Spent some time down loading backgrounds
and flickering .gif bars from free graphics sites mainly for the kids at
Web Club. They love all these marbled backgrounds and other delights and
I find it quite fun whipping them into my c drive.
Yes, I finally decide to upgrade the index
page with gently pulsing pink buttons and a deep blue textured background.
Recolour the title gif and alter the colour of the spiral drawing, tidy
it all up and it looks much better.
Upload the web club pages and after much
fiddling manage to get most of them to work. I try to be tidy though and
put them inside a folder which means that the ones already on the server
don't connect anymore etc. etc. Hours more fiddling to come. I'll reconfigure
all of the pupil pages into one folder and then put it up on the server
in one go and strip the old ones out at some point. Probably.
Get email from colleague who has just gone
online this weekend. Since starting this log two teachers and our technician
have got new computers though one has not got a modem which boggles me.
How can you not! And our science teacher has upgraded his machine beyond
measure. The school web connection remains entirely theoretical still.
It is supposed to be here by now but we haven't heard a peep.
Visited a site called Sniper Country which
is full of real tips on how to lead a patrol deep into enemy territory.
Quite fascinating. Warns against making bird calls for one thing because
the locals you are creeping up on will know the local bird calls and yours
will stand out a mile. Everyone needs to be looking every way all the time
and to be carrying one of the lovely(!) guns illustrated in the gun catalogue
bit which is a bit weird. One for Net Nanny to catch however.
JH very pleased with his email of an etruscan
pot. I find a couple of things about Anthony Green on the Web which will
help me out of a hole with Y7 tomorrow. Y5 successfully paint, edit, cut
and paste into a Word document. Long and dull meeting about taps.
Fairly fed up with the whole html thing
at school. Because what I'm doing isn't that obvious beyond the screen
no one is very clear on what I'm doing. So I'm basically wasting my time
on these web pages. I'm considering jacking in the web club as I'm not
sure that it's getting me anywhere much. It is popular with the kids and
some staff are interested. I'll make up a display with digital photos and
all of the rest to try to get the message across a bit more.
A red mist come over me in Dixons and I
bought myself an early Christmas present. I thus find myself at long last
the proud owner of a Palm Pilot. I've read al the reviews, poked about
on the net and decided that it isn't particularly justifiable but what
the hell, I am just fascinated with the idea of a computer in my pocket.
This opens up a whole new set of stuff
for the online diary. The very fact that I can sit here in bed and write
on my teeny tiny computer is in itself pretty remarkable but then I am
pretty easily impressed I guess. So far I have to say Graffiti, the handwriting
recognition system, is pretty easy apart from pretty dodgy 'G' shapes and
the 'D' shape is resistant to being written out first time. And writing
a V backwards is difficult to remember.
All of the above entry has been written
on the Palm Pilot.
Very cold & snowing. Not much of a
computing weekend. In a misguided attempt to get this Palm Pilot &
the schools digital camera to work on my computer at the same time I tried
to sort out an iffy COMM Port. And the consequence was that I mucked up
my modem as well & still didn't get the camera to download.
I've been tending to read the more esoteric
IT magazines over recent months. Not that I entirely understand them but
I seem to have out grown the more consumer magazines which are a bit fixated
on the best scanner for £99 and how to make a professional set of
condiment labels with your ink jet printer.
I seem to have entered a new category
of Intermediate Grade or Someone Who Knows Enough To Do Damage But Not
Enough To Put It Right Again. There doesn't seem to be a magazine for this
level. If there was it would called "Oh God What Have I Done Now?"
An interesting whole staff ICT meeting
at school this week. The full implications of the HMGovt plans for training
teachers in ICT were pretty obvious to all of us but Tim is as much in
the dark as the rest of us as to how the whole thing is supposed to work
It is a classic nineties national curriculum
type roll out. A subject co-ordinator passes on what they find expected
of them to an over worked set of teachers who find a whole new lot of things
to worry about. It increases a sense of continual inundation with paper
work and shiny new initiatives.
Mind you, I didn't realize how far off
in geekland I now live - is there a way back? Is this a good thing?
