Saturday, 2 December 2017

end of year thinking

It has come to the time of the year where I have been thinking about ideas for next year.

What type of projects could be offered to students to develop Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes?

Idea One

Thinking of a starter activity for the year, something that get students using vector based programmes to develop ideas. Using open source software, inkscape allows students to develop vector based images.

While I have bene interested in this type of idea for a year now, something around getting students interested in the hobsonville habits. I wish I had taken a photo yesterday of the sleeves of the year 8 students that came to school yesterday. There seems to be a history of badges with intermediate schools in the area.
How could we take this thinking and apply it in a different way.

We have a laser cutter...

Also the idea of badges, since we have a sewing machine that can embroider... and 3d printers... opportunities could be developed... this would require students to think broadly.

To be able to get students working towards the badges using an idea around evidence of working towards the habits and goals.

Second idea

The second idea is one around mapping. We have an ever changing point where we need to do some work to enable a physical education activity to take place.

Kite flying capturing of the point using go pro and public lab.

To be able to knit the images together, public lab has a mapknitter website

This would link into complex digital media techniques to be able to develop this as it would require a range of different capturing methods to be used.

Third one

The third one relates to my last post which is around developing the circles, something that I have been thinking about and exploring, through research I have found which provides some good answers in how this could be developed.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Developing some thinking about junior programmes

I have been doing some thinking over the past couple of days around this, and looking at what the current CT and DDDO Progress Outcomes are, as well as Technology Achievement Objectives. Unfortunately we won't know until December sometime when the actual curriculum will be released.

We have themes in our school, so I am having to think about my planning to go under these categories. 


This is only just thinking stages at the moment. Also thinking about culturally responsive practices, priority learners, 

How Might We INNOVATE through personalised learning?
How Might We ENGAGE through powerful partnerships?
How Might We INSPIRE through deep challenge & inquiry?

Which relate to our school values of INNOVATE. ENGAGE. INSPIRE.

Link up with social science learning area under a module that links in the original ideas of the BNZ Amazing Place competition held in Christchurch a number of years ago. The Amazing Place was a series of competitions for the children of Canterbury of different age groups to have a real say in the future of Christchurch by connecting them with the redevelopment of the central city.
Getting students to rethink their ideas about how cities are changing and what could be on offer, to be able to develop surveys, understand data, communicate ideas, use SketchUp to develop ideas. This is a more a generic technology unit idea, mainly because I still see these concepts being important for students to develop and understand, to propose ideas, to be able to inquire. Important aspects that need to be learnt and grafted.

Computer generated art, developing the thinking for a student to be able to develop their own art. Not with brushes, but with programming, I have come across this guy who with 10 lines of python code has been able to create some interesting cloud images. thinking about what this could mean, there is talk of a book that he has written.
Then there is this,

I love the idea of insta:ants, getting students to take a photo and then have an algorithm to change it up. Then is even a mp4 created of it being drawn.

Flow chart to get it working

An example image created

Digital media, moving image,
Rotoscoping is an animation technique used by animators to trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, when realistic action is required. Originally, photographed live-action movie images were projected onto a glass panel and re-drawn by an animator

One of the ideas I threw away at the start when doing some idea generation around this was the use of blends. the following is when combing pig, angel and catcus to enable some new images to be created.

One of the other pieces of work, and I hope to try and work out the coding around is this:
These wall drawings are generated by a series of predesigned instructions that dictate their form. The instructions give both constraint and flexibility, so that the piece that unfolds has a clear structure and at the same time expresses the individual aesthetic preferences of the participants who contribute. Since each step depends on the previous steps, the result is a dynamic, collaborative piece, authored collectively by the artist and the exhibit visitors.
I can imagine students creating the code of the outline for this, and then using collaborative process within class for students to enhance and develop the original piece of work. I need help from a maths teacher for some of the maths around this.

