Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Mainframe Watch Belgium: IBM Linux on System z Cloud Test Drive #yam

I could tell you a lot about Cloud on System z. When I walk through some IBM presentations, they tell me that a U.S. Bank reduced provisioning time from 45 days to 20 minutes or that there's 79% less TCA vs. leading public cloud or that IBM System z represents both the lowest TCO coupled with industry leading Qualities of Service for deploying private and/or hybrid clouds. Conclusion : "with solutions from Tivoli to automate provisioning and provide broad spectrum of key cloud capabilities, the time is now to start deploying your cloud on System z".

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Updated - Free Windows 8 programming ebook - Education - MSDN Blogs #yam

Those nice people at Microsoft Press released an update in August to their free ebook – it’s a preview version of “Programming Windows 8 Apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript”. And it seems perfect timing to highlight it (being absolutely transparent, I didn't read it when it came out, but I've started to read it this week, as I'm spending more time talking to people about building Windows 8 apps for education)

It’s the perfect guide to Windows 8 applications programming, and gives you the whole story for creating Windows 8 apps. As it’s only a second preview version, the whole thing isn’t yet there – so far there's 12 of a planned 17 chapters, along with a download of companion content (code samples etc)

If you’re interested in getting started, or you’ve got students that you know will want to have a go, then this is a great book to download and to share.

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Monday, 29 October 2012

Windows 8 in Education eBook - Now Available - Microsoft UK Schools blog #yam

Our new Windows 8 in Education eBook is hot off the press. Written by leading practitioners, the eBook can get you started and inspire you about many of the great features of Windows 8 from an education perspective.

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

50 Little-Known Ways Google Docs Can Help In Education | Edudemic #yam

Google Docs is such an incredible tool for college students, offering collaboration, portability, ease of use, and widespread acceptance. But there are so many options, both hidden and obvious, that there’s a good chance you’re not using Google Docs to its fullest capability.

We’ve discovered 50+ great tips for getting the most out of Google Docs as a student, with awesome ideas and tricks for collaboration, sharing, and staying productive.

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Games programming resources - MSDN Blogs #yam

Thought I’d pull together a few resources for people interested in gaming….its not a definitive list but its a great place to start

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Pay-what-you-want eBook bundle makes $1.1m in two weeks |

An experiment which allows readers to pay what they like for a collection of eBooks has unexpectedly reached sales of more than $1.1 million (£700,000) in under two weeks, it was revealed today.

The Humble eBook Bundle went live on 9 October, offering customers a selection of novels and comics by award-winning science fiction and fantasy writers including Neil Gaiman and Cory Doctorow.

Since then, it has sold more than 80 thousand bundles of eBook receiving an average price of $14 (£9). The promotion is due to close later today and has so far pulled in more than $1.1 million (£700,000) with one user paying a whopping $1,238 (£773) for the 13 books.

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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Guest Post: 5 Fun Ways to Get Your Students to Cooperate « The Creative Education Blog #yam

Not enough effort is spent truly promoting teamwork in school, considering the amount of time all of us will spend working with others once we graduate. Finding ways to get your students to work together to accomplish a goal is one of the best ways to encourage critical thinking, raise their self esteem, involve them actively in learning, and improve camaraderie. Try any one of these fun activities with students of all ages.

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35 Ways To Build Your Personal Learning Network Online | Edudemic #yam

Personal learning networks are a great way for educators to get connected with learning opportunities, access professional development resources, and to build camaraderie with other education professionals.

Although PLNs have been around for years, in recent years social media has made it possible for these networks to grow exponentially.

Now, it’s possible to expand and connect your network around the world anytime, anywhere. But how exactly do you go about doing that?

Check out our guide to growing your personal learning network with social media, full of more than 30 different tips, ideas, useful resources, and social media tools that can make it all possible.

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How Education Technology Is Like Betamax | Edudemic #yam

Are you a Betamax?



Now that we are all excited about integrating iPads into the classroom, what’s next? What are we all going to do in 18.. 24.. 36.. months when the next great device comes along? Are we all going to just start over? How do we, as educators, avoid being the next Betamax: that flash in the pan that couldn’t scale up and adjust to a rapidly changing market?

