well time is certainly going by rather fast.....its been a while since my last entry...but a lot has happened, big storm, lots of damage at school, boiler breaking down at school ....bob and tom adding HEAPS of new assignments.
But all good , working my way through....Time Management will help reduce the Stress.
I have to say that i do enjoy reading Lances daily blog entries..I dont think he has missed one !!....well done lance, always very informative entries
Head down people.............not long to go !
2014 is well and truly under way. We're starting to see the trends in enrolments as well as employment opportunities across the sector.
ICT Job Advertisements (Seek and Trademe)
Diploma enrolments and completions (2005 - 2012)
Take a moment to reflect on that. 3.2k students in 2012 and at least 2.3k jobs advertised this year, probably more. That's good news for people leaving education and looking for an IT jobs.
So, what is this blog actually about? That there aren't enough women in the industry or in ICT education.
Some studies suggest a ratio of 10 - 1, male - female. In New Zealand, visiting conferences, it's obvious that this isn't far off the mark. There are women there and often in senior positions, but significantly outnumbered by the males. In education there is some difference. I notice in the CITRENZ conference a larger number of females to males, which is good to see, but typical of education in general. In recent years, TPP has had a good ratio of males to females in class, with it being between 25 and 50%, but this year, the ratio is 8% in semester 1 and likely to drop with a second intake in semester 2.
There is evidence that many young girls do not even consider a career in ICT at school and I think this is something that needs investigating to work out why and how to fix it. There are tonnes of articles on the issue.
The stereotype of "computer nerds" and socially awkward males doesn't help, nor does the image of the ditzy woman office person from shows like the IT Crowd (as much fun as that show is!)
From my own experiences teaching, programming puts girls off. All too often its a case of "I can't do that" and then not even trying. Ironically, design work, such as Web Design, if they can be convinced isn't programming, is an area to which females tend to gravitate and enjoy and then program successfully anyway, in spite of their reservations.
I think one of the biggest challenges for women in IT is finding suitable role models to aspire to be like. Someone interesting, remarkable and potentially world changing. It's easy for boys: there are dozens we can all name. We can even name an LGBT role model in the industry quickly and easily with Alan Turing. But if I asked you to name a female role model, who could you name?
Here's some interesting ones:
- Ada Lovelace. Daughter of Lord Byron, the famous poet, widely considered to be the first computer programmer.
- Sheryl Sandberg. Facebook COO and author. Very famous for "Leaning in", an attempt to get more women into the corporate world in general.
- Grace Hopper. Mother of COBOL and writer of the first complier. Especially important for popularising the term "debugging" after the finding of a moth inside the US Navy Harvard Mark II computer.
- Erna Schneider Hoover. Inventor of the computerised telephone switching that revolutionised modern communications.
- Mary Lou Jespen. Founder of the organisation One Laptop Per Child.
It's not widely known today that computer programming in the 40's, 50's and into the 60's was a female dominated field. Partly as an offshoot of it being considered "clerical" work I suspect. They were good at it and it wasn't until a big change in hiring practices in the 60's and 70's that saw the job become male dominated.
There are some initiatives here in New Zealand to combat the dearth of females in the ICT industry. One that specifically interests me is the Programming Challenge for Girls and the NZ ICT Organisation has a women's group, but it seems too few to make a real difference.
So what do we as an industry do? I think some key areas are to find out why girls are not taking ICT in school first of all. Once we know why, then we have some direction to make it more attractive. Another area would be to celebrate all our role models, not just the male ones.
Ultimately, a more balanced industry is better for everyone.
Test results are coming through, very pleased with them. Areas showing that I need to work on, Punctuation, by not paying attention to this cost me a couple of marks. Hopefully not again...lol. Proof reading submissions really needs to be high on the agenda for us all. Well its Saturday afternoon, been at it since early morning, working on the 420 assessment, hopefully get that finished today. Sunday is a day of revision before the 400 test on Monday. Might fit a bike ride in there somewhere as well. Enjoy your weekend.
As my students and colleagues will know, I am a huge user of Microsoft OneNote.
- I use it as a tool on the smart board for putting notes and diagrams.
- For Inking those notes and diagrams to point out important parts.
- For organising and sorting all my class notes, videos, articles, attached files, etc
Example of OneNote inking a receipt example for the level 2 unit 327 - Business Documents.
Because I'm such a prolific user of the tool, and because almost all my classes are taught in a computer lab, I've recommended my students take notes in OneNote too.
