On the wire – politics, banking, digital citizenship, wikipedia and more

Turkey vs Twitter – Draconian measure to silence the scandal

Keywords; Politics, Government, social media, security, twitter, democracy, freedom of speech


The future on NZ banking + Video

Keywords: Business, employment, commerce, ATM, Bitcoins, banking


Who determines the value of a sources?

Keywords: Education, digital citizenship, validity, wikipedia, opinion piece, literacy


IT goes DIY – the sidelining of the IT department

Keywords: Business, employment, BYOD, tablet, Cloud computing, teleworking


Ray ban and oakley frames for google glass

Keywords – home leisure, wearable, convergence, smart technologies


Anonymity apps on the rise

Keywords: privacy, anonymity, business, security, digital citizenship


NZ Cyber law change articles

Keywords: Digital Citizenship, safety, cybersafety, politics, government, legal

1. Judges warn cyber-bully law may flood the courts


2. Microsoft opposes cyber law channge


Smartphone overuse may ‘damage’ eyes

Keywords: Smartphone, health, safety, damage, over-use, digital citizenship
Opticians say people are so addicted to things like smart phones there’s increasing risk of damaging their eyes.


Preschoolers health put at risk

keywords: preschool, education, digital citizenship, technology, health


On the wire – Digital citizenship, Wearable technology and more

This weeks updates

Teens turn to anonymous-messaging apps

Keywords: Digital Citizenship, Instant messaging, social media, privacy, anonymity


Google outs new guide for Glass Explorers

Keywords: Wearable technology, google, glass, convergence, digital citizenship, ethics


20,000 tickets wrongly issued

keywords: reliability, integrity, politics, government, error, legal


No Human brain can check this answer

keywords: computing, supercomputer, mathematics, AI


Salad Worker sacked by text gets $2000

Keywords: Digital citizenship, business, employment, mobile, ethics, legal


The mystery behind computer speed

Keywords: Hardware, software, technology, speed, processing


A documentarian working in virtual reality

Keywords: Documentary, media, virtual reality, augmented reality, film maker, evolution of media


MS Access Tutorial videos

These are excellent learning resources for Microsoft Access

Keywords: Tutorials, video, database, how to, Microsoft Access 2010, free


Facebook ‘trolls’ find it harder to be mean in real life

Keywords: digital citizenship, ethics, social media, home, leisure


Valve challenged over user privacy

Keywords: privacy, security, leisure, entertainment, home, games

Game maker Valve has issued a statement to defuse a row over data it gathers about people who play its games.


Thousands in Pokemon collaboration

Keywords: Home, leisure, entertainment, collaboration, social media, games

Thousands of people are taking part in an online game of Pokemon using the social gaming video site Twitch.




IT Articles –

Recent IT Articles – these relate to a variety of current issues and topics in IT – This especially suits the ITGS teacher.

Untangling the complicated web

Keywords: Internet, WWW, explanation


Tennis coaching gets a smart racquet

Keywords: Sports, technology, convergence, leisure, entertainment, health

Futuristic data-related tennis equipment may be about to change the face of the sport in the way that metal and carbon racquets once did.


The driverless car

Keywords: Business, employment, AI, home, leisure, transport

The driverless car may promise an accident-free motoring future, but Adam Gopnik raises a few moral caveats from the backseat.

Read more:

Money lenders checking social media profiles of potential customers – National – NZ Herald News

Keywords: Business, employment, commerce, social media, privacy


Pack your laptop, we’re off to $chool – Aucklander – The Aucklander News

Keywords: Education, tablet, laptop, BYOD, Cost, schools


The future of work… office not required – Life & Style – NZ Herald News

Keywords: business, employment, teleworking, home office, SOHO


IT articles – Surveillance, privacy, security

IT Articles around the topic of surveillance.

