08 December 2010

Ascilite 2010 – Sydney

It is the last day of the Ascilite conference and I find myself in the presentation that motivates me.

Ponderers, Sloggers, Slackers and More: Understanding the profiles – Mark McMahon

Mark offers some blogger profiles:

  • the Slogger Blogger – demonstrating volitional control; 

  • the Worker Blogger – demonstrating cognitive strategy formation and application; 

  • the Eager Blogger – demonstrating motivation; 

  • the Ponderer Blogger – demonstrating the reflection inherent in self-monitoring 

  • the Bragger Blogger – demonstrating high self-concept; and 

  • the Uber Blogger – demonstrating a high level of metacognition.

  • I found his presentation informative, animated and motivating.

    Moodlemoot NZ 2011 new dates

    Due to a date clash with Moodlemoot Australia 2011, we have changed Moodlemoot New Zealand 2011.

    Here are the udpated details:

  • Moodlemoot New Zealand 2011 is organised by HRDNZ (Moodle Partner)

  • The venue is Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland

  • The dates are Tuesday 26th-Thursday 28th of July, 2011

  • We expect it will be the largest NZ Moot ever! Looking forward to seeing you there.

    30 November 2010

    Moodlemoot 2011 NZ Announcement

    I am excited to let everyone know that Moodlemoot 2011 NZ has been announced. Read the announcement notice on http://moodlemoot.co.nz/ and bookmark the website for future reference.

    Dates: Tuesday 19th - Thursday 22nd of July 2011
    Venue: Unitec, Carrington Road, Mt Albert, Auckland

    25 November 2010

    Manaiakalani Film Festival

    I had the extreme pleasure of attending the Manaiakalani Film Festival at Hoyts Sylvia Park on 11 November on what is called the Xtreme Screen (biggest screen you can get I think). There were seven schools involved, primary, intermediate and high schools.

    During the day time the students from the schools were bused to Sylvia Park, however I went to the evening parent and community showcase.

    They had a guest MC (Anthony Samuels) but there were also children MCs who introduced each movie. The children were well prepared, speaking both clearly and well. There was even pre-event entertainment provided by a band from one of the high schools.

    The beginning and end of the show used a scene setting video which I will share here as she is fantastic!

    Manaiakalani Film Festival 2010 from KPE TV on Vimeo.

    I would highly recommend you watch the movies, and you can, as they have been made available online. Click here

    19 November 2010

    TPA Mini Symposium Nov 2010

    Today we had a mini symposium for our eLearning Community Coordinators at Te Puna Ako.
    • Scott Gallagher Incorporating videos captured by SmartBoard
    • Kamuka Pati eHut
    • James Oldfield iPadagogy
    • David Rhodes Androidagogy
    • Phil Plunkett Moodle quizzes
    • Merf E-ureka!

    Brett "Merf" Murphy was a personal highlight of this mini symposium as he shared his own personal recognition of his learning journey this year throughout this year as a participant of the "Social Learning Technologies" course. Merf also shared what happened in his own classroom teaching his students and changes he is seeing now he has discovered constructivism.

    03 November 2010

    Organisational Development

    Today I spent some time with some of the people from Organisational Development.

    18 October 2010

    Open Access Week

    This week we are celebrating the fourth year of Open Access Week 18 - 24 October 2010, and we are celebrating everywhere.

    This morning I joined Wayne Mackintosh in discussing: Crossing the OER chasm: From "sharing to learn" to "learning to share".

    Open Access Week is
    an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.
    I recommend you check out some of the events being held for Open Access Week, (the New Zealand schedule can be found here), check out the Challenge, and participate!

    16 October 2010

    NZOSA Peoples Choice Award voting ends 26 October

    A reminder that if you want to vote for the People’s choice award for New Zealand Open Source Awards being held 9 November, you need to vote by 26 October. There are some excellent candidates listed so I recommend you take a look and place your vote.

