Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Super DOOPer slides

Fun in the sun - was at the order of the day for the Sunridge Computer Club members...

The Limozines
The day started with us meeting at school early on Wednesday morning, 28 November 2012. When my club kiddies saw me I was immediately probed about the two white stretch limozines parked nearby; "Sir, are those limos for us???". You should have seen the excitement and anticipation in their eyes. Even if I didn't hire the limos for them, I wouldn't have been able to say no to those faces. :-) But I did get the limos for them so it was all good.
After doing a roll call and getting some admin out of the way we were off to the beach. We had a nice slow drive down as we enjoyed chilled grape/appletizer from the limo's minibar.

The Venue
Once we got to Splash Waterworld, there was no stopping this bunch. They scattered like ants and headed straight for the water. They were running, eating, jumping, drinking, splashing, eating, sliding, eating, laughing, drinking, smiling, eating, shouting.  ...and eating. Talk about healthy appetites. EVERYONE had fun the WHOLE time. It was fantastic.

The Food and Sweets

I had the venue make us all hamburgers (taking special dietary needs into consideration) and each child got a can of cooldrink. Everyone who was still peckish (me included) or thirsty got an extra burger and chips or cooldrink. I gave each club member armbands to wear which they could bring to me and exchange for certain items like any ice-cream they wanted - Magnum ice-creams was the most sought after. I also got Sunridge SuperSpar to donate a fruit juice and chocolate to each child. And to top it all off, Amy Erasmus generously made us each a batch of her decadent cupcakes. Big up to you Amy!

But just like this blog, the computer club, and my time at Sunridge Primary, all good things come to and end. We left Splash Waterworld at 13:00 and our limos took us back to school.

Computer Club Fund
We still have a bit of money left in the SCC fund. I have another trick up my sleeve but I'll contact the computer club parents about that directly. Please give me until early next year to take care of that.

Christmas and Farewell gifts
Thank you for all the Christmas presents and farewell gifts. They are all much appreciated and have found their place under the Christmas tree.

Thank you

I have so many people to thank...
First of all, I'd like to thank the most important people here - my computer club members. Thank you for your dedication, your smiles & hugs, your gratitude after each club meeting. And for enriching my life! The computer club is hard work but you all make it such a pleasure.
Thank you to you the computer club parents for your support. I have never received anything but accolades and gratitude from you. If the computer club was a building then you would be its foundation.
Thank you to Sunridge Primary senior management who gave me free reign and never interfered with my computer club, and who also supported me from the word go.

And lastly, thank you to my fiance who's stood by me and had to put up with countless nights of lesson planning and who patiently took second seat whenever it was time to write this blog.

It is with great sadness that I write this last blog post. The computer club and this blog has been my brainchild and I've done my best to run it professionally and with lots of love. It feels like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend. :-( But we are excited about our move to Thailand and I"m sure it won't be long before I feel right at home with my Thai learners BUT, I will never forget the relationships I built at Sunridge Primary School. I wish you all of the best for today, tomorrow, and a next hundred years to follow.

My favourite blog post greeting has been: "until next time", but this time I'm afraid it is...



Mr. Glen Williams
Head of Computer Department
Sunridge Primary School
Port Elizabeth
South Africa

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who will YOU marry?

OMW. This evening's lesson was so much fun. 

We explored some more Excel functions and used the RANDBETWEEN function to choose a number from 1 to 25 (the number of computer club members). On a separate sheet, we made a list of all the computer club members and numbered them 1 through to 25. We then had the VLOOKUP function look up the number returned by the RANDBETWEEN function and return the name of the SCC member next to it. The result was this... We had a list of all the computer club members and the computer would then randomly match up that member to another member "to be married". It was hilarious as the RANDBETWEEN function does not check to see if a name was already picked - thus the same person could marry 2 or more people. Neither does it check to see if the bride's name is the same as the groom's - thus people could end up being married to themselves.  Nor does it care for gender - so a boy could end up marrying a boy and a girl marry a girl. We had great fun. Loads of laughs. And what's nice is that with just one click and drag the RANDBETWEEN function creates a whole new set of partners
So parents, seeing as I married off your children for you, would you sanction a Sunridge Computer Club Dating Service? :-)

After this, we investigated Voki. Voki is another online tool where you can great your own 'Avatars' - head and shoulder. The head and eyes move to follow your mouse pointer. Voki, available at, allows for great customization of facial features, clothing, and backgrounds. What sets Voki apart from other similar webtools it the addition of voice. You can record your own voice, use an audio file from your computer, record a message from your phone, or type text and use the computer voice to read it back. I used the last method, turned up the sound on my laptop, and had Voki ask my other half when dinner will be ready.   Hmmm. I'd recommend finding another use for Voki. LOL 

This was the Sunridger Computer Club's last meeting for 2012. Our year-end function will follow next on Wednesday, 28 November 2012. Details about that will be forwarded to the computer club members and their parents.


