Friday, June 27, 2008

Ddraig-Goch's TravelBlog

As mini Dylan 'The Dragon' and I will be travelling a bit this year we have set up a travel blog(Ddraig Goch's Travel Photoblog) which will be used as a photoblog site over the coming months. This will free up the main blog for regular blog posts - do keep up with our travels :-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cool Browser Firefox 3.0


It has finally been released following its beta testing - cool Mozilla Firefox 3.0 is here.... sorry there are visuals from me yet -I need to work out how to upgrade the Asus 900 to 3.0!!! But believe me when I say that Firefox 3.0 will not disappoint. Among the host of apps which integrate is PicLens v1.7 from CoolIris ( thanks to Dave Clancy from IB Cardiff for showing us this)
It really is the coolest way to search and view video and images on line -this is how the web should be web 3.0 is getting closer. Other features of Firefox 3.0 can be found here. As ever open source development shows the big companies the way......well done Mozilla I for one hope you make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the total number of downloads in the first 24 hours of release.
The OLPC guys celebrate Firefox 3.0's release.

Isle of Wight Conference 2008

My mate Joe Dale from Nodehill Middle School, Newport Isle of Wight has finally released the details of his Isle of Wight Conerence for 2008.
Surely this conference with its focus firmly on first class practitioners talking about what they have done in their own classrooms cannot be bettered,as these are teachers on the cutting edge of the creative use of technology with pupils. I certainly intend to be taking a trip across the Solent to the beautiful Isle in October....... you should to!The Isle of Wight Conference 2008 takes place this year on 25th-26th October at Nodehill Middle School in Newport and will cost £100 to attend. As in previous years, the event will feature a host of practical sessions delivered by inspirational speakers from around the UK on topics such as:

* Mobile Phones
* Wikis
* Primary Languages
* Ning networking
* Songs
* Virtual Learning Environments
* Digital Storytelling
* Games based learning
* Gender differences
* Videoconferencing
* eTwinning
* Digital Voice Recorders
* One Stop Animation
* PowerPoint
* Interactive Whiteboards and Voting Systems
* Blogging and Podcasting
* Assessment for Learning
* New KS3 curriculum
* Web 2.0 tools
* vodcasting
* eCreativity

Speakers include:

* Sharon Tonner - ICT specialist, High School of Dundee
* Jo Rhys-Jones - AST in MFL, Kingswear Primary School
* Lisa Stevens - Spanish Teacher and eTwinning ambassador, Whitehouse Common Primary School,
* Carole Nicoll - Language Factory
* Drew Buddie - ICT coordinator, Royal Masonic School for Girls and eTwinning ambassador
* Nick Mair - HoD in MFL, Dulwich College
* John Warwick - Deputy Head, St Luke's School and eTwinning ambassador
* Kathleen Holton - HoD in MFL, Argoed High School
* Mark Pentleton - Radio Lingua Network
* Lesley Welsh – AST in MFL, English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College and SSAT languages lead practitioner coordinator
* Chris Fuller - Spanish teacher, Edgehill College and SSAT languages lead practitioner
* Sharon Balch - French teacher, Swanmore Middle School
* Doug Dickinson - Independent ICT consultant
* Kathy Wicksteed - Languages advisor for new KS3 curriculum
* Adam Sutcliffe - MFL teacher, The Gordon Schools and Glow Champion
* Lesley Haggar-Vaughan, Shireland CLC manager
* Julie Adoch, HoD in MFL, Heathfield Foundation Technology College and her students

There will also be promotional sessions run by our sponsors Podium, Televic, Sanako, ConnectED and Babelzone and other publishers such as Heinemann, Oxford University Press and Espresso will have stands in the exhibition.

A free MFL Show and Tell session will take place in The Function Room of The Bargeman's Rest on Saturday 25th October and like last year, delegates will be able to sign up on the conference wiki if they would like to speak or just watch.

In the next month or so, I will publish a delegate pack including details of how to book, session titles, biographies, travel arrangements, where to stay etc on my blog which will give you plenty of time to persuade your school to let you come to this exciting opportunity for continuing professional development!

