Another storm has swept through the ICT department. Control and sequencing has never been exactly ‘exciting’ but Lightbot has caught their imagination, and that of one of our Assistant Head Teachers (mathsmatician).

Bascially you control a robot by giving it commands. Use programmer-style logic for more complex levels that include functions to re-use.

Well its fantastic and its had the ICT rooms packed to the rafters. Its got me thinking, what does it offer thats so entertaining?

Easy to start. Quick short levels that get progressing harder. A fun wee character. Challenge, the later levels are certainly taxing.

My colleague has been creating screencast WINK manuals to help, only this evening I found that YOUTUBE has beaten him to the finishing line.

The Butterfly Effect

‘The effect of a very small change in the initial conditions of a system which makes a significant difference to the outcome.’

Our touch typing experiment? This term we are introducing every ICT class (year 7, 8, 9 and 10) with just FIVE (hence a very small change) minutes of touch typing using the typingweb free resource. In summary, Typingweb is

  • 100% free
  • Web-based, and can be access anywhere
  • Teaches typing technique
  • Provides progress statistics

Here is the education bit. A warm front to lessons, students arrive, login, access Tyingweb right from the intranet page. Punctual students get the first 5-7 minutes practice that provides a transitional phase into the lesson, students who are a little tardy get less time or miss out. No more disrupted or staggered starts.

To extend this, my mentees get a further 4 x 15 minute sessions of mentor time as we meet in my teaching room. My mentees performance in just 2 weeks has more than doubled, and as it is web-based some students are now practicing at home. In ICT lessons,students typing speeds is pretty constant, but students are eager to arrive and disappointed if they miss out on typing web time.

We hope that if the students progress to typing with 10 fingers and thumbs that will be a serious improvement on the two index fingers the majority are using now and an valuable life skill they will continue to use long after they leave Hamble College.

AB Tutor Version 6

Here at Hamble College we use ABTutor as our classroom management software. We have found the software first class, very reasonably priced (considering with have 4 bespoke ICT rooms) and the IT the support excellent. We are now eargely awaiting the launch of Version 6. A new UI, multi-classroom watch, (useful for IT Technicians) communication tools, plus new features such as printer control, keyword violations and voting. If you have any question, then we would be happy to answer your questions or simply get in touch with AB Tutor, they are only too happy to help you get started.

The Elephant in the Corner

This was a phrase I had never come across… our friends visiting from the States exchanged the Elephant for a gorilla, the idiom was the same. It got me thinking…. in our College, what was the elephant? Did we have one? After some consideration, I thought not. So I looked closer to home, our department? Again, nothing obivous. So I am pleased to say, no wildlife, elephant, gorilla or other.