Sunday, December 26, 2010

Marking of matric exams

I was involved with marking the WCED matric exam papers where many of the markers came from places as far away as Knysna, Mossel Bay and Heidelberg. The day following the marking I set off driving to Mossel Bay and as I drove the long road I wondered at people going from so far away all the way to a marking centre to mark. I salute all the markers, those from near and far!
Picture of me walking along the cliffs at Mossel Bay

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Digital story of the Nativity

This digital version of the Xmas story may be of interest -
I think it is lovely!  Merry Xmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Multiple choice questions - Solution to marking?

During the course of 2010 I became very tired of marking the never ending amount to work in CAT. During the year I completed the Get Smarter Internet SuperUser course where we had multiple choice questions (MCQ) at the end of many of the modules. I wondered if those MCQ questions were an answer to the pen and paper marking!

At school during the year we did self marking MCQ questions with software from Virtual Assessor (VA) every Monday on the previous week’s work, theory and practical. Have a look at a PPT on VA presented at a conference in September. I think Evalunet and Moodle have similar self marking features to Virtual Assessor.

We learned the theory, mainly in Grades 10 and 11, and the practical in Grade 12 with regular tests.

At the end of the year I thought of using just a big MCQ test for the theory exams, and not doing the normal written paper. At the end we did both papers, a big MCQ exam using VA and the normal written exam. One exam paper marked in 1 second and the other took ages to mark. For both grades 10 and 11 the VA paper had a mark of 65% and the written 35%. I added the two percentages together and used the average for the final written exam mark. Now such a difference shows that there is a huge gap in knowing the work and applying it, and has again made me rethink the role of MCQ. Maybe I also needed to improve my questions. However doing these tests kept me focused on my teaching and the learners on learning. Here are my exams copied from VA, Grade 10 and Grade 11. (Obviously they cannot work as self marking questions as they are not in VA but have a look.) I think they are quite demanding and difficult, but both grades achieved 65%. Why the huge difference? What should be used at schools for revision tests? What should be used for high stakes exams

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Browsers and the web

A must-read link for all CAT teachers and their learners - "All about browsers and the web" - a Google e-book publication.

Submitted by Charles Smith to Comp-studies list - thanks Charles

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Great excitement

I took part in my first online auction and my bid of R110 was the highest!  They are tickets to attend a symphony concert valued at R330.  Will be collecting goods tomorrow and off to the concert.  Have a look at St Luke's Hospice Online Auctions.  For a good cause.

Gr 10 Theory Memo

Grade 10 Theory Memo

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Errata: Gr 11 Theory paper

There are 11 pages not 12

3.10.2 Change to 'Why'.
4.5 unwanted software
5.5 Add the word 'to' before 'locate'.

Gr 11 November Theory 2010

Gr 11 November Theory 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gr 10 November Theory Exam paper

Gr 10 Paper 2 Theory November 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Emotional consequences of communication technology

Technological communication has such a impact on our lives. Being on email/Facebook/chat,cell phone, etc. makes one so much more available to people, with its joys and disappointments.  

I was so upset to find out this week that a friend I had made on Facebook and met in Egypt in December had died two months ago. I had not realised that he had departed as people had been tagging his photos and I thought it had been him doing the tagging. I sent him a message but he had not responded. I went to his page to check his last activity only to find condolence messages. He was gone. 

This morning on chat a friend tells me her mother has just gone.

Partner has gone overseas, but obviously did not organise RoamOn with his cell phone before he went. I never thought to check. I knew he was going to use his Australian cell phone while he was there. There were no SMSs and I thought … until I realised that the silly guy had not fixed his South African cell phone.

We teach about email/Facebook/chat/cell phone technology, etc. not thinking of the emotional consequences.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Problem solving

There has been a lot of talk on the Comp-Studies mailing list about including problem solving questions in the Computer Applications Technology Gr 12 national exam papers.
I believe a problem solving question is one which has features which the learners have been taught, but presented in a different way which requires thinking ‘out of the box’.
With that in mind I have been looking at the Study Opportunities papers as I have been using old papers for revision. Currently I am going over the Excel sections of old papers with my Gr 10s and 11s.
In the 2006 Gr 10 Pug paper, question 1, the learners had to sort the names in order according to surname. They needed to do a copy and paste of surnames into a new column for surnames. They could have copied and sorted each record individually but that would have taken ages. None of my Gr 10s or 11s managed to do on their own quickly.
In the 2008 Gr 10 Snakes/Crocodile paper , question 4, there was such a lovely problem solving question which none of my Gr 11s managed to do on their own. They did not realise that the value was text.
In the 2009 Gr 10 Computer Assistance paper, question 3.1, you have to find and copy the details of those doing the Web2 tools course to a word document. The learners should have done a sort, to find those people and then copied the block of records. None of my Gr 10s managed without my help.
I am doing revision now to get the learners’ minds thinking flexibly and ready for the exams. I am most distressed at how they cannot think ‘out of the box’ and solve problems. The learners know the skills but have difficulty applying them. I am not sure how common this problem is.

I am glad that the Study Opportunity papers have those problem solving features. Maybe they need more however I have only checked a small portion of the papers.

Gr 11 November Practical Exam

Paper 1

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gr 11 or 10 PAT PPTs

The Gr 11s are producing the best PPTs ever for their PATs.  I gave them a PPT with the following slides:  Title slide, Habits/Uses, Solution1, Solution2, Solution3 and Conclusion. All the required information had to go on those slides. 


