Do I have to update?

Devices have been  updating frequently in recent times. It can be very annoying when you are absorbed in something and you will click the remind me later button or the device will just take over, bang everything shut and update anyway. The updates are important and it is both critical to update the operating system and the software of any device you are running. Mostly it is for security protection . This in a world where we know our personal information is no longer considered to be something worth protecting. The amount of data breaches being reported is beyond acceptable and ought never happen. We need to to be clear we want our data protected .

Updates provide security and patch vulnerabilities in a device. The updates often enhance the software too so you are running on the latest version. Older versions will often use more system resources. The world is constantly trying to make everything more battery efficient since we seem to be stuck with that. Updates are better done when you are plugged into power since ti will reduce the toll on your battery and the updates will happen more quickly. Wifi ebbs and flows and can be unreliable. Even so, a big Windows 10 update will take its time even if you are plugged into the mains supply.

If you want to explore the reasons for updating just to remind yourself it really is important then please follow these links:

Why so many Windows updates?  

Stay smart online – software updates

Why update – MacAffee

Why should I update?

What’s the difference between a geek and a nerd?

Hannah Fry’s video from Head Squeeze is fascinating. It does have implications for schools because we are teaching both geeks and nerds , we are driven by both geeks and nerds and we might be a geek or a nerd as a teacher. The disconnect in an educational context can cause frustrations, communication blockages and a simple case of delivering the wrong content with the wrong tools to the wrong audience and wondering why it didn’t go well. I’m not particularly fond of stereotypes but there are times when using them can help clarify the picture so you can go back to treating others as individuals. What I really liked was the section on the scatter graph where you can see the language differences we make ourselves in social media. Basically, you cannot fake being a nerd and that was a light bulb clarification moment for me and something worth knowing.

Get yourself a lettuce upgrade

This was so familiar to me as a scenario I had to admire Armstrong and Miller for getting it so right. Before I make a technology purchase I know what I want, I make comparisons on the Net and I do my research. I look for the best I can afford. Then I get to the shop and have a conversation like this. It can be worse if I look like me and not at all as though you would know about technology things. On a good day I just go yes, yes, yes, I still want that one. On a bad day I’ll say something along the lines of oh, it doesn’t really matter I am going to load it with Linux anyway , probably Ubuntu 14.04. That usually guarantees the purchase will follow through pretty quickly without a hitch. The latest upgrade as such is more likely to be extra cost in insurance or an extended warranty. I will take the warranty option if it is going to cover the life of the device. Changeover seems every three years. If you don’t change over then you do find yourself running behind the times as such. Every 6 months there is a shift in technology. The best upgrade you can get is not a lettuce leaf but RAM. Always buy a device with as much RAM as you can afford and then , if necessary upgrade the RAM about a year down the track. You also need to afford as much graphics capability as you can because we run a lot of image and video these days. It does not alter the fact that once you have bought your device it is already old and you have to live with the fact someone else is going to have something better than yours. I am still running computers older than 10 years. You have to match the device to the job and older technology can have a specific job. I use an old laptop just to back up files so I know I have a copy of current files. I also use older technology in the kitchen where I am less worried about something getting splashed or having grubby finger prints. Lettuce leaf and carrot upgrades will always be there. Don’t be tempted because if your device is what you want and can afford then it will be good. Down the track you can buy a newer device with things they haven’t even thought of yet.Don’t feel bad and don’t feel inadequate. Just do your homework and be happy with what you decided to buy. Schools and small businesses can find themselves in the same position. They will buy a set up and it will be behind the times as soon as it is rolled out. Is it stable? Does it do what you want it to do? Is it secure? Is there a plan for the next step? You always need to keep an eye on the market and what is coming down the track but investing in it before the market has had a chance to put it to the test is not a sound decision. I often wait and see. They keep telling me technology is getting cheaper. It is still a pretty hefty outlay and so worth thinking about in a hard headed way.

5 inspiring tips to start the school year

aitsl Image: aitsl CEO blog

Look upon it as a challenge. I did. As soon as the aitsl CEO blog popped up on my Facebook feed with the 5 inspiring tips I read it and wondered if I had inspired myself into the new school year. It’s term 1 week 5 so a good time to sit for a minute and take stock. Why not? The new school year has blossomed and grown but has it been inspiring? I took the aitsl challenge and this is the result:

1. Inspiration number one: do something professionally that you haven’t done before. This year our faculty set up participation a global competition in Languages . It is an online site like Mathletics which we wanted to engage with. We did the trials last year and the students really liked it , so we have moved on to enrolling our classes this year. This has taken time and effort on the part of the teachers and the organisation we are dealing with. It’s a first. It’s new and it’s all learning for everyone. It is now a classroom and home resource which we are happily discovering. It has been a real positive in our lives at the beginning of the year even though there has been a lot for us all to learn.

2. Inspiration number two: join or start a group or better still a movement

My Twitter and Facebook PLN never fail to bring me inspiration. These social media engagements are a source of ideas, thinking, sharing and give me a real sense of participating in something dynamic. I am never short of information, never allowed to stay in a rut and the information which comes my way keeps me buoyed up and moving forward. Our office has also been a fantastic hotbed of ideas and sharing in terms of technology and approaches. We have really skilled each other up and been keen to learn whatever we can with technology.

3. Inspiration number three: ask questions about your professional values.

This often happens spontaneously in our office or in the staff room over recess and lunch. I think it is the direct result of the lean start up we had at school this year and then aitsl got on the ball pretty quickly by bringing us thoughtful videos and encouraging us to participate in our development as teachers. Without technology and those virtual connections to be made you can be left feeling swamped with expectations and demands. This way the information is grown into organic learning which can be shared , discussed and implemented.

4. Inspiration number four: focus on knowing how you make a difference to students and their learning.

I use Twiducate with my junior students and blogging with my senior students. This way I can see clearly where the learning gaps are and I can also see very clearly the impact of what we have done in class. When you ask for feedback or you ask them to grow your lesson in their own way on their blog it becomes encouraging far more often than disheartening. In fact, it’s rarely disheartening. Our students like technology and they feel at home so they value being able to respond and then I can be rewarded for my behind the scenes work.

5. Inspiration five: find a way to make sure that every student succeeds.

“If our education system is to be truly successful, we need to find ways to ensure that every individual in every school achieves success. Success will look different for each young person and as teachers and school leaders we are key to that success. Make sure everyone in your school knows what it feels like to be successful.”

This is clearly stated on the CEO blog and it sums it all up. It is about allowing everyone in the teaching/learning environment to show and grow. No-one can know everything. Teachers can create the learning memes and help students work through the thinking, content and grappling with ideas. Students then provide feedback and have input into each other’s learning and the capacity of the teacher to teach better. Leadership in education has to further guide and support teachers in a productive, positive way by sharing , challenging and engaging with those in classrooms so they are constantly able to have a sense of vision and a real capability to teach effectively. It’s not automatic. It is a complex undertaking but the results can be far reaching and so the foundation and preparation of a teacher has to be unequivocal each and every day.

Tech Daily

itech4ed Internet dailies are a really good way to keep up to date with current information in a given area. Someone creates them like bloggers create blogs. This one –The iTech4Ed Daily is another very good example of where you can get current and helpful information about technology in the classroom.

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