This laptop has problems

Half the keyboard doesn’t work

“And yet, when I tried it at home I had no problems”

Sound familiar?

It’s actually a design feature – making half the keyboard not work as expected.

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Easy ways to cause trouble

Who would have thought it?

number balloons breaking pole

Here’s a fascinating problem I saw in a school today.

The current teacher is constantly re-calibrating their whiteboard.

Here’s why. These number balloons were attached between the pole for the projector and a wall.

Unfortunately, this is an old school building and the projector pole is coming down from a 20 foot high ceiling. When I took the balloons down I was very surprised at the weight of the rope and balloons.

‘Give me a lever long enough and I’ll move the world’ – the levering effect of the balloons on such a long strut has been to BEND the pole! This is a serious piece of steel tube!

Do you have any similar stories of ‘good ideas’ that caused horrendous problems?

Becta – so near to linking up Britain?

Is this the saviour of schools broadband?

hallaton village2

Are you interested in the sustainability of internet connectivity in your school? What could the opportunities be?

I recently saw a tweet by Jon Hunt – whose website shows him to be an Education Broadband Specilaist. Jon had done some research through Becta’s website and highlighted 3 recent papers. if you’d like much more thorough analysis of these items, then Jon’s site is worth a look.

Response to Digital Britain is a fairly short document and contains some great ideas, especially in relation to rural schools – a significant minority of remote rural schools remain simply too expensive to connect to NGA. Ironically, their very remoteness means they are the schools with potentially the most to gain from next generation broadband access.  The paper shows technical ways in which a school could provide links to the community. Is there a simpler way for schools to share the burden of the cost of broadband AND help the local community – like renting out space? Why can’t a village primary school provide a desk, internet and work space for a fee? Safeguarding is clearly an issue, but if there was ever a time for school leaders to think outside the box – surely it’s now. What do you think?

Next Generation Access is – by it’s nature a weighty document. This document shows – amongst other things ideas where schools broadband could be opened up to local users in rural communities. I’ve been discussing this idea with headteachers for a few years – ‘just thinking out loud’. No headteacher has dismissed it yet as ridiculous.

Looking Ahead was published after the announcement of Becta’s closure and is (not surprisingly) somewhat briefer!  This short document picks up on some powerful points education broadband is the only available broadband in some areas … A heavy reliance on significant (and ongoing) contribution from schools – is this sustainable? … Fragmentation risk – schools/authorities opting out of RBC-/authority-led provision ..

Safe Image Searching

And the copyright has been sorted out as well

 The National Education Network Image Gallery has a mass of useful images, videos and audios for you to use in schools.

 It’s been pointed out to me that sometimes the search methods can be a bit ‘challenging’. There’s also very little to help you navigate (if there is, I couldn’t find it). So – here goes.

On the Teachers Page of the gallery is a very instructive document on how to download images and find either by browsing or by using the advanced search.

So – what about the basic search button?


Let’s see a few terms – I know my daughter put on a picture of a red squirrel. So let’s see what that gets ..


Not really.

Changing our search term to


Gives –


When you have the display on screen, the slideshow button gives you a slideshow of your search results.

A potential use in a school?

Pick a subject – for example Thames.

When the results show, select slideshow,then use one of the transition options and adjust the timing – this could make a great introduction to a subject – or even – ‘do you know what it is yet?’


Could your colleagues benefit from easy to access, safe images? How much more powerful will the gallery be if more people add material to it?

Is your disk filling up?

And you don’t know why?

Pocket digital cameras can quickly create monster video files. The original video of the Canadian Freight Train is 221Mb – from a pocket digital camera!

You could always browse your way through Windows Explorer and just figure it out – or you could download a fabulous free tool called SequoiaView and let that help you figure it out.

Here’s a pretty picture of my disk usage. I’m about to replace my hard drive anyway – that will be a future blog post – so it’s time to clear out the junk. But where is the junk?

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Ink Blogging with WordPress and Windows Live Writer

Dream big dreams

I’ve been experimenting with Windows Live Writer! (This is also known as playing).

Here is a picture I took a few years ago at the Rugby League Cup Final at Wembley. (When did it stop being new Wembley).

By using my 4 year old tablet PC and a fantastic plug in – WordPress really comes to life!

Next Steps for Becta

Dignified Exit? (From Becta today)

The priority for Becta is a well managed closure, which:

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Budget 2010

Now for something completely different

The budget may have come as a terrible shock for many. I was surprised by the ferocity of it, but not the message.

Vince Cable, the journalists in the Economist and the various ‘Think tanks’ have been advocating tough approaches for some time.

Here’s the question. What would schools and parents like ICT suppliers like ourselves to offer in the light of these announcements?

Here’s a few thought to start the ball rolling-

Freeze on current charges
Help schools to optimise their current investments
Help schools to optimise use of free software / websites
Host / facilitate mini teach meets
Provide cost-effective business training to schools staff

What would you like?

Another thought on Becta Planned Closure

Here is a slightly more progressive take on the government’s plans to close Becta

“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Alice Through the Looking Glass “… the grand narrative has lost its credibility, regardless of what mode of unification it uses, regardless of whether it is a speculative narrative or a narrative of emancipation.” Jean-François Lyotard After 14 years of service to education, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) is being retired.  Becta was … Read More

via Coherence of the inchoate

Using USB Memory Sticks Safely

USB memory sticks – brilliant concept, easy to use, no problem to transport – a huge amount of memory in a tiny package. But yet they seem to be the cause of endless problems! Data is lost or damaged when the stick is used incorrectly, or lost, or trodden on… If you follow the three simple steps in the diagram below, you’ll ensure that data will be transferred correctly, and even if something happens to your stick, all is not lost!