Category Archives: IT Matters

Summer Break

I made it through!!

Graduation was a great day (17/7/2012) I achieved a First Class Honours BSc Computing and Society.  It was great to see fellow graduands and their families enjoying the day and reminiscing with tutors and lecturers.

I would like to acknowledge the help and support I received from friends and family as well as the professional help from the lecturers and tutors, without whom I would not have achieved all I did.

Help with final year Project

Hello,

Please use the link provided to help me with my final year project.  The project is a study of eDemocracy.

Edemocracy is basically the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT); such as smart phones, laptops and computers, to allow the public to engage with the Government or Local Council in the management of society.

Here is the link to the questionnaire: http://goo.gl/XEYg0

It only takes 5 minutes to complete.  Your details will not be recorded and your identity will remain anonymous at all times.  The questionnaire has undergone an ethical review process and meets the University of Portsmouth Ethical Policies.

Please forward this to as many of your friends as possible.
Thanks,
Tony

reeds law

The potential for growth in networks and connections between individuals and the possiblity of maximizing your brand identity among many is exciting.  (Substitute brand for concepts or pollitical belief)

I am thinking that if this theory was better used by certain sectors of society the possibility to act as a collective and achieve much with very little capital could offer amazing results.  (The Arab Spring)

My thanks to Howard Rheingold and his videos found here for raising my awareness to the possibilites.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Summertime almost over

Well the weather really has not been that great.  The motorbike is off the road at the moment, but with the weather the way it is I really don’t mind too much.  Hopefully I will have her up and running again sometime this week once the supplier sends the correct parts.  This will be the second delivery and if they get it wrong this time there’s gonna be trouble.

Had some really exciting news this last week.  Amy my eldest daughter has done really well at college and achieved a triple grade distinction, what an amazing result.  She is going to be starting University this September (2011) studying Creative Media and Technologies.  I am so proud of all she has managed to achieve.

This coming school year I will be the Technology Faculty Representative, as I understand I will be guiding the Course Reps and sitting on a lot of meetings for and on behalf of students and the Student Union, this should give me a good insight into the deeper workings of the university and I hope allow me to help improve things for students.

Finally for this post I received an email from the Student Associate Scheme informing me that I had been awarded the Student of the Year award.  This was for my work placement achievements during my time at Portsmouth City Boy’s School, which I have to add I really enjoyed and has made me more determined to become an educator.

 

Second Year Results

It’s been a great year overall. I have really enjoyed the units, some of which were compulsory and others which I opted for. There was only one unit which let me down,Knowledge Management Concepts, and through a few discussions within the University and the Student Staff Consultative Committee, it will be run as per the Unit Description on the Unit Web Search as from September 2011.

unit marks 2011

The Unit Assessment Board connected to the Portsmouth Business School is delaying confirmation of KMANCON results without an explanation.  I will update this post once I know more.

 

Ok here is the update.  29-06-2011

All unit marks have been confirmed.  Looks like I am still on course for a first class degree which is my aim and stepping stone to my PGCE in IT.  I will be spending the summer reading everything I can lay my hands on to give me a head start on the final year.

Student Associate Scheme

Sadness looms. I have had a great time learning and sharing on my placement at a local boys school. The staffs at the school have really made me feel welcome and I have enjoyed every moment. I know I am taking the right route now in my endeavour to have a change of career.

The hours have been long this last month with 3 days on placement every week and lectures to squeeze in. The weekends are owned by a supermarket giant, the bills still need paying. I motivate myself by saying “It’s an investment in the future” which I truly believe, I just wish there was a more secure way to achieve it.

The next big question to answer is do I sit a PGCE or look to a GTP in a school training on the job?

I suppose I had better get my third year out-of-the-way first and that means I need to concentrate on one exam, two design projects with accompanying reports, two essays and two case studies, and another report for Knowledge Management Concepts. All due between the 5th and 12th May.

Hopefully the page updates will be more frequent when all this is out-of-the-way.