While Betamax may be gone, the idea behind it – that people wanted to easily access videos and then store them to watch later –  lives on in every DVD player, and mobile device, that exists today. If you were someone who looked and saw the big picture idea of Beta as the sharing and storing of videos (or of information, images, video,  and data), you may not have been upset by its demise and would probably not be surprised by the popularity of today’s technologies that perform the same functions. Similarly, you would neither be shocked by the popularity of the Blu-Ray format that delivers an ever higher quality product, nor by web sites such as YouTube or Vimeo.

However, the person who found comfort in the familiarity of the small cassettes and argued against VHS on principle, as well as out of loyalty, would have seen the demise of Betamax as a tragedy and their investment in it as a useless waste of time. So how does this apply to education?

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The War For the Web - O'Reilly Radar #yam

On Friday, my latest tweet was automatically posted to my Facebook news feed, as always. But this time, Tom Scoville noticed a difference: the link in the posting was no longer active.

It turns out that a lot of other people had noticed this too. Mashable wrote about the problem on Saturday morning: Facebook Unlinks Your Twitter Links.

if you’re posting web links (, TinyURL) to your Twitter feed and using the Twitter Facebook app to share those updates on Facebook too, none of those links are hyperlinked. Your friends will need to copy and paste the links into a browser to make them work.

If this is a design decision on Facebook’s part, it’s an extremely odd one: we’d like to think it’s an inconvenient bug, and we have a mail in to Facebook to check. Suffice to say, the issue is site-wide: it’s not just you.

As it turns out, it wasn’t just links imported from Twitter. All outbound links were temporarily disabled, unless users explicitly added them as links via an “attach” dialogue. I went to Facebook, and tried posting a link to this blog directly in my status feed, and saw the same behavior: links were no longer automatically made clickable. You can see that in the image that is the destination of the first link in this piece.

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Monday, 15 October 2012

In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword - #yam

When Apple announced last year that all iPhones would come with a voice-activated assistant named Siri, capable of answering spoken questions, Michael Phillips’s heart sank.


A series examining challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries.

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For three decades, Mr. Phillips had focused on writing software to allow computers to understand human speech. In 2006, he had co-founded a voice recognition company, and eventually executives at Apple, Google and elsewhere proposed partnerships. Mr. Phillips’s technology was even integrated into Siri itself before the digital assistant was absorbed into the iPhone.

But in 2008, Mr. Phillips’s company, Vlingo, had been contacted by a much larger voice recognition firm called Nuance. “I have patents that can prevent you from practicing in this market,” Nuance’s chief executive, Paul Ricci, told Mr. Phillips, according to executives involved in that conversation.

Mr. Ricci issued an ultimatum: Mr. Phillips could sell his firm to Mr. Ricci or be sued for patent infringements. When Mr. Phillips refused to sell, Mr. Ricci’s company filed the first of six lawsuits.

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Monday, 8 October 2012

Commission urges Member States to recognise skills gained outside school and university

Commission urges Member States to recognise skills gained outside school and university

As part of its strategy for creating jobs and growth, the European Commission has launched an initiative to boost the recognition of skills and competences gained outside school or university. The Commission's proposal aims to increase job opportunities in particular for the young unemployed and those with few formal qualifications such as older and low-skilled workers. It also seeks to increase access to higher education, especially among mature students.

Through this recommendation, the Commission is urging Member States to establish national systems for the validation of non-formal and informal learning (see background for definitions) by 2015. This would allow citizens to obtain a full or partial qualification on the basis of skills and competences acquired outside formal education. Only Finland, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands currently have comprehensive systems in place for validation of non-formal and informal learning.

"Our aim is for all citizens to make full use of the learning opportunities which are available to enhance their skills and employability, whether at the work place, through civil society groups or via the internet," said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. "In a time of high unemployment and low economic growth, it is essential that Europe develops the right mix of skills and competences to boost competitiveness, prosperity and social inclusion."