Canada ‘spied on airport travellers’
Keywords: Politics, government, surveillance, privacy, Canada
Canada’s spy agency collected data from travellers using an airport’s wi-fi system, CBC reports, quoting documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

Read more:


Supermarket attaches tracking devices to trolley

Keywords: Business, marketing, surveillance, privacy, business, Employment


Yahoo email account passwords stolen

Keywords: Security, reliability, integrity


Google Glass introduces games

Keywords: Wearable, games, Google, Glass, trend, technology


Whitelist for wrongly-blocked sites

Keywords: Filtering, internet, politics, government, business, employment, digital citizenship

The government is drawing up a list of sites inadvertently blocked by the filters it asked internet service providers to implement.

Read more:


Social media transforms lessons

Keywords: Education, learning, social media, tablet computing

A school in Norway has taken an innovative approach to learning by equipping every student with a tablet and teaching English using social media.

Read more:


Sorry gamers, ‘exergaming’ is no substitute for the real thing

Keywords: Health, entertainment, leisure, games, consoles, exercise, fitness


Google gets AI start up

Keywords: Google, business, employment, AI


Google hopes designer frames will sharpen Glass – Business – NZ Herald News

Keywords: Wearable, technology, google, business, leisure, entertainment, glass


Smartphone sales ‘top one billion’

More than one billion smartphones were shipped last year, with Samsung extending its lead as the world’s biggest vendor, a new survey shows.

Read more:


NSA ‘gets data from Angry Birds’

Keywords: politics, government, surveillance, security, privacy

US and British spy agencies routinely try to gain access to personal data from Angry Birds and other mobile applications, a report says.

Read more:



Simple Quality Assurance test for websites

I have been looking around for a simple quality assurance test plan that my students could use for developing multi-page websites. I haven’t found one that really seemed to cover the bases. So I made one up.

This is not a testing process, rather a guide for what should be asked. To put this in context – My students have to create a multipage website including graphics, images and potentially video and animation using Cascading style sheets to render the formatting and layout.

Here is what I came up with.

Simple Quality Assurance Test Plan
Stage Elements Outcomes
Check all text Check test for errors or issues with:

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Flow

is it Relevance and in Context

is suitable for the Target audience?

is it Appropriate?

is it Accurate?

Text that is grammatically correct and makes sense to the target audience
Check all graphics Is the image appropriate?

Is the image relevant?

Is the file format is web suitable?

Consider image resolution, file size & Pixilation?

Is the folder structure suitable ?

Is Alt text included and accurate?

Is the Legal and comply with copyright and fair use?

Images and graphics that are clear, viewable, fast loading and appropriate for the purpose and audience
Check all anchors/links Are the links accurate?

Do they functioning as expected?

Are the pages loading appropriately – suitable targets – self, new page etc?

Are the linked pages suitable?

Anchors and links that are accurate and working
Check forms and mailto links Are form labels are appropriate and descriptive?

Are the data collection elements are suitable and function as expected?

Do the form Submit correctly and check results

Check error messages

Forms that deliver accurate information to the appropriate person/client
Check layout & CSS Does the page render as expected?

Does the CSS work as expected?

Is the pages suitable for the audience?

Does the page have:

  • Consistency/repetition
  • Harmony
  • Balance
  • Flow
A site that suits the audience and the purpose

Pages that are consistent and in harmony

Client testing Does it work as expected?

Does it appear as planned?

Are all the features present?

A site that is suitable for the purpose and audience

A site that matches the plans and refinements

End-user testing Does it work?

Is it easy to navigate?

Can I easily access the information required?

An easy to use experience for the end user at a site that is fit for purpose and the audience

Love some feedback, what have I forgotten? (here is the file as aPDF - Simple Quality Assurance Test Plan)

Fluencies, SDL and Edmonton

The last week and a bit I have been in Edmonton Canada working with the teachers and facilitators of the Edmonton Catholic School district. The purpose of the week was that, with Lee Crockett, we were developing an understanding of the 21st Century Fluencies and beginning the development of problem based units of learning for implementation across the schools, across the curriculum and throughout the years.

