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The Failed Revolution? 23 February, 2013

Posted by paralleldivergence in education, ICT in Education, Politics.
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4 comments

I’ve posted several articles here about Kevin Rudd’s/Julia Gillard’s Digital Education Revolution, from its ambitious inception through to one state’s innovative interpretation of it, and ultimately its relegation to national folly status.  Then I read Greg Whitby’s latest article.

gregwhitby

I tried posting a comment on the Australian Teacher Magazine’s guest article last night, but comments are moderated because their teachers and readers can’t be trusted to comment professionally, and I just can’t allow Mr Whitby’s post to stand without any visible responses.

I’m so sorry that other states and educational jurisdictions did not have the foresight back in 2007/8 to realise that the Federal Government’s original funding plan for computers to allocate to students alone was never going to be “revolutionary”. The $2.3B plan was flawed from the start and every state should have challenged the Federal government to deliver a viable end to end solution rather than something that might sound good to voters. You can’t get value from PCs if they are not connected to the Internet and if they don’t have local technical support. And most importantly, you can’t use them effectively as a teaching and learning tool without targeted professional development for teachers.

That’s exactly what the NSW Government of the time did through the strong recommendation of the NSW Education Department. They actually directed all public high schools in NSW to boycott the first year’s funds (something that was totally unheard of!) until the Federal government finally relented and agreed to a further $550M to also fund managed wireless in every single learning space, a full-time in-school Technical Support Officer for every high school and funding to allow for necessary ongoing staff development each year and the creation of relevant and practical resources. In addition, the NSW Government understood how critical it would be that every high school teacher also has their own laptop computer and funded that purchase themselves.  All of this was done to ensure that that state’s version of the Revolution could have the chance to actually be successful and revolutionary.

The DER NSW project is now in its 5th and unfortunately, final year. Did its legacy deserve to be described as Greg Whitby did? Hardly. It’s worth looking at a real academic evaluation of the program before judging it as “an initiative of its time”. The NSW Government arranged for such research and has proudly posted it all for the world.  That’s why “the New South Wales Government (is) seeking a funding guarantee from the Commonwealth to replace outdated computers”, Greg.

Corporate IT Support and the 21st Century User 9 November, 2011

Posted by paralleldivergence in ICT in Education, Internet, technology.
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8 comments

TRADITIONALLY, ICT Support is a regimented service, based on providing known or predictable support for a limited range of products in a carefully structured business environment. Users are supplied with access to standardised hardware systems and applications that have been approved in the standard operating environment and their range of access is limited according to their status. When they are faced with a problem (aka ‘incident’), they are usually directed to one recommended path to gain ICT support, but often they have a negative perception of it – too arduous to report and too long to wait for action, leading to a view that ICTs are too unreliable to use.

Courtesy: The IT Crowd

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Aortic Dissection and Me – part one 13 September, 2011

Posted by paralleldivergence in aorta, dissection, education, health, Life, My Thoughts, surgery.
5 comments

IT WAS November 1999. My then 72 year old father suffered from what he thought was heatstroke after a long day in the sun with friends at a picnic. He collapsed for a short while and complained that he couldn’t see, but after a short rest he felt well enough to drive home. Upon arrival, he told my mother he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to lie down. My mother took one look at him and told him he had to go to the doctor and called my sister over. My mother and sister saved his life with their actions.

Aortic Dissection

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The Digital Education Real Illusion 18 July, 2011

Posted by paralleldivergence in education, ICT in Education, Internet, Politics, technology.
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22 comments

THE PROMISE. The challenge. The delivery. The difference. The Australian Digital Education Revolution was rightly heralded as a real gamechanger in school education nation-wide. When Kevin Rudd as opposition leader proclaimed, “This is the toolbox of the 21st Century” while holding up a laptop computer and  subsequently promised access to a computer for every student in years 9 through 12, we knew this was something big. This truly was an Education Revolution.

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School Sign War 19 April, 2011

Posted by paralleldivergence in funny photos, Life, My Thoughts.
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2 comments

Competition begins even at the earliest stages of life.

As inspired by the Church Sign War.

Thank God for Tim Minchin. 9 April, 2011

Posted by paralleldivergence in God, Humor, Life, My Thoughts, psychics, Religion, Resolutions.
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8 comments

…and Don Miguel Ruiz. I’ve now been living my life for many years by following Ruiz’s Four Agreements. First published in 1997, this book helped me to reinforce the logic and way of thinking I’d been developing through my own maturity and put it into four simple concepts that I could follow for life.

Agreement 1
Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Agreement 2
Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Agreement 3
Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Agreement 4
Always do your best - Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

And another person who appears to live his life according to the same or similar philosophy is Tim Minchin. Today I discovered his newly animated beat-poem called Storm. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Selling Yammer in NSW DET 28 January, 2011

Posted by paralleldivergence in education, ICT in Education, Internet, yammer.
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11 comments

The New South Wales Department of Education and Training (NSW DET) is the largest education authority in the southern hemisphere catering for over 755,000 public school students across more than 2,200 schools. A further 504,000 students are enrolled in TAFE courses across 135 colleges in the state. Add to that 10 regional offices and TAFE administration centres and a similar number of state offices, and it can be clearly seen that staff are massively siloed – thousands of islands all trying to do similar jobs. The logistics of professionally supporting such a diverse staff on an ongoing basis are mind-blowing.

