Sustainability in education – love the devices you have!

The Making of Harry Potter 29-05-2012

There is always a new and shiny device, isn’t there?

There have been two occasions during the last days that made my think about sustainability, especially in education. The first one was a call from a sales manager employed by major IWB – brand. He tried to persuade me that we get one of their up-to-date-top-of-everything-products, but he wants to get it placed in the room he wanted. The problem is: We already have an IWB there. So I offered another room that isn’t that well equipped – but he wasn’t pleased with that. His recommendation was that his company will replace the “old” and soon “out-of-date” product rather than change the room I offered.

I must admit that I didn’t expect that and although I can understand that there is rough competition in the ICT – market I have other liabilities too. We are satisfied with the other vendor but I also like to offer our students the possibility to experience as many different devices as they can to prepare them for school. On the other hand I can’t see the point to throw out a working IWB.

The second experience is related to our two ActivSlates, both already a few years old. We get them from Promethean for our university and they have been used for demonstration already – which doesn’t reduce it’s worth for us. But after a few month of use there came the moment when we need to recharge them and recognized two thing: We don’t have a charging adapter for them and you can’t purchase them for a reasonable price in Germany anymore. So we could throw them away – or find a solution. I persuaded our technician and we opened both of them (one ActivSlate 50 and an one ActivSlateXR) – and worked out a way to get them charged again!

If somebody else has the same problem, I’d like to share our experience:

  • Charging our ActiveSlate 50 over USB -cable didn’t work and we don’t had an charging adapter for the other connector. But you can easily charge it with every power supply that gives you 5 V and 0,4 A. If you are not sure, the inner pin is the plus pole.
  • Charging our ActivSlate XR wasn’t possible because the connector is unique and shipping a cable from the UK or the US makes no sense. So we found out the polarity of the 15 pin-connector that are necessary for starting the charging process and bypassed them with a standard connector. So at the end we could charge both devices with the same cheap power supply (14 Euro).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is a little slide-show with pictures my colleague made (thanks to Göran Tronicke, without his help this slate would have soon ended proving the acceleration of free fall) – if you have detailed questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

Of course, at the end of the day you can ask: was it worth all the time to “repair” them, almost hacking these devices? I’m totally convinced it was. We “rescued” two working devices and I had the possibility to learn about the inside of a tablet.  And the feeling to see them charging and working after it is priceless. We choose not the easy way to purchase a new device – and it was a good decision.

After these two happenings in a short time I remembered a quote from the MirandaNet unconference in Prague, where Rachel Jones pointed out: love the devices you have. There’s nothing to add.

Getting the stuff to repair it: 15 Euro. See it working again: priceless.

Homemade Advocaat for Christmas

You may have recognized that quite a few days have passed since my last post. And due to my last chaotic week – including a car crash, a few days without heating or warm water and so on … – I promised myself to pause blogging for a while and get into Christmas mood instead. So I decided to prepare part of my Christmas presents for my family – and because they all like homemade things I tried to make Advocaat myself.

After finishing I was so proud that I tweeted the result of the evening – nine bottles of Advocaat (or “Eierlikör” as we call it) as you can see here:

2012-12-14 21.44.35

Because my twitter-friend Digital Maverick asked for the recipe to share I promised to translate it and put it on the blog.

My English is quite limited and their may be special cooking vocabulary I’m not aware of – so please correct me if you find something that sounds strange to you 🙂

Receipt for Advocaat (you can find a German version here):

Ingredients (enough for approximately 1.1 l):
– 8 egg yolk
– 250 gr icing sugar
– 375 ml evaporated milk
– 1 pack vanilla sugar
– 250 ml Rum (54%)

How to made it:

  1. Beat and froth the eggs and the vanilla sugar, add slowly evaporated milk and icing sugar.
  2.  Add the Rum stirring. The amount may vary to your personal taste 😉
  3. Heat the liquid slowly in a water bath. Easiest way is to put one smaller pot into a bigger one.
  4. Stir it while heating till it is creamy and viscous – but it should not boil!!!
  5. Fill it into bottles while it is still warm – but not too full. Because the Advocaat gets a bit more solid by cooling down, you’ll maybe need a little space to add milk (or Rum) later to get it out of the bottle 🙂

The Advocaat is enjoyable for quiet a long time. It’s color  may become darker and the consistence more solid – but with no effect to it’s unique taste!