    • The DAViCal project
    • Lianne Dalziel – Member of Parliament and Chair of the Commerce Select Committee
    • The Tumanako Project – Greenstage Ltd
    • Amie McCarron – Alcoholics Anonymous New Zealand websites – Bluebubble Design
    • Albany Senior High School Use of Open Source – Mark Osborne
    • Public Sector Remix -  NZOSS and John Rankin

    15 October 2010

    San Francisco

    olpc Community Summit t-shirtI think it is time for an update on the San Francisco trip.

    I fly out on Monday evening 18 October and will meet with Pablo Flores at the airport. That is pretty exciting as Pablo is from Uruguay, has been working with Plan Ceibal, and is a researcher. Lots to talk about with Pablo.

    Alex Kleider is picking us up from the airport and hosting us – thanks Alex!

    I will try to find time each day to blog about what I did and share photos :-)

    You can read about the olpc Community Summit by visiting http://olpcsf.org/CommunitySummit2010/


    This week the Manaiakalani project team meet at our house for a change of scene. I think that was the fourth or fifth big meeting with somewhere between 15 and 20 people in attendance.

    So what is Manaiakalani? It's an elearning and literacy strategy that is being coordinated out of Pt England School but includes a lot of schools in the Tamaki region of Auckland.

    The plan is to get one netbook per child (almost like one laptop per child but not quite?) for students from year five through to year thirteen, and to distribute wireless broadband into homes in the community, increasing family engagement in education. The netbooks will run Ubuntu and they will use Google apps for managing their work. Software in the build includes GIMP, Scratch and TuxPaint.

    Four of the olpc volunteers in Auckland are helping Manaiakalani. To see how it all fits together you might want to check out the Tamaki Achievement Pathway website.

    06 October 2010

    New Zealand Open Source Awards

    This week is pretty exciting as I found out that I am a finalist for the New Zealand Open Source awards, and in three categories. That is pretty amazing as I never dreamed of seeing my name up there with all the wonderful, amazing, talented people contributing to open source in New Zealand. The news was made public on the NZOSA website today. On the 9 November the winners will be announced.

    There are peoples choice awards that you can vote for from tomorrow so do check out the options so you can place your vote:
    • Mark Osborne, Albany Senior High School
    • Lianne Dalziel, MP, for her work as Chair of the Commerce Select Committee
    • DaviCal – a server for calendar sharing
    • Amie McCarron for the Alcoholics Anonymous NZ websites
    • NZOSS Public Sector Remix – a project to demonstrate the viability of free open source software on public sector desktops
    • The Tumanako Project – produces components for several high-power electric motor and battery applications

    29 September 2010

    olpc Community Summit October 2010

    A massive thank you to Internet NZ for funding me to go to the olpc Community Summit that will be held in San Francisco from 22-24 October 2010. Information about this event can be found here: http://olpcsf.org/CommunitySummit2010/

    I am particularly looking forward to meeting some of the people I have spoken to so regularly online and getting to hear face to face about some of the great work that people are doing for olpc. The sharing of ideas and planning for the future will be fantastic.

    You can see the Summit topics taking shape on the wiki. The same week there is also Books in Browsers with the Internet Archive so it is a pretty exciting time to be in San Francisco.

    28 September 2010

    Sharefest 2010

    This week is a busy week in NZ with loads of teaching and learning related events. I am at Sharefest in Hamilton, but there is also Ako Aotearoa's Teaching and learning conference in Palmerston North and Unitec's Learning Teaching and Research Symposium in Auckland.
    I have a workshop on Monday on Moodle's glossary and database activity modules, and a presentation on Tuesday on Moodle on the olpc School Server.

    The photos I have been taking of SharEfest can be found in my Picasa Sharefest 2010 album.