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Well May We Say “Advance Australia Fair” 24 June, 2010

Posted by paralleldivergence in elections, Internet, My Thoughts, Politics, voting.
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10 comments

…because NOTHING will advance Julia Gillard. As the Australian Labor Party prepares to vote in the country’s first ever female prime minister, I’m waiting for Kevin Rudd to come out with a quotation for the history books, but I doubt he’ll be echoing Gough Whitlam’s infamous and nonsensical quote from his dismissal in 1975.

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iPad Changes Everything 2 June, 2010

Posted by paralleldivergence in apple, education, ICT in Education, Internet, ipad, Life, technology.
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24 comments

Every so often an invention comes along that is a game changer. Most of the really good ones like the Wheel, Electricity, Light Bulb and Plumbing pre-date me, but I am fortunate to live in a time where the rate of progress now is such that I can witness many of the newest breakthroughs first-hand. Arguably, the Apple iPad is one of these breakthroughs.


Image courtesy of philderksen

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What is the Point of Life? 26 March, 2010

Posted by paralleldivergence in afterlife, astronomy, Earth, God, heaven, hell, Life, Religion.
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50 comments

Today I received a personal invitation from Aim for Awesome to share my thoughts on “The Point of Life”. Vern said it could be “two sentences, or two pages – up to you”. Anybody who could so profoudly sum up the answer to this question in two sentences is a better person than me. To me, it’s a question that demands respectful consideration.

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Stop Phishing: Websites and Users Working Together 5 February, 2010

Posted by paralleldivergence in Internet, Life, My Thoughts, passwords, security.
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7 comments

PHISHING is a worldwide problem. Unscrupulous cyber-criminals, unsuspecting Internet users and apathetic web-service providers: It’s a volatile mix that will always benefit the crook. Hell, if the user is stupid enough to click on a link in an email message and gladly provide their user account details, they deserve what they get! 

 
image courtesy of Financial Services Technology

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How many light bulbs does it take to change teaching? 3 January, 2010

Posted by paralleldivergence in education, ICT in Education, Internet, My Thoughts, technology.
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54 comments

Everyday my email inbox alerts me to at least one teacher who has become a new follower on Twitter. Now while I’m definitely not the best ed-tech guy in Twitterland to follow, I like to think that for each of those emails, a light bulb has switched on somewhere and a teacher is working to change, or at least keep up with the change that’s continually going on all around them.


photo courtesy of purplemattfish

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If God Was an Alien… 7 November, 2009

Posted by paralleldivergence in astronomy, Earth, God, Hubble, My Thoughts, Religion.
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19 comments

The Parallel Divergence blog has been around for over three years now with sporadic articles being posted covering a wide range of topics, all carefully crafted with the intention of making the reader think, question and respond. I’ve enjoyed the large number of comments that most of my articles attract and I’ve learned from people who both share and completely oppose my various points of view. But recently, a reader comment was posted that grabbed me totally.

godalien

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All We Are is Dust in the Wind 25 September, 2009

Posted by paralleldivergence in Earth, Geology, God, Life, My Thoughts, NSW, shock.
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6 comments

SEPTEMBER 23, 2009: The Australian Outback visits Sydney – the nation’s largest city. It was Nature reminding Man that it cannot be taken for granted and will not be ignored.

 dust
Photo by NSW Maritime

Man often thinks he can do anything. Clearing jungles, re-routing rivers, building cities. But it’s nothing to crow about as we are cautioned that with just a shudder, Mother Earth is always in control. 

Imagine the power. With merely a breath, the planet can pick up five million tonnes of dust and dirt whip it into a front 800 kilometres long and drive it more than 1,100 kilometres from Central Australia to the east coast and out to the Pacific Ocean – all in less than a day. Coating anything and everything in its way, the dust storm caused havoc, stopping industry and transport and costing millions in lost productivity.

This planetary nudge was a reminder that from Dust we came and to Dust we will return. Man’s miniscule reign is just an itch in Earth’s four-billion year grandeur. All we are is Dust in the Wind.

You Better Start Swimmin’ or You’ll Sink Like a Stone 4 September, 2009

Posted by paralleldivergence in education, ICT in Education, Internet, Life, My Thoughts, Politics, technology.
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21 comments

Today I “attended” an educational technologies conference. Well sort of. I wasn’t there, but then again, I was. IWBnet’s “Leading a Digital School” conference was on at the Gold Coast in sunny Queensland and while I was unable to be a delegate at the venue, I had the next best thing. Many of the delegates who were there, were happy to instantly share their experience with the rest of the world via Twitter.

visibletweets
Relive the IWBnet Conference via Visible Tweets

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