Let me know if you tried it – and have a nice pre-Christmas time!

A little conclusion – and a new tool | Ein kleines Fazit – und ein neues Tool

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.I solemnly swear I am up to no good – the spell to open the Marauder’s Map (or to start a Blog :-))

Ich schwöre feierlich, dass ich ein Tunichgut bin – der Zaubersprich um die “Karte des Rumtreibers” zu öffnen (oder einen Blog zu starten :-))

Thanks to all my friends who keep me motivated and help with their feedback – I can’t believe this journey started just three weeks before! Till today (Sunday, 02.12.12) 172 people from 14 countries have visited this Blog – just unbelievable! I’d like to use this post for two different things:

  • present you Google form as an interesting alternative for existing feedback systems
  • ask for you opinion – to decide the future direction of this Blog!

Danke an alle meine Freunde die mich motiviert und mir mit ihrem Feedback geholfen haben – Ich kann nicht glauben, dass diese Reise erst vor drei Wochen begonnen hat! Bis heute (Sonntag, 02.12.12) haben 172 Menschen aus 14 Ländern diesen Blog besucht – einfach unglaublich! Ich möchte den heutigen Post für zwei Dinge nutzen:

  • zum einen möchte ich Google Formular als interessante Alternative für existierende Feedbacksysteme vorstellen und
  • zum anderen ist eure Meinung gefragt – um die zukünftige Entwicklung dieses Blogs zu mitzubestimmen!


Google Formular – you have never heard of it? Same to me! All you need is a Google account and then you follow a few very simple steps:

  • login at Google and click “Drive”


  • Click on “Create” and choose “Form”


Which features does Google Form has in comparison with the other student feedback systems (see last post)?

  • no registration needed, but the teacher need to have a Google account
  • no registration for students needed, they just need the link you give them
  • totally free, no limits of participating users or number of questions
  • Question types:
    • Single Choice


    • Multiple Choice


    • Short text answer


    • Long text answer


    • Scala (labelled at the ends)


    • Scala (every option labelled)


  • prepared questions and tests possible, if you are familiar with this tool maybe also spontaneous possible
  • two options for analysis: table and graph



  • available in every language Google is!

Do you have used Google Form before – or will you try it now? I would be happy to hear about your experience!

Google Formular – du hast noch nie davon gehört? So ging es mir auch! Alles was du brauchst ist ein Google Account und ein paar wenige Klicks:

  • Logge dich bei Google ein und klicke auf “Drive”


  • Klicke auf “Erstellen” und wähle “Formular”


Welche Eigenschaften hat Google Formular im Vergleich mit den anderen Feedbacksystemen (siehe letzter Post)?

  • keine Registrierung nötig, aber der Lehrer benötigt einen Google Akkount 
  • keine Registrierung für Studenten nötig, sie benötigen nur den Link den du ihnen gibst
  • absolut kostenfrei, kein Beschränkung für die Anzahl der teilnehmenden Nutzer oder die Anzahl der Fragen
  • Fragentypen:
    • Einfache Auswahl


    • Mehrfache Auswahl


    • Kurze Textantwort


    • Lange Textantwort


    • Skala (nur an den Enden beschriftet)


    • Skala (jede Option beschriftet)


  • vorbereitete Fragen und Tests möglich – wenn du mit dem Tool vertraut bist, ist dies vielleicht auch spontan möglich
  • es gibt zwei Möglichkeiten zur Auswertung: Tabelle oder Diagramm



  • Verfügbar in jeder Sprache in der Google es auch ist!

Hast du Google Formular schon vorher benutzt – oder wirst du es jetzt versuchen? Ich würde mich freuen von deine Erfahrung zu hören!

Now you have the opportunity to decide and participate in the future of this Blog – so please use this chance 🙂

Nun hast du die Gelegenheit zu entscheiden, und an der Zukunft des Blogs mitzuwirken – also nutze bitte diese Chance 🙂