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.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Education Revolution

Labour has won the election and so it would be reasonable to think that their election promise of 'education revolution' by ensuring that every Australian student in Years 9 to 12 has access to their own school computer will be implemented.

I like Bill Kerr's comments about this not being a revolution.

No surprises from our pollies here. Their thinking is entirely quantitative - more computers, faster broadband, more information. There is not the glimmer of a hint that computers might be used to transform education in a qualitative sense, to create new sorts of powerful learning experiences that are much harder to create without computers.

I'm not aware of a single Australian politician who understands this issue.
There are all sorts of logistical issues with the Labour plan including the physical space to put computers as well as the power, network and human resource requirements to run them.

The revolution aspect is what really interests me and I am remembering some on my past posts, the latest of which was Talk of revolution which also references previous and connected posts to this topic.

Schools are not well positioned for the revolution that is being talked about in these posts. Rightly or wrongly, we have schools embedded in our culture and so I will assume for the foreseeable future they continue to play a part in this game. Soon we will have lots more access to computers and more important connected via the internet with fatter pipes which could help facilitate the sort of revolution being talked about.

I wonder what the characteristics of a school would need to be to optimise on the this sort of revolution?

  • Small
  • Organised on the basis of students not subjects
  • Good access to specialised facilities - drama, music, materials technology, art, HPE
  • Useful links with relevant community groups and businesses
  • Excellent access to information resources
  • Focus on information processing rather than acquisition of knowledge
  • Capacity to improvise on the fly - significant use of words like 'lets try/play with this'

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Multi-national software house to blame

Lets put the blame where it belongs. A multi-national software house needs to take responsibility for the unfortunate goof of the Australian Liberal Party election campaign where an 'Islamic' pamphlet flyer was handed out in the seat of Lindsay in the name of the ALP.

The crass wordart 'Ala Akba' at the bottom of the pamphlet is one of the obvious tell tale signs. The authors clearly having no idea of the C.R.A.P. design principles is another clue.

The nameless software company must take responsibility for putting this software within the reach of amateurs and extremists. This is yet another example of where things have gone horribly wrong and it is clear that the act of publishing needs to be left to the experts.

Shame, shame, shame.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Online vectorising tool

Vectormagic is an online beta tool where you can upload an image and it comes back to you vectorised. Your images are stored on the site and your work can be published and shared.

Vector graphics are infinitely scalable without becoming pixelised. Various programs offer this including Adobe Live Trace (Illustrator CS2) and Corel PowerTRACE (CorelDRAW X3). Inkscape is a free open source program that is capable of this as well although I found Vectormagic easier to use. Inkscape is a good choice of tool to further manipulate the vectorised graphic. My experience of Inkscape has been very positive.

The comparative review of vectormagic with Adobe Live Trace and Corel PowerTRACE was very favourable toward Vectormagic. The fact that it is online and free to use is of course an asset to educators.

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