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Video Conferencing Fun

31st January-7th February

Great Yarmouth and a Dodgy Knee.

31st January 1999 Sunday
Friday Tim and I spent in Great Yarmouth learning how to video conference the Denford way. I was delayed by getting completely lost and driving past road works and car accidents. We had a go at the Mill Cam software and I had a couple of the pieces that Y8 had designed milled out which looked very good. The fact that i had made plug drawings rather than the ball race mazes and other DT things caused some bemusement but so what, that's my job. The video conferencing was fun. I chatted a swapped files with another teacher called Paul in Brighouse in Yorkshire and they sent us a couple of movies and we shared files and the whiteboard. I'll be a bit more confident with the conferencing after that.

1st February 1999 Monday
Y5 are having a go at a historical database. Y8 are not following the instructions to make HTML pages. The Mill Cam program seems to have a lot of bugs in.
After school Pete and I videoed (?)up a few of the schools in the project but to no avail. How could this be? We have been show how to use them and our toy is out of the box so why isn't everyone dialling each other up? Eventually we conferenced with the Denford chap who showed us a few more wrinkles in the preferences. Then JH came in and did a bit of Optical Character Recognition scanning. SW had a couple of digital photos made of his knee for medical purposes and pasted them into a letter to his doctor, and I showed HT how to surf the web. Then I went home. Very teccie.

3rd February 1999 Wednesday
A long article in The Guardian yesterday arguing that the 500 per teacher head they intend to spend on training would be better spent on providing every teacher with a laptop. One bright training spark is quoted as saying that the training is in how to teach ICT, not how to use it.. That seems completely the wrong way round to me . You have to be able to use it to teach it, to understand at all what the point of it can be,or could be. A laptop in every briefcase could be wonderful.

4th February Thursday
I realised somewhat belatedly that I could use Netmeeting on this my home PC to conference in similar style to the video conferencing we did on the course last week but without the pictures. I had a look at the listings on a server that is the default but thought it all looked rather unsavoury and rather sad so I didn't proceed. I'll have to try a more organised go with a colleague. I ended up in safe mode for an hour after an ill fated attempt to upgrade the sound card driver went pear shaped.

5th February Friday
My computer is very unhappy with me. My futile attempt to upgrade the sound card driver has thoroughly upset it. I was hoping to avoid having to reformat the hard drive until I have completed my MA essay but this does not auger well. It is crashing , hanging on the way out & till the sound card is not reinstalled.

7th February Sunday
Fortunately the machine has decided to behave itself. The old driver did eventually install and it's back to normal, touch wood. The critical documents have been backed up onto Zip discs after those bleak moments of crashed panic when I deeply regretted getting lazy about the backup regime.
The week has not been too bad computer wise. Teaching the Year 8 pupils to make the simple web page has been good. The instructions work well when they read them, less well when they don't. The nice thing is when I look across the room and see the screens coming up in different colours which means that they've got it. I've got a disc of new pages to put onto the intranet sometime soon.
All this has sucked time up though and I have a strong need to flick some paint about and get on with putting up displays and old-fashioned stuff. After a lot of ICT in art over the past few months with the drawings and the Mill Cam thing I took Y8 out into the park and we drew landscapes which we will make paintings from. Y6 have been making excellent large scale paintings of their drawings made on their visit to the Sainsbury Centre gallery last month. I have the MA essay to write up over the half term and some interviews to do on video for it. I'll be pretty busy over the next couple of weeks.


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