Second Year Semester One Grades

Really happy at the moment with the grades I have achieved. I know they are only provisional but I hope that they won’t change too much.

e-commerce 76% overall
Databases 80% overall
INSAD 82% overall (Intermediate Systems Analysis and Design)
RSMET 71% overall (Research Methods)

This next semester will be tough. Five new modules and only one exam, the rest are reading and long essay’s, with a little design work to build a prototype for a social network thrown in for good measure, with the complication of creating an additional mobile app for the same interface.

Ok update for this post. The grades are final.

Picture of semester 1 year 2 grades

Second Semester

At last the second semester is under way. It feels like so long when we have a break but I long for a few days off, especially as weekends are filled with working for Tesco.

My first lot of provisional results have come through. I got 80% overall for Databases which I am very pleased with 75% in the exam and 83% for the coursework. I hope this trend can continue. My thanks to my tutor Ronel she was patient and always made time to answer my questions.

This semester I have 5 new modules to read and I am quite excited by some of the areas we will be covering. More on this later as we get into the meat of the subjects.

Research Critique

The paper being reviewed is titled “How is the Training of IT Managed in Schools?” Initially this seemed like a good title for the report which suggests the report will discover how IT training is managed within an educational environment.

On page 62 of the report the author states “The main focus of this study will be the management of training employees to use the Information Technology in schools.” On this basis it would have been appropriate to discuss the different schools being observed and investigated for the case study; however the very next paragraph on page 62, under the sub heading of “Project aims and objectives” then states “The aim of this study is to investigate the management and training of Information Technology within Park Community School.” This seems to be a change of direction for the report. It is understood that often a small sample is required to test a theory and then attempt to generalize about the results and predict what may be the case in similar situations, but moving from the plural of schools to the singular school has altered the dynamic of the report.

The author then goes on to state that “As the author has been working at the school for 2 years now and another family member for 10 years it will be relatively easy to obtain the research.” Obviously this information is required to understand the opinion and point of view of the person writing the report; however this seems to influence the approach to the case study in an adverse way. The research which was conducted was centred on the one school, which was not the aim of the report based on the reports title. A better method would have been to approach a number of schools and the local authority to investigate the methods used for training and a sample of answers of several questionnaires from a variety of schools used to present the findings. I appreciate that this would have taken some extra time, but this should have been discussed in the report. On another note the researcher claims to have strict time limits to the research and then proceeds to talk about the difficulties of gathering the data, which is in contrast to the previous statement about it being relatively easy to obtain the research.

Primary research conducted for the report was in the form of questionnaires, interviews and observations. There are no structured examples of the questionnaires as evidence in the report, which makes it difficult to determine how good the process was and whether or not the researcher has managed to discuss the findings accurately within the report. The interview questions were included in the appendix but they seem very brief. The section of the report which does discuss the findings of the questionnaire highlights only the first three questions. Were these the only questions asked?

The secondary research which supports the report is comprehensive, and discusses the different books used to support the case study. A small number of quotes were used and have been cited correctly. The bibliography contains a full list of the material used to support the project and this was useful for checking the accuracy of the information contained in the report. The majority of the books and journals listed were reasonably up to date.

A section sub-titled Interviews within Chapter 4 Titled Results, the writer alludes to a discussion about the interviews and yet presents very little information. The section describes a software system used within the school but does not say which questions were asked how they were answered or give any analysis of the findings. Additionally an interview about “How IT training is managed in schools?” should have included a description of the equipment available and the views of the interviewee. To my knowledge none were recorded for review within the report. This would have helped present the findings and given the research more credibility.

Within the report there is a good discussion of observation techniques and the impression gained by the author during the observation and the experiences of actually using the equipment within the school for teaching. A comment about the lack of training is given yet later in the report the author acknowledges that training had been given by ICT employees. This section also goes on to describe in great detail all the equipment available for use within the school and it was found to be useful supporting material in the reading of the report.