  • Title slide – wording is the introduction
  • Habits/Uses – Put in 4-8 small graphs to indicate the habits/uses
  • Solutions – Made the title of the slide, the solution. Then added suitable graphic.  Few words. Had to link with habit/use at our school.
  • Conclusion – the short punch line

To comply with rubric and the fact that somethings do not go together, they made three PPTs

  • Basic - with notes
  • Animated - maybe with sound, looping, with animations and transitions
  • Table of contents - with hyperlinks and action buttons, no sound, animations OFF 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gr 10 Revision

During the course of the year the Gr 10 learners have worked with many files which form a good set of notes.  Mine will be collecting these files to learn from for the exams and for keeping for next year when they hand in their textbooks. 

  • Essential
  • Hardware1
  • Hardware2
  • Hardware3
  • Hardware4
  • Hardware5
  • Hardware6
  • Home_Computers
  • Legal_Illegal
  • Questions
  • Responsible_Use_Of_Computers
  • Social_Implications
  • Software_Piracy
  • Software1
  • Software2
  • Software3
  • Source
  • Windows_Programs

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Revision for the Gr 12 Practical examination

Go over the OAO questions as they are good revision questions.
Look at the question paper, answer sheet and how to solve, with the data files in a zipped file.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gr 12 Revision

Next on Gr 12 revision is Waiter evaluation on page 226 in the section Module 6.3: Practice makes perfect. 
Important areas are:
Question 1 - Tabs, Table - Spacing between cells
Question 2 - Copying data to new worksheets, rename worksheets, SumIf, CountIF, graphs, interpretation
Question 3 - Graphs, text wrapping

Digital natives and digital immigrants

Digital natives and digital immigrants - Read the article by Masha du Toit, the opening speaker at a conference recently held in Cape Town -
Then decide if you are a digital native or immigrant!  
Recently I went dancing with a group at a local pub.  I took photos with my cell phone.  I was the oldest in the group but the only one able to upload the pictures to Facebook.  Am I a native or immigrant?

Gr 10 PAT and hoaxes

Grade 10 learners are doing their PAT about computer ethics which include hoaxes.  Look at the article published today at  A stupid person believed the hoax and lost a great deal of money.  The hoaxer was caught by the National Prosecuting Authority.  
We must teach our learners to check all they read online or in emails - LO3

Monday, October 4, 2010


It is a very small world! Although I teach CAT I had the pleasure of attending the prize giving of the Computer Olympiad (IT) at Kelvin Grove in Newlands tonight. After the meal and the prizes were awarded, a mother of a winner approached me. She was Leneé Stapelberg from Nelspruit, also a CAT teacher who had done the GetSmarter Internet SuperUser course.
Also at our table was CAT subject advisor Peter Davidson who had also done the GetSmarter Internet SuperUser course. We three had never met before but had communicated via the course forum and Twitter.
Also present was one of my school’s IT boffins from long ago, Keegan Carruthers Smith, who now is coaching Olympiad contestants.
Many of us were talking about the Office Applications Olympiad which will take place on Friday and hope it goes well.
A wonderful evening!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Practical Revision for Gr 12

We have 2 weeks before the final Gr 12 Practical examination. I recommend doing the activities in the back of the Gr 12 textbook Module 6.3. My learners will be doing the Champion Dog Training School topic on page 222 tomorrow. In this topic points I need to revise are

  • Question 1 – If, Nested If, CountIf and Absolute referencing
  • Question 3 – Graph with labelling
  • Question 4 – Queries (something strange in Query C – elderly lady needs dog that 'needs love' and not 'seeks attention')
  • Question 6 – Adding drop down or combo boxes on a form

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gr 10 PAT

I am getting my PAT right with my Gr 10s. For the moment I have ignored the printed instructions and rubric. I am teaching and guiding. I regard this as good preparation for 11 and 12. The Computer Ethics topic is a topic of great interest. We discussed the topic. We then investigated it and the learners created questions to investigate, about 10. They made a survey to ask their fellow learners about their use. They collated the results and then started the report. The Introduction is
I am going to investigate computer ethics. I will focus on software piracy and the habits of learners in my class regarding the copying of music and computer software. From this investigation I will report to the LRC. I will indicate what the trend is and make suggestions to recommend some ideas to encourage good habits and create awareness of ethical behaviour. In order to produce a quality report I will apply quality control to find information and analyse this considering several relevant factors. I will use the Office package as a tool to achieve my objective.
with the highlighted words changed, then comes the main question which is adapted to each learner's own topic.
What is the trend regarding the copying of music and computer software among learners in my class and what might the implications be?
The Uses of learners describes how the learners in the class misbehave or comply with ethical behaviour. This section is filled with graphs and comments to explain each graph.
The Solutions section discusses IF so many did something, THEN this is a solution. They are busy with this section now and it is fascinating. There are questions voiced such as IF copying music is bad, why do we have technology to copy music? IF spam clogs email boxes, thank goodness for ISPs and email programs such as Gmail which help block it. The Conclusion will bring the problem and solutions together.
When we are finished I will go back and look at the rubric and make adjustments to the work.
I have had experience with the PAT over a number of years and realise that I have spent too much time focused on the rubric and not enough on ‘teaching’. The rubric makes sense in standardising marking over provinces but it became the focus and not the task. My learners are becoming real infotectives.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Twitter - new ideas

Holidays are a great time for attending conferences and playing with new software. I would appreciate it if this was tested for glitches and comments posted on the blog. User friendly? Quick download? Need special ...? Please? Thanks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PAT Phase 2

Twitter and Delicious

I believe that all Grade 11 learners should be able to use Twitter, Facebook and Delicious.
I watch in anticipation for Followers in Twitter and Fans in Delicious.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Online safety

CAT teachers should make use of the opportunity and download the guide to Online safety from  It is very clear and comprehensive.  It is on their home opening web page. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Google map

Recently I had a small class and was able to do things I could not normally do with a large class.

