Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Game Maker pages introduction

Game Maker pages introduction

I have a small group of students playing with gamemaker and so have ended up at Bill's place to see what is worth raiding. Bill, Al and Tony - you are doing a great job. I am impressed.

An invitation is extended on this intro page of Bill's

You are welcome to join us here if you have good ideas to share.

I would like to join them but, friday night and all, could not scratch an idea together let alone a good one.

Friday, October 14, 2005


elearnspace: Learner-created learning

I like the idea of a prosumer - produce what they consume. The idea of students producing the content.

I also like the idea of the "dialogue and connections formed while working throught the content".

That stitches it up for me - my senior school IT class will be presented with the idea that 'we' could produce a knoweldge base in the form of a wiki that we can use to prepare for the exam and use as a reference for assignments and such.

I reckon that some of the overall years marks could come from a peer evaluation of individuals contributions to this.

Open source boom - massive IT balance of trade deficit

Scruffy geeks on the outer - Chatroom - Opinion - Technology - theage.com.au

Refer to subsection "Open source boom"

"massive IT balance of trade deficit" - Does our educational use of propriety products help or hinder? :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Best practices in questionnaire design

Parkin's Lot: Best practices in questionnaire design

It really is common sense but it is useful to have it altogether in one place.

Free file hosting

Went hunting for a place to host an mp3 file for free


This ended up winning the prize but nearly didn't because of the hassles with needing to register with both Ourmedia and the Internet Archive. It has a file uploader that can be installed on my computer and once the registration with both Ourmedia and the Internet Archive this uploader worked well. I like the way that it guided me through the Creative Commons licensing options.


The free account allows the following

  • download 100 files or 100 MB, whichever comes first, per month.

  • cannot download any file greater than 10 MB. can upload and store files greater than 10 MB but will not be able to download these files until a Download Subscription is purchased

  • 10 GBs of storage

  • cannot host files or share them

Yahoo Briefcase - http://briefcase.yahoo.com/bc//home

30MB storage, 5MB file size limit and 15MB per upload

Free account does not permit sharing except with specified Yahoo users


Can store 100MB free but can not share

Open Source Xara Xtreme

Open Source Xara Xtreme

With Xara releasing it's product as Open Source we have the potential of a full on linux based arts and digital photography facility. While it seems that Xara is for vector graphics (illustrations), it will also comfortably handle images. So we probably should have GIMP for digital photography and Xara for Visual Arts.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Spiders and Grandads

I've got my eight year old grandson staying with us for about a week. We had a moment as I was putting him to bed and debriefing the day with him. We reflected on the day and recalled the drive to Carpenter Rocks where he handled a small rock crab and jumped a crevice. The crab resembled a spider and he clung to the other side of the crevice like a spider.

So the question arose “How do spiders climb walls?” to which I asked “How do you think we could find out?”. “Perhaps we could make that a goal for tomorrow I suggested.”

His suggestion is that we “collect a spider” in a bottle and examine it.

That's a good idea but I wonder if “anyone else has found this out already”. “Shall we check it out on the internet?” “Do you know about the internet?”

Yea, there is “games.com.”

So, like a good Grandad I've done my homework and am now well prepared for tomorrows investigation.


Well for anyone who wants to find out about spiders then this is the place. Fantastic.

Makes being a good Grandad easy :-)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Fair go cobber!!!

I was the guest of our local regional ABC radio station the other day for the computer segment - a half hour talk back segment run every fortnight. The theme of the broadcast was Open Source Software and hopefully the listeners are now aware of an Open Source software option. I was disappointed that we did not get to the ethical issues around the use of software in the educational setting - but understandable considering it was only 20-30 minutes or so. I would really love to get some broad community reaction to the following sorts of questions - I probably need to refine these questions a bit but it is a starting point.

A key premise to this discussion is that the software tool that people learn with generally becomes the tool of choice. People will most likely want to purchase the tool that they learnt with when it comes time to make a purchase vs use something else. eg if they were taught to use Adobe Photoshop then purchasing this will be the top priority or if they were taught spread sheeting with MS Excel then Excel will be the product of choice when purchasing, etc.

  • How do you feel about public education paying software proprietors to use their products when the long term outcome of this is that the students will mostly likely purchase that product in the future?
  • Do you feel that this gives that proprietor an unfair competitive edge?
  • Schools have tight budgets and so the likely hood of paying several proprietors for similar products is unlikely, however, should schools ensure that they expose students to a range of propriety products without preference to any particular one?
  • Given that Open Source software is freely available should schools focus on the use of free open source software instead of propriety software?
  • Would it be reasonable to expect proprietors to pay schools to expose students to their software? (Help with costs of running computers, installing software, upgrades, security fixes, etc.)
How could we go about getting some broad community response to these sorts of questions?
What other questions should we be asking?

We should do lots of tagging in school


One of the rapidly emerging trends in the online world is social software. In the context of schools and constructuivism, this is enormously exciting. There is also a lot of talk about education needing to focus on higher order thinking skills. Skills in categorising and analysing are important.

A cognitive analysis of tagging provides an excellent description/comparison of the process of tagging vs categorisation. It also talks about the social nature of tagging and it was this discussion that made me link how we learn in a constructivist environment with this tagging process. When we tag items using tools like del.icio.us and flickr we also get to see how others have tagged the same item or alternatively to see the items that others have used the same tag for.

I guess the reason that we should be doing lots of this in school is because it
  • is an important information management skill
  • makes us make links with other pieces of infomration and concepts
  • is social in nature and we get to learn from the way others have tagged the items