Paper based circuits for space and place concept. Getting students to understand the world around them. Carry on the idea of the battle for our birds. Getting students to develop an understanding of electronics, thinking about the ideas of trapping and the electronics now involved. Would love to link in with a partnership with to be able to get students understand the place of technology within this and develop the concepts of design and developing digital outcomes to support new ideas. Link in with the wwf NZ Conservation Innovation Awards possibly.

Still thinking about this one. Though I do want to look at game design, both online and board game based.
Hoping that this could link in with the NZTA Education competition, still waiting to hear back on what this may look like next year.
It is sad to see that this competition will not be happening next year.

CS - Developing an understanding of computer science principles
Focus on HCI, searching and sorting, data representation. Getting students to think about how things work, I have experienced EROAD over the past 4 days driving up and down the country, developing an understanding of speed, centreline databases, and harsh acceleration and sharp cornering, and how it is gamified to make you a better driver.
To get students to have access to this book, and be able to start looking at what is the world around them, and how New Zealand has made a difference. This is the next book on from No. 8 Re-wired.
With this comes the second aspect of Arduino programming that students will be able to investigate how things work through sensors.

Create a character, design and create a 3d character using Blender.
Main focus will be on the tools within blender to support the learning. Being able to design and create yourself as well. This is similar to some work that media design school did a couple of years ago with the development of a super hero character.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The project that was worth no credits

This year I have been working with a student as part of the independent project at school. I have been a guide to his project.

He aim was to help develop fitness using the point's parks and reserves.

The project looked at the current ideas of the powerade challenge, parkrun and apps on a phone.

It is a pretty great system he has come up with and is looking at how to develop this to an actual community project as part of next year.

But that is not what this blog post is around.

It is the learning, when this project started, he didn't want any credits from it, it was more about the learning and him wanting to develop something for the community. He is a year 12 student currently sitting NCEA Level 2. He already had the plan for what he was wanting to study this year, and what credits would fill the pieces, he already had worked on part of his level 2 pathway at year 11.

During the year he was encouraged to look outside the box, brightsparks was identified and the requirements looked at. A video outlining his project.

As part of the independent project requirements, a dragons den were presented the projects and those that were allowed to develop an individual project got the opportunity, an individual log was required that showed some form of planning and reflection, he was encouraged to take photos along the way to show his development and ideas. Out of this fell the views and perspectives social science standard.

The project was entered for Brightsparks, and he is now a finalist, in the engineering and software categories.
Update to this from brightsparks; 3rd place senior software, 3rd place senior engineering, 1st place senior best design concept.

A week before externals were to be sent away we were discussing the project, technology scholarship was talked about, would he be able to put his work together to meet the requirements. A late entry and the challenge was on.
He managed to complete the work and the timelines. We wait to see what the outcome will be.

After the submission, I started sharing the idea and the video. Since then we have found out that the ideas of the project could be submitted for PE scholarship.
It has also started being talked about within PE circles and the student has been encouraged to share his ideas and project through a podcast, The video will also be shared this week as well as part of it.

Through this project has also fallen out the Kendall Engraving Supplies Ltd Student Design Award, as the project has been laser cut through our school's equipment, this provides another opportunity to show his learning.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

developing ideas - create a computer system

Looking at the ideas of the possible achievement standards, I am working on the ideas of innovation and inspiration.

It has been good to see on the NZACDITT group that people are starting to share ideas.

The first idea is one around Aircraft Tracking.

Airways have developed some amazing software, including automation systems that allow for pilots to land in fog. This is illustrated beautifully in this clip of landing in Queenstown (where an astonishing 30% of landings are affected by fog) This is why we fly - Queenstown

We can bring some of this technology into our classrooms with a simple and inexpensive Software Defined Radio (SDR) such as this ADS-B Kit US$26 from RTL-SDR. SDRs can also be used to receive radio, tv, and to listen to aircraft and ATCs. Airways have put together the attached PDF file with steps on how we can set these up in our classrooms. They are really keen to support schools so that students are exposed to this technology.