I showed the learners Google map using the data projector. I then showed them a picture of my home using street view. My house looked awful but … Many accessed Google map on their computers but not all had the required plugins. Some came to my computer to do it with the data projector still on. Tne youngster came to me but wanted the data projector off – I complied with his wish. We looked for his home – we found his aunt’s home in a suburb, we found the ‘address’ the school uses in a suburb which permits him to come to our school, and then we found a nearby street to his home in the township. An interesting exercise – trust, legality and ICT came to the fore.

We all were impressed with Google map, and where they had been in South Africa.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cost of teaching CAT

Computer Applications Technology must be the most expensive subject for a teacher to teach, with respect to personal expenses. You have to have a computer at home for all the lesson preparations, exam marking, etc. This year I have had to have my laptop repaired R1000, buy a new laptop R7000, pay for the Internet SuperUser course R6000, pay someone to help me mark as I could not cope with the time limits R2500, as well as sundry amounts. All from my own pocket! I have just had a burglary and will now have to buy another new laptop, printer, get an ADSL modem, etc. i.e. replace all the computer stuff again. Must be made of money, just to teach Computer Applications Technology.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Musings on the PAT

Met with a teacher last week who mentioned that she is getting better at the PAT as she is working individually with each learner. I am now doing the same. This is where I am now.
Gr10 – They are having trouble creating a survey – needs clarity – surely they made surveys somewhere before Gr 10? Must sit with each learner individually getting the survey correct.
Gr11 – Working on Phase 2, the plan of how they are going to present their work. Working with each learner individually. Keep having to refer back to what was asked. Giving each heading a Heading 1 or 2 to show structure of document. No learner has given Recommendations for the SGB – must focus on that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Google CV, Facebook and Twitter

We had very few learners at school today as many are away celebrating Eid Mubarak. The matrics are writing exams, and in one of the periods when I would normally be teaching Computer Applications Technology to Grade 12, I had to substitute for an absent teacher.  The absent teacher had set work but I brought the learners to the lab and introduced them to Twitter and Facebook, and their Google CV.  (I will have to face the teacher on Monday and explain but that is three days away.)

The principal has created a Twitter page for the school and I have tried to get all those I teach to follow him.  Still much work to do in this field, but very useful and productive lesson.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Keeping up to date

We must all use whatever opportunities to keep abreast in our field.

Earlier this year, when the grade 10s were doing an activity on interviews, I was asked how I keep up to date.  I had a number of answers but I have started doing something else which helps me keep up to date.

I review journal articles for publication in an academic peer reviewed journal.  As I have a PhD I was approached to be a reviewer.  In most academic institutions lecturers have to publish to keep their job.  Well, I check if the articles they want to publish are satisfactory. I am sent the articles the editors deem are in my field - to date I have worked in the field of K-12 and university ICT integration.  It is nice to be recognised in the international academic field. And this keeps me up to date.  

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Problem solving

I have an M.Ed. student doing some work on problem solving in Computer Applications Technology. The work in Excel Gr 10 page 243 at the end of chapter 3 are wonderful examples of problem solving. This type of example lifts Computer Applications Technology above mere applications to higher level thinking. And my Gr 10s have so enjoyed working through this chapter. Well done to the authors. Tomorrow is test day and we see how they managed.

Word formatting

I am busy marking some tests. The test asks for the text to be justified. Some of the pages looked most strange. Some of learners used vertical justification, found in Page Setup. Now I understand why the paragraph and line spacing were correct but the page looked wrong. They used PAGE justification but I wanted TEXT justification. I learned something new in the application.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gr 12 Practical exam

This is an analysis to the Practical paper showing how many marks were allocated to the different applications. Use the same password as the Practical Paper's MARKSHEET.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


When you have to use a long and complicated password to unzip a file, do the following:

Type the password in Notepad – while taking note of Uppercase, etc.

Copy and Paste this password when being asked for it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gr 12 September exams 2010


Africa Geographic digimag

Wonderful link to an African Geographic digimag.  Suitable for sciences and geography teachers.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Warning to all CAT teachers

Realise that one day, soon, your computer's hard drive will crash and you will need to recover everything!  So save your bookmarks (export) to a safe place, backup all work regularly, save all passwords and hope that your colleagues will have patience.  And make sure you have enough cash readily available to buy the new hardware and software!  Accept that it will take some time to get used to the new computer and restore all programs and data.  

No prizes for guessing what happened to me.

Gr 12 September exams 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gr 12 Exam Paper 1

You can download the exam paper from 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Marking - Virtual Assessor

I think we pay R500 per month which covers bandwidth.  We are a trial school.  The software is used in the corporate world a great deal - I think Old Mutual, Absa, SA Navy, etc.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Marking work

The most interesting thing I learned in the UCT Internet Super-user course was the use of multiple choice questions.