Here are some pictures and quotes from 2007 to whet your appetite:
# Taken sooo much away from today. Thanks a million! Lisette Begue – Sneyd Community School)
# Excellent. Well done to everyone who took part and looking forward to next year (John Bald – Education Guardian)
# Thank you for running this inspirational event (Annalise Adam – Gregg School)
# Excellent. Well done and a big thank you to the speakers. Really inspiring (Virginie Rayner – Wheatley Park School)
# You surpassed last year. Fantastic! (Volker Green – The City Academy)
# A great conference that has given me some great practical ideas to use in my teaching. Thank you. (Tamsin Cobden – Solent Middle School)

So see you in October and spread the word.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Running a KDE OS on the Eeepc

For those who think that the only option on an Eeepc is to run the basic Linux screen with its tabbed headings, think again. Above is a screenshot of the KDE OS running quite happily on notebook and making it very Windows friendly to those who feel the need for comfortable friendly and familiar surroundings.
Is it complicated to do....... no this Linux programming novice managed it courtesy of Linux Format Magazine which in its current issues is running a series on how to tweak your Linux based machine to run in a more user friendly way. It took around 15 minutes in the command line to effect the change on the 900 and around the same on the 701 ( the 900 looks better running the KDE OS),however the 701 owner in my house said she preferred the tabbed simple screen.
The beauty of this change is that you can easily switch between the 2 modes , from the launch bar of the KDE ( where the tabbed Linux screen is called Easy Mode)..... it is this easy :

Ctrl+Alt+T (opens terminal window)

wget http://download.tuxfamily.org/eeepcrepos/key.asc (enter)
sudo apt-key add key.asc (enter)
rm key.asc (enter)
sudo kwrite /etc/apt/sources.list (enter)

at the end of the list you add a line
deb http://download.tuxfamily.org/eeepcrepos p701 main ( close and save)

sudo apt-get update (enter)
sudoapt-get install advanced-desktop-eeepc (enter)
at prompt say Y
It should now be done - you can close the window. Now when you press the shutdown button you have an extra option on the left Full Desktop press and the system should swap over to the new full KDE OS. It is truly a revolution and will feel as if the notebook has been liberated from its blinkered former life. There is a slight delay in opening programmes but this is still nothing compared with the lumbering monolith that is the Windows OS.
Also recommended is Abi-Word as a replacement for the OpenOffice w/p although I haven't successfully managed this change yet.

I intend over the coming week to look seriously at the competition for fear of becoming an Asus bore! There also seems to be an issue in some of the current IT magazines as to who/what is the market for these machines..... my answer to them is the market is defining itself, be it us who simply love the idea of having a mobile and compact device for use on the move, to the kids who see advantages in these compared with lugging large laptops around. This 900 stays mostly in my bag during the day but can appear if necessary without causing the stir and awkwardness of a full sized laptop.

Friday, June 06, 2008

NECC 2008

Unfortunately a colleague of mine here at the IB is unable to attend NECC 2008 as he had originally planned, this meant that the place was offered to me!! My decision was easy, the chance to go to possibly the biggest and best edublogger, web2.0 educators conference in the world, or attend my Hockey Club annual dinner in Abergavenny............ no contest! I am really looking forward to meeting up with everyone in San Antonio on the weekend of the 29th June to 2nd July. I know that this year there is a large contingent of Oz/NZ teachers ( unfortunately AK - we are doomed to only meet in cyberspace I think!) including Jo McLeay and Sue Tapp ( the drinks are on sujokat!). I will miss the Edubloggercon on the 28th as I won't arrive until around 11pm on 28th, but from then on I am really looking forward to some great PD and listening to some inspiring speakers.
2008) at the end of the month along with some tech bits and pieces I will be packing my Mini Dylan Dragon ( to be renamed Ddraig Goch - Red Dragon for NECCfor the trip to Texas.... really very excited now ;-)

SmallWorlds Beta goes live

Well it's finally here- SmallWorlds in beta form has been released. Smallworlds operates in your browser without any need for a hefty download ( as with some other virtual worlds I could name!)

Welcome to my as yet unfurnished abode ( I did buy a candle, but sadly don't have a table yet to put it on!). There is a teleoport function which allows you to jump to other spaces - I did visit Barak Obama's space and leave him a message of congratulations. Moving seems easier than SL - no flying here :-).Communication seems to be by text bubble which is cool as at least you can see who is actually talking. The space seems to resolve fairly quickly even here on the Eeeepc, I certainly couldn't do this with SL.
I would encourage fellow educators to give it a go - let's see that if this is a space that can be used for education and educators from around the world!!!

This is a sad indictment of society today!!!

Taken from an AOL news link from CBSnews in the US
"HARTFORD, Conn. (June 5) - A 78-year-old man is tossed like a rag doll by a hit-and-run driver and lies motionless on a busy city street as car after car goes by. Pedestrians gawk but do nothing. One driver stops briefly but then pulls back into traffic. A man on a scooter slowly circles the victim before zipping away."

Monday, June 02, 2008

Happy Birthday MediaSnackers

I would like to wish DK and all at MediaSnackers a very happy 2nd Birthday. If you haven't caught any of MS's work with young people using new media- now's your chance follow the link to MediaSnackers

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