A Methodology was discussed in the report but it caused confusion as the writer of the report clearly states “The methodology I am going to use will be DSDM.” This is not a common form of conducting research in this particular field as it is more suited to Software Development. DSDM stands for Dynamic Software Development Method, which is based on Agile development Methodology. A better approach would have been to state that a qualitative design to the research was going to be used. The use of the term DSDM just confuses the reader of the report. In addition on page 83 the further confusion exists as the researcher claims that quantitative research uses questionnaires, whereas this method of research is qualitative. Quantitative data could have been formed from the qualitative research by coding the responses to the questionnaire but no evidence of this exists within the section.

Arguments used within the report for change management are sound however they do not directly concern how the training of IT is managed in schools. It is understood that new developments in IT hardware and software have meant changes have affected the school’s administration and the use of IT within the learning environment, but a lengthy discussion of change management was not appropriate in this instance. Had a recent change taken place the concepts may have been of more use but in this instance the IT that was in use within the school had been in place for some time. The only new (2 years or more) change had been the Management Information System use for administration by teachers and the office staff.

Background information such as the discussion about ITiS (Information Technology in Schools) an initiative developed by the Department for Education and Science was used well to support the need recognized within in the report in terms of further education and training of teachers and staff in the use of IT within the school. It points out the fact that grants are available for training and other support is available for schools. Good points were made and the supporting literature was used effectively.

A sub heading “Comparing research data to secondary data” is used in chapter 5 page 95, but there does not appear to be any discussion of the comparison in this section. However what is included is a further discussion about ITiS and the use of a Management Information System for administration purposes within the school. Therefore the sub-heading for this section is either incorrect or the author lost their direction.

The Risk log for the case study was incomplete in the copy that was received. Obviously it is difficult to comment but the parts that were present discussed the ethical approach that was required for working within the school and also recorded incidents where the researcher came in to contact with children whilst conducting the research. The discussion by the author of important facts pertaining to Child Safety and the Data Protection Act were relevant and useful as a means of explaining some of the strict controls required when carrying out this type of study.

A reflective section was included within the report and this section actually proved to be some of the better work done by the author. They recognized that improvements could be made to the research that was carried out and possible advances in technology could bring about new changes and the need for further research, once these changes had been made.

The conclusion given in the report was negative,” saying not much training had been given”, and goes on to criticize the lack of training provided, surely that is the responsibility of the school manager, who was not interviewed in this case study. Also the researcher states that they did not have any access to the training records for the staff and teachers in the school, so how can a judgement be made without all the facts. Speculation about whether training had been provided is irrelevant, the mechanisms are in place to provide training and the fact that the author had not received this training should not have influenced the findings within the report. It is important to identify who has received and elected to take advantage of training schemes run during the school term in the form of INSET days and other training initiatives used for the continued development of educators and their support teams. Another point that is raised is the lack of training for the equipment in the section titled “Using the equipment” on page 91 the writer seems confused,” there has been no training of the equipment but it has been used when teaching. The basics were taught by ICT employees showing how to use the equipment before teaching” This statement makes very little sense, either no training had been provided or limited training had been provided. It is difficult to determine what the author meant.

In conclusion the report contains some interesting facts and does provoke a desire to read further into the subject area. However more could have been done to give a balanced view of how IT training is managed in schools. The report presents a biased view of one school based in Hampshire and does not attempt to compare the findings with other schools in the same county or Local Education Authority. If this was the intention of the author then the title for the report is flawed and should have read “How IT training is managed in Park Community School”. More effort could have been made to ensure that the sub headings in the report were accurate and the sections actually contain the material that the heading alludes to.

As stated earlier the secondary data described within the report was accurate and enlightening, however this did not improve the quality of the report which contains a lot of repetition between sections of a similar headings in different chapters.

The main message in the report is the lack of training for the use of IT in schools and the fact the researcher feels that they could have received better training in the use of the equipment in the school. However realistically, no matter how much training is provided, this does not ensure competence, but the increased use and adoption of these technologies to assist in the education of pupils can increase the abilities of the teacher and support staff.