Friday, 22 September 2017

Google for Education Certification Exam Level 1 (Week 9)

Today was the big day. All our learning and creating and sharing was being assessed, and at the end of it we were expected to get a Level 1 badge. However I cannot show you what it looks like because
of this:
The excuses are:

  • umm...
  • it was...
No not really - I just needed more time. It took me longer than usual to get started. The questions were not too hard, I might say some were easy and I really enjoyed it. Perhaps I took too long enjoying the exam and eventually ran out of time. I got 20 multiple choice Q's and 11 scenarios and am guessing that the others got something similar. When the timer alert was on the "last 10 minutes" I still had 5 scenarios to work through. That alert sort of "woke me" up and the tasks were done faster. Clearly not fast enough as I was working on scenario 9/11 when the exam self terminated since it was 3 hours since I started. It does not help to note that only one person in the group got through today.

Note to self - 
  • Google "Hangouts" and "Meet" are different and not interchangeable. 
  • Youtube "watch later"  and "playlist" are also different.
What next: we have to wait 14 days to repeat the attempt so I will register some time after a week so that we can give it another go. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Sites Review Wk 8

This week we have had exams at school, and still going on - the next one starting in about 20 mins at 9 am. At the DFI we are reviewing our sites today. I shared my sites on chrome cast, starting with the one I made in 2011 and have been using it till the end of 2016. The new site is not as full but is much easier to navigate - I could see that myself even before we got some feedback. For the current site I got some ideas and some feedback: Instead of linking the year plan google doc, I could embed that in my site, ditto for the show me,  explain everything or other (A physicist shoots himself to prove a point ) videos of the various calculations etc.

We are preparing for the google level 1 test and the skills required for that are the ones we use everyday. Use the school account to register, more details here. Register at least 48 hours before so that the login details are sent in time. Have multiple devices to switch between screens, and use an incognito window. If you need to practice then there's help available here.

Working on "new" sites is so much easier than the classic sites. Of course the flip side is the limitations you have in terms of what pre determined options are available.
Here's the landing page for all my important sites, created using the new sites. What I did was just take screenshots of the individual sites/blog etc and converted these to buttons and added the links.
Plan is to link the sites of everyone in the DFI group.
Embedding is a breeze on the new sites. We can embed docs, maps, you tube videos, or videos from the drive. The docs are live and no one can edit these online. A new utility which was released last night is embed url; this is still in the initial stages so not yet fully functional.

Here is the link of my new site. 
With this done I believe that I am almost ready for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Exam :-) 

Friday, 1 September 2017

STP's and Image mapping for sites: Week 6

As is the case every week, we learnt a lot of things in today's session. The best one for me was image mapping - I had seen this being used on a few sites but was not sure what it is called or how it was done. But having done it I can say with confidence that is is fairly straight forward. You just have to follow the logical steps, If you try to change the order it wont let you; and of course the feature wont work.

Here's a screenshot of my home page with an image of the 6 Standards of Teaching Profession. The area on the picture allocated to each standard acts as a link to a new page which has more details for THAT standard. To go to the page for standard 3, you click anywhere in the area of "Professional Relationships"on the image and this takes you there. Its that simple!

Getting this effect is not too hard either.

Step 1 - Map the image with (x,y) coordinates using pixlr as below. Notice the "plus" at the top left corner of the gold biscuit picture - the coordinates of the point are displayed at the top right corner of the screen. By moving the plus around the boundary we can get the coordinates for the entire boundary. Be aware that the boundaries should not overlap - potential problems!!

Step 2 - Enter the coordinates of the boundary and the corresponding url into the code (HTML)

For example: <map name="map1">
<area coords="162,58,254,15,333,4,440,16,533,56,422,225,346,207,272,225" href="" shape="poly">

<area coords="534,62,425,229,471,281,484,343,688,344,676,251,647,181,606,125" href="" shape="poly">
<area coords="688,351,485,347,473,409,417,467,518,642,590,590,655,497,680,428" href="" shape="poly">

Step 3 - SAVE, ofcourse you want to check that it looks fine and also that it actually works. That's it - done! finito!!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Working with sites, blogs - DFI - Wk 5.

Cross curricular topic site collaboration.
We were tasked to make a site based on the story of the Lion and the mouse. There were 3 groups who worked on a specific range of year levels, the highest being Y7 to 9. We used this padlet to collect the ideas from the team.

