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Dangers of Technology MYP Project Friday, 31 October 2008

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These are the links for the documents relevant to our Dangers of Technology project:

Project planner/Topic sheet

Annotated Assessment Rubric


Tech Helper MYP Project Friday, 31 October 2008

Posted by D in myp comp apps 9.
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In case you have difficulty finding these documents in My Public Documents, you may download them directly from here:

These documents are in PDF format. Get Adobe Acrobat Reader if you haven’t got it yet.

Antivirus? Thursday, 30 October 2008

Posted by D in myp comp apps 10, myp comp studies g1, myp comp studies g2, tech support.
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A couple of articles you may want to read if you want to know more about computer virii (“viruses”).

Both from Australian PC Authority web site.

Can you trust antivirus rankings?

The antivirus software that I’m currently using at home is Bitdefender (Internet Security and Antivirus). AVG free seems to be the better solution when it comes to free alternatives, if you’re on a budget.

Windows 7 Thursday, 30 October 2008

Posted by D in miscellaneous, tech support.
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Another joke from Redmond. Read on if, for some weird reason, you want to know about the future of Windows.

This reminds so much about Windows 98 Second Edition! I never understood why I had to pay for an update as though it’s an huge upgrade…

Anyway, over to the links:

Read this article from Australian PC Authority Magazine website.

More on Windows 7 from Paul Thurrot’s Windows Supersite.

One website has a positive bias toward Windows 7, or is it trying to be unbiased?

The other one is negatively biased against Windows 7.

Checklist for MYP Projects Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Posted by D in myp comp apps 10, myp comp apps 9, myp comp studies g1, myp comp studies g2.
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Hopefully this checklist will help you organize yourselves in order to complete each stage of your MYP Computer Technology projects.

Checklist (PDF download)

MYP Technology Project Checklist


  • Identify the problem (say what the problem is)

  • Explain the problem and say why it is relevant (important)

  • Find information about the problem from many different, good sources

  • Summarise each source

  • Evaluate those sources (say why they are good/better/best) and state how you used them
  • Develop a design brief = Say how you will solve the problem you identified, in general terms.

  • Prepare a design specification = a detailed description of how your solution must be so you can solve the problem, everything you need for your solution (or to make the product) and what your solution can and cannot do. What you write here has to be important for you (the designer) and the user (the person/people who will use or be helped by your solution or product). All your suggested and appropriate solutions will need to meet the terms of the design specification.

  • Describe (say in detail) how you are going to test your product against the design specification (how you will check whether you product sticks to the specification)

Criterion B: DESIGN

  • Compare each possible mode (media) against your design specifications

  • Choose one mode and justify your choice in terms of how it meets your design specifications

  • Make several (at least three, four optimal) different designs for the mode you chose

  • Explain how all your designs meet the design specification (you can show how you are going to put each design spec. in each layout/design)

  • Choose one (or more, if appropriate) design and explain in detail:

  • Why you chose that design and not the others

  • How and why it meets the requirements of your design specification better than the others you dropped.

Criterion C: PLAN

  • Make a detailed plan of logical steps (sequenced, in proper order) describing how you will use:

    • The resources (everything you’ll use to create your product and/or what you need to implement your solution)

    • The steps you need to take (what you will do) to create the product

    • The time (timeline, Gantt chart, when you’ll do it)

  • Explain and evaluate your plan (pros and cons / strengths and weaknesses, what if… alternatives for the weak points)

  • Justify any modifications you made to your design (the one you chose in the previous step)

Criterion D: CREATE

  • Follow your plan, justifying any modifications you make (if you deviate from your plan and/or your design)

  • Document the creation of your product using a journal (Format: Date, Comments, Screenshots/screencast, explanation of screenshots/screencasts, problems, how you solved problems, modifications)

  • Your product must

    be as good as possible (of “Appropriate quality” 1) using the resources available to you and/or those resources you have chosen to use (in the  planning section)

Criterion E: EVALUATE

  • Objectively evaluate your product/solution based on:

    • Does the product do what you said in the design brief? (does it meet your goal and solve the problem?)

    • The results from the ways of testing2 the design specs.

    • How would you improve on these ways of testing the design specifications?

  • Explain how your product/solution can be improved based on the feedback and evaluation you have done

  • Evaluate your own performance at each stage of the design cycle (compare initial and final Gantt charts, talk about strengths and weaknesses, etc.)