Learning from lectures and labs
I have always been concerned that making course material more available via on-line tools ironically makes a student less likely to actually make use of it. Exercises can be ignored (and often, in my experience, are), reading often isn't even looked at. Learners often need clearly defined tasks and goals.
As such I make students take notes in class and mix it with exercises, reading, videos, etc. However often these notes are duplicated electronically on this Moodle site, which is the Virtual Learning Environment for Tai Poutini.I worry over students just deciding not to bother taking notes as they are on-line and then not absorbing the material.
I have two conflicting desires for my on-line content:
- All my course content is available on-line. This is especially important as we have several distance and part-time learners.
- My students need to take their own notes so as to help them learn and so I often throw titbits out in the lectures which are not on Moodle to encourage them to take notes.
These two things do not go together!
We're also in the habit now of videoing each lesson, usually via Google+ hangouts so students who are away can join in. This makes all of the content that doesn't make it to Moodle directly available via the video.
Handwriting and learning
There have been interesting studies published about how handwriting vs typing affects the brain and how this might be a huge impactor on students learning.
Long story short: Handwriting uses more of the brain than typing.
Now correlation is not causation and so using more of the brain doesn't necessarily mean better learning. It could be that, for example, more motor functions are triggered by writing. However several ancillary studies do suggest exactly that: handwriting is better for learning for kids.
Technology is coming along quickly. Inking in applications is much more of a thing that it was even last year. Devices like the Galaxy Note with its S-Pen, the Wacom pens available, etc. make it possible to write directly onto your devices. Windows 7 and 8's handwriting recognition is superb. This blog post is entirely handwritten, for example. Blame any mistakes on the software!
So maybe in the future, we can combine the best of both words. The ease of organisation, edit, storage and recovery of a software application with the cogitative benefits these studies find in handwriting.
Nice summary from Lifehacker here: http://lifehacker.com/5738093/why-you-learn-more-effectively-by-writing-than-typing
Since the news broke of the vulnerability in OpenSSLs implementation of the Heartbeat protocols, dubbed Heart Bleed, a lot of websites have been scrambling to get patches installed.For the most part, this is proceeding quickly and successfully, at least for the big sites.
OpenSSL is the open source SSL/TSL implementation used by, basically, everybody to secure communications between server and client computers; Websites, Instant Messaging, VPNs, wait staff in restaurants, you name it. The bug appears to have been introduced in 2011 and has been known about since 2012, at least in the wild, which means a lot of people could potentially have been affected.
The bug which exposes a small 64KB chunk of memory in the client or server which can, if the attacker is lucky, expose just about any secured information; passwords, credit cards, security keys, etc.
Here is the official announcement: https://heartbleed.com/. Laughably, that the page is secured by a certificate that is not issued by a major security provider, so the page generates a certificate error when visited.
Slashdot, as usual, provides a good summary and lots of link: http://it.slashdot.org/story/14/04/09/235217/heartbleed-openssl-vulnerability-a-technical-remediation
However, this blog post is not about all the official news. It's about how it can affect a regular consumer:
- Almost all home (A)DSL routers are based on one version or another of the Linux kernel.
- They almost all implement some form of remote administration so support staff can access your router if there are any problems.
- This remote administration is often enabled by default if your router was supplied by your Internet Service Provider.
- The remote administration almost certainly uses OpenSSL for security, although you can't easily find out.
- If your router was manufactured after mid 2011, or has had a firmware update since then, it is very likely it will have this bug.
- If you have ever used the Internet to enter a password, credit card number or other detail, it is possible that you could be at risk.
Disable your ADSL routers remote access.
Without wanting to stir up any more concern, this is a potentially serious risk and one that is going to be with us for a very long time because the manufacturers of these devices are notoriously slow to provide software updates to them, especially if they are no longer sold.
So, my advice to any user of broadband internet: find the remote administration of your ADSL router and disable it.
Incoming long post about Windows 8.1 and specifically the touch interface. I originally wrote and posted this on Facebook and have decided to cross post here with another weeks heavy use.
I’ve been using Windows 8.1 for a while now, but primarily on a big desktop and so I’ve not spent much time with Metro or ModernUI or MUI of whatever it’s called. I actually like 8.1 on the desktop with a few exceptions (auto-sorting files in the explorer and no ctrl-click on taskbar tabs springs to mind) but this is not about that.
Since I got the Surface Pro, which is a fantastic piece of kit, I thought I should give MUI a run, get used to it and then write down some thoughts.
My Start Screen. Social media live tiles disabled to protect the guilty.
Note the new Power and Search Icons top right copied form the right hand charms menu.
