Back to School

Below you’ll find the start of a post I was writing on Saturday but didn’t get round to finish, With this now being tuesday a few things have changed.

Well I’ve enjoyed a good 2 week break this holiday and this week it’s back to work. Monday will be a school in-service day with lots of activities however I’m really looking forward to Tuesday as I’ll be taking part in Highland council’s CEOP training course.

I was first introduced to CEOP last year while working at Musselburgh Grammar, I attended one of Ollie Bray’s very successful internet safety talks as an “Expert” for parents to talk to during the break and was very impressed with the materials and believe it’s a great course to deliver.

Due to unforeseen circumstances (Mainly the Snow, me skidding on it and putting my car into a ditch) meant I was unable to attend the training course so it’s back to the drawing board.

I had plans for the pupils this week but am now a bit behind in what I wanted to prepare for them myself so the next post I put up will have more details about the new work the pupils are doing.

Until then I’m going to rest up.

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Computing for Girls

I hadn’t planned on making a post during the holidays but as it seems I’m having a quiet day in watching cartoons with my cousin (so far Over the Hedge, Cars and Ice Age 2) I’ve been able to do some reading from the BBC website. They’ve posted a news article called Girls geek out over dinner it got me thinking about an after-school program called CC4G.

It’s not something I’ve seen in any of the schools I’ve worked in and regrettably not something I’ve implemented myself although I don’t think I’d ever be the best person to talk about fashion and celebrities with them. I wonder if this is something for the universities in Scotland to be thinking about, during my time working in East Lothian I attended meetings where Strathclyde and Edinburgh Universities and they were looking for ways to get more pupils to take up computing so this could be a market for them.

The Hero of Time is coming?

If you know me you’ll know I’m a bit of a gaming fan, and if you ask anyone who knows me what my favourite game is the only answer you’d get would be Zelda.

Ever since I spent years working with a friend to complete a link to the past on the SNES (The save game somehow deleted one temple away from the last temple the first time round). I then got the N64 for one game only and that was the Ocarina of Time (This time it only took 2 weeks to complete so I was getting better). on a random visit to youtube to see the new Snow patrol video i saw a link to this on the front page.

Now I couldn’t decide if it’s a fake or if it’s real, a quick google search shows it was the cruel april fools joke from IGN this year. It’s not the only fake zelda trailer on you tube but it has got 3,379,628 people having viewed it on youtube alone.

It was because of games like Zelda that I pursued computing after high school, I always wanted to create games which has got me thinking about the Computer games course and if studying these would lead to a new generation of computer programmers / game designers. We know standard grade is on the way out as is the intermediate courses so what will become of these new courses? will the new courses include these or will we be stuck teaching Word Processing, Spreadsheets and databases for the rest of time?

Back online!

It’s so nice to be able to type this from the comfort of my own room. You see I’ve been without my own internet access for the last 4 months and so now courtesy of BT I have uber fast broadband, one of the benefits of being 0 miles from the exchange!

I spent this afternoon working with my S1 classes on sending emails, demonstrating CC and BCC and making it as clear as I could that any misuse of the highland wide email system would not be in their best interest.

I’m also spending tonight shopping for the department on ebay. Digital cameras are the only item on the list for now, I’m attempting to pick up 5 for a cheap as possible (and while typing this out missed the ending of one of the cameras…doh!).

These may not seem linked together however in order for the pupils to use many of the resources on the internet such as comicbrush or to create their own voki.

S4 are out on work experience this week which affords some extra time to sort out the department. Since starting I’ve updated as many computers as possible from OS9.2 to OSX and with the help of Jim Henderson we’re now up to 10 OSX computers and there’s an 11th waiting to have it installed.

This setup has proved ok for most of the classes, however the largest classes I have are my S2 and an S4 class for 1 period a week can prove to be tricky but I’ve been able to use the band manager course to have the pupils working in groups

Time for a change!

Well I guess I should start this post by first thanking David for giving me some encouragement to get my blogging going again, it was quite a surreal moment seeing the title of my blog as a posting on his.

For the first time in a few years I started playing about with the blogger site, gave it a new look and seen some of the new features in it. When I set the blog up I had to manually edit some of the HTML in order to get links in, the old counter and visitors map but just spending a little time playing about with it has made it look so much better.

This has got me thinking, over the last 2 years having worked with an authority that created websites using blogs with the WordPress software which platform is better.

One of the things that always annoyed me about blogger was the lack of titles in the posts, I never realised that I had to turn the option on! I had made do by posting the heading in the post and editing the HTML so that it stood out. I’m not sure where I stand, I think I’ll try and use both for a while and take it from there.

As part of the new S1 course I’ve arranged for the pupils to undertake a Digital photography day in November which is then going to lead nicely into the next weeks fashion show and I’ve thought of an addition to it in the form of comics. Ollie Bray posted yesterday about a website called comicbrush.

I played about with the site yesterday and this is what I came up with:

After showing my higher class this I think it’s now official that I’m a geek!