Week 12: Database Design
To be continued…
Week 11: Software Development and Programming
Programming is awesome. Baba, Carly and Tahmeena led the way. I thought Scratch looked like an awesome tool, a great introduction to creating software. Being a 1337 h4ck3r, the material was not very engaging. The analogy with cooking was nice but there are others.
I think Gliffy is annoying and elitist because you have to sign up for a 30-day trial to save anything which takes away motivation and satisfaction at creating something cool. It has no functionality, that is, it does nothing. Not bad for creating a neat diagram but for brainstorming, paper’s way better (goes for bubbl.us as well). Okay for visual design. Interesting that it’s online. The idea of cloud apps is cool but maybe it would be more powerful and useful if actually installed on your computer. To be honest, I didn’t find the activity very fun because we’ve played with Gliffy before and there was no right/wrong answers (no reward for a good or consistent design) and no challenge and no open-ended questions.
Week 10: Robotics and Automated Systems
Dave & Geoff Vs. Amanda & Heath. Only one group can give the better presentation on robots. Geoff’s IQ is exceeded only by his fitness, Dave’s a slacker, Heath worked especially hard on my AI activity and Amanda is a mystery. Who will win?!
Don’t know because I missed it because I’m lazy because I don’t know why I’m lazy.
Week 9: Nothing
NOOOOOOOOooooOOOOoOoO! Why?! The humanity! The unused Macs!
Week 8: Networking Systems
Olivia, Wil and Kaitlin did a very nice job. Their presentation was simple and informative. They used some physical activities which were fairly trivial but were fun and made the ideas all the more concrete for the audience. They could have made an improvement by electrifying the string or at least using cups to send messages. It also would have been good to have been given specific or famous examples – like where are ACU’s hubs and servers located and what type of network do they use and what are the common ways in which problems occur.
Gliffy was a pretty cool little website. It’s a shame you can’t save your work though (without paying or something). It lets you make diagrams with cute icons and connections – appropriate for designing a network. However, it has no functionality – it just looks nice. So it won’t correct errors or allow you to test things but it’s pretty fun and probably useful. It’s also very rewarding when the teacher(s) have obviously tried the program before and can help and anticipate issues. Like putting the icons in the foreground which I didn’t realise you could do but looks much better!
Week 7: Artificial Intelligence, Simulation and Modelling
Me & Mick take the stage…
Steph and Josh went first. They used prezi and it looked pretty cool. Unfortunately a couple of demonstrations didn’t work for them (which apparently had 5 minutes before they started) but they handled it well. They had lots of icons and references and it was all set out very nicely. It was frustrating when they went through similar material to what I had ready, if only because they explained things differently and you don’t want to undermine each-other. I don’t want to repeat or contradict which is tricky. I felt like some of the terms were thrown around loosely and some of the overlaps between them could have been more explored. They didn’t give the impression of depth but these concepts have many interesting aspects to them.
The activity was fun and interactive. The use of Excel was simplistic but we were free to play around for the second part. It was well organised and the flow was smooth. Every student probably learned something about Excel (using options for instance). The first part was badly designed and unscientific because it didn’t use meaningful formulas at all, just a pre-chosen special case. You wouldn’t understand why the explosion does or doesn’t occur. But they acknowledged this and made it part of the lesson which was very good.
Then we did our presentation! I personally had mixed feelings. It was weird presenting the same topic as another group straight after – I obviously didn’t want to repeat the same stuff. Mick did great, no problems there.
Next time, I’ll make sure I have specific notes about what I’ll say and do and in what order because I missed some cool things and started to lose track of what had already been covered (compounded by the fact that we covered the same topic as another group and that I didn’t know exactly what Mick was covering). On reflection, I wasn’t in the best “state-of-mind” so I could have made it more fun and entertaining. It’s also been an ongoing frustration that I feel like we’re glossing over details and some of our future students will know more than us. Too much appreciation for the gimmicks of new technologies and not for seeing things for what they are (and I feel alone in this).
Also, I like using videos but wouldn’t normally want to show as long a video as we did. However, the audience did enjoy it the whole way through and probably gained something from it – relating a physical example to some of the ideas we’d covered and (perhaps more significantly) getting them fascinated. It would be nice for students but I would point out how unscientific it is. We have no idea about how it works internally. Does it use neural networks? Is it heavy on software/hardware? Ie. Did thirty programmers or three programmers work on it? Does it use a huge database of language resources? A supercomputer or home pc? What has it actually “learned” and what was put in? Has it been tweaked many times?
Week 6: Digital Media
Not bad. The website bubbl.us was a new discovery – looks alright. It’s a brainstorming thing that looks easy to use and effective in collecting ideas. However, a pen(cil) and paper can serve a similar function so as far as I know it’s not revolutionary.
Played around with Photoshop. The task was a good idea – to make a postcard. A little frustrating using a Mac – how do you go “up” a folder?! But again, I’ve used Photoshop and went back to my old habits, didn’t learn much. The activity was engaging though. A fun challenge. Good that they had pre-prepared images for us.
Week 5: Authoring and Multimedia
Powerpoint. I had fun making a website thing. This was a good idea, showing us the versatility of Powerpoint and how these different forms of interactive media (slideshows, web sites) aren’t so separate after all. I liked it when they played a game with us, getting us to figure out which category something fell under. They showed an animation made with Powerpoint which was cool – skateboarding. Not just a transition animation but a show with lots of rapid slides that fitted together like a movie. Would be nice to see if that could be used educationally, not just for showing off.
Week 4: Internet and Website Development
Hate to sound really negative but I don’t think I learnt a lot. Hey, that’s arguably my fault – you get out what you put in. Nothing wrong with the presenters or their organisation, besides we’re all here learning how to be good teachers and are just starting out. But I’d already seen that internet video (which was good, don’t get me wrong) and read a bit about the internet here and there. I didn’t get the impression the speakers knew much more than I already did (very little) which is frustrating as a learner – when the teacher has only a surface understanding of material. Can’t answer deeper questions. I still don’t know anything about the real significance of ARPANET or anything else for that matter. Was the internet inevitable? Could it have evolved much more slowly or quickly and depending on what factors? Would it still exist if not for this or that? Would it be radically different if things played out differently? Is it still changing or has it been the same for several years? Who actually played a big role in it all? I’d love to know.
Just to be clear, I sort of feel this way about all the topics but I wrote this one first…
Played with iWeb. It was fun. Certainly made making a website easy and fast but did I learn anything about html? Or the internet in general? Not really. A useful tool certainly but with limitations when it comes to learning. Good for kids but I’d like to mix it with text editing myself. Get kids to publish a site and then look at the source code. Play around with it, understand it. Use Dreamweaver. Use Amaya. These programs are toys/tools for us to use however we wish. You aren’t restricted to one. Anyway, the task was pretty cool and the handouts were very good. For year 9 or 10 I’m sure it’d be great.