It was a pleasure to work with such enthusiastic and committed teachers and managers. Everyone got stuck in and had a considerable amount of fun and came away with an improved understanding of how they could make learning contextual, relevance and integrating higher order thinking , specifically creativity. Core to our workshops was solution fluency and information fluency which underpin the whole concept. The teachers developed problem based scenarios based on their curriculum that had relevance and context to the students. For some people this is rather hard, but the groups that we worked with did a superb job at this. They then had to use a structured problem solving process, solution fluency, to define the problem, discover the background dream, design and deliver  a solution and debrief. Design includes group formation, roles and time wise planning.

Torkel Klingberg in his book the overflowing brain states that students in their early teens who have education focused on problem solving, inductive and deductive reasoning, inventiveness, decision taking and observation skills will have a 10% increase in IQ. The quoted study was supported by Israeli, Yugoslavian and German studies supporting the teaching of problem solving processes, creativity and inductive and deductive reasoning. All of the studies showed increases in the students IQ irrespective of age, sex or initial test scores. In other words its beneficial for every one. [Klingberg, Torkel, The overflowing brain: information overload and the limits of working memory, 2009 Oxford University press Inc ISBN 978-0-19-537288-5]

While we were in Edmonton we were invited to see St Joesphs Catholic High School. A school of 1100 student with 600 on Self directed learning programmes. It was fascinating! The students were motivated and engaged learners. The courses while self directed and personalized were very well organised and presented, students had access to support and regular structured session with their teahcer advisors and course advisors. It was not a here is the stuff and go away and learn. Rather a managed approach which saw student taking responsibility for their own learning. The students who struggled were quickly identified and very well supported. As they say there is constant review of student progress. Here are two quotes from their manual that I like…

At St Josephs, student are personally responsible for their learning and are engaged within their learning

Students at St Joesph are active participants in their learning on a daily basis whether it is though group discussions, participation in social justice activities, participation in field trips, etc. St Josephs students are amongst the most active in the city!

St Josephs is a BYOD school which teaches the Alberta curriculum and the IB Diploma and Certificate courses. A fascinating and exciting trip, even if it was a warm (for edmonton) -5c.


BBC resources

The BBC website hosts a series of brilliant gems that are very useful to teachers. While many of us will be familiar with the news page which is accessable via the web or using apps on our phones, there is a whole lot more that’s worth exploring and using. Here are some of my favourites…

  1. BBC Future - http://www.bbc.com/future this is a stimulating site that has some interesting and often challenging articles. The site matches well with ITGS and also TOK for the IB’s out there.
  2. BBC Science and Nature - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/ and Nature home page – http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/ some great resources here including videos
  3. BBC School - http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ this is cool, stretching across the curriculum there are over 7000 resources here.
  4. BBC Learning – http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/ this is learning for all ages from the very young to the not so young.
  5. BBC bitesize http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ and GCSE bitesize http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/ this is learning resources grouped by year level and subject area. Awesome.

Need statistics – resources for world statistics

When I am preparing a presentation I often like to take a snap shot of whats happening in the world at the moment to frame the amazing rate of change we are seeing. So here are some of my favourites:

1. CIA Factbook – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html Say what you like about the CIA this is an interesting site filled with huge amount of information and statistics.

2. Worldometers - http://www.worldometers.info/ This site is actually a little bit scary. With updating totals that tick over a a very fast rate this page will tell you about

  • world population
  • governments and economics
  • society & media
  • environment
  • food
  • water
  • energy
  • and so much more.

Enjoy the visit, but the numbers are stunning

3. Gap Minder – http://www.gapminder.org/ The website of stats genius Hans Rosling. This is a must visit site and like worldometers, is a little frightening. But watch the videos and dive into the statistics presented in interesting and understandable ways. Just brilliant.

4. World Internet Stats – http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm This site will give you a continent by continent breakdown of connections and more. Again a useful site particularly for those who need a global perspective.