  • Suggest improvements to your performance at each stage of the design cycle

  • Explain how your product/solution will impact/change/improve (people’s) life, society, and/or the environment

1 Appropriate quality:This is the best product/solution that you can produce, taking into account the resources available (hardware, software), the skills and techniques you have used, your educational development (what you know and have learned), how the product/solution addresses the identified need, and aspects of safety and ergonomics.

2 Product testing: Here is where you show people your product and give them the tests that you created at the end of your investigation section. You can also check if the product solves the problem / fulfill the need, applied to the context and presented to the end-users or target audience.

Common mistakes in Investigation Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Posted by magicpockets in myp comp apps 10, myp comp apps 9, myp comp studies g1, myp comp studies g2.
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Over the past few years, we have noticed that many MYP students don’t clearly understand how to get the best possible marks on this section of the project.  Causes of this vary, but the most common issue seems to be a misunderstanding of the role of the rubric in this process.

The rubric is what the MYP technology teacher actually uses to mark your projects. Therefore, if you can clearly understand what the teacher is looking for, you have a good chance of scoring in the upper zones of the assessment criteria:

Firstly, lets talk in general terms about what is necessary to include in your work, roughly in chronological order:

1)  Explain the issue / problem that your project is trying to address. It’s critical at this point that you are able to JUSTIFY the need for your project to exist; normally, this requires you to explain in some detail why your project will be useful and help people within a certain audience.

2(  Next, after you establish a valuable or worthy topic, it is now time for you to display your ability to critically investigate the problem and evaluate the research data from a broad range of appropriate and acknowledged sources.  Most successful projects will display good research on both the topic under consideration and some potential modes to present it with.

You, the MYP and Debbie Zigglegainsburger

A common problem that occurs here is referred to as the Debbie Zigglegainsburger mistake.  If you had a crush on Debbie Zigglegainsburger and wanted to look up her number in the phone book, you would not begin at the letter A and read all the way to Z before finding Debbie’s name…right?

Similarly, when you do research, you shouldn’t just type in a general set of words to Google and expect to find success.  Its important to take a moment to ask some defining questions in terms of the topic, the probable knowledge level of your audience (a questionnaire helps here) and a varying set of opinions regarding the pros and cons of your chosen topic.

Here’s a simple example to illustrate:  Imagine that you have been asked to do a project on the “dangers of technology”.  You decide to do your project on the use of cell phones in modern society.

So…..following on what I wrote earlier, it would first be important to determine a useful issue or problem that exists in relatiion to cell phones.  A common concern for many people involves the role of radiation and the dangers of cancers caused by these devices.  So, logically, it would be a good idea to hand out a questionnaire and determine the knowledge level concerning this question.  If a large number of respondents don’t appear to know much about this topic or appear to be unconcerned, this would offer a good justification for the existence of your project!  In other words, you want to warn other people about the possible dangers of using cellphones.

Next, you will have to break down the topic into smaller components to make it easier to research. A brainstorming approach might work well here.  After the brainstorming, it might become easier to break down the topic into smaller, more doable questions like “Who says cellphones are safe? Why?”  Who says cellphones are dangerous? Why?”….or do some cellphones release more radiation than others?….you get the picture by now.

In order to do the research, don’t depend entirely on using the internet.  Consider the role of a questionnaire (use Surveymonkey for this purpose…its free) and collate the data together.  Also, look into the library for those odd looking square things that collect dust….commonly referred to as “books”.  Periodicals, magazines and newspaper articles can also yield valuable and very up to date information for your research.

Getting tired?  Please send in comments or questions below….. I will continue with all this shortly.

MYP Advanced tutorial G2 project Sunday, 26 October 2008

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Hey there! It was a real joy to see you guys again and share a class last Thursday. I’m sorry it was mostly a lecture introducing your last MYP Computer Technology project, the “Advanced Tutorial” (let’s abbreviate it as MYP AT).

joke-myp warning

"This is Spartaaaa" joke - MYP warning!

Remember that the process (and the Design Folder or Folio, or write-up) is more important than the product here! Your product has to meet your Design Specs. and be completed, so be careful not to spend too much time creating the product (the fun part, I know) – you have a report and a journal to write as well… This is MYP! muahahahaha.