For years I spent hours marking tests where learners could not express themselves properly and I could not really gauge if they knew the work because their command of language and English was so poor. I was on the lookout for a better system. The course showed me how with their quality MCQs, and the software Virtual Assessor let me create tests where they are marked in seconds and I really know if the learners know their work. I am now giving my learners a test every week on the section just completed.

The test is marked in seconds and the learners focus on knowing the work. I have used some of the tests for their term marks. I have collected a great deal of data (ammunition) to use when I create comments for the reports. The tests take time to create but they are worth it. The questions from the banks can be used for whatever grade as required. You can set the tests with a time limit. The tests can be made available for different periods. You can make the tests available for revision. My first tests were poor but I have become better with reflection and experience. I have learned how to test theory as well as practical aspects of computers with online testing. If any local school want to see the work give me a mail. The school pay a monthly fee to Virtual Assessor for us to use it. Other departments at our school are also now beginning to use it. I cannot show anyone the questions as the questions can only be seen by registered 'learners'.

This UCT Internet Super-user course made me look very critically at where I was going and how I was teaching CAT.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wikipedia for Schools

Do you know that you can download an Encyclopedia for free for our schools?


Instructions here

The full download of Wikipedia is rather cumbersome, but a small portion of it selected specifically for schools can be downloaded at <> This compilation of 5500 articles will fit on a single DVD, and may be freely downloaded.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Free webinars - In service training

Have you ever wanted to listen to experts in their field discussing a topic?  This week I have attended two presentations in the US where there have been audiences of over 500 people scattered around the world.  There have been PPTs, voice, chat, questions and Twittering as a back channel.

Where was I?  Well, at home!  What did I attend?  A webinar!  

According to Wikipedia a webinar is - Web conferencing used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the Internet. In a web conference, each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to other participants via the internet. ...

They are often free!  I have just gone looking for more free webinars in order to keep up-to-date and as a part of my life long learning.  I registered on the two URLs below for new interesting learning.  All that is needed is ADSL or equivalent good bandwidth.  Many of us now have uncapped ADSL so it is a good option for learning.

I did a Google search for webinar free education - Try it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gr 12 PAT

I have marked many PATs and feel irritated.  All reports are marked and I am just finishing off a few PPTs. 

We must check that the learners actually answer the question or complete the investigation.  Finding information on the topic was done well.  The survey was done well and analysed. However the survey results were not linked to the theoretical information found on the topic. Problems were not identified in the target group based on the theoretical information found. Solutions were also not based on the habits of the target group.

Put simply the learners investigated … on the Internet and in books.  They then looked at the … habits of the learners in their class. They did not make the link that the data on the Internet said xxx and the learners in their class only did xxx, therefore there was a problem. They did not say that x y z in their class who did not do … and should be doing ….  The learners did not solve the problem.  They gave solutions in general, things we all know.  The work was not finished! 

As we mark each phase we are meant to tell learners where they need to change and improve.  In the planning phase I did indicate to learners there was a part missing but despite much talk and explanation I could not seem to convey to my learners that a huge part was missing.  In future the problems and solutions phase needs much greater attention.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Preparing for Grade 12 exams

The September exams are coming soon.  To prepare I am going over old exam papers.  I am horrified at how much my learners have forgotten.  I am very grateful, that now, with the 3rd group of learners writing the NSC, we have a bank of old papers to use. It is quite amusing, doing the practical papers, using Office 2007 in our lab, realising how different 2003 and 2007 are.  What was easy in 2003 is difficult in 2007 and vice versa, especially in advanced Word, Excel and Access.  I hope the 2010 papers take this into consideration, e.g. protecting a Word form in 2007 is tricky but easy in 2003, creating Word forms in 2007 is tricky, removing lines in Access forms is not necessary in 2007, making certain textbooks different sizes on an Access input form is tricky in 2007 but so easy in 2003, etc.  All these small 'problems' make life challenging. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Access problem

This is for all those good at Access.  I formatted text in a database table with an input mask.  When I did a mail merge, that text displays as if there had been no input mask.  How do I make the input mask format 'stay'?  

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In service training

I had a wonderful Friday evening and Saturday morning teaching the CAT students doing an advanced certificate in education (ACE) at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.  They are all qualified teachers working full time, some already teaching CAT.  We did work on

  • creating a web to market CAT
  • making a PowerPoint for the subject choice meeting normally held in September
  • creating fun quizzes in Hot Potato, Excel, PowerPoint and a web editor.

I love teaching adults who are already computer literate. It is such a pity that the course will not be offered in the future as bursaries are no longer available.

Friday, July 16, 2010

PowerPoint 2007 SmartArt

My Matrics are finishing off their Phase 3 PPTs and a few are using PPT 2007s SmartArt.  Wow!  Never again will I make PPTs in the way I did!  I realise that my thinking was still stuck in 1997 format.  Try it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Digital Divide

Look at this new definition of the Digital Divide by Helene Blowers


Chapter 3.2 in the Grade 11 book is such an important chapter and the work so challenging. Graphs really require understand and thought. Nice!

