Speaking of eBeam check this out

I work with Kath and we are always looking at new and wonderful ways to use our gear. I'm now going to scrounge for the largest CRT I can get my hands on.

Now about the title -
Today I was privilaged to help set up the first Australian Remote Poll network and successfully test it in an AccessGrid environment. The Test linked up both UWA and Curtin University and we could run one lecture with both campuses seeing and hearing and polling - all in real time over an IP network.

So what this means is that you can poll using keepads in two locations and combine the polling into one presentation in real time as if the people in the remote location are in the same lecture theatre.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Linux interactive whiteboard !!!!!!

O.K. So i'm a bit of a fan of GNU/Linux, I have had a version of Ubuntu on my little Hitachi laptop for over 2 years now. It's a great little machine PIII running at 800mhz whoo hoo, and with Ubuntu it does everything that I need - including a little bit of video editing. I bought it second hand in Japan so it has a Japanese keyboard that is always cool to spring on someone.

So one of my hopes was that Luidia would come out with at least a driver for eBeam on linux and it looks like they have. YES!! I went to fire up my Hitachi but I left my power supply at work so it will have to be when I get back to the office on Thursday. I can't wait because I've always wanted to demo on Linux for conferences to freak people out.

I'm off to Albany to do a bit of a roadshow with Paul so I will be out of the office until Thursday.

To see what eBeam and linux actually looked like on my laptop click here -
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chem 08

I have a confession to make. I know nothing about chemistry - I bypassed it during my high school education and just did biology. Now it has become a problem because I will be presenting at the ChemED08 Conference in Perth...

So I am going to have to figure out a little crash course between now and late November and try and find some cool software to demonstrate with the eBeam. Life is full of crunchy bits.

I have found at least one program that is pretty spectacular - Avogadro. It almost feels like playing god, editing molecules and animating them. If that doesn't engage students I don't know what will.

If anyone has any more software on this topic please let me know and I'll put it up on the blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Literacy & Numeracy Interactive Websites

Sometimes resources come from out of the blue.

My girlfriend is a teacher and is also participating in "an even start" National Tuition Program. So she was looking for resources for numeracy and literacy and came across this awesome site.

Holy Cow! It's the motherload of interactive websites and most can be used with an eBeam. Some of these sites are in my list but a fair few are not - one of the great things though is that it is organised by teaching concept. Much easier to find exactly what you are looking for.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

TP Anywhere for Mac

Great news

Turning Point Anywhere for mac has been released - this is massive because now you can use TurningPoint in Keynote or any other mac program. It also solve the problem of the new Mac Office version that just didn't work like the old one.

For a change the Mac version looks a little more featured than the Windows version so now I can really get some traction in some of the Mac only schools in Perth.

Now eBeam has to step up and fix some of the stuff in the Mac version of Interact to include recording.

PD Day

Student Free Days, PD days, warm up days, call them what you like they are the busiest days for me.

Every time one rolls around I start getting requests to come over to do a demo for the whole staff. While this can be a great way of spreading the word it usually ends up with me visiting 3 or 4 schools in a day and having to regretfully postpone about the same amount for another PD day.

So tomorrow I go to 3 schools to spread the word and get people excited about technology in the classroom.

I suppose for me it is a bit of a rude shock as I have had no school for two weeks as well so I'm a but rusty in front of a crowd. I'll have to pace myself tomorrow - I have a meeting with the DET executive committee on the Tuesday and I want to be in top form for them.

I have recently come across a great piece of software to help with my productivity. We are supposed to fill out time sheets for all the tasks I do in a day - the trouble is that I multi task and get interrupted so often I loose track of what I'm doing and then have to spend 1/2 an hour trying to figure out what I have been doing and logging it - Tomorrow is obvious, but days in the office are hard to track.

The program is called rescuetime from . It polls your computer to find out what you are doing every 5 seconds - it then produces reports on what you have been doing - automatically. It only reports on the window that is active so you can have stuff running in the background. You then set productivity levels on activities - IE working on a word document is productive - opening you personal email is not. You can also set goals on what you want to concentrate on and it nags you to keep up with your goals. You can compare different days/months/weeks on how productive you have been.

I just hope the boss over east doesn't get the work version then he can spy on what I am up to....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another Conference - ACEC

For those who are in Perth, you may (or may not) have noticed that I have been absent for a week. No I don't think anybody noticed.

I have been doing my thing for Keepad Interactive at the biannual Australian Computers in Education Conference (ACEC)

So as I sit here in Sydney waiting to catch my flight back to Perth, I am reflecting on a very busy couple of days.

Money from the federal government is funny stuff - for years schools have been asking for money for ICT in the classroom, then the Fed's give them $1000 per two students to buy computers... and everyone has freaked out. Especially NSW...

The Catholic system in most states are the only ones that seem to have got the money flowing in the schools, most of the rest for Governement schools has been tied up with "bean counters" figuring out how to make the most of the money given... not neccessarily what is best for the students - See NSW for that predicament to it's fullest.

It was a great conference and I will post more on it in the coming days...