Friday, 17 November 2017

Google Docs for Code... Github's got it going...

Great news, the Atom code designer now looks like it will have real time collaboration. This is great in the classroom where students can begin to code together in school and at home.  Even more useful for students to help each other debug....

It takes a little more effort to install than Google Docs, but it looks well worth a try.  As a bonus, it is a great editor and I use it all the time for LUA. I may now also consider doing some Python with it too....

Find all the details at: 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Making GForms Quizzes less sensitive

Over the summer Google enabled short answers on their quiz functions. This is wonderful news. However as with all standardised forms, spelling matters and capitalisation matters!  However there are some ways to make things a little easier for students or at least give them a sense of fairplay.

In this example we want a name, so we insist that it contains at least one capital letter [A-Z] 

We could also insist that the characters are all lower case using matches and [a-z ]+
Note the space is really important if you want to have more than 1 word. 

Perhaps you are concerned about people using dogs rather than dog. In many cases both might be correct. Well you can sort that quickly using a maximum length.

You can also use numbers and this can be a great way to not only test maths questions, but also to give a large range of options with a multiple choice diagram,

For example you can easily ask test questions about this heart with a few simple short answer questions rather than do a dropdown from 1-8 or multiple choice.

If you'd like to do more complex regex expresions there's a great site to help you: Please note that there are dialects, so not all regex you find on the internet will work with Google forms.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Differences between A-levels, iGCSES & IB

There are a number of international qualifications around and it is important to know the differences between them. I want to state that all of these qualifications are highly thought and any one of them will help you on your route to university.

iGCSEs taken at 16.

Let us start with iGCSE. iGCSEs are the international version of the GCSE, which students in the UK take at the age of 16.  These give teachers and parents a good idea of how well a student might do academically.  In the UK at least a C in Mathematics and English is a must for most employers. iGCSE grades are taken into consideration when applying for university and will help the university to decide what conditional offer to make.  It is expected that most students will take iGCSEs and it can make if your child has NOT taken iGCSEs it may mean you have to delay your application until after they have either their A-level or IB results.

It is possible in some circumstances for you to enter a university foundation programme straight after your iGCSEs, but many programmes need students to be 17 to enter such a programme.

IB Diploma Programme suits All-rounders
Many schools offer an IB Diploma programme which is widely respected and offers a very good all round preparation for university. It means that students do not have to limit their choices so much at 16 and suits students who are all-rounders.  If a student can handle languages, science and the arts then this could be the best option and is able to write large essays independently then this could be the best option.

A-levels enables earlier specialisation
A-levels originate from Britain and students choose 3-4 subjects, it is up to the student how balanced these are, but if your child definitely wants to do science then they can do so, if your child is not good at languages then these can be avoided etc.  On top of the 4 A-levels students can choose to do an extended project, which is similar to the IB Extended Essay.

Worldwide Acceptance

Both are accepted world wide and although in the UK A-levels are the more common qualification universities are happy to make an offer based on IB results. (These offers have improved in recent years as universities gain more experience with the IB qualification)  Australia have tariffs for both qualifications and it is a simple matter to apply. 

The US
However if you are intending to go to the US there are some other considerations. Many US universities require SAT exams to be sat ( and you will need to make time for these.  Also currently if you take modular A-levels you may get unconditional offers from a US university based on your AS-level grade.