    19 September 2010

    Software Freedom Day 2010 - Orion Cafe

    Thanks to everyone who helped out with Software Freedom Day this year around the world, and thanks to all those that attended one of these events. Here in Auckland we had a great weekend with Albany on Friday followed by the Mt Eden event on Saturday at Orion Cafe.
    There were about twenty or so people at Albany Senior High on Friday. There was gaming (shoot 'em up styles), a demo by Mark of Open Shot (video editing software) and Nted (create sheet music), fun with magnets (thanks Dave), one laptop per child playing and Sugar giveaways, Ubuntu CD giveaways and demo of running live CD on a Mac, and lots of chatting. It was great to see some teachers there from another school.
    Looking at my photos and trying to recall who I spoke to, I think there were around seventy or so people at Orion Cafe on Saturday. Conversations ranged from Asterisk phones, to electric cars, to one laptop per child, to what is freedom, and more. There were people cutting out penguins and gluing them together, people playing Physics in Sugar on the XO laptops, and people chatting and drinking coffee. Fabiana was working on an open source project with two of the attendees at one point, and I am sure new recruits were found for LUG and olpc.

    It was unfortunate that one of the attractions, the reprap 3d printer, could not make it. We haven't yet heard what the problem was there, but there is speculation that it relates to the horrific weather the night before and the fact that Vik (owner of the printer) is a volunteer with the fire brigade.

    The ebb and flow effect of people arriving and leaving throughout the day meant there were two "proper talks" and the rest of the day was very informal. The first talk was UALUG on Linux 101 and the second was Peter and Dave leading a talk on what is freedom.

    A big thanks to Orion for sponsoring the event and opening the cafe on a Saturday, and thanks to Chris for feeding us, filling us with coffee (love the chocolate you use and the biscotti on the side was tasty) and smiling all day long while you ran the place on your own. We really appreciated the great environment and plan on asking if we can come back again next year. In case anyone is wondering, you can book Orion Cafe for evening functions and it makes a great venue for birthday parties.

    It seems the electric car was a hit with all the attendees this year, with Tom giving multiple talks about how it works and talking about the open source battery management system. Phil was also at Software freedom day with his test kit showing people the open source electric motor controller (for those of you who missed it, Phil owns the Greenstage electric saker; Tom owns the Carrott Electric mini; Tom, Phil and others work on something called the Tumanako project which is building open source electric car hardware and software).

    Hopefully these are signs of big things to come and we will see this event grow each year in Auckland and around the world.

    17 September 2010

    Software Freedom Day 2010 - Albany Senior High School

    The first Auckland event for Software Freedom Day 2010 was held at Albany Senior High School this afternoon. Attendees were a mix of students from the school, some teachers from another school who were in the area, interested people, and some open source enthusiasts.

    There was gaming, demonstrations of software and fun with magnets, the olpc laptops, and general conversations. Ubuntu CDs were handed out and a few Sugar on a Stick USBs.

    A great time!
    From SFD-NZ

    14 September 2010

    Testing by desire

    This morning I helped a lecturer with his class mid semester test. Earlier in the course the lecturer and students discussed assessment and decided together how they would be assessed. The assessment is made up of two tests, portfolio and practical. Last year the course had a test at the end, but these students asked for an assessment mid semester.
    The lecturer and his colleague have made the mid semester test using Moodle quiz. They had asked my assistance part way through their design and were working well towards completing the preparation last time I saw them. They asked me to be available “just in case” on the day, so I popped along to the classroom. The plan is half the students at 9.30am and half at 10.30am.
    I walked into the classroom to find students sitting at computers logging into Moodle and only one asked me what his password might be, which I am pretty happy about. The test was set to automatically open at 9.30am. They all have pen paper and calculator handy for working out each answer. Some of the students have the electrical standards with them, though they shouldn’t need it for the test. They have an hour to complete.
    We struck one small issue. One of the questions has a bit of random html in it that makes it appear to the students that there should be a picture but there is not. We discussed it with them as they reached that question and they all seemed okay to carry on. I will fix the code in that question when they finish, and just before the second group start.
    I am trying to decide what I think about students asking for more tests. I can understand them wanting to spread the assessment values out; having more than half your course grade based on one assessment item can be highly stressful. They have decided this weighting: 20% mid semester theory test, 25% end semester theory test, 10% portfolio, 45% practical.
    Well, with the first students nearly complete the test results are coming in fast and all seems to be well. Their feedback is positive and they all seem to be happy with the assessment method, though some students said they had questions that looked almost the same with just a few different variables (which we will investigate).