  • Non-aligned data
  • Axis - Scales, Intervals, Units, Number, Alignment
  • Labels - Outside
  • Font size
  • Columns – Fill (Pictures)
  • New in Excel 2007 insert a Shape label onto/into a graph to specially show something

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Report writing

There seem to have been problems downloading the Report Writing PPT. I thought it was because there was a space between words in the file name. I fixed that - here it is. Still problems for others although I could download successfully. I have now zipped the file and hope that it will download and unzip successfully - here it is. Please let me know if you are still unsuccessful. Thanks

Office 2007 training

During the holidays I had the pleasure of helping presenting an Office 2007 training course. Here are copies of the Excel manual, PowerPoint, Crossword (to check if teachers knew the 2007 vocabulary) and Access manual and PowerPoint. Most of the files in 2007, are zipped and I hope they will download and unzip correctly.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Exam papers 2010

Place your order for CAT exam papers. Quality papers and low prices. Click here, download and follow instructions.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

PAT and report writing

I have marked many PAT reports and ACE student reports. Here is a PPT (in 2007) of points that are badly done in both. Please feel free to use it with your learners showing where to be careful.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clean up

This winter weather and soccer on TV is a wonderful time to clean up one's computer and get ready for the tax man. I cannot spend hours watching soccer – I have the TV on and regularly go to see specific action. I have been to the stadium and a fan park but sorting out papers and computer files has used much of my time this holiday. After my computer and papers, cupboards are next!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Office 2007

Between watching soccer I have been spending these holidays preparing to give a training session on new features of Microsoft Office 2007. I wonder, just wonder, not wanted to start an argument, how many of the new 2007 features are available in the latest Open Office. I wonder when these new features will be examined in a matric paper knowing that anything on the paper must be able to be done in both versions of Office.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Internet course

I have just completed the GetSmarter Internet SuperUser course This course has been the best investment I have ever made. I have learned so much about using my computer and cell phone, to access the Internet to improve my life long learning. I sat in my home, downloaded notes in pdf format, watched videos, joined a forum to discuss topics, performed exercises, answered multiple choice questions and did assignments. I did all the work online. I have spent more than the recommended 7 hours per week on the course, it consumed me.

I believe all teachers, especially CAT, IT and school librarians, should do the course. We all have to teach using technology, some teachers more than others. We all have to access information. We all have to communicate with colleagues. We all have to publish material. We all have to manage information. We all have to keep safe online. And we all have to teach our learners responsible behaviour. The course covers all these topics.

I have learned about quality, efficiency and accountability. This course has influenced my thinking in so many ways. A similar course will be offered in September with a 10% discount to all teachers, so I am told, if you request the discount.

I intend doing another course with GetSmarter soon, you guess which.

This is an unsolicited recommendation.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Guide to Twitter - but do not try and have a whole class 'join' Twitter at the same time as the network cannot handle it.


The CAT teacher is the expert ICT teacher at most schools. Please share this article with your fellow teachers.
Here's the preamble to the article:
You can*t swing a stick in social media without hitting something on Facebook. Same goes for education. You can*t talk about how technology is revolutionizing education without mentioning Facebook. It*s a simple service to figure out but what about once you become a regular user? If you*re a teacher, you would be well served by spending 3 minutes to read through this must-have guide...

Thanks for the article must go to Maggie Verster at

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Email addresses from Excel to Gmail

Teachers may find this useful - How to use a group to send email, and then how to import email addresses from Excel into Gmail

Technology for tourism

Google street view is here! A Google street view vehicle has probably been in most urban areas in South Africa and taken street views. Today I went to Google map and looked for my home. I dragged the orange "Pegman" icon on the left-hand side of the map onto my street, and saw my home. Oops, I need to do some tree trimming. Read the details of Google street view here - .

And while we think of tourists have a look at the web cams at

Sunday, June 6, 2010

PPT on Basic Computer Devices Gr 11

Exploring the application is essential in teaching the computer. Have a look at this PPT made in two periods by a gr 11 learner who had never used animations before and never used PPT 2007. I have saved it in 2003 as well as 2007 to show what can be done. Here is another PPT in 2007.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Gr 10 Page - Page 86 - Activity 2 - Important words

  • CAP – amount of data (text, pictures, animations, video, sound, etc.) transferred (downloaded and uploaded)
  • Line rental – to Telkom
  • ADSL – type of line
  • ISP – Internet service provider
  • 384, 512, 1024 – different transfer speeds available
  • Kbps (speed) – kilobytes per second
  • Bundle – type of package available from an ISP
This activity is very tricky as there is no right answer and the information is actually difficult to find. Rather focus on the words found in the activity. Valuable in seeing that it is difficult to compare ISPs. (Cybersmart has an interesting deal for night people.)
But the learners should create a table where they compare information.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Google search criteria

Essential information on doing searches on Google.

Way of teaching

When we teach CAT we have to be very careful to teach the learners to explore the applications.  We should not give too explicit instructions on how to do things. Applications which we use change – they get updated, new versions are developed, we change the office suites, and we learn to use totally different applications to that taught in the CAT class.  We have to teach an exploratory and flexibility way of thinking and working – tricky to teach but it has to be done.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Page numbering - Odd and Even, and other things in Word 2007

If you do NOT want page numbers on page 1, then be ON page 2 or higher and insert page numbers. In Table Design check on Different First Page.

If you want page numbers on Left or Right, insert them on the specific side required AFTER checking Different Odd and Even pages in Table Design.

If you want the page numbers to start at 69, in Table Design, on the left hand side look at Page Numbers, Format Page Numbers, and check on where it should start.

