Jamie Balfour

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Jamie Balfour'sPersonal blog

At last, I can finally say that all of my slideshows have been updated to the 16:9 aspect ratio - something that I started to work on at the start of June this year to better utilise the space available. Further to that, I've brought changes to the designs that make them more consistent, updated the styles for different sections and much more. 

Over the last five years of me being a teacher, I have developed quite a few pretty handy tools for teaching. Those tools have for the most part only been used by me. 

Some of the tools, such as BalfVote are nearly available to the general public but others remain behind closed doors and only for me to use.

Well, today that is about to change with my plan to amalgamate these tools together. So far my teaching tools are as follows:

  • BalfVote
  • PlanIt
  • Timetabler
  • Teacher Organiser report writer
  • Course planner generator

My vision is that these five tools merge into one collective group of tools with one central location to use them. 

Another great week ended with me getting a little certificate - completely out of the blue. This certificate was to say how well I'd managed to settle into my new school, which without a doubt I feel I have. I've never actually been happier in any other job, I really love the place and my department are amazing! 

This certificate is another one of those little reasons that reminds me why I love my school - I not only feel very appreciated and welcome, but I also know that I made the right choice coming here, even if at first it was a difficult one because I liked where I was before.

Many of you will know I was a bit of a geeky kid who enjoyed lots of things that involved computers. One of my passions, when I was younger, was writing books about technology and computers.

I wrote my non-fiction first book in my first year of school and it came to 180 pages. It was based on what I would be studying a few years later, Standard Grade Computing.

In my fourth year of school I began to write my second book (technically the third since my second did not amount into anything), and this book was used for the training department in what I was trying to make into my own company (Balfour's Business). The company never became anything and I ditched it for Jambour Digital in 2017. The book was 382 pages long!

I've now started a new book called Complete Computing. This time Complete Computing will be made publicly available. This book is covering S3/Level 3/4 Computing and covers several different topics. CC is based around the S3 course at the school I teach at mixed with the course at another school which one of the co-authors works at. 

Oh yes, and I didn't mention that this time to assist with the writing of the book I have encouraged someone else to co-author the book with me. 

The ultimate aim of this book is to provide a resource for Level 3/4 Computing covering a wide range of topics that can be used. Whether I intend to publish it or not is still undecided. 

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in Teaching
complete computing

This blog post was inspired by a blog post by another teacher I know.

I'm getting to the end of my training now and nearly about to get out into the real world again (boy have I missed it). In less than 2 and a half months I will be finished with my teacher training and hopefully having passed, getting ready for my NQT year.

I'm enjoying it all again, maybe because I'm better at it where I am now, or maybe it's just the incredible amount of support I've been getting the last few days (my previous mentor is the one to thank for hardening me up and helping me get here). I'm more confident that I can teach as well and my last crit shows that since I had it last Tuesday and I think it was a really great lesson. Since then my lessons have been going well and I'm being reflective where I can to ensure that I improve where I need to.

Energy-wise I'm okay during the day but not finding the time at home to get the work I want to get done actually done. Though I am feeling it better here since most nights I don't feel I need to do any more work as I've done it all during the day.

I will report back to my followers in a few week's time!

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in Teaching
teaching
nqt
student

You can now download the latest version of my HAGGIS parser as a Java JAR from my personal Dropbox. This will also be a 'nightly' update in that all changes will come to this version since this is not the finished version. This JAR file also contains the latest version of ZPE, which is also nightly.

I hope some of you enjoy using it and that it is of some use to you.

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in Teaching
sqa
haggis
parser

A few nights ago I tweeted that I had begun work on a new HAGGIS parser. This parser is actually a YASS transpiler that transpiles from SQA HAGGIS to my own YASS before interpreting and running the YASS code. 

The parser will not only check if the code is valid, but it will also explain what is wrong with it. It will also be able to run it.

Whilst this is still experimental or incomplete, I have uploaded ZPE 1.7.2 with the new HAGGIS parser on to my server.

I hope people find this useful!

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in Teaching
sqa
haggis
parser
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