Archive for the ‘Higher School Certificate’ Category

Today you are to explore the creation, design and impact of social media on individuals, society and business. You are to research and document your findings to your blog. Points for consideration include:

  • How social media was/is designed and created
  • Ways in which social media is used
  • Impact of social media on:
    • Business,
    • Youth / adults
    • Relationships
    • Communication
    • News
    • Other…
  • Future developments and trends for social media design and use

A good starting read is,


As a teacher of the HSC Information Processes and Technology (IPT) course I find myself annually contemplating the content that needs to be taught and trying to find new and interesting ways to fulfil the syllabus requirements.  The hardest part I find here is getting the balance right between what the students will be stimulated by and what will provide the students with the greatest depth of understanding, knowledge and practical skill.  For those out there that teach the IPT HSC course you will know that ‘Information Systems and Databases’ is one of the core content areas from the BOS syllabus.  As a core topic, it is easy to understand what needs to be taught and where we hope we can get the students’ understanding and knowledge/skill to.  This can be both a relief and a constraint on how we teach our content.  This year I decided I wanted to try something new in how I am approaching this topic.

Social Network Icons

Late last year, fortunately for me, I discovered that a colleague had worked within the field of Project and Database management prior to becoming an educator.  This discovery proved to be a catalyst to some dreams and thoughts I was working through as I had someone who I could bounce ideas off who has significant knowledge (much greater than me) of the creation, management and use of databases in the real world.  I expressed that I wished to take a different approach to the exploring and teaching of databases than I typically had and that I wished to use Social Media and Networking as the basis of the content. 

Part of my rationale for this lie in the fact I know that my students are extremely fluent in the uses of social mediums and that they would be able to identify some of the data that they create or that is stored about them.  But where would I start???

To start I began by exploring the general notion of what data is and how we collect it personally.  I have done this by getting the students to liken their brains to an information system that actively and continually collects data.  This I also added to the syllabus as a non-computer based information system.  We have completed activities such as creating mind maps of what data items we collect, understanding the difference between a data item and compound data, explored the differences between data, information and knowledge, created spreadsheets of data sets (unsorted and sorted) and have since started making databases.

At the end of this unit I am hoping that my students will have gained a deep insight to the concepts associated with the accessibility and collection of data, particularly in the area of databases.  I also hope that they recognise the extent to which databases have become engrained in the function of our lives.

I am also interested in how other educators teach the topic of databases.  Feel free to add your comments, links to examples or otherwise.

I have been continuing to search for more examples of Social Media database design.  My reason for this is because I am using / intending to use this structure as the back bone to teaching database design to some of my students (More on that in my next post).  Here is another example Schema to do with social networking websites. 


Social Network model - Database Schema

This morning as I was preparing lunches for the day I watched this TED talk by Aaron Koblin and was both amazed and inspired. For me this short talk was particularly interesting from the fact that it is based on making use of data, the meaningless stuff, that can be collected or is created by people in their normal living. This is particularly pertinent for me as I am in the process of teaching about the concept of ‘Data’ in relation to information systems and databases with some of my senior classes.
As well as the core principle of data I was also extremely interested in the artistic processes that are shown here. For me this appeals to the old Art teacher within. Yes that goes back to my beginnings!! Though I am now a member of a Technology and Applied Studies department and primarily teach the computer-based courses, I find that I frequently come back to teaching and practising many concepts through the use and implementation of media-based activities. Some ideas I have had since watching this include:

  • having my students each develop small pieces of (specified) individual outcomes and then getting the students to assemble them in a given order to create a larger integrated system. (this reminds me of activities I did with art classes in the first few years of my teaching!!!
  • As an intro to Graphics Tablets and Adobe Flash, getting students to each practice drawing and recreating given images that can then be inserted into an animated Flash timeline in given order. This would be a lot of fun for my students!
  • A variety of other sound and image based activities…..

I hope you enjoy this talk as much as I:

Here is an interesting clip that showcases some famous operas in under 10 minutes. This may be useful for educators wishing to introduce elements of this historic and important form of music to students that may be resistant to this particular genre. Have a look and see what you think.

From Youtube:
” What is opera all about? Watch and find out! A hilarious film by Kim Thompson (and it doesn’t even last 10 minutes!!)”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I also came across this interesting article in my travels.

Via Thoughts of a Technocrat and

Russian Hacker Selling 1.5 Million Facebook IDs

A hacker named Kirllos has a rare deal for anyone who wants to spam, steal or scam on Facebook: an unprecedented number of user accounts offered at rock-bottom prices.

Researchers at VeriSign’s iDefense group recently spotted Kirllos selling Facebook user names and passwords in an underground hacker forum, but what really caught their attention was the volume of credentials he had for sale: 1.5 million accounts.

IDefense doesn’t know if Kirllos’ accounts are legitimate, and Facebook didn’t respond to messages Thursday seeking comment. If they are legitimate, he has the account information of about one in every 300 Facebook users. His asking price varies from $25 to $45 per 1,000 accounts, depending on the number of contacts each user has.

To date, Kirllos seems to have sold close to 700,000 accounts, according to VeriSign Director of Cyber Intelligence Rick Howard. Hackers have been selling stolen social-networking credentials for a while — VeriSign has seen a brisk trade in names and passwords for Russia’s VKontakte, for example. But now the trend is to go after global targets such as Facebook, Howard said.


According to some forum users, Kirllos was born in Russia, lives in New Zealand, is 24 years old and speaks both English and French.

I found this when looking for information about the Facebook database. Will make interesting discussion with my students.