Summarising what we talked about, these are the highlights:

  • The main idea of the project is to find sources of information and learn the advanced software skills and techniques that will allow you to produce a high-quality IGCSE Coursework. (Investigation)
  • The product of this project will be a tutorial showing those advanced software skills and techniques (I)
  • You will carefully pick your Design Specifications, brainstorm and pick a mode (media) and a design (layout) that meets your D. S. – the recommendation here is to include the following in your D. Specs.: your time contraints (limitations) and the requirement of efficiency (you need to complete this project quickly and at the same time meet your objective (Design)
  • Carefully, realistically and using logic and common sense, Plan the steps you need to create of your product
  • Create and document the implementation of your plan using a journal. Note that the product may be your IGCSE Coursework solution.
  • Evaluate your performance at each stage of the project (I-D-P-C), suggest possible improvements, show the results of your product testing (does it comply with your initial Design Specs?)

Another points contrasting your MYP AT project with the IGCSE Coursework (from the documentation perspective):

In the MYP AT project, you show how you create the product. This means the MYP project could be a tutorial showing how you create your solution for the IGCSE Coursework. (“2 birds with one shot” approach)

The IGCSE Coursework’s documentation aspects are two (very roughly, of course):

  • Technical documentation (how to maintain, modify, expand your system/solution)
  • User documentation (show someone who thinks the xbox 360 is a gaming supercomputer 8\ how to use your solution)

Please also refer to

My posts about

You may be asked for a log-in and a password. Use your own.

Curiosity is essential in technology.

Screencasting with Jing Sunday, 26 October 2008

Posted by D in comp apps 11/12, myp comp apps 10, myp comp apps 9, myp comp studies g1, myp comp studies g2.
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jing logo screenshot

jing logo screenshot

The best free software to capture screenshots (static pictures or “photos” of your computer screen) or screencasts (short video clips of what you are doing in your computer screen) is Jing. Techsmith has better paid alternatives (Snagit, Camtasia Studio), but then again, they’re not as cheap as free.

Jing comes in Mac OS X and Windows flavours, is a free download, and you can find lots of information (FAQs) and tutorials on how to use it at the developers’ blog.

In our case, I recommend you to save the captures as files to your Local storage to be later embedded into a webpage.

Many of you have commented on not being able to edit Jing’s SWF videos.

If you want a more powerful application, the “professional”, alternatives to Jing are Adobe Captivate and Camtasia Studio. Both have trial versions that you may want to use. Windows only. These two are not free, obviously.


Create a web page with OpenOffice.org Sunday, 26 October 2008

Posted by D in comp apps 11/12, myp comp apps 10, myp comp apps 9, myp comp studies g1, myp comp studies g2, pd.
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Not my first option to create web pages, but it may make things easier sometimes…


  1. Open OpenOffice.org Writer (text document)
  2. Enable and use the toolbars shown in the “OOo web options/toolbars” screenshot
  3. Create your document
  4. Save it (ODT or your favourite format) – as a backup
  5. Go to File > Save as… (screenshot: “OOo Writer Save as”) and choose HTML as shown in the “OOo Save as HTML” screenshot. I’d recommend you to save to a folder specifically created to store your webpage. Later you can upload the whole folder to your Web Documents at school.
  6. Open the HTML file with a web browser to check the results. Writer is not a web page editor per se, so don’t expect it to be a replacement for Adobe Dreamweaver!
OOo web options/toolbars

OOo web options/toolbars

OOo Save as...

OOo Writer Save as...

OOo Save as HTML

OOo Save as HTML

OpenOffice.org resources Sunday, 26 October 2008

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This is just a starting point. There are many resources on OOo (OpenOffice.org), which we will regularly add and update, time allowing.

OpenOffice.org video tutorials from Netosis.com

News article on OOo v3.0 (Linux Format web site)

How to create a web page (Kompozer) Sunday, 26 October 2008

Posted by D in comp apps 11/12, myp comp apps 10, myp comp apps 9, myp comp studies g1, myp comp studies g2, pd.
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Here are some links that will show you how to use Kompozer (the web creation software available at school). Kompozer is free, and it also has a Linux and Windows version, besides the Mac OS X one that we use at school.

There is a very handy 2 page Kompozer tutorial included in Linux Format Issue 112 (December 2008) – Get creative!