    Software Freedom Day 2010

    This week I am taking part in a global celebration called Software Freedom Day. The official date is 18 September, however why not celebrate it for a few extra days.
    The vision of Software Freedom Day “is to empower all people to freely connect, create and share in a digital world that is participatory, transparent, and sustainable.”
    There are six objectives:
    1. to celebrate software freedom and the people behind it
    2. to foster a general understanding of software freedom, and encourage adoption of free software and open standards
    3. to create more equal access to opportunities through the use of participatory technologies
    4. to promote constructive dialogue on responsibilities and rights in the information society
    5. to be inclusive of organizations and individuals that share our Vision
    6. to be pragmatic, transparent, and responsible as an organisation
    For my contribution to the celebration I am part of the team organising the Auckland celebrations. This Friday 17 September there will be an event at Albany Senior High School from 4pm – 6pm. This Saturday there will be an event at Orion Cafe in Mt Eden from 10am – 4pm. Both events will involve having lots of fun, talking to people and trying new things. olpc will be there with the little green laptops. There will be games, guest speakers and giveaways.

    If you want to read more about the events visit http://softwarefreedomday.org.nz/ and I really hope to see lots of people there to celebrate with us.

    08 September 2010

    Communities of Practice

    Last week I joined CPsquare – The Community of Practice on Communities of Practice. They were having a Seeding 2.0 conference that I wanted to participate in.

    I jumped right into some of the conversations and enjoyed reading comments from people like me, asking the same questions about communities of practice that I am, about who they are and how they see their own identity. I also found it timely to be talking about assessment in CPsquare when this is current conversation at Unitec.

    02 September 2010

    XO is in a comic

    Today I was sent an email telling me that the olpc laptop is in a comic! It has been spotted on the www.the99.org site.

    01 September 2010

    Volunteer day at Unitec

    Today was Volunteer day at Unitec.

    We had an olpc stand and there was lots of interest from the students, so gave out an information sheet that tells them where to download Sugar on a Stick, how to join the mailing list, and where we meet in Auckland on Saturdays.

    Tracey came to help with the stand.

    There is a huge variety of international students at Unitec and some were interested in translations for their country.

    Some of the other volunteer organisations at the event included:
    • Fire service
    • Trade Aid
    • Refugee services
    • Citizen Advice Bureau 
    • Volunteering Auckland
    • Auckland Zoo
    • SPCA
    • Special Olympics
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • IHC NZ
    There were lots more but I didn't get around to them all unfortunately.  All in all, I think it was a well organised and well attended event. Volunteering can really help students get experience that can lead to employment, so well worth running the event for the students.

    17 August 2010

    Back from olpc deployments in Samoa

    I returned from two weeks volunteering for olpc (one laptop per child) in Samoa yesterday. It was full on. We visited two primary schools and worked with year 4 to year 6 students. They had used the laptops for 3 months before we arrived and we went to install a school server at each school and wireless access points, as well as to provide training for the teachers and students. The two schools were quite different and one school was extremely under resourced with practically no books to teach from or for students to read and not really any posters on the walls.

    Arriving in Apia we went to the government first.

    This is where we stayed when we first arrived in Apia

    We met with parents in the schools to make sure they got to know us and had an opportunity to ask us questions. We then invited the children to show the parents what they can do with their laptops.

    There was some resting on the trip too, we did take a little time to relax on the beach and do some snorkelling, but as is evident in the photo, our laptops were always close as we kept working to get everything done before we left.

