For a first year class in political science, last week’s chaos provided an ideal ‘teachable moment’.
As 300 students convened for a lecture on Minority Government and Constitutional Conventions on Thursday, Twitter alerted some students that senior Federal Minister Simon Crean planned to make a dramatic announcement. With quick thinking, Professor John Murphy broadcast the Parliament House media conference live using the auditorium AV system. Guest lecturer Nick Reece and Professor Murphy then abandoned the scheduled lecture topic in favour of an extended question and answer session, probing the breaking news. They invited students to think about next steps for the political players involved, the rules and strategic options for Australian political parties, the roles of factions, historical precedents and the nature of human ambition. A memorable Politics class followed, promoting engaged and critical reflection by hundreds of bright students.
Democracy may be confronting at times, but it also makes for a brilliantly lively conversation between teachers and students in the classroom.
– “A day in Politics“
Glyn Davis, From the Vice-Chancellor
28 March 2013
Archive for the 'education' Category
Tags: TED, TED2013
… “The Victorians created a global computer made up of people. It’s called the bureaucratic administrative machine,” says Mitra, in the bold opening of his talk. “In order to keep that running, you need lots and lots of people. They must be identical to each other … So they created a system, called school, to make parts [for this human computer]. They must have good handwriting, they must be able to read, and they must be able to add, subtract and do division.”
But these skills aren’t as necessary with the advent of computers.“It’s quite fashionable to say education system is broken,” says Mitra. “It’s not, It’s wonderfully constructed — it’s just that we don’t need it anymore. It’s outdated.”
We can’t imagine the technology of the future, and thus we can’t know what jobs we’ll need the skills for. So Mitra suggests that education should be about developing the ability to learn anything on one’s own. …
– A school in the cloud: Sugata Mitra accepts the TED Prize at TED2013 [TED]
Tags: microscope cameras
Back in our Microscope Cameras round #1 testing we tested the ToupCam SCMOS S01300KPA, 1.3MP unit and apart from the low magnification though that the product was usable. This had us investigating the ToupCam product range further.
ODCM0310C Digital camera for C-Mount, 3MP CMOS AUD$320.00via ProSciTech Pty Ltd (QLD)
ODCMZ-EAF-5 Eyepiece adapter for C-Mount camera fixed 0.05x AUD$25.00
These cameras are built by ToupTek and use the ToupView software package.
Software is readily available via the ToupTek download page on their website. No login account or ordering is required.
ToupView, ToupSee and ToupCam all have current versions that are in 32 and 64 bit formats.
Based on this week’s testing and discussion:
* The 3MP CMOS has been purchased. Only one presenters unit will be used rather than purchasing a full class set. To be reviewed at the end of 2013
* A BA80 microscope will be set up for use as a demonstration with the staff computer. This will involve some changes to the microscope stage / 4x object lens to allow movement through the objectives when displaying an imagine, due to focal point issues. Staff are happy to work around this issue.
Why staff like this camera:
* Software easy to use and upgrade, especially with the migration to Windows 7
* Produces far superior images and allows for students to understand what they should be viewing, as opposed to digital microscopes and a flex cam over a microscope eye piece. This is especially good given there are biology and combined science workshops based on using a microscope effectively
* Captured images can be used in the production of documents
eduroam (EDUcation ROAMing) is a global initiative, forming an agreement between educational and research institutions to share wireless access enabling inter-institutional roaming.
Having been offsite this week, but located at one of the teaching hospitals, I found myself needing to access eduroam from my iPhone and iPad. This shouldn’t be too hard, the iPhone is one of the standard/supported University phones so this should be well documented – as it turns out this is *not* the case.
The ITS – The University of Melbourne pages do not give details for configuring iOS devices for using eduroam and the ‘just the settings’ does not produce a connection that will allow you to access the network.
* Go to Settings
* Choose Wi-fi > Wi-Fi switch On
* Choose a network: eduroam
* Enter your firstname.lastname@example.org
* Enter your password
When you select the eduroam network you will be asked to authenticate, you authenticate using your home University credentials; in this case email@example.com and your central/email password.
* Review & Accept certificate
You may see an eduroam.unimelb.edu.au certificate that requests to be verified, try as hard as you can this cannot be authorised at this step in the connection and the connection will fail producing an “Unable to join the network” error message.
What are we missing?
eduroam mobile config file for iOS mobile devices
Users connecting iOS mobile devices to eduroam for the first time will need to install and run an eduroam mobile config file (via UTS).
Please note: users will need to accept a security certificate during the initial connection process.
Having accepted and installed the eduroam mobile config file, everything then proceeds as expected and we can connect to the wireless network.
To access sites external to the unimelb.edu.au domain, the proxy configuration will need to be set for the eduroam network. Use the ‘auto’ setting and http://www.unimelb.edu.au/cgi-bin/proxy.pac
Our teaching labs had a combination of old 3.5mm jack microphones that plugged in via the sound cards. Having already installed a few web cameras into these spaces it was a logically conclusion to investigate using the web cam + microphone to replace the older technology. We need microphones for all the PCs without introducing extra management elements;
Logitech c210 Webcam + microphone
The Logitech c210 Webcam 640 X 480 pixels, built-in microphone, USB 2.0 connection (RRP AU$40, but can be purchased for much cheaper) is a cheap but effective way of providing a USB web camera and USB microphone into the teaching labs.
* Q.217 has 28 x c210 deployed, includes presenter
* Q.214 has 31 x c210 deployed, includes presenter
(Q.213/MultiMedia Lab has 11 x Logitech USB desktop microphones deployed)
The microphones appear as “Microphone (Webcam c210)” – in the Audacity preferences and tool bar in this case.
