About Me

For the last ten years I've been working in international schools in Thailand teaching ICT (Information Communication Technology) and Computer Science, prior to this I have worked for several years in software support and also taught English as a Foreign Language. I'm particularly interested in using ICT as a tool for transforming education and in the impact of open source technologies upon learning. Twitter ID @ajduckworth

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Education Weebly

I'm always on the lookout for ways to simplify the transition to making schools more accessible online and Education Weebly certainly fits in this category. I've been quite impressed with the presentation of given on the Classroom 2.0 online conference. Am hoping to give it a try out shortly. It's basically an online tool for creating online classroom websites and most of the functionality is available through drag and drop editing It includes the ability for students to submit assignments online and tro create limited sites of their own under the overall administration of the teacher. As my school has not yet quite got the funding for a VLE this seems to offer a sensible option for teachers within schools to set up their own sites. Quite whether I'll use it for assignment submission I'm not sure, currently the teacher sets up the submissions so that they come into his/her email inbox. It also seems to be more suited for primary school teachers, ie teachers with fewer students. As I have over 160 students it's important to reduce cost and administration as much as possible. Nevertheless, if you were thinking of starting a class blog or wiki, then I would say give Weebly a chance and I think you'll be impressed with the added functionaility.

Friday, October 2, 2009

School MIS - Serco Facility- getting started

Although I'm trying to keep this blog updated, work inevitably gets in the way. My school is installing a management information system (Serco Facility), formerly known as CMIS , and the first steps to this involve a mountain of data collection, data entry and checking. I made an estimate that it has taken around 200 man hours to complete this. So if your school is heading down this route, you would be well advised to plan ahead in terms of securing sufficient staff time to complete this. Additionally, the start of the academic year is probably not the best time to do it, especially if you work in a school where students are joining two or three weeks into the term, other students are still changing their mind about which subjects they want to study and new teachers are being taken on after the start of term. Such are the challenges of working in an dynamic and expanding school. So it was with some relief that I finally zipped up all the data files and sent them off to Serco for processing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Social Bookmarking

Just wanted to plug the social bookmarking tool, Diigo, that I use for recording interesting and useful sites connected with ICT, technology and education. Having tried one of the long established social bookmarking sites, del.icio.us I've found Diigo to offer much more functionality. Some people say it's more complicated, but really I found it takes only a little time to adapt. It's widely used by others in education and makes finding material and resources so much easier. The one main disadvantage I do find is that the toolbar for diigo doesn't work too well with Firefox. Diigo doesn't always seem to have compatible add ons, so you somwetimes have to switch to Internet Explorer in order to bookmark a new site. Nevertheless, as with any social networking site, it offers a good way to improve your expertise through groups and by following people with similar interests. My personal bookmarks are at http://www.diigo.com/profile/royston_vasey.


Screencasting is the real-time recording of screen activity. It is used largely as a means to create how to tutorial videos for software. I use screencasting to produce tutorials for students, but it is also nice to have the students themselves create videos themselves. Camstudio is a popular option, however one of its main drawbacks is that the files are created are rather large and need to be compressed afterwards. Jing on the otherhand produces videos that are uploaded to the jing project website. Both these programs are free, however if you are more serious about producing screen tutorials then Camtasia may be your program of choice. Unfortunately, this comes with a price tag.

Update 27th September 2010
Thank's to Chris Smith I'm now a convert to Screenr. The main advantage is the high resolution and direct storage on the Web. If only more tutorial videos were produced at better resolutions like those made with Screenr.

Curriculum Resources

Just came across this great new site with ICT curriculum resources. www.gr82bgeeky.co.uk which has full lessons for a range of of ICT stages.
KS3 Year 7 schemes of work include: E safety, Scratch, Spreadsheets, DTP Travel Brochure
Year 8 includes a Scheme of work using Alice, the programming environment to make an animation. Alice offers a nice step up from Scratch and unlike Scratch characters and objects can be rendered in 3-D. There are a good set of self assessment materials for each SOW.
The resources for GCSE aren't quite as extensive but include some good revision resources.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Site4ICT RSS site Latest ICT in Education News

My public RSS news page is at http://www.netvibes.com/aduckworth

ICT Network and Classroom Management Software

Am looking for alternatives to the NetOps software that we currently use. The main commercial alternatives include Ranger, Impero, AB Tutor, RM Tutor and NetSupport School.
Impero and AB Tutor both seem to get a thumbs up from users on www.edugeek.net
LANview is free and ITALC is an open source alternative,however it doesn't come with internet filtering and at the moment seem to be more suitable for smaller schools. I'm experimenting with the free internet filter Kidzui but this is client based.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

School Report Mangement Software

I'm looking for some report management software that will allow students to login and see their homework results online. Sourge Force lists open source possibilities. It seems that most such software is aimed as whole school solutions.