Until next time... Take care.

Monday, September 3, 2012

IFs and Comix

We continued with advanced Microsoft Excel functions tonight. The IF function consists of 3 parts: 1) a condition; 2) a True part and; 3) a False part. IF allows one to specify a condition, and if the condition is met then Excel will return the specified result (the True part). This result can be calculation or even a line of text. Should the condition not be met then Excel will return an alternative result (the False part).  

We took this one step further by using a Nested IF. A nested if is when we put a second IF statement inside of an existing IF, in the place of the False part. This way one can build on the outcomes by having three possible outcomes instead of two. In the example we used, we created an admission system to our own 'night club' for 13 year olds. People of age 12 and under were sent back home, 13 year olds were welcomed in, those aged 14 and older were turned away. :-) By the way, one can have up to 7 Nested IFs inside one another. 

We also looked at a cool website used to create your own short comic strips. Make Beliefs Comix allows you to make a comic of 2 - 3 panels. It has a multitude of characters, props, speech bubbles, thought bubbles, and panel prompts to choose from. You can add colour and adjust the position and scale of everything you add to your panels.  These comics can then be printed or emailed. The computer club members were asked to go home and make their own comic strip about the computer club and mail it to me.

It looks like the computer club won't meet for a long time. With the outdoor education week, a public holiday, and the September school holiday coming up, we'll only meet again on 15 October 2012.

Until next time. Have a wonderful holiday and come back home safely.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lookup & Moovl

We can't always just have fun - we need to do some serious work too.  :-) This evening the Sunridge Computer Club looked into Microsoft Excel - specifically the VLOOKUP function. This is probably one of the most useful functions Excel has to offer. It allows you to look up a value from a pre-defined list (table) by referencing it with a value you enter into the spreadsheet. 

One such useful application for this function is for us teachers to have a list of percentages 0% - 100%, and alongside that are listed the various levels used on our learners' reports for grades 6 & 7 for example.  Using this method, we can have one centrally located correct list where all the teachers can work from. Teachers enter their marks onto their own spreadsheet which converts the mark to a percentage. Their spreadsheet then uses that percentage to reference the level from the appropriate column in the pre-defined list.

Needless to say, the computer club members had no problem mastering this function - despite the fact that the VLOOKUP function uses four variables. I'll have to think up something more complicated next time. :-)

We had some time left so we had a look at a nifty online app (also available for smartboards) called Moovl. Moovle applies the laws of physics by allowing you to draw objects and have you manipulate factors such as gravity, it's density, and firmness by changing an objects "stickiness", "slippiness", and other fun descriptions.

Our next club meeting will be on Monday evening, 3 September 2012.

Until next time...

Monday, August 13, 2012

30 Seconds...

We looked at how to create our own online educational computer games tonight. There are various such websites available but is the one we used. has many templates available for you to simply add your questions and answers before turning it into a game. What's great about this website is that you do not need to register or log in at all. 

These games have great educational value as teachers can copy and paste questions and answers into the website and have it generate an exciting game with one or two clicks of the mouse. The games can even be password protected so that the questions are not meddled with. This way the same game can be used over and over for different classes.

The templates on offer take many different formats. You can shoot, catch, pick, and match the answers to name but just a few.

Our Game
We tried the out by creating a "30 seconds" type game. We had a long list of clues (with descriptions), and a second list with all the SCC members' names. A Jackpot slot machine-like game picked teams of 2 at random. One team member was made to sit down with his/her back towards the projector screen while the other stands in front of them describing the clue (which was also randomly produced) with hand movements and actions. Another website acted as the countdown timer. The rest of us played the part of the audience as we sat back ...and laughed team members frantically tried to get their message across before their 30 seconds were up.