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Friday, 5 October 2012

Are your passwords as secure as you think? - IBM Software Blog #yam

Several high profile breaches so far this year have brought some much needed attention back around to the topic of password security. Odd that in the years since the World Wide Web was first founded, the username password paradigm remains relatively unchanged. Technologies, browsers, design and usability have all evolved exponentially, and yet the same authentication methodologies have persisted for nearly two decades.

In some ways, we are almost regressing in our ability to protect our private information online. Security questions based on public data, linked accounts which can be recovered through basic social engineering tricks, and password reuse have all served to further destabilize an already flawed system.

Attempts at educating users on proper password policy has been limited to a fuzzy stream of seemingly over complicated policies, oversimplified "rules", and increasing characters, symbols and numbers, without much consideration for the implications of a poor password choice.

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How To Keep Students Focused On A Single iPad App #yam

We talk every day about how iPads and other technology can be implemented in the classroom. But many devices *cough* iPad *cough* are designed to do a myriad of different things. Sure, they’re terrific learning tools but they’re also great distraction tools. Just ask any student able to quickly check their Facebook account while they’re supposed to be using an iPad for research.

But Apple has you covered. The new iOS 6 has a very simple and powerful tool called Guided Access that lets you keep students focused on a single app of your choosing. It lets you disable the home button, restrict parts of the screen so they can’t be touched, and even stop responding to being turned over and upside down. It’s easy to implement and a great tool in the teacher’s toolkit.

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50 Interesting Ways To Use Skype In Your Classroom | Edudemic #yam

I’m a so-so fan of Skype. I’ve used it on an infrequent basis and have had more than a few dropped calls. Audio and video alike.

However, it’s a cheap way to make long distance calls and seems to work better over wi-fi and the video quality is improving on a regular basis.

So therefore it’s probably a great tool for the classroom. But how can you use Skype to do more than just make calls? Well, there’s a pantload of interesting ways! Check out these fun ideas:

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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Teacher's Toolkit For Creating A Supportive Classroom

Creating a supportive and bully-free classroom takes time, energy, and determination. It can’t be done overnight and certainly can’t be done without a ton of effort on the teacher’s part. That’s exactly why a team at the Department of Education created a series of toolkits to help you build a safe and supportive classroom.

It focuses on working to solve the bully problem and then moving onto crafting a long-term plan for a safer school experience for everyone. These modules were designed to work together.

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Will the Internet Replace Traditional Education? #yam

I recently met a principal at the world’s largest school. It was a chance meeting at a community event, so you can imagine my surprise when I asked this warm, humble Indian man what he did, and he proceeded to tell me he was a principal at a school founded by his father, Jagdish Gandhi, that had just completed enrollment of 45,000 students for a single year.

As a web guy, I’m used to big numbers. But in this case, we’re talking not about virtual users on a website, but thousands upon thousands of loud, excitable school kids. The City Montessori School in the town of Lucknow, India was very much a bootstrapped startup of its time. Some fifty years ago, a newly married couple set out with just 300 rupees (the equivalent of less than $10) looking to serve humanity through education.

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Preparing for our future – the need for critical thinking #yam

We live in incredible times.  Today, many of us walk around with more computing power in our pockets than used to sit on our desks just a few short years ago. We are more connected, more engaged and more in control of our lives than ever before and yet, incredible though it is to believe, we are still right at the very beginning of our society’s journey with technology.

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Valve Adds Non-Gaming Titles to Steam #yam

Valve today officially expanded Steam beyond games, adding non-gaming software to the online marketplace.

Valve first unveiled plans for a non-gaming section of Steam back in August, saying at the time that the titles would be available starting Sept. 5.

"The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing games," Valve's Mark Richardson said in August. "They have told us they would like to have more of their software on Steam, so this expansion is in response to those customer requests."

Two months later, a slow rollout has started, with just seven apps currently available, including GameMaker: Studio, 3D-Coat, ArtRage Studio Pro, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11, CameraBag 2, and Source Filmmaker.

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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Skype Launches New Free Skype WiFi UK Service #yam

Microsoft has today announced that their Skype service will soon be offering free Skype WiFi throughout the UK, via a partnership with wireless broadband provider Wicoms.

The new Free Skype WiFi UK service is being offered to business who will be provided with routers to offer the Free Skype WiFi to its customers.

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