Teaching ideas

Ask Students to design their idea of homes of the future.

Computer Crowns

Rebuild old machines into new ones

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All the PDST CPD can be found below.

Strand 1: Practices and principles

  1. Computers and society
  2. Computational thinking
  3. Design and development

Strand 2: Core concepts

  1. Abstraction
  2. Algorithms
  3. Computer systems
  4. Data
  5. Evaluation/Testing

Strand 3: Computer science in practice

Applied learning task 1 - Interactive information systems

Applied learning task 2 - Analytics

Applied learning task 3 - Modelling and simulation

Applied learning task 4 - Embedded systems

Grace Hopper Quotes

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great programming projects here, the racingt academy will suit those who understand car gearing systems ... if you don't understand them or know anything about gears you will learn some by following this through.

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Call to Code

How Evaluate a website

Evaluation Rubric

There are many sources of Evaluation Rubrics for Internet Websites. Many have similar focuses, while prioritise differently. The following sites have detailed rubric for the evaluation of internet websites. They are mostly 3rd level institutions rubrics but these contain essential instructions in the evaluation of websites by 2nd level students. The ability to source back knowledge, in the case of a challenge, must be paramount.

Browsing Criteria

When searching for information there is plenty information given by the search engines, the most important piece is the URL (Universal Resource Locator), the address of the site. This can often tell us if this is what we are looking for.

Broken down into the domain and the publisher, sites can be quickly evaluated by their origins. The domain (the .ie .com etc) defines where a website comes from. Domains .org .edu .net are considered to be sites on behalf of non-commercial institutions, they often provide information and services. If the information or topic is country specific it may be best resourced by sites on the national domain (.ie / .uk / .nl /.au). Domains to be concerned about with regard to any commercial bias, are those domains upon which sites are bought by any organisation or person, (.com / .co etc.)

The middle part of the URL the server name can often be seen as the publisher of the site. Some servers act as warehouses for personal web pages (geocities, yahoo etc). These sites may be of great interest however we must be sure the information is factual by cross referencing with linked sites. Other servers are maintained by Organisations, usually commercial one, again the data on these sites may well be accurate, helpful and appropriate. These sites normally however have some degree of bias related to the commercial business interests of the server’s owners. Again any information gleaned from these sites should be cross-referenced.

Choosing URL’s that seem appropriate will reduce time spent on non-relevant sites.

Referencing a Site

In order to properly cite referenced information we need to provide 3 pieces of information to the reader, the name, location and date of publication.

The location is simply the URL, however a student must search for other information. The authors name and the date of publication must first be found in any work to be referenced.

Evaluating a Site

In order to evaluate a site it is reasonable to break down the criteria into separate sections. The headings I have chosen are; Authenticity & Authority, Suitability and Content. Under these 3 sections we should be able to distinguish between good and poor resources.

When evaluating a site it may be helpful for the student to have an easy to follow rubric, the following is a set of questions to which graded responses can be given, 3 marks for a good example to 0 marks where no example exists. The grade 2marks should be given where the example is satisfactory. 1mark should be employed to note its presence but with poor functionality.

The marks are out of a total 99.

Site Title



Authenticity & Authority

  1. Is the author of the page named? 0 1 2 3

  1. Are there Contact details for the author? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is there any biography (description of experience) for the author? 0 1 2 3

  1. Do you know of or do you trust the publishing organisation? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is it linked from any other pages on that server? 0 1 2 3

  1. Does the page carry a statement or logo of the publisher? 0 1 2 3

  1. Does the site have a ‘last updated’ date? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is that date sufficiently recent? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is the site objective (3 marks) or strongly biased (0 Marks)? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is the page linked to or from trusted sites? 0 1 2 3


  1. Is the information provided as a public service? 0 1 2 3

  1. How fast does the site load? (very fast = 3) 0 1 2 3

  1. Does the website require additional software downloads

to be viewed? (yes = 0marks, No = 3 marks) 0 1 2 3

  1. Can you surf freely (3marks) or must you log on to site giving

away some information (2/1mark) or your e-mail address (0)? 0 1 2 3

  1. Does the site carry advertising (lots = 0marks)(none = 3marks)? 0 1 2 3

  1. What is the sites function? educational/informational (3marks)

to purely Commercial (0marks) ? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is the language easy to understand or complicated? 0 1 2 3

  1. Does it have an age range? Is it suitable for the students? 0 1 2 3

  1. Does the content provide suitable material to be used as an

information resourse? 0 1 2 3

  1. Are the sources of information clearly listed? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is there evidence that this site is actively maintained with updates? 0 1 2 3


  1. Are all links valid and working? 0 1 2 3

  1. Have all pictures and text loaded properly? 0 1 2 3

  1. Does it comment on sources of images, data or text on the page?

(with links?) 0 1 2 3

  1. Is the site easily navigable (including backward navigation)? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is the information clearly presented? 0 1 2 3