Our next club meeting will be on 20 August 2012 @ 17:15 in Mr. Williams' computer lab.

Until next time...

Monday, July 23, 2012

QR Codes - Scan 'em

We see them more and more all over the these days - in magazines, all over the internet, on your Blackberry, and many other places. I'm talking about QR Codes (see image on the right).

This evening's computer club activity was very cool. Club members had to move around the school, find, and scan 6 QR Codes in order to answer two  questions.

The 6 QR Codes were:
  1. Google map location (The White House in Washington DC)
  2. Wikipedia page on Barack Obama
  3. A local website
  4. A line of text
  5. An email address
  6. A telephone number
What are QR Codes:
QR stands for Quick Response. A QR Code is like the barcode (UPC barcodes = universal  product codes) you see on products your Mum buys at Spar.
What do they look like? For those of you who’s never scanned a BB PIN, it is a series of (black) squares arranged in the shape of a larger square. It was invented by a part of Toyota in Japan. A QR Code has 3 very obvious squares on three corners and another smaller square near the 4th corner.  The scanner uses these squares to normalise the image size, orientation, and angle. The small dots are then converted to binary numbers.

The normal barcode you see on a product tells the till (Point of Sale) what the product is being scanned and it's price. But a QR Code can do so much more than a normal barcode.
It can take you to an online location like: A website; Google map location; Youtube video; Facebook page; Twitter account; Linkedin account; Foursquare account; An app store download; iTunes link; Open up a new email message with the “To” field already filled in; Open a Skype call. It can also hold: Lines of text like a sentence; VCard; VCalendar; An Email address; Telephone number.

The Process:
Club members were instructed to download a free QR Scanner. They were divided into 6 teams. Each team received a form with the two questions and a pen. Armed with their mobile devices, they had to find and scan the 6 QR Codes in order to reveal the clues. They then had to Google and piece together the clues. This quiz was hard but the computer club boffins proved themselves worthy again. "Excitement" was at the order of the day as they hurried through the clues and kept their answered secret from the other teams - very competitive. :-)

The Questions
1. Who is the focus of this scavenger hunt?
2. Who should we send this information to and in which South African city does he/she live?

The Winners
And the winners were Jana, Gerrit, and Frans. The 3 of you may come collect your prizes from me on Thursday, 26 July. Well done!!!

Our next club meeting will be on Monday, 6 August 2012.

Until next time... Take care.

Monday, June 11, 2012


The Sunridge Computer Club started off it's club meeting tonight with a brainstorming session. We all got down to each other's level (seriously - we all sat on the floor) and discussed ideas and shared our thoughts on internet safety. We soon realized that it EASY to say something but you need to understand WHY in order to back it up. Here are just some of the ideas the club members mentioned. Some relate to cyber bullying too:
  • Don't give out your address and telephone numbers online
  • Don't give information about your family's movements - like that your parents go out every Wednesday night leaving you and your baby sister home alone
  • Watch out for posting pictures which could identify your location - like a landmark in the background, or your house number or street name
  • Educate and reprimand your friends for the pics they post of you. Your best friend could inadvertently be your enemy
  • Once you put something on the internet you can usually delete it but other people can copy it and repost it before that. And then you have no control
  • Don't say anything online which you won't say to somebody's face
  • Don't friend people online whom you don't know in real life
  • Don't cyber bully. It's just as bad as bullying on the playground
  • Be careful of competition and survey websites which often just want your information
  • Some websites are age restricted - for a reason
  • Tell you parents as soon as something doesn't feel right - even if it's sure to land you in a whole bunch of trouble
We also watched a YouTube video about how a seemingly nice British lad got up to mischief by friending an unsuspecting girl. You can watch the video by clicking here.

We rounded off the educational part of this evening's lesson by completing an online quiz or two. You can see these for yourself bu clicking the following two links:

Monster Basement
We had about 10 minutes left so we just had some fun with an online game. Monster Basement is hardly educational but it does provide for some fun. And that it sure did. I even got a bit of a scare (don't tell anyone).

You can find the Monster Basement game at:

Thank you
Thank you to all the parents for picking up your kids on time. It was great not having to wait in the cold and dark for anyone.

Our next club meeting will be in term 3. I'll communicate the date to you at the beginning of the term but it will probably be on the 2nd Monday of the new term.

Until then. Goodbye, and enjoy the June holiday.