The outcome is similar to what you see on

This is great, we are right near an airfield, what a great way to start to get students interested in this as a career.
The dongle has been purchased, and what do you know, it links in with a raspberry pi. So building and developing a system to track aircraft looks high on the list of projects to do next year.

Now to start looking at how we can set this up full time.

The second idea, Make an Impact with the IoT
The teacher has been working with a vineyard in the local area, and has developed a range of sensors to probe the environment, a great starter and something that I could possible look at, however, I am also thinking about broader applications. In some ways to carry on the ideas that I gathered in Christchurch, Sensing City (trust has now closed), but the ideas are still there...

This has been one that has been on and off since I started at the school. Internet of Things. 

The network has now been built and has good coverage

Now the difficult was trying to find a kit to make this work. thinxtra in partnership with sigFox have done this, it costs about $84 to have it land in NZ.

The kit is described here

The perfect way to get started with Sigfox, the Thinxtra devkit Xkit boasts a full suite of features and accessories to empower anyone to set up an IoT solution, even with very little hardware experience. Perfect for start-ups, design houses, universities and schools, the kit has everything you need to hit the ground running using the globally available Sigfox network.

Included in the box
  • The Thinxtra Shield, with embedded sensors: temperature, pressure, light, shock and 3D accelerometer, 2 LEDs and 1 push button, 1 USB port
  • Arduino Uno R3 board clone (already plugged in the shield)
  • External 8.5 cm antenna 8.5cm for best performance
  • USB cable (to plug to a Raspberry Pi or PC or to re-flash the Arduino board)
  • Battery holder (so the kit is independent of any external power source or computer)
  • 1-year connectivity on the Sigfox global network
  • 1- year warranty. 
A great place to find what to do and how to connect and develop is here

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Challenge, developing an online system for evidence collection

Finally writing up an inquiry I worked on a couple of years ago. Could we look at better outcomes for students using ICT/BYOD to support students in their evidence, would it make a difference

How to take something that was once a paper based exercise and reflection, and to make it online.
In the staff room early 2014 talking in the staff room, one of the PE teachers talked about if it was possible to do something better, use the BYOD aspect, the students devices, and school laptops to be able to record and reflect on evidence for an achievement standard. The aim was for a NCEA Level One achievement standard to be Substituted at first, but then came Augmentation (SAMR model) with the extra improvements.

This was one schools data and approach. The school will not be mentioned in this post.

90962 Participate actively in a variety of physical activities and explain factors that influence own participation.

Clarification of the standard

AS90962: Participate actively in a variety of physical activities and explain factors that influence own participation

Updated June 2014. This document has been updated in its entirety to address new issues that have arisen from moderation.

Explain factors that influence own participation

Using ongoing reflection, student responses must provide an explanation of the most relevant factors that influence their own participation.
The explanation should include:
  • what the factor is
  • how and why the factor influences own participation
  • specific examples of how the factor influences own participation in the chosen physical activity
  • a range of factors.
There is no step up required for the explanation.

Participate actively

Students need to participate actively in a variety of physical activities over a period of time.
For Excellence, students must consistently show a high level of effort and engagement in participation. This must include students’ regular contributions to support others to be active and/or showing a sustained effort to improve. Refer to the exemplars for examples of how the practical evidence may be interpreted.

Collection of evidence

Teacher verification of students’ active participation in a variety of physical activities over a period of time is required, for example, over the whole year or at least one term. Required evidence should include observational notes, verified self or peer assessment and/or teacher recording sheets.
The teacher may consider validated self and peer observation sheets as additional evidence to support judgements.

Interpretation of evidence for Merit and Excellence

When interpreting the evidence collected, it should be noted that the step up between Merit and Excellence is on the consistency of the criteria for a high level of effort and engagement in participation.