Tags: AV, laptop, presentation
Also – is likely to be possible to have a way to have a Web App on the screen at the same as a PPT? In a lecture theatre in level two and other places?
If I have two screens – such as in Leicester street level one, can I split the projection there? If this possible – how do I do it?
1.) From the AMX controller select computer (I used room L1.06 for my testing, the other teaching spaces fitted with an IWB should provide a similar option.)
2.) Send the Laptop signal to the projector, send the Mac signal to the SmartBoard. This gives a different input for each projector. (These signals can be reversed depending on which option best suits the requirements)
TWO SCREENS, TWO IMAGES?
i.) The easiest way to have a PPT and the Web App is to have the PowerPoint running on the laptop (iPad?) and the Web App running from the Mac mini. It does mean that you are controlling two separate computers during the lecture – but there are no extra costs.
I WANT ALL THIS; FROM A LAPTOP!
ii.) You can use a USB Video card to give a second output from a single computer. These are relatively cheap, but can produce a poor image. You would need to test how PowerPoint behaves in this environment, it will most likely show the presentation on the primary graphic output and not the USB output.
eg. USB to Video Adaptor (Jaycar USB to DVI Adaptor, CAT. NO. XC4879, $69.95)
- The Jaycar USB to DVI Adaptor plugged straight into the PC laptop and was running in a few seconds (Compaq 6710b,Win XP). Setting the onboard graphics card to mirror to the laptop and external display gave the PPT output to ‘screen 1′. The web app was set to run on the USB and ‘gave screen 2′.
- The Jaycar USB to DVI Adaptor was not recognised by the MacBook (MacBook Pro, OSX.6.8), either directly connected or via a powered hub. (May need to trial the IOGEAR USB 2.0 External DVI/VGA Video Card for the Mac).
Using a USB 2.0 UGA Multi-Display Adapter with the DisplayLink driver we have a working Triple headed MacBook Pro, with PPT presentation.
iii.) You can use an external Graphics Expansion module, these make the computer think that it has a much larger single screen and then divide the output across multiple screens. You would need to test how PowerPoint behaves in this environment as it may try to expand across the entire expansion to ‘fill the screen’.
eg. MaTrox eXpansion ($250-$500 depending on options)
These are probably not portable enough for the case in question, but are another area for investigation.
SPARKvue By PASCO scientific
Having had several discussions along the lines of ‘if Nike can use a data logger for their shoes in iOS, surely there is a method to log other data loggers’ we have found that this is the case.
SPARKvue brings real-time measurement, data visualization, and analysis to science education everywhere. Students can use the new PASPORT AirLink 2 Bluetooth interface to connect to over 70 PASCO sensors, measuring a wide range of phenomena, including pH, temperature, force, carbon dioxide level, and many more. SPARKvue is designed for scientific inquiry in biology, chemistry, earth science, environmental science, physics, and physical science. SPARKvue can also record data from the iPhone or iPod Touch’s internal accelerometer, with no additional hardware needed. 
We are currently reviewing the hardware and software requirements for our new science labs as we move towards Windows 7. I was testing/reviewing the following USB microscope cameras within our teaching environment from a technical and support pespective;
- 1 x 35UMD Digital Microscope Eyepiece 640×480 USB PC & MAC
- 1 x 200UMD Digital Microscope Eyepiece 2MP USB
- 1 x 300UMD Digital Microscope Eyepiece 3MP USB
Electronic Eyepiece: Model NO. 35UMD-PC(0.35 Mega Pixels)
Electronic Eyepiece: Model NO. 130UMD-PC(1.30 Mega Pixels)
Electronic Eyepiece: Model NO. 300UMD-PC(3.0 Mega Pixels)
Connector USB 1.1&2.0
* The 35UMD loaded reasonably well and was soon available as a standard USB camera. The only issue with this camera would be availability of driver updates and the low resolution.
* The 200UMD was an awful installer, especially when used from a “run as” context as the installer does not follow standard Windows guidelines and calls windows that are hidden if not logged in as an Administrator. Both the installer and error messages appear to have been machine translated from Chinese to English to achieve the syntax observed in the applications.
* The 300UMD used a similar installer to the 200UMD. The supplied mini-CD with driver contained corrupted installers so this could not be totally verified. Using the drivers available on the 200UMD disc the driver was loaded but we were not able to get this camera to function during the testing process. As you will see from the discussion below as I was unable to access updated driver it is impossible to tell if this was a hardware or software issue.
I visited the web site advertised on the packaging to check for updated drivers (as is standard practice). The site requires you to login to access the drivers – I created an account and logged into the website. Rather than listing drivers, the website requires a $0.00 purchase via a shopping cart to access the browsers; unfortunately the shopping cart produces a 404 Not Found error on checkout so that the drivers are in fact unavailable for download. This appears to be a feature found with many vendors of this product.
I called the support number listed on the website to gain access to the drivers. Having not received any contact, I called again this afternoon and was informed that an email was sent on Thursday. I have checked both my email and spam filtering, no email was received to my address from firstname.lastname@example.org [After following up I was sent a link to the 35UMD driver which is a different version to that shipped with the camera].
All in all the experience from a technical perspective would be rated about 4 from 10 and given a competitive product for another vendor where the drivers are available for download it would be difficult to recommend the purchase of these items.
The #ozseries presentation from last night;
Come hear about the top 4 ways to ue augmented reality in the classroom, community or library
 Layar Reality Browser – Augmented Reality software
 Libraries of the future use Augmented Reality – We build AR to make your library come alive! Plus Museums, Schools, Galleries & Exhibitions
Augmenting the Library
 Posters Augmented Reality Store: insightguy [TeachersPayTeachers.com]