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Max dAyala

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Everything posted by Max dAyala

  1. It's interesting that recently I had a significant attack on my Science Forum. I've had several persistent spammers posting on it recently. What's worse is that I guess I had a DNS attack of some sort. A quick look at the server logs shows that a single IP address (looked to be an AOL address from reverse DNS lookup) requested something like 20,000 pages in just over one hour. Looks like I'll have to take better security precautions, although I'm not sure how you can stop someone from automatically requesting a page. Max
  2. Looks like I've found it. Let's see if it is worth reading. Royal Society, Assessment of Science Learning 14-19
  3. I'm not so sure. There is a lot I would disagree with. This just seems to be a collection of soundbites without much substance. Anyone can throw together the old cliches of "if only teachers did it this way, students would be so much better at...". Does anyone know how it is possible to get hold of a copy of the original report that is mentioned? I'd like to read it. Max
  4. Simulations are mentioned in the Reports from last year: From the AQA June 2003 GCSE Report, Double Award, Spec B (I downloaded this from their web site.) Someone mentioned simulations in another thread, including one available on the web (subscription I think.) The best bet would be to use an existing simulation package if it can be made to work within the GCSE mark system. A good simulation package is a hefty piece of software and would require a considerable investment in money to write it. I'm not sure anyone would consider writing one aimed just at GCSE Coursework because it is unlik
  5. Like any other coursework you have to be able to work out the contribution provided by the student, and the contribution provided by the software. If the software does most of the work the students are limited to a low maximum mark. The more choice the students have in setting up the simulation the more likely it is that they can gain high marks. You would have to evaluate each piece of software on its own merits. For example, if the simulation produces near perfect results and automatically generates a graph with best fit line the students have done next to nothing themselves. So you can't g
  6. Most things in science are called a "theory" because they are incomplete. Most of the scientists I know consider the process of evolution to be a fact, with many of the components still "theories". The "quantum theory" is another incomplete theory, but nobody demands that the workings of microchips be questioned. The "gravitational theory" is incomplete but nobody demands that we question whether objects will always fall when we drop them. The "sub-atomic particle theories" are incomplete, but nobody demands that we question whether the chairs that we are sitting on at our computer desks are
  7. I'm sure you get much better support when you pay for it. The Invision boards do run using PHP and MySQL so I could use one. I'm not sure that I could justify spending two hundred dollars (for a single lifetime installation) for something that I run just as a hobby. I'll have to wait and see how well it works. If it causes too many problems I'll look round for something else. Max
  8. An Update Shortly after I wrote the above message my free forum host shut down so I had to look for a new BB. I've installed a PHP driven BB called "phpBB". In terms of layout it looks very similar to this forum. The web address is: http://www.8886.co.uk/forum/ I haven't used this Forum before and it has taken quite a lot of effort to get it up and running. It should be working now, but if anyone finds any faults with it let me know. For some reason I do not feel confident in its ability to work well without a lot of Admin maintenance. Does anyone have any experience of other PHP (or poss
  9. People who write things like this are usually "well off" and not in immediate danger of the numerous random threats life has to offer. I am sure there are many less well off people who would disagree with him. As I see it the whole global warming idea is complex, and the effects take years to show. Like many other things, taking a path that causes the least amount of pollution etc would seem like a good idea. However, most people are essentially too selfish** to give a monkeys about it, so nothing of significance is likely to get done. **Most people can't help this, it is part of our nature
  10. Plagarism is always a problem. In the case of the free encyclopedias people should put a link to other web pages rather than copy information. I'm not sure how strictly information that is added to the encyclopedia is checked, if at all. I would have thought to protect themselves they would at least do some sort of key phrase search to see if information has been illegally copied from other web sites. Max
  11. Wiki GCSE Science Text Book This looks like an interesting idea. I've found some of the reference sections in the main Wiki Encyclopedia to be very good. The GCSE text book is currently mostly empty. It would be interesting to get students to fill in some sections. This would be a good revision and learning exercise. They could prepare a short entry and then add it. Max
  12. I have had this forum on my Science site for a few years: http://agnes.vestris.com/cgi-one/one/agnes...ci8886AgnesHTML It was set up as a free forum before I had my own web space and I haven't got round to updating it to a newer version. I found with many of the forums that they were too complicated and I wanted a simple clean version that a student who hadn't used a BB before could get to grips with. Most newer forums seem to have converged to a very similar layout (like this education forum) although I think for someone who hasn't used one before they must look a bit bewildering. I guess
  13. Atkins Diet There was an interesting Horizon program on BBC2 last night (22 Jan) about The Atkins diet. Lots of good ideas about the principles of scientific investigation in a topical context. (E.g. having identical twins in sealed chambers for a week. One on a low fat diet, one on the Atkins diet. Taking lots of measurements and then making conclusions and evaluating the experiment.) Selected highlights could be useful as a classroom resource for discussion. Maybe you could get them to plan an investigation into measuring the phenomenon of "Atkins breath" ????? Max