Or is it a bit mad? Can I stop now? Would I be better off with paper and
pencil? Not really the point is it - With paper and pencil I couldn't sit
here in the car and scribble this and publish it on the web so easily to
an audience of well not that many.
Reading the IT press which is full of
training issues as well as high end technical stuff it makes most of the
educational ICT stuff look naive. Getting every school online is a massive
massive undertaking. Would a commercial organization do it in such a piecemeal
Probably. In education we tend to believe
the rhetoric that the market is good & that private companies are all
paragons of streamlined efficiency as much as anyone. Then we try to get
something fixed on the car & we still think private companies are more
efficient in spite of that. Still. I'm sure that we might have something
to learn from how these ICT types do it in business.
Letter from Denford today promising our
connection in the New Year.
Teaching ICT giving me the strange feeling
that people might be listening to me. The year 5s have gone from user name
confusion tg quite high levels of confidence in a gratifyingly short time.
Now they are coming in & logging on without a pause - well, most of
them are anyway. They are finding last weeks work in the server and we
are now drawing in Paint & copying & pasting into Word. It's been
nice to see the progress so clearly.
On Friday I sat down and showed T in Y7
how to make tables in html, a thing I hadn't done as yet as they seemed
pretty complicated to me. I tapped in the code to the art room PC and it
worked which looked all right. I resize a couple of photos for him and
off he went with a book and his disc. On Tuesday he came back with his
web page rejigged into two columns using a table he'd written in. I was
stunned. Absolutely outstanding stuff.
Spent some of the evening online trying
to find out a bit more about how to make this Palm Pilot work a bit better.
I still can't get a picture off it very well if at all.
Got a magazine called "Web Pages Made
Easy" from the garage with a disc on it full of handy applications to make
web pages easy. Not sure that much of it does. The magazine spends of lot
of pages showing you how to do exactly the same thing in several different
programs when it could just show you how to do it once in html. It's no
I'm still looking for an editor or a WYSIWYG
program that might be school friendly. So far most of them seem to need
a substantial amount of learning about how the program works before learning
about how to make the web page. And the programs are easier to understand
with some ideas about html. I will have to try some with the Web Club.
Apparently Splash is very user friendly & beginner friendly. I'll try
So Peter and I have a look at Splash on
the art room PC and we are not that impressed. The interface is just trying
way too hard. I come home and switch on Star Trek Deep Space Nine and there's
a bloke with a knobbly head using a computer with the exact same interface
as Splash. Far too complicated for kids. The search continues.
Get a phone message from Denford to expect
the BT engineer to come along next Wednesday to install our ISDN 2 line.
Letters & telephone calls today to
tell us that we can expect to be all connected up this week after all.
Tomorrow the computer & all the gubbins will arrive. We are under instruction
not to open the boxes! On Wednesday a BT engineer will arrive to install
an ISDN2 line. And on Thursday a chap from Denford will come along to install
the equipment and the software. We hope he comes in the morning as we have
the Year 7 christmas disco in the afternoon which will be borderline chaotic
and very noisy.
Wednesday 16th December 1998
An auspicious day for the school as we
at last get online and capable of video conferencing to boot.
A friendly BT engineer arrived a little
before lunch and spent the afternoon installing an ISDN2 line into the
tiny chamber which houses our server in the ICT room. This is basically
a little grey box attached to the wall.
He had just finished and I was busy trying
to sort out exactly what sort of deal we had with BT on the telephone as
we had expected to get the complete full monty education open all day internet
service with this but apparently we won't. So I was trying to sort that
out when the chap from Denford arrived to take the computer out of the
box and get it all up and running.
As he is a nice chap and might well visit
this page from his rather dinky Nokia phone from his hotel room in Great
Yarmouth I will make little reference to his remarkable youth. He rapidly
got the machine to work and we waved to a chap in Brigend and they drew
pictures together for a bit and I made a digital photo to mark the occasion
and that is that.
Apparently the confusions over deals on
the ISDN line packages are not unusual so I chilled out after a bit. It'll
get sorted out on way and another.
We have got a link at last which is an
achievement in itself. End of term very near, a bit of a disco tomorrow
afternoon and a carol service on friday and it's all over bar the shouting
until the new year.