Teachers and Social Responsibility

There’s some really nice software for teaching game making as a way to teach young students programming and mathematics. Squeak is also the programming environment that serves as Croquet’s foundation. My research is here. But there’s more.

Kay and Papert consider Croquet and Squeak just one part of the two parts necessary to help humanity. They hope that Nicholas Negroponteâ’s $100 laptop effort, which they co-developed with him, will help distribute such learning, discovery, and communication software for youth around the world to use to supplement and improve the students own learning environments. In turn, they hope that these students discoveries and powerful ideas can be self-published by the same interconnected software to be made available to the rest of civilization.

What great news. Bill Kerr joins the Free Software Foundation.

More on Peter Shanks and Training Packages Unpacked

This is straight from Leigh Blackalls blog.

I just got off the phone with Peter Shanks, creator of the Training Packages Unpacked tool. It is a system that reaches into the MSAccess data base of the Australian National Training Information Service NTIS (a place that manages expressions of Australian competency standards or training units for qualification), and pulls it out of the PDFs and RTFS and redisplays the information that teachers and learners need on a web page for us web people to more easily reuse. Then he goes the full 9 yards and makes the newly formatted data available for those of us using wikis, Moodle, html, XML and an assessment spreadsheet. Now its just a simple process of finding the competency unit you are using for learning, teaching or assessment and copy pasting your prefered format into your prefered system. Read more

Download the audio of Peter and Leigh talking about all this today (3.5meg – 30 minutes – ogg file)

Training Packages Unwrapped – Peter Shanks

This is amazing work by Peter Shanks. Visit Training Packages Unwrapped.

Hello, Peter Shanks here. You might remember me from such web sites as ICA05 deconstructed and flicrCC. Come with me now as we explore the hidden world of TPU.

On this site I’ll be looking at how we can present the units of all the NTIS Training Packages in an easy-to-use format, with optional teaching resources such as moodle frameworks and tiddlyWiki’s .

Online Scrabble with Free Libre Software

PyScrabble

Previously we had a look at Pengupop and learning Spanish. This is more on the mark.

I’ve been playing PyScrabble On-line with a few friendly Germans, its a real challenge playing scrabble in a new language but this is a useful way to use games in learning.

So check out PyScrabble its available on windows and the source code is available for non-windows platforms. I installed it on Edubuntu and needed to install python-pygame to get it running.

The Promise of Wisdom

I was wandering around used book stores and ended up buying a book called “The Promise of Wisdom” by J.Glenn Gray. I’m not sure if its any good. I’ll ask the teachers if any of them has read it. Here’s a quote from the title page of part 3 “Philosophical Problems of Practice”.

“The genuine teacher is only superior to the students in that he has far more to learn than they, namely to let learning occur. The teacher must be capable of being more teachable than his students. The teacher is far less sure of his task than the students are of theirs. Hence in the relationship of teacher and learner, if this relationship is a genuine one, it is never a question of the authority of the great knower or the dominating influence of the instructor. Therefore it is a great thing to become a teacher, something quite different than to be a famous professor.” – Martin Heidegger

The book uses words like “mankind” and the “free man” and as above you can notice that for some reason the teacher is “he”, so its a bit old school but I think there’s some good info in there.

ICA05 deconstructed

Peter Shanks teaches information technology subjects at Bathurst TAFE NSW. He released a beta version of ICA05 deconstructed on Sourceforge.

The Austrailian ICA05 IT training package – deconstructed from the original PDF and put back into a MySQL database for further tinkering. Currently we support the creation of moodle modules, XML, and tiddlywiki output for individual subjects.

Visit the TAFE ICA05 project page.

Part of his announcement on a mailing list.

I’d like to invite any LAMP developers out there to download and play with the source for the ICA05 web app I announced last week.

If you have time, download the source and see what you think.

Blackboard Patenting Educational Groupware

This is really sad. Here’s the links:

There’s links and comments by bloggers on those pages for you to follow up on.

A while back with the pro teachers we spent some time looking at software idea patents, it doesn’t seem so irrelevant now so here’s some more info.

EdNA Online and GNU/Linux in Australian education news

From EdNA Online News Feed(ICT in Curriculum Recent Items)

Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. “Ubuntu” is an ancient African word, meaning “humanity to others”. The Edubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Edubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit. These freedoms make Edubuntu fundamentally different from traditional proprietary software: not only are the tools available free of charge, but users have the right to modify software until it works for them the way they want it to work.

From EdNA Online News Feed(Higher Ed Recent Items)

Continue reading EdNA Online and GNU/Linux in Australian education news

Tuxpaint the free drawing program designed for young children demonstration video

I’ve created a screencast of Tux Paint. Its a free drawing program designed for young children. This is easily my best screencast so far.

Continue reading Tuxpaint the free drawing program designed for young children demonstration video