Modern applications in ICT workshop

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Day 8

George Munroe   Fri 12 Sep 2014

Well done everyone on your group presentations! We were delighted to watch and listen as you all demonstrated how you could use your learning on the workshop to initiate and deliver or enhance Education related projects in Nigeria. Excellent.

It has been a real pleasure for Christine and I to have had the privilege of leading you through this workshop in Newcastle. We look forward to keeping in touch over the coming years.

Thank you for your attention, for keeping with us through the programme and giving us the satisfaction of seeing our training find genuine purpose in your work.



ibrahim bala   Fri 12 Sep 2014

i guess u r home by now!!! dont wori george ur good work wil manifest in us d soonest

Mohammed Salihu Nasir   Tue 16 Sep 2014

It has been a wonderful learning experience, you guys have done a great job we were really exited.

The workshop has really prepared and tailored us to addressing some of our work schedule.

I am very happy for interacting with one of the best and looking forward to meeting you in the near future.

Kanam Saleh Saidu   Thu 18 Sep 2014

Yes, what a genius we had in the best team that conducted this unforgettable experienced never to trash away!!! We shall ever be grateful with what we had acquired during our short but eventful stay at the Newcastle Upon Tyne, interacting with one of the founders of the Internet tool - Worldwide web (www) engine. Be rest assured that we shall endeavour to replicate our experiences in our various working places.....but hey, Mr. George and Christine, do find time to visit Nigeria and discover the difference between reality and fake reportage........thanks so much!!!!!!!

George Munroe   Thu 18 Sep 2014

Looking forward to visiting Nigeria!

If anyone knows of any work for us there that would help pay the flights then do let us know!

It's great to hear all your comments on the blog and by email since the end of the workshop. Thanks for taking the time to send them and do keep in touch.

Day 7

Christine Cahoon   Thu 11 Sep 2014

Following on from yesterday's introduction to HTML5, we explored more HTML5 features such as new form inputs, localstorage and sessionstorage to store the content of form submissions while offline, drag and drop, geolocation and some of the Application Programmer interfaces.

We also had a look at the most popular social media networks and their relevance to you as individuals and for your organisations.

We delved into Linked Data, and with examples, saw how being able to link datasets, many issues were highlighted that were previously not possible.

The last presentation of the day we took a further look at the reports in Google Analytics, specifically looking at the workshop server views.

Most of the day we worked on our group projects mostly focusing on forms. Creating the html for the form to check how it looked within the browser, adding it to the perl module ensuring the variables were set up and references to the database table and creating the database table. Each group have developed the form questions to gather information for use in their web projects.

Much to consolidate on our last day before presentations in the afternoon.

1 comment

George Munroe   Thu 11 Sep 2014

I've uploaded the HTML5 simple form using localStorage methods that will save form contents in the browser if the device is offline and allow re-submission of all pending saved forms when the device is online again.

It's available as zip archive at:

Have fun!

Day 6

Christine Cahoon   Tue 09 Sep 2014

To start the day we had a practical session to:

  • update our notes in Google Docs to include the topics that was of interest to you from yesterday
  • login to Google Analytics to explore some of the web site reports
  • create a database table 'tblUser' with different fields to store the registration details from the login form
  • register a user and see the content within the database table

Afterwards the teaching centred around the important principles of structure emphasising that structure should exist within all documents, presentations, HTML and CSS files. Doing so, ensures that style changes can be made easily. For example, changing the style of the main title on a master slide means that main title will change throughout all slides where it is used. Same principle applies in CSS. We were introduced to Google Drawing to create drawings for the web projects.

We had an in-depth look at the power of cascading stylesheets CSS with examples showing how CSS can be used to change layout as well as style with the same content. It was shown how having structured content within news and blog items makes the setting up of a RSS feed easy. We covered good practice regarding graphical content and were introduced to the flexibility of using HTML canvas to generate graphical content within a web page.

During the practical sessions, we started to put into practice what we have learnt from the teaching regarding design, images, HTML, CSS and change our group project web sites accordingly.

The last teaching session covered a look at HTML5 and its main principles such as improved semantics and device independence. We saw a video to illustrate the device independence, one HTML5 application that ran in different platforms. Among the resources viewed were a useful flowchart to show the HTML5 semantic elements and when to use them, use of audio and video elements.

1 comment

Mohammed Salihu Nasir   Wed 10 Sep 2014

we discussed our project frame work and we are working hard to get it delivered.

Day 5

Christine Cahoon   Mon 08 Sep 2014   updated: Tue 09 Sep 2014

In the first session we learnt more about the MySQL relational database management system and certain SQL functions that are useful for reporting. From examples, we saw how to list the result of applying functions to all records in a database or deal with groups of records in turn using SQL aggregate and group functions.

During the next two sessions we covered secure web server communication. We discussed encrypting all traffic between the browser and server using certificate authority (CA) signed certificates and corresponding keys. We also explored user logins and reviewed the main principles involved using encrypted session cookies.

During practical sessions we generated a private key and public certificate for each server. We then updated virtual host configuration files to ensure that all web traffic was encrypted and safe against any eavesdropping attempts. Once the httpd process was restarted we could see secure pages being displayed with 'https'. However, we did find that Chrome didn't recognise our self signed secure certificate, although other browsers allowed us to specify the level of trust we were prepared to assign.

Later we installed another two Perl modules to enable encryption for session cookies. A number of Perl scripts, Javascript and HTML files were copied to the servers to establish a full program driven framework for each web server and web sites hosted on them. Through simple file edits we were able to change the content, section and subsections menu names, and CSS style information (and much more).

Our last session today was our first introduction to Google Analytics and its importance in monitoring how users navigate through a web site in order to assess how successful a web site is.


George Munroe   Tue 09 Sep 2014   updated: Thu 02 Oct 2014

I have managed to work out how to configure Chrome to recognise a self signed SSL server certificate as trusted. The actual steps seem to vary greatly across browsers, platforms and