You may have to redo a few steps if … It is NOT fluid. Do not bother with section breaks.

Page numbering - Odd and Even in Word 2007

There has just been a query about odd and even page numbering - Look at this solution.
  • Move cursor to first page.
  • Insert, Page Number, Bottom of Page.
  • Choose Plain Number 3 (because it is on the RHS - what you need for odd numbers).
  • All the numbers will appear on the RHS.
  • Right-click in the Footer section, Edit Footer.
  • Place cursor in Footer section of any EVEN page number.
  • Select, on the Design tab, the option Different Odd & Even Pages (in the Options group).
  • The even page numbers will disappear.
  • Insert, Page Number, Bottom of Page.
  • Choose Plain Number 1 (because it is on the LHS - what you need for even numbers).
  • Also explore all the exciting options with page numbering and images.
My learners have had great fun

Monday, May 17, 2010

Grade 12 PAT

I have worked hard on getting my grade 12 PAT correct. We are now working on Phase 3. Here is a link to that PPT that I am using. I am trying to get it *right*. I am now doing it in small bits.


Here is a very good article on how to create and manage passwords, must reading for every CAT teacher and learner.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Microsoft Office

Revamped Microsoft Office Will Be Free on the Web

For the first time, Microsoft will provide a free online version of Office that lets people store their documents on the Web rather than on their personal computers.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Excel 2007

I keep discovering new things with Excel 2007. In the past to change the format of a cell you had to go to Format … or right click Format cells … and it was a long process. Now all is on the ribbon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wonder wheel in Google

I am doing a wonderful course to become an Internet Superuser at and learning so much!

To find the wonder wheel in Google work from a Google search page, i.e. type a search term into that text box, and hit the "search" button to see a page with search results.
Now look at the top left of your search page, just under the search bar, you should see a link called "+ show options"
That will open the "options side bar" inside your browser view, and you should see the option for Wonder Wheel down near the bottom of the list.
Play with that! Wow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Exam timetables

In the old days we made an ordinary table in Word with exam days.  We also made it fancy!

Take the next step and make it with Gmail Calendar, and add revision days.  You can even add popups or SMSs or emails to remind you of events.

For a short time my own calendar is on my web page at as an example. 

Computers are cool!

Great kids google competition for World Cup

Look at this great competition brought to my attention from the Infolink mailing list - good work with shapes, printing, Google, etc.

There is a kids competition running for Google Doodle logos for the World Cup.
It looks great but get them designing now - closes May 3rd.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Soccer T shirts and software

With the soccer getting our attention these days many people are now buying Bafana Bafana T shirts to wear on Fridays, and at the games. I believe those T shirts cost about R600 from a brick and mortar shop. Those T shirts, or very similar T shirts, can also be bought at traffic lights and street markets for a much lower price. This seems a good time to discuss legal and illegal software, particularly Gr 10 Page 176-178.

See you at the games! I bought my ticket ages online ago. I also started learning French to speak to the visitors.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Use the Internet in a fun way

If you have time in the busy schedule of teaching CAT you may want to enter, with your learners, the competition to help name the fossil of a young boy found near the Cradle of Humankind.  The following comes from the blurb - "Are you 18 or younger and want to WIN R75 000 towards your education and R25 000 for your school? All you have to do is think of a name for the oh so very popular, but currently nameless skeletal friend from the past and enter this awesome competition! Click on to enter."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Internet course

I am looking forward to the UCT Internet Super-User Course which starts on 12 April.  The closing date for registration is 31 March, so it is beginning soon!  Whopee!  And the best thing about the course is that I can do it from anywhere, not have to travel anywhere on our roads which are undergoing BRT changes.

I always teach – Now I want to learn and grow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Setting exam papers

I am really enjoying setting my exam papers for June.  For a long time I have used those set by Sandra and Co, but now am doing my own.  Inspiration has come!  It may leave me but for the moment I am alive with ideas.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I have had a problem brought to my attention about the PAT: Schools which do not have Internet access.
First a school should not be offering Computer Applications Technology if they do not have Internet access but that is a different topic to the PAT and this posting is about the PAT.
Solution – A teacher at his/her own expense goes to a computer (at an Internet café or wherever) which has Internet access and downloads suitable web pages. (The costs to the teacher – that is not the topic here – the PAT is.) Save them on a flash drive. Take the files to school and make them available to learners on the network or individual workstations. It is not the 'correct' way to do a PAT but is a solution. This is not an official opinion but my opinion.

Another problem with the PAT
We are meant to use many different sources for the PAT, not only focus on the Internet. For the Gr 12 PAT consider using Life Science textbooks as well as those of Consumer Studies, plus the learners should be encouraged to use the library, and that is from an ex-school librarian. For Gr 11 there have been so many articles on social networking sites in the local magazines and newspapers all listing their (bad) points. One just needs to collect them.
This year the PAT hardly needs the Internet to do the work, although the Internet is ONE of the suggested resources! For those schools without Internet access remember the Internet is just ONE of many possible sources.

