Open Thinkering


Tag: downloads

Take your computer with you with PortableApps!

Sometimes we have to use computers that are not our own. Many times we have more than one that we use – for example one at home and one at school. Wouldn’t it be great if you could take all of your settings from one computer to the next, instead of having to configure each individually?

Enter Portable Apps. It’s a suite of free and open-source applications that can be installed anywhere, including a USB flash drive. Users can then run the applications from there, in effect ‘taking their settings with them’!

History KS3 Programme of Study for QCA 2008 orders

Normally I try to be wide-ranging and all-encompassing on this blog. I try to discuss issues that others will face and share my full or partial solutions to problems I encounter. This post is no different; the only thing that will change is the size of the target audience. You need to be able to answer yes to the following questions for this post to be much use to you:

  1. Teach in England? Keep reading!
  2. A History teacher? Keep reading!
  3. Looking to change your Key Stage 3 Programme of Study? Keep reading!

Now that I’ve suitably reduced and targeted the intended audience, let’s get down to business… 😉

I’m not a Head of Department. At the moment, I’ve no intention of being. But I do want an input into the reaction to the changes QCA has specified for September 2008. These change the way in which History is delivered in Key Stage 3 (11-14) in Secondary schools. The best way to get my head around things, I find, and to get to grips with them properly, is to attempt to try and show others in as simple a way as possible.

You might not think that a 30-page document would qualify as ‘simple and straightforward’, but I’m hoping that you change your mind after having a look through it. I’ve attempted to encompass everything I should have, with links to stuff worth including within 8 sections:

1. Rationale
2. Context
3. Opportunities
4. Curriculum overview
5. Key Concepts & Processes
6. Scheme of Work
7. Attainment targets
8. Further reading

I’m aware I should put in a section for ‘general resources’, but felt it was getting a little unwieldy, plus I wanted to get it online before I tinker with it too much. I’ve included the ‘Context’ section so you can understand that my school is perhaps skewed towards the top end of the ability range and the little quirks inherent in each school/department.. :p

The following is released under a Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution Non-Commercial Sharealike License:

Word icon Word 97-2003 format

PDF icon PDF format

HTML icon HTML (web page) format

So, if you’re a History teacher and/or have an interest in these things, I’d like some feedback please! 😀

(image credit: Pretty Post-Its by blese @ Flickr)

AppleTV? Pah!

I’m selling my AppleTV. At the end of the day it was all very pretty and had the usual Apple goodness, but didn’t live up to what I was used to with my modified Xbox running XBMC. So I’ve put it on eBay (ends 23 March 2008).

I was delighted, therefore, to come across a short Engadget post entitled Myka sneaks Bittorrent into the living room. So delighted, in fact, that I’ve pre-ordered one of the units which should appear sometime in the summer. “What is it?” I hear you ask…

Myka - front view

Well, quite clearly you can see that it’s a box that connects directly to a TV and, excitingly, it sports the official Bittorrent logo. This means that various TV shows and films can be downloaded directly to the device instead of having to download separately and then transfer over.

You see, I don’t really want companies telling me what I can or cannot do with my media. I also don’t want people telling me what I can or cannot download from the Internet. I just want a device that can play everything I throw at it, without complaints. Oh, and if I can download stuff straight to it, so much the better. Enter Myka and ‘her’ tech specs:

Key Features

  • WiFi enabled – 802.11/g
  • Direct ethernet connector for direct connection
  • HDMI, Composite, S-Video and SPDIF ports for maximum flexibility
  • Internal hard drive choice of 80, 160 or 500 gigabytes
  • BitTorrent peer to peer software built in
  • USB port for expansion

More geeky specs here. You can gather the sheer wonder and joy it’s likely to bring by just gazing at the plethora of ports at the back of the device:

Myka - back view

Component and S-video in, digital out, LAN, USB, HDMI… wonderful! I’ve gone on the pre-order list for an 80GB version ($299) with no obligation to buy. It’s all done via Google Checkout, so I’ve every confidence in my (potential) purchase.

This. Could. Be. Awesome. 😀