  1. Is the site aesthetically pleasing (does the site look good)? 0 1 2 3

  1. Do pictures have alternative text comments to explain the image? 0 1 2 3

  1. Does the site use multimedia elements? (video or audio) 0 1 2 3

  1. Does the site use interactive elements? 0 1 2 3

  1. Are there links to related sites? 0 1 2 3

  1. Are there links from those related sites? 0 1 2 3

  1. Are pages in an appropriate format, do they sit within the screen?

Is there a printer friendly version? 0 1 2 3

Authenticity & Authority



Total Evaluation score



15 Ways to Extend Your Laptop’s Battery Life

Laptops tend to lose their charm quickly when you’re constantly looking for the nearest power outlet to charge up. How do you keep your battery going for as long as possible? Here are 15 easy ways to do so.

1. Defrag regularly - The faster your hard drive does its work – less demand you are going to put on the hard drive and your battery. Make your hard drive as efficient as possible by defragging it regularly. (but not while it’s on battery of course!) Mac OSX is better built to handle fragmentation so it may not be very applicable for Apple systems.

2. Dim your screen – Most laptops come with the ability to dim your laptop screen. Some even come with ways to modify CPU and cooling performance. Cut them down to the lowest level you can tolerate to squeeze out some extra battery juice.

3. Cut down on programs running in the background. Itunes, Desktop Search, etc. All these add to the CPU load and cut down battery life. Shut down everything that isn’t crucial when you’re on battery.

4. Cut down external devices – USB devices (including your mouse) & WiFi drain down your laptop battery. Remove or shut them down when not in use. It goes without saying that charging other devices (like your iPod) with your laptop when on battery is a surefire way of quickly wiping out the charge on your laptop battery.

5. Add more RAM - This will allow you to process more with the memory your laptop has, rather than relying on virtual memory. Virtual memory results in hard drive use, and is much less power efficient. Note that adding more RAM will consume more energy, so this is most applicable if you do need to run memory intensive programs which actually require heavy usage of virtual memory.

6. Run off a hard drive rather than CD/DVD - As power consuming as hard drives are, CD and DVD drives are worse. Even having one in the drive can be power consuming. They spin, taking power, even when they?re not actively being used. Wherever possible, try to run on virtual drives using programs like Alcohol 120% rather than optical ones.

7. Keep the battery contacts clean: Clean your battery’s metal contacts every couple of months with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol. This keeps the transfer of power from your battery more efficient.

8. Take care of your battery – Exercise the Battery. Do not leave a charged battery dormant for long periods of time. Once charged, you should at least use the battery at least once every two to three weeks. Also, do not let a Li-On battery completely discharge. (Discharing is only for older batteries with memory effects)

9. Hibernate not standby – Although placing a laptop in standby mode saves some power and you can instantly resume where you left off, it doesn’t save anywhere as much power as the hibernate function does. Hibernating a PC will actually save your PC’s state as it is, and completely shut itself down.

10. Keep operating temperature down - Your laptop operates more efficiently when it’s cooler. Clean out your air vents with a cloth or keyboard cleaner, or refer to some extra tips by

11. Set up and optimize your power options – Go to ‘Power Options’ in your windows control panel and set it up so that power usage is optimized (Select the ‘max battery’ for maximum effect).

12. Don’t multitask – Do one thing at a time when you’re on battery. Rather than working on a spreadsheet, letting your email client run in the background and listening to your latest set of MP3's, set your mind to one thing only. If you don’t you’ll only drain out your batteries before anything gets completed!

13. Go easy on the PC demands – The more you demand from your PC. Passive activities like email and word processing consume much less power than gaming or playing a DVD. If you’ve got a single battery charge – pick your priorities wisely.

14. Get yourself a more efficient laptop - Laptops are getting more and more efficient in nature to the point where some manufacturers are talking about all day long batteries. Picking up a newer more efficient laptop to replace an aging one is usually a quick fix. Check out the latest highly battery efficient Toshiba R Series 630/830 models in our web site at or in our online shop at

15. Prevent the Memory Effect - If you’re using a very old laptop, you’ll want to prevent the ‘memory effect’ – Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries (which most laptops have) which do not suffer from the memory effect.

16. Turn off the autosave function. MS-Word’s and Excel’s autosave functions are great but because they keep saving regular intervals, they work your hard driver harder than it may have to. If you plan to do this, you may want to turn it back on as the battery runs low. While it saves battery life in the beginning, you will want to make sure your work is saved when your battery dies.

17. Lower the graphics use. You can do this by changing the screen resolution and shutting off fancy graphic drivers. Graphics cards (video cards) use as much or more power today as hard disks.

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