5. Royal Pingdom – http://royal.pingdom.com/2012/01/17/internet-2011-in-numbers/this is a great snap shot of 2011, and it examine more than just connection to the internet. have a look at these comments about email

  • 3.146 billion – Number of email accounts worldwide.
  • 27.6% – Microsoft Outlook was the most popular email client.
  • 19% – Percentage of spam emails delivered to corporate email inboxes despite spam filters.
  • 112 – Number of emails sent and received per day by the average corporate user.
  • 71% – Percentage of worldwide email traffic that was spam (November 2011).
  • 360 million – Total number of Hotmail users (largest email service in the world).
  • $44.25 – The estimated return on $1 invested in email marketing in 2011.
  • 40 – Years since the first email was sent, in 1971.
  • 0.39% – Percentage of email that was malicious (November 2011).

6. Youtube statistics – http://www.youtube.com/t/press_statistics/ Youtube like facebook is an icon of our age. Its not surprizing that its changing how we view our media and how media producers are publishing media. Have a look at the traffic they have

  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
  • 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localized in 43 countries and across 60 languages
  • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or around 140 views for every person on Earth

7. Facebook newsroom http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaId=22 The social network with 900+ million subscribers

  • 955 million monthly active users at the end of June 2012.
  • Approximately 81% of our monthly active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.
  • 552 million daily active users on average in June 2012.
  • 543 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products in June 2012.

8. Netcraft webserver survey - http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2012/08/02/august-2012-web-server-survey.html This site does a monthly survey and presents data on the number of webservers in the world each month. The growth over time is impressive, but last month saw the number of websites decrease by 30 million.

Badges, Educause and ITGS


source: http://badgemonkey.com/images/smile.jpg

Source: http://badgemonkey.com/images/smile.jpg

Badges? What are badges? I always thought badges were small circular discs that you pinned (carefully) to your shirt or jacket. But we now have digital badges as well.

Educause has just released their latest update which discusses Digital badges - Seven things you should know about badges. This is the link to the PDF file for download.

here is the link to the library of resources from Educause in this series.

My students and I are investigating Digital media as part of the ITGS course, specifically we are examining the issues, impacts and changes that exist in IT and the home. What effect and impact does IT have on the arts, leisure, entertainment and the home.

My students are in their mid teens and for many of them they have seen very few different music medias  – so I went looking for an infographic that showed the different media over time I found a very good one thats worth sharing.

See the original article by David Wallace – http://www.davidwallace.com/2010/10/evolution-music-playing-formats/

New laws of Robotics

I have just read a very interesting article from the BBC called “Ready for the robot revolution?
The article itself is very interesting and a great starting point for discussion in class but two aspects were worth discussion.
The first involves Azimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics – this is a standard and one I make use of in class
Isaac Asimov, outlined ‘Three Laws of Robotics’ in a novel featuring human-like robots. The rules were designed to protect people from harm.

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

It is idealistic and interesting and has been the cause of many heated discussions in class.

However, the article also present this ethical code as well
“The UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, together with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, has drafted a set of ethical principles for robot design – which can be summarised as follows:

1. Robots should not be designed solely or primarily to kill or harm humans.
2. Humans, not robots, are responsible agents. Robots are tools designed to achieve human goals.
3. Robots should be designed in ways that assure their safety and security.
4. Robots are artefacts; they should not be designed to exploit vulnerable users by evoking an emotional response or dependency. It should always be possible to tell a robot from a human.
5. It should always be possible to find out who is legally responsible for a robot.”
source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15146053

Here is the website – http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/ourportfolio/themes/engineering/activities/Pages/principlesofrobotics.aspx

The second aspect of interest for me is the potential conflicts we see. Robots have long been used in manufactoring. While initially this caused much concern, who now hears about this? Are we going to see the same concerns expressed for domestic and commercial robots and will this to fade?