I am going to ignore some of the common major complaints here, especially the switch from Modern to Desktop UI's when moving from one app to another. On Touchscreen, it actually feels fine, but on a mouse system, its maddening. Windows 8.1 Update 1 (MS naming conventions at their finest) goes some way to alleviate this by being smarter about which apps to default to.
First up, typing this on the Windows software keyboard, I have to say it’s the best standard software keyboard out there. Having left and right navigation keys and a backspace button make a huge difference over the horrible Android and iOS built in ones and mean I don’t have to pay for a replacement.
The touch enabled experience is pretty solid, but feels immature. In general, the apps look good if they follow the design guides and the live tiles are actually quite nice when they work. Not having software home and menu buttons on the device is a godsend. No more accidental home screen when I meant to hit space in Facebook!
The swipe in from the side gestures are not especially intuitive, but easy enough to learn. The alt-tab swipe from the left is way too easy to do accidentally when scrolling through an app, which are laid out horizontally rather than vertically on the mostly horizontal tablet.
Split screen view is still useful and works well, especially split desktop / app.
ModernUI split screen, showing the Reader app and Internet Explorer.
There are some weird inconsistencies, even within MS’s own apps. For example, swiping from the bottom brings up an apps menu. The menus should therefore be at the bottom to match this and mostly are. However the Windows Store has its menu appear at the top.
The Windows store is pretty empty. It feels like Android did about 2 years ago, which is understandable. I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t be teaching Windows App development rather than Android; there is a huge potential to make money in the Windows Store right now that possibly doesn’t exist in the other two big stores. My thoughts on developing for Windows probably deserve another blog post all of their own.
Regarding the built in apps, especially the Bing apps, their quality varies wildly. Bing weather is the best weather app I’ve ever used, hands down. Bing Sports has Cricket and Rugby Union, but not League or any National Rugby teams. Bing News is terrible; live tiles that do not work unless you use one of the featured sources, of which there are none for NZ, and RSS feeds to make up for that don’t get remembered.
One thing I have noticed over extensive use is the built in MS apps break regularly. The message "This app can't open. Visit the store for details" is becoming a common place occurrence and the app needs to be repaired before it will work again. Additionally, the live tiles seem to break. As noted above, news doesn't work, but since I originally wrote this, the Sports app live tile is now broken and (almost certainly related) the news feed in that app has stopped working.
SkyOneDrive support built in is good, but the OS can’t decide what to call it yet as it’s often referred to both within the same task flow. I find OneDrive syncing much slower than 8 or 7, unusual considering it is native now, and the feature to open files on the PC from anywhere being dropped out of the native client is disappointing. This was OneDrive’s best feature over the opposition.
OneNote for ModernUI is the stand out hit feature for me. The touch specific version is simply stunning. The team who designed this will go far. Also worth a mention is FreshPaint. A really cool painting app that works so well with the Surface pen I find myself actually using it rather than dabbling and then ignoring it like so many others of these apps in the past. I feel like I could actually create some art with this thing.
Fresh Paint for Windows 8.1 with one of my masterpieces showing!
There is one huge thing missing from the ModernUI experience whose oversight boggles me; a persistent clock and battery indicator across all the apps in the UI. Swiping in from the right doesn’t cut it because I keep interrupting my task to check the time if I have appointments. On that note, a persistent alert indicator for appointments, messages, etc, wouldn’t go astray either although that I don’t miss quite so much as the alerts on other OS’s do interrupt my workflow more often than not.
Since the Update 1 release, they've put a shutdown and search button on the start screen. I can't figure out why. Sure shutdown was well hidden before, but the logical place would have been to click the user icon already on the start screen and shutdown/restart from there where logout already is. Do we even need a software shutdown anymore? Physical power buttons are there for a reason after all.
So there you go. My thoughts on MetrodenUI. Would be interested to hear other thoughts on it.
This is something I've been meaning to do for a while now. There is a lot of interesting ICT news and developments I want a forum to jot down along with my opinions on them, links, etc. I've tried to post these in many places as part of the ICT courses but nowhere really seems to fit. I do this a lot on Facebook, but that is a closed forum for me and I want this to be more widely available, especially to students.
I don't plan this to be a daily thing. Detailed daily blogs take more time than I have or want to commit to this project, but hopefully this will be regular enough to be a good reference to myself and anyone who is interested.
Having said that, there are several topics I'm going to address in quick succession on here, usually ones I've discussed in class or with fellow faculty at TPP but don't specifically belong in any of my course notes.