  14. I can still remember reading lists of characteristics of good teachers when I did my teacher training. I think that if you had all those qualities mentioned so far you wouldn't be just a good teacher you'd be a brilliant teacher. I can certainly think of many teachers I have worked with that I would rank as being very good teachers. (Very good at interacting with other teachers as well as students!) Personally, I know I'm deficient in some of these traits, although probably above average in a few of them as well. So overall I would hopefully come out about average; I can think of some pupils w
  15. Maggie: I was using the 8/30 marks from the practical assessments (8 marks of Obtaining Evidence) as the rough proportion of marks for "hands on" practical ability. Although, all 8 marks are not for practical work but for drawing and labelling a correct table of results etc. But some marks can also be awarded in the Planning stage when preliminary investigative work has been carried out. As you say, there are many possible ways that the understanding of practical science could be tested and added to or integrated into the current exams. Giuseppa: I am sure you are doing great work with th
  16. In my experience this is what most teachers do. In theory this would be good but not all students have a liking for investigative work. Some will get bored after ten minutes while others could keep going for several days if you left them. So in a typical teaching environment investigative science that is student led is difficult. On top of this most of the students don't have enough science knowledge to understand what they find out. By the start of A level (16+) I find that students just about have enough knowledge to carry out investigative work. A few exceptional students seem to get to
  17. There is one other thing I was going to add. The current assessment system fails to give any marks for being inventive or original. This is a great shame. So the "coursework" is not really individual coursework so much as individually assessed practical tasks, where each task has a limited set of practical options that will produce "good" results. Max
  18. As I see it the assessment system fails because it causes too much distress to many students. I've never seen a well motivated student complete an investigation in class. They all spend hours at home writing them up. The whole process is repeated again and again until they have enough good marks for their portfolio. This is usually towards the end of the assessment period in year 11. As much as I like the principles of science coursework the current assessment it is just not effective in terms of student or teacher time. If you look at the assessment criteria most of the marks are for "theory
  19. I don't particularly have time to give much of a coherent answer to the "Towards a Unified e-Learning Strategy" consultation document but seeing as John has been twisting my arm here are a few point... I've spent several hours reading the documents but don't think it worthwhile spending even more time filling in the questionnaire. [As an aside, the PDF document was very difficult to read on a computer. The layout was essentially to be read as a printed document. It didn't even have a hyperlink index. So maybe they should put some effort into making the documents available in a more e-friendly
  20. Hi John, I know the Avatar works, I've uploaded one already. I was refering to the control to upload a personal photo, which is in addition to the Avatar. In the Personal profile section it says "Change Personal Photo" below "Edit Avatar Settings". I assume you can have a personal photo in your personal details section, as well as an Avatar to go with your posts. I don't mind it not being enabled, however it would prevent people wasting time trying to use the feature if the menu option didn't exist when the feature is disabled. It gives the message; "Sorry, the board administrator has not
  21. www.8886.co.uk This is a site aimed mainly at the brighter GCSE students. It is a reference site for Science practical/coursework. It contains a detailed guide to planning experiments, obtaining results, graph drawing, concluding and evaluating. It also includes a brief guide to using graph drawing packages for generating graphs with lines of best fit. An on-line calculator allows students to enter their marks and then automatically calculate a best mark total and estimated grade. This has been updated to include the new grade boundaries from the 2003 exams. New developments include a refer
  22. 8886 GCSE Science Coursework I've been working on this site over the past few years. It grows very slowly; when and if I have the motivation to add something new. I never seem to get round to writing all the interesting bits I've scribbled on bits of scrap paper as all the boring stuff gets in the way. Recently I've updated the site to take account of the last Examiners Report (grade boundaries and stuff) and started a very tedious and dull reference section on Resistance. Ideally I'd like to write it well enough so that any kid who's teacher is daft enough to set the Resistance of a Wire cou
  23. In the set up there is a choice of adding a Personal Photo and an Avatar. For some reason the Personal Photo feature appears to be disabled. This may be what Chad was refering to in the other thread. Max
  24. Haven't read the article, but here are my views. True. 1. Students don't understand the science behind the investigation, so they can't possibly carry out a "proper scientific exploration." At best they will understand the basics of the investigation once they have finished it. 2. After 5 years at High School (and before that at Primary level) of being taught how to do investigations many students still find the basic principles incomprehensible. If this was all the practical work they did it would be true. But the Investigations are just the assessment side of practical work. Practica
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