Saturday, January 28, 2012

Digital piracy and the Kindle

After much soul searching I returned the flash drive with 1000's of books on it. I did not take any of the books for my Kindle, although I would have loved to. I chatted to lady who had given me the flash. I was informed that many many persons had downloaded those (book) files and you can get them on the Internet. I have been so busy writing (a book) this last year that the world has passed me by and I had not heard about all the 'free' books available. It is not right! We chatted – she began to think. The e-book publishers will have to do something to curb this piracy. Read this interesting article -

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Piracy for the Kindle

Piracy is not only for young people looking for music. It is now found among the book club set looking for books for their Kindles and e-book readers.

I was given a flash drive with many folders. I have been buying books to read from Amazon. I was not sure what I was looking at. The nice lady who lent me the flash suggested I copy some books onto my Kindle. On examining the flash drive, only when I found my favourite author and found titles I have bought for Xmas last year did I realise – this is piracy! I thought they were old books out of copyright!

I could not / cannot take any of these and put them on my Kindle. It is wrong. I would like to but … no!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blind learners studying computers - help please!

I recently had the pleasure of visiting a wonderful school Pioneer School for the Blind where every cent collected is used to good effect. Learners come to this school in Worcester in the Western Cape from as far away as the Free State because of what this government school has to offer. It offers a way of life for those who need special care. It is a school for the blind and partially sighted. I went to see how they learn to use the computer and study the subject Computer Applications Technology (CAT). One of the learners from this school was the top learner in the country in Matric 2011 from a special needs school and she also studied CAT.
I was shown how a partially sighted learner used the screen enlargement software Magic. That worked well. I was most disturbed when I saw a totally blind youngster use the computer! He was working with Office 2003 – with Jaws, software that reads information on the screen using synthesized speech. I asked why he was using such an old version of Office. The answer – they have licenses for an old version of Jaws which only reads 2003. They need to get a newer version of Jaws in order to read Office 2010. The CAT curriculum will require 2010 soon. They have to get up to date! They need the latest version of Jaws but it costs about R120 000 for 30 licences. And they do not have the money at the moment. They are able to get the Microsoft Office Suite at a reduced cost, the same as all government schools, and then they have this additional cost!
Computers are the way these youngsters are going to earn a living when they leave school! It would be wonderful if every computer class in South Africa had a cake sale or other fund raiser and helped these CAT learners. It would be wonderful if every person who views this blog contributed in some way. The URL of the school is There is a link to do an electronic donation. Let us all donate to the school, requesting that the money be used for computer needs. Please.
It would be wonderful if you dropped me an e-mail at to tell me if you donated and if this blog posting made any difference. This posting is from me in my personal capacity.
I believe in the idiom ‘What goes around comes around’.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Computer Code of Conduct

We have provided a Sample Computer Code of Conduct on the DVD that comes with the Teacher’s Guide of our new Grade 10 CAT textbook. The one on the DVD has been improved and translated.
It is not possible to write any one single Code of Conduct that will serve the needs of all schools. Study Opportunities has provided this sample code of conduct as a generic example, so the document will have to be adapted to fit in with your local conditions and circumstances in your school, district and province, and to comply with any other existing regulations. You are welcome to adapt this one as you see fit and use it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gr 11 CV

Grade 11s usually have to make a CV in English or Life Orientation. May I make the suggestion that CAT teachers help the learners make a good Google timeline for their digital resume.  These links may help - and 
Facebook is becoming essential in today's world and in addition to the timeline, what is posted in the status bar is an important part of the digital resume. What is on the About page must also be correct and correctly spelled as well.