    Anyone is welcome to come talk to me about the trip and ask questions. I will be writing up more information soon.

    30 July 2010

    Going to Samoa

    Tom and I are off to Samoa to visit two one laptop per child deployments for two weeks.
    It's like the night before Christmas here with all the excitement of our trip to tomorrow. Except, this time we are the elves trying to create and then wrap all the gifts to make the delivery run.
    We have 2 Asus EeeBox PC 1021 (Atom 330, 2GB ram, 250GB harddrive) machines for servers, 6 Ubiquiti Networks PicoStation, 2 switches and loads of bits and pieces to connect it all.
    We have setup the servers with the school server image and been preparing it for the Samoa requirements, running around madly trying to get the translation finished, collected ebooks and learning objects, and put lots of XO activities onto the servers. We have printed resources and stationery to give the schools.
    The bags are packed with our clothes and we are just doing the last few preparation things. We know we are going to run out of time, but doing our best.
    We are really looking forward to meeting everyone and hearing what they have been doing so far. The schools don't have internet, so I will write up about the trip on our return.

    23 July 2010

    Cow clickers and addictions

    I have an addiction. Every night before bed, and every morning when I wake up, I feed my fish and my birds, check on my farm and carrying out some missions with my mob. It drives my partner insane and begs the question, just why am I addicted to these games? I am talking about ipod, smartphone and online games.
    In an attempt to rehabilitate me, my partner found this article - http://www.bogost.com/blog/cow_clicker_1.shtml
    The article is definitely having an impact.
    The reason I am writing about this here for you to read is because the author of this article describes gaming, social networks and briefly describes one of Heideggers theories. He also talks about as a researcher, the value gained through practice.
    So my rehabilitation continues... my partner will keep telling me no I can't feed the fish before we go to work, and as a last resort I have to go cold turkey on 30 July!
    I hope you enjoyed this fun blog post for a Friday afternoon. ;-)

    20 July 2010

    Travelling with the XO laptop

    Last week I spent four days in Melbourne. I don't think it is possible to travel anymore without a netbook and this trip I wanted to challenge myself to travelling with only one backpack to keep me as mobile as possible.

    I took the olpc laptop - the XO - as my travel laptop. I wanted to use the operating system that olpc deployments use with a few tweaks. So I lived in Sugar and the Gnome desktop. I installed Skype, xchat for irc, empathy for jabber, and a few packages to make it all work. (Details here - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Tabitha)

    The hardest bit was touch typing on the membrane keyboard. I normally type up to 80 wpm with 99% accuracy but I think I was reduced to about 40wpm and 60% accuracy initially, though I did improve during the four days.

    The XO laptop was light and easy for me to transport. Its robust so I was never worried about breaking it by squashing or dropping my bag. It easily connected everywhere I went and had enough battery (I took a spare just in case) for what I was doing.

    One of the aims was to ensure I was ready for my volunteer trip to Samoa on 30 July where I will only use the XO as part of supporting olpc deployments in two primary schools on Savaii. I feel prepared now.

    Another advantage to using the XO for the trip was that people came up and asked me about olpc so it was a great conversation starter. A lot more Australians know what is going on in their own country now (there are deployments to aboriginal children) and it is great to get that awareness level up.

    If anyone wants to play with the olpc laptop and they are local to me, they can just ask. You are most welcome to ask me questions about olpc and Sugar (the learning platform), from the technology side and the educational philosophy behind these not for profit organisations. If I can't answer your question, I will point you to where to ask.

    12 May 2010

    Cleaning up the laptop

    This evening I have been going through my computer, looking for duplicate files and reviewing the software I have installed. It was time to tidy up.
    I moved some files around, deleted some duplicates.
    I went through my applications, updated some to newer versions, tried to work out what some applications do that I have never used before, and deleted things I did not need.
    It was a good exercise to do actually. I spent a couple of hours but learned some things as well as freeing up a few GB on my laptop. I would recommend you do this too.