Remember that CAT means greater job and enhanced job opportunities. We have such a huge responsibility to help learners fulfill their potential.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Flash drives

On an average day I pick up at least 2 flash drives left behind by careless learners in my computer lab. One learner has devised her own way to make sure she does not leave her flash drive behind. A good idea!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wonders at the hairdresser

After having my hair washed at the hairdresser, like a robot, I walked over and sat down at a computer and logged onto the Internet. I only realised that I was in a hairdresser when I was tapped on the shoulder and informed that the computers were for the use of clients having a colour job and not for those in the salon for short periods of time, i.e. having a hair cut. So next time I go in to have a colour job I can surf, go to Facebook, check my mail, etc. at no extra cost. A most forward thinking salon owner. Lovely!
The keyboard fits neatly onto the shelf in front of the chair, and the LCD monitors have the CPU affixed to their backs. Each computer has an aerial for wireless connectivity. If you are in the area visit the Hair Zone in Parklands, Table View, Cape Town and have a look. It looks as if computers are becoming more and more part of our world!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grade 11 PAT Phase 1

My Grade 11s are working so well on their PAT phase 1.  Why?  Because I taught them well last year, they have the long document on the PAT from national and they have the PPT I used last year ( ) The phases have changed slightly this year – so last year's phase 1 is this year's phase 2.   I have watched the learners – they found slide on what to hand in the most useful.  It is so nice to see the class working so well.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Office 2007

Have you tried mail merge in Office 2007 Word?  What a dream!  My Grade 12 learners did mail merge today - wonderful.  Even labels were easy.  And Activity 4 on page 103 forced them to revise addresses and tabs, as well as learn mail merge!  My learners saw the power of Word in this mail merge activity.  Grade 12 is the year of a few new skills and revision, revision.  CAT is such a valuable subject!

In-service training

How to keep up with technology in the field of CAT– I was asked that recently in an interview.  Well I paid, in dollars, to study online in the US a few years ago.  I also supervised M.Ed students which kept me up-to-date and still lecture part-time.  Now the University of Cape Town and are offering the 'UCT Internet Super-User Course' online where you can pay in rand!  Have a look at 

You may also notice that there is a discount for people coming from the same company.  So teachers get together and get a discount.  It looks really worthwhile. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Office 2007

Many people are moving to 2007.  Have a look at the 2008 matric paper on Birds where there is a PPT to support the paper, based on 2007. It was uploaded last year but it may be relevant now. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gr 12 Survey - Extracting data from forms

Email from a teacher - Sorry to bother, but I have done some surveys with my grade 12's. Do you know how to export the "results" to excel/access in 2007?  I could do it in 2003 - convert to txt..... import from excel, but clueless in 2007. Already tried to google it, but no luck.

My response - Go to  Click on FET:  CAT then look at all the 2007 things. There is a document on how to create forms. Now to answer your question - Office button, Word options, Advanced, Preserve fidelity when sharing this document, Save form data as delimited text file.  Phew!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Internet security quiz

Have a look at the Excel spreadsheet quiz on Internet security. This quiz fits in well with the work at Gr 11 Pg 22 Activity 1. The main Excel features used were Data, Data validation, List.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Office 2007

I do not believe the Department of Education requires us to move over to 2007 or 2010.  Their papers are even set so that one can use Open Office and Microsoft Office.  There is a problem in that I do not believe it will be possible to get Office 2003 in the future, so we should phase it in.  At my school we have both versions on the system and the learners may use which ever they wish to use.  

Competition and Online safety

Learners are invited to vote for the name of a recently discovered asteroid.  One of the learners at my school submitted a name.  Please go online and vote at  CAT teachers may want to discuss the safety of filling in personal details online. In the spirit of ubuntu I hope the best name wins.

Gr 10 – Page 117 Activity 5 and 6 - Text effects in Office 2007 and Format Painter

Text effects in 2007

In Word 2003 if you go to Format, Font, Text effects you have the option of Shimmer, Marching Black Ants and other fun text effects.  If you open the file PressReleaseENG, for Activity 5 on page 117,  in Word 2007 you cannot change the text effects as Word 2007 does not have that feature. 

Format Painter

Activity 6 on page 117 is about the Format Painter.  Using Word 2007, to show the real use of the Format Painter one can have the file for Activity 5 open, use the Format Painter and copy the text effects formatting to Activity 6.  Doing this really shows how the format painter can be used, especially as Word 2007 does not have those formatting features.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Effective learners

A deputy at our school, Jeremy Gibbon, gave a wonderful PowerPoint presentation at assembly at the beginning of the term on 'The 7 habits of highly effective learners'. Each slide had a key word which he spoke about and around. He focused on the audience and did not turn around and look at the screen. He knew what he wanted to say – he obviously had notes but he did not read from them. The key words were Read a lot, Are curious, Are active learners, Develop good study skills, Write well, Are responsible for their own learning and Are organised. It is available here, zipped, at 4 Meg, created by our PR secretary Deborah Torrington.

I was so impressed with the presentation and its delivery. The words 'Active learners' made me think of how I could make the CAT learners into more active learners. The results – this week the learners had to take the PowerPoint presentations which come on CD with most of the chapters in the book, and they had to give the presentation. They had to talk around the key words. They had to know their work and emulate the deputy by talking around the topic. It was so successful. The learners rose to the occasion, maybe because they hold him in such esteem and they wanted to copy his delivery. I picked up a few errors of knowledge with respect to primary and secondary memory, and different kinds of printers. I have his permission to share this PowerPoint - feel free to use this presentation in 2003 and 2003 zipped and 2007 and 2007 zipped and maybe do something similar.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gr 11 and 2007 - Chapter 1.1

Study Opportunities kindly made notes for the packages where people may struggle when they use the Gr 11 and 12 textbooks with Office 2007. These notes are on the web site at

With 2007 one needs to show the learners the ribbon, with its tabs. In the corner of groups are arrows which open more dialog boxes. One now refers to the Fluent User Interface and not the GUI. A useful thing – to view the Ruler click on the View tab. Right-clicking is most useful.

