Nick's Simple IT Thoughts

I work for Genisyst, an IT company but I'm no IT guru. I work in the finanacial/managerial side of the company, so my blog consists of much more simple IT thoughts than my colleagues.

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Ease the nightly homework struggle with a tablet

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Recently, I've been trying to assist my eldest child (11 years old) with studying for upcoming exams. Even though I had put forward a monetary reward for good results achieved, boy was there still a large amount of whinging that went on. One of the subjects was music theory, and when reading about it in books or watching a teacher scribble about it on a board, I grant you it is really quite hard to wrap your head around the various concepts. You really need to hear and play these ideas out on a keyboard, for example to explain a major chord (a chord having a root, a major third, and a perfect fifth) is all great but it means nothing to a child, but if they can see the notes highlighted on a keyboard so that they can see the pattern and count the number of tones between notes played and then also hear what that major chord sounds like it starts to make sense. Well, this is where the tablet came in. I went searching for apps that could teach and quiz students on the theory of music, both free and paid for apps, I downloaded a few different ones and gave them to my daughter to have a go at. "Ding" the light went on and she was away. She could work through concepts while I was at work or at home doing jobs as she now didn't need so much hand holding. These previously confusing concepts had become fun due to the interaction with the tablet and the easy to understand visual, moving explanation. The tablet is just the right size, my daughter could sit comfortably on her bed, away from her noisy siblings, tablet on her lap, cat by her side and just give it a go. The odd "what does x mean?" came flying down the hall so I'd send "try googling it" back up the hall and with the Wi-Fi* turned on access to the fountain of all knowledge was at her fingertips. Just yesterday, she came home with a speech to do for homework. Dread came over me, but after a 5 minute discussion on what might be a suitable topic, she grabbed her tablet and went off googling. I carried on with my list of jobs only to have a report a while later that she had finished her speech and would I like to listen to it. Brilliant, no struggle there!

*Technical Note: To get the Wi-Fi working on your tablet you'll need to connect to a wireless router. This simply means you need to go into your tablet's settings, find the Wi-Fi setting, which will currently state you're not connected, and turn it on. Your tablet will start looking for any networks nearby and then return a list of available ones to you. Select the name of your network, enter its password/key and hey presto you're connected.

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I was born in England and moved to Australia during my high school years. I chose to go straight to university from school and study science, simply because that was the subject I was best at throughout my schooling. After 4 1/2 years fulltime I got some letters after my name, and I landed a great job at a company called Gradipore as a Product Development Scientist. I remained there until a few days before the birth of my first child. Unfortunately it wasn't practical for me to return there after my maternity leave had finished. Instead I went to work for Island Internet Services (now known as Genisyst) as the job on offer was able to be a lot more flexible and fit in with my random life, that was 11 years ago that makes me feel old! At Genisyst I work in the financial/managerial side of the company, but over the years I have had access to some brilliant IT minds and I have learnt a few things that readers might find helpful.