Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ahhh! Life returns to normal in the forest ...

Three things happened today that pretty much sum up life at the moment.
1. Our firewall is successfully stuffing up Google Earth access to its servers, so kids can't save their work. Great. Our fix no longer works, so more work needed to resolve this.
2. While investigating the Google Earth thing I note that a few students (like most of them!) have MSN running - so much for our filter! And then I see mass emailing of chain email ...

I spent time dealing with those 2 things that I couldn't afford, and that meant that I didn't get the marking done that I needed to, nor enough time into the Horizon Project group that are on their final stages before the "board" presentations tomorrow.

Did I say 3 things?

3. And then the good stuff of course. Why I love this stuff.
i) WolframAlpha - well, if this is the direction the semantic web is heading, bring it on. How much learning can now go on as the result of this fantastic tool. Sure - a lot of the current stuff is US and Europe oriented, but you can find enough with a New Zealand flavour to make some useful connections ... and it's not all about l'il ol' NZ anyway. I've been messing with it for the last couple of nights and can't wait to show people what it can do, and to let students loose on it. So, thanks to Wolfram - like Mathematica, another triumph.
ii) Earth Observatory from NASA. Just such a cool teaching tool. If you don't subscribe to it's fantastic images of the day, then do. There will be teachable moments everywhere.

Just as well there so much good on the web - I just don't know why kids waste their time on junk ... what an opportunity they have.

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