I looked at the textbook Chapter 1.1 with the view of using 2007. These are my notes for myself and the learners:

  • Gr10_Revision (page S6) - fine
  • 1-Toolbars – Be flexible, do orally, show the new features
  • 2-Toolbars – Be flexible, do orally, show the new features
  • 3-Toolbars – Be flexible, do orally, show the new features
  • 4-4-Many things – Be flexible, do orally, show the new features
  • 5-Templates – fine
  • 6-Resume – Installed or online
  • 7-Calendar - Online
  • 8-Help – fine
  • 9-Protection - TWO ways in screen dumps, ONE way explanation of video
  • 10-Help Excel - fine
  • 11-EULA - fine
  • 14-Table – Checking - Be flexible, show the new features
  • 15-CanUseHelp - Be flexible, show the new features
  • 16-Checklist - Be flexible, show the new features

Monday, January 18, 2010


On the weekend I bought tickets for the soccer world cup, for a match in Cape Town. There was a wonderful article in Friday's The Times reflecting on where were you when … and my memory was pricked. Three years ago I was stuck in South America at various airports during the soccer world cup and it was so exciting just being part of the masses glued to the TV screens found everywhere in the airports. I can understand a bit of soccer, kicking a ball in a particular direction, whereas I cannot understand rugby. It will be cool being part of the huge crowd.

My CAT experience helped me in buying the tickets online. I will be teaching the staff at school how to get their tickets.

PAT 2010

I am rather excited about the PATs this year. They are all on Thutong at or then go to Curriculum and Examination, then select Computer Applications Technology, then select the Blog. The information on the PAT in 2010 is found under the heading PAT 2010 in a very clear table.

The learners must get the BIG picture when they do the PAT. They must have a broad idea of where they are going so my Gr 12s were told to read and learn their PAT instructions for a test today. Here is my test which does not count for 'marks' but the learners did not know that. It could be a nice activity in class.

If you do not like the Gr 10 and 11 PATs apparently you can create your own on your own topic! But is it much easier using a ready made PAT than creating your own. For Grade 12 obviously we have to use the official one. Note that on Thutong the Gr 10 and 11 PATs are in Word which you can change but the Gr 12 PAT is a PDF document which cannot be edited.


Invitation to CAT teachers:
Mindsports is a new sport to the school arena and very few schools know that structures are already in place to help schools participate. Mindsports include computer gaming (LAN) and I would like to invite you to the official eSports School Meeting to be held on Wednesday (20 January 2010) at 15H30 at the Old Edwardian's Society in Lower Houghton.

The meeting is for teachers from High Schools interested in joining the official school structure for computer gaming.
Please take the time to join us for the meeting, tea and snacks will be provided.

If you would like to look at for more information regarding Mindsports.
Our school website contains information regarding our pupils participation in the Gauteng LAN of 2009 and we also really enjoyed hosting the National LAN in 2009.

I used the blog as it is the only way I know to reach the CAT teachers. :)

Noelene du Toit
(uploaded by Pam)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Grade 11 PAT in 2010

In order to work meaningfully with the PAT I believe the Gr 11 learners must have experienced Social Networking applications.  So my learners all have to do the following with Facebook.  Later we will be doing work in the group Grade 11 CAT at PHS on Facebook.  What amazed me was that I have to teach this work to many of my learners!  
  1. Sign up for Facebook
  2. Create a Facebook profile
  3. Join group Grade 11 CAT at PHS
  4. On own Facebook create a new Photo album
  5. Upload pictures (at least 2) on that topic to Facebook, tag the photos, comment on them
  6. Post something on your wall
  7. Click Like on a Friend's posting/wall
Know glossary from for test.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Grade 10 Input Output Storage Processing - Page 19

My Grade 10s all have to have someone take a photo of them using computer technology using a digital camera or cell phone. (The picture must somehow be transferred to a flash drive at home as cell phones are not permitted at school and we have no SD card readers on our computers.) When the pictures have been brought to school and transferred to the computer, each learner has to create a screensaver of themselves using computer technology using their own photos. I also expect them to know how to display a screen background picture. This extension activity linked to Activity 1 on page 19 so nicely.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Changes in ...

Essential reading for all teachers!  Curriculum Newsletter  
Print and show to your principal.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


May all CAT teachers have a wonderful 2010.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Value of CAT

What is CAT? Where does the PAT fit in?

As I stood looking at the Library of Alexandria in the developing ancient country of Egypt, I was able to put into words where the developers of CAT were going. CAT is to teach young people to make meaning of information such as that found in books, the Internet and people using the tools currently available, i.e. paper and computers, and present that information. Look at the books, computer terminals and people in the pictures! The PAT teaches how to put the computer skills together to achieve the goal of making meaning and presenting. We teach such an important subject!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grade 11 PAT in 2010

Join the group Grade 11 CAT at PHS on Facebook. Have a look at what I have planned for my kids to do. Then create your own for your own school improving on my idea. Have a great time with this PAT.

Grade 11 PAT in 2010

Welcome to the new year.
Read these articles in preparation for the Gr 11 PAT in 2010. Also look at all the links in the articles.