We also made a one page site. Since I do not teach year 9's I just made one which includes what we learnt but will not yet be used this year. Some of the links are not live. I used a video of my Y11 Physics class on the site. This is something I intend to do on my class sites...

Finally we learnt to network by linking our blogs "link love". This can be used in a class situation to ensure all (or most) blogs are read by a wider audience. Here's what mine looks like after this gadget "Blog list" has been added.

Need to practice so that I can recollect all this when needed...:-)

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Digital Fluency Intensive - Week 4. Cyber Smart, Explain everything video, screen castify

Explain everything video is something I have not used even though I have used Explain everything in project form for senior Physics classes. Here's an example of how it is used in junior classes.

And here is another one of how I intend to use it in my Year 11 Physics class: topic for this is waves and students are learning how to solve some numerical problems from past exam papers.

Here is an example of the screen castify video. We can cast multiple screens (entire desktop) or just the tab if we need only that tab. We also have an option to cast our video in a corner if the device has a camera and if we need to show an object. Here's my brief video on how to comment on a blog post.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Digital Fluency Intensive - Week 3. Email Calendar Hangouts.

Today we had an interesting session learning about the details of gmail and calendar. This was - get into the settings and try various combinations - some of which change the GUI, some affect the functionality and usability. The idea was to make these tools more efficient and more "attractive".
Here's an example of a hangout video chat along with screen capture. We picked a student's post at random and discussed their learning from the pak-n-save trip.

Some cool tips for gmail are:

  • If we happen to accidentally hit send on an email [guilty as charged :-) ] then depending on the situation a certain level of panic will set it. Did you send it to the wrong Nicki? Did you send confidential docs to ..... Well not anymore! You can setup a "time bomb" arrangement. This gives you upto 30 seconds to UNDO - phew!
  • You can arrange for your inbox to have all the unread (or any other criteria) emails displayed at the top.
  • Spam control - you can hover the cursor above a name and delete ALL the emails from that address. 
  • Gmails can be labelled like blogs
  • Filters can be setup with yor criteria so you get to what you are looking for quickly
  • and finally yes you can translate an email by selecting the language in the dropdown menu from the arrow next to the reply arrow.
  1. we can change the view - not just day/week/ month but we can select the number of days
  2. we can also choose to hide morning and evening engagements - if you are like me and keep your personal and professional lives totally separate
  3. calendar apps are available for iphones/ androids
Hangouts was fun because we were told to have only ONE mic active, all the others on MUTE. If there was more than one mic we would get a lot of feedback. And in about 5 minutes there was a LOT of feedback. Most of us missed to mute our mics after our turn and.......

Now the challenge for me is to have the time to use some of this in the classroom for us all to be able to Learn Create Share. The journey continues...

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Vector Class Trip - Week 2

This week is Engineering week and FutureInTech is working with the schools to promote "Engineering as a career option" for today's students. Today 2nd August we got an opportunity to visit the local Vector power substation on West Tamaki Road. The invite was for 18 students and 2 teachers and we choose to take our Y11 Physicists. We got ready to leave the school and a phone call informed us that hte trip would have to be cancelled due to an incident at the station. The class was disappointed but we went to plan B. And within minutes we got another call that they had fixed the hazard and could host us - Yay !:-)
One school van was available to us and SD offered to drive us in two groups. Once we got there we were all given PSE (personal safety gear - hardhat, safety glasses, hi-viz vests).
Once we were all "kitted" and briefed on the safety precautions, we went inside.

The first thing we saw was a large battery stack pictured here. There are 12 stacks in a groups, two groups making a total of 24 stacks. Each of these stacks has 16 "power packs" which store 800 KW of energy. These are similar to the AA cells we use in our devices - just bigger. The entire storage capacity in here is able to power all the houses in Glen Innes for upto 3 hours in case of a power outage.

A lot of heat is generated in this part and the temperature need to be controlled. Notice the door of the stack has a cooling system filled with a green liquid, this is similar to the one used to cool car engines and serves the same purpose here.
The DC power is converted to AC power using an invertor (indoors) and then the voltage is changed from 400 Volts to 11,000 volts using a transformer (outdoors) pictured here.

This is then sent to consumers for use.
The students enjoyed the learning experience as it brought real life experience into their learning. Thank you Vector!