Overall judgement

A holistic judgement should be made as to whether or not the student has participated actively/participated actively with a (consistently) high level of effort and engagement in a variety of physical activities, rather than quantitative marks such as 80% participation to achieve with Merit. 
Throughout the year the Google Form that students were filling in needed an extra frontend for students and teachers to see where they were at and what evidence was missing.

The annodotal evidence was that students were doing better. Teachers talked about more students achieving and handing in the material rather than handing in a blob of paper at the end of the year that had been sitting in their bag with the old uneaten lunches. Though we needed to see what the data said. 

In 2013, the work was handed in using booklets.
The data
Number of results 154
Not Achieved 25 16.2%
Achieved 37 24.0%
Merit 59 38.3%
Excellence 33 21.4%

In 2014, the work was recorded and reflected using a mixture of google forms and an online system to report back to students.
Number of results 158
Not achieved 21 13.3%
Achieved 35 22.2%
Merit 58 43.0%
Excellence 34 21.5%

In 2015, the work was handed in using booklets again.
Number of results 176
Not achieved 33 18.8%
Achieved 45 25.6%
Merit 61 34.7%
Excellence 37 21.0%

The annodotal evidence was correct, more students saw success, but not at the achieved level, it was up to a merit level. The evidence from students wasn't limited to a small box or lines in a booklet, it allowed students to write as much as they wanted.
Students commented on how easy it was to make sure where they were at, removed the troublesome paper that was left at home, or damaged in a wet school bag or lost. They often talked about being able to complete the work at home, or in another class when they finished their other work. 
The writing provided opportunities for students to explain how factors influenced their participation in the sport.
There was also a section added in the work that allowed feedback from teachers to put in comments about had they done enough. Once comment from a teacher using the system was, "I am able to give feedback while on the toilet". This is not something that the writer of this post recommends. But it does highlight the fact that teachers are not limited to where they provide feedback, its online, can be opened on a phone, or tablet. It is not limited to a bunch of paper sitting there to have feedback written onto and then handed back to the students. It is real time. teachers have teh opportunity to use there non contact time and quickly go through and check, and make comments on work that students can fix later that day.

This was simple enough and translated to a google form rather well. The data was designed well and was able to be transferred to a mysql table.

Design was not considered an important aspect, it was more about focussing on the content and delivery on as many devices as possible.

Enteries, while it was not encouraged to do 15 enteries, through the development of the project we talked about a finite number, as some students would need to do extra to make sure that they had worked towards the achieved level. In this case it was about there participation factors.

teacher comments

Some of the issues,
The system is not self aware, new students and changes to timetables happen all the time in schools. Needing to make sure that new students were added so they could evidence their learning needed to happen each month. At least with the google form, all the data was recorded.

Having a mix of systems. One teacher used both ways of evidencing, google forms and paper, this added to confusion on how many enteries that students had completed.

Students couldn't remember what entry they were up to if the system hadn't been updated. This was a case of going through the spreadsheet and changing numbers of enteries each month to reflect the work that students were doing. This would be fixed under the next version, which would remove the google form aspect.

When the developer leaves the school, this is always a risk and something that needs to be thought about.

While the excellence results did not have an improvement, this could be around teh literacy of the students to highlight.

Moderation, was not an issue as the eight samples of work were able to be printed out, or moderators could have access to the teacher side of this to be able to go through the work.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017


As I sit here with my mouth numb from a trip to the dentist, I have been busy reading up on my emails.
Working through the new digital technologies curriculum and the feedback has offered some interesting insights into what people want to happen, and actually happen.

Where is the big words and new technologies mentioned?

Where are the Achievement Objectives, what are these things called Progress Outcomes?

Where is the new Technologies?

I wondered these at the start of the process as well. However, it soon came to light that when working on the unit standards review, that people need to understand what these technologies are. Virtual reality and augmented realities are digital media content. They are developed to show video and images through a new means. 

Robotics is programming and electronics, through the development of these concepts and the tools, you can develop a robot to do almost anything. However the factor would be cost, and schools having to offer more engineering principles. 

The new technologies are catered for, just not explicit in the mentioning of them. 

Progress outcomes, these were something new and had many names before what they are. For me the ideas and how they have been developed show a difference, though for many this difference is hard to understand as it is new language. The exemplars would go to show hoe they can be used to support student learning and next steps. Though, I feel this is still to come in the development of the curriculum story.

To me, I feel that one side of the story is still to happen. While the workshop that I went to was primarily focused on Computational Thinking, there is still the Design and Developing Digital Outcomes. This is one area that I feel has yet to see the light of day and will be a poor cousin to the other. This is the area of interest to me. If a student comes up with an idea, this should support them in the development of it. This is where those 21st century skills really do/should show. I guess this is the creative side. The ideas of proposing and idea and then being able to design it. These are skills that area needed all the time. The ideas of design thinking, mashups and startups require this to be able to develop ideas.

It is interesting that people want to see massive changes, and in some respects those that have introduced different aspects of coding, media, and information into there schools should be seeing these changes. However, there is an issue that needs to be addressed first, what is the proportion of schools that have yet to have the change and shift. As I watched the NCEA debate at the PPTA conference, I heard many stories of schools and the design of NCEA that I wanted to shift away from. I now hear more stories about schools looking at NCEA Level One and redesigning what it looks like within their schools/community. 

Considering the work going on to change digital technologies achievement standards, should there be thoughts on packages of learning, of the siloing of skills. What about inquiries into digital technologies and the effects that it has on social behaviors? The development of knowledge and skills to support a student inquiry into either social/environmental impacts? Innovation through design - rather interesting when you consider that this is the heart of the Technology curriculum.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Unity in Diversity

Great to see these posters that the students have developed to help with a Unity in Diversity campaign at school. It has been great to see the images that they have used have been their own and shows our school and community throughout.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Thinking about different assessment ideas

Adobe have released a great idea in getting students to think about User Experience.

What a great idea for an open assessment task for student.

Design a landing page (web or mobile) on the theme “Making an Impact.” You are welcome to interpret the theme how you wish—whether your page is devoted to how you make an impact, to what makes an impact on you, or to a related topic. (If you use photographs or illustrations in your landing page, please use only those that you have taken yourself or you have the right to use.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Ordering coffee in Maori

Looking forward to using this with my next school coffee order.


Place names

Pronunciation Guide

Friday, 8 September 2017

Playing with RFID, next stages

It has been something that I have played with on and off since 2014, when I was looking at developing a project for my previous school. It has been something that I have been waiting for the technology to catch up so we can start doing some cool projects with.

Since the early days with sparkfun and a simple rfid to serial board, now through to simultaneous rfid readers now. It has been a journey of discovery and challenge. Now playing with tags that I can write specific data to.


The challenge has been to thinking how to deal with the data. In some ways, I need a way to test this in a live environment. Just to gather data to be able to go through and learn how to manage it, to store it. How to do this live and filter the captured data.
I have been starting to think about how to deal with it and been finding some algorithms to do with it.

Update: Raspberry pi has been ordered to bring the next stages of this into action.

Reading up how to pass the information from the arduino through to pi, using pyserial.
Although I have done this with a previous project, it has been good to go thought this again to remind myself.
I also have to find the usb battery to run this, It has a 2A connection on it to run the reader.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Digital Technologies, programming NCEA 2016

One of the areas that I am interested in each year, is what is the condition of programming in New Zealand Schools.

While it has been going up year upon year, with 5884 students taking NCEA Level One programming in 2016. Up from 3246 when the standards was introduced in 2011. What does this look like nationally.

There are 430 schools that teach Technology at NCEA levels in New Zealand in 2016. I have used that as the base information.
The above map shows the areas of the country where Level One, Level Two and Level Three are taught.

Sunday, 27 August 2017


"I haven't done one of these in a while," was a comment from my hub students on Friday, neither have I.

Adventure Racing
The term started off being a challenge for me, the Get to Go Junior Hillary Challenge was coming up and we have entered this for the past 3 years. After a bit of messaging, emails, talking with students (They don't check there emails, or read the school notices) I managed to get a team together. With the help of two of the Senior Get to Go students, training started. It has been great to see the leadership and ideas that the senior students brought to this, they bring a different sense of what it means to them to be part of this squad. They are able to talk about the challenges, the way they reflect afterwards. It allows them to gather the skills to work with 7 other people when you are tired and grumpy. The positive spirit in the group and the talking in the van between the different challenges showed that they had fun, enjoyed the day. I hope that they will join the senior squad next year.

Mountain Biking
This continues with the last race mid September, I have seen my team grow and develop their racing and now showing the skills and training that they have been doing pay off. The last race showed that even the parents work together to support each other when one of our riders was injured. I help out with the timing and general organisation of the race when running, we have not had a race like this in a while where a number of things didn't go to plan, a lost rider that didn't make the start, was found, a injured rider that needed assistance, all ok, a protest due to a rider cutting part of the track. It just goes to show when you are a teacher, you can deal with more than one thing going on.

League of Legends High School League.
This is a new one for me, I am looking after a e-sports team. It has even got me playing the game so I know what is going on now. I have taught these students for the past 3 years, and I am seeing a completely different side to them now. The team work in this and communication is essential for good game play. They too, reflect after the game and talk about the strategies that they use and things that went well and not so well. It has been great seeing one of the students who has taken on the role of captain communicate and encourage his fellow team. We have yet to win a game, but that is not the objective, as with the Adventure racing, there are other objectives that we are working towards.

The MODULE I have at the moment is Mathematics and Digital Technologies where students are learning how to code. We are using snap coding, as it is an alternative to scratch, the students have said they welcome not seeing the cat when it loads up. It works within a browser, as we have mac's windows' and chromebooks within the class. The biggest thing I hear from the students is that this is hard. When we unpack this, and I am more this week as part of my inquiry, is that this is the first time that they have done anything like this. They have not had to code before. Trying to work out how to get a computer to figure out the highest number when you enter three numbers, they can look at the three numbers and say it straight away, getting them to unpack how they do it, is a little bit harder.

FX, Learning how to do editing and creation of graphics is fun, thats what they are saying. They are looking forward to the challenge of the Fair Go Kid Ad Awards and spent the day on Friday researching different ideas from the 70's to make cool again. Even looking at old ad's to see ideas that they could bring in.

Digital technologies Curriculum Workshop
I was unable to go to the teachers one of these when in Auckland, and ended up going to the parents and industry meeting, which gave me some different insights into what they are thinking the challenges of the new curriculum is. Communication with parents on what schools are teaching seems to be a partly missing gap. What is it that the community would like to see us teach?

Developing understanding of the micro:bit
Next term I am running a SPIN based upon electronics, I am using the ideas of the mindkits brainboards, bbc micro:bit and adafruit sparkfun express.
We have been lucky that a New Zealand Supplier has just started and is bringing these into the country. Learning Development is offering a bulk discount for a set of 10 micro bits.

I have been thinking about the next steps with this, and starting to think what are the best resources or projects that could be developed by the students. This is one of the first results when searched,

Supporting other schools
I have had a number of visits by primary schools in our area looking at what their technology programme looks like and how it may link in with what we are doing as a school. It has surprised me that schools are doing the one project for all students still.
How can secondary schools support the local schools in developing the ideas while still holding onto their identity. For me, it will be the progress outcome statements that I am looking for when a student transitions to secondary. These will provide better guidance on where a student is at. Maybe something for the SiSi project to have within it.

To end this reflection, we had the political parties and people in our area talk to the senior students, it was great to hear them talk and understand what is happening.

I am still working on the ideas of the habit stick, I now have some laser printable rubber to be able to create some stamps with the hobsonville habits on them.