The article is “Get creative: make a website – Anybody who’s anybody has a web presence thesedays. We show you how to create a website quickly and easily with the help of WYSIWYG tool Kompozer. (Mike Saunders)

Kompozer guide with screenshots

A good, but not very visual, Kompozer tutorial

Quick Guide

Konpozer video tutorial by netosis.com

And of course, you could search for “Kompozer tutorial” on youtube, or any of your favourite online resources.

Video Tutorial (Windows, resolution’s horrible, though, but it’s narrated):

Back up your iPod Sunday, 26 October 2008

Posted by D in tech support.
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This article is the answer to a question I’ve been asked many times: How to copy music from an iPod to a computer?

Hope you find it useful.

For those of you who don’t read articles (or simply don’t have the time to do so), here are the links (for all iPods, except the iPod touch/iPhone) to free software that will allow you to backup the music library from your iPod:

If you have a newer iPod (touch) or iPhone, you’ll have to read the article, sorry.

Firefox add ons Sunday, 26 October 2008

Posted by D in pd, tech support.
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I came across this good article on the top 5 Firefox add-ons. May be useful to some of you, even if it is just to show you that you can actually expand and improve Firefox.

Cnet/Download.com video

Firefox add-ons page

OOo Calc: Gradebooks Wednesday, 22 October 2008

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This post contains links to a video tutorial divided into a few sections.

It will show you how to use OpenOffice.org’s Calc spreadsheet in order to keep your grades.

This is the tutorial webpage I’ve set up. It has short explanations under each video clip.

Time allowing, I will re-record and add some clips. Please feel free to comment on this video, it’s a quick and rough attempt at a tutorial and any feedback will be useful to create better resources in the future.

Tutorial Project Workflow Tuesday, 21 October 2008

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Technology Tutorial Workflow

  1. Define General Topic
  2. Narrow down topic (3 to 5 features or things you can do)
  3. Learn to do what you’re showing in the tutorial
  4. Script or define specifically what you’ll show in the tutorial
    • narration + video
    • screenshot + text
  5. Rehearse (video > very important):
    • what and when to record
    • what and when to narrate
  6. Create tutorial
    • record video + voice
    • take screenshots
  7. Post processing:
    • Add arrows
    • highlight screenshots
    • text comments on video
  8. Create the final document:
    • video = web page, presentation
    • static = odt, pdf. Web site

Tutorial Project Assessment Criteria Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Posted by D in comp apps 11/12.
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This is only for the OFS Computer Applications 11/12 class.

Tutorial project assessment rubric:



Use of screenshots only or


Use of video (or video + screenshots)


Text explanations/comments


At least 4 features taught

2 (1 point every 2 features)

Work presented in web, word processed document, PDF, or presentation

1 point


6 + base point = 7

Workflows Tuesday, 21 October 2008

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We’ll be trying to guide you the best possible way so you successfully complete your MYP projects.

The tool we will be using is this blog, plus the MyOFS online homework, and posting workflows for our projects. Of course these workflows are very simplified, more like instructions or a plan for the lessons. Apologies for stretching the concept of workflows if that bothers you.

Workflow for Current MYP Projects Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Posted by D in myp comp apps 10, myp comp apps 9.
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Today’s (Monday or Tuesday) class work was:

  1. Place Gantt chart on your web documents or any online resource that is easy to access (Google Docs, blogs, wikis, etc.)
  2. Topic has to be selected and narrowed down
  3. 5 sources on your topic (they should help you build your context, define and describe your problem, and come up with your design specifications.

Next lesson’s work:

Write your

  1. Problem Definition
  2. Context of the problem (Why is it important to do a project about it?)
  3. Audience (who are you teaching about this issue?)
  4. Design Specifications (conditions, limitations, features of your final product)

Homework for next class:

  • Write the Ways of Testing the Design Specifications
  • Research the mode if you haven’t done so
  • Polish what you have done in class, if necessary.
  • Continue research. Find more useful sources of information of different types according to your rubric (to be linked to this post soon).

Your last class of next week is our deadline for the Investigation section. Do not talk about the specific application/mode/media here!

Resources for Gantt charts Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Posted by D in myp comp apps 10, myp comp apps 9, myp comp studies g1, myp comp studies g2.
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Here are some resources we have been working on:

Note that you have to change the timings in the template. They’re up to you, but the more detailed, the better.

There’s also a great tutorial on how to create Gantt charts using OpenOffice.org’s Calc.

And you may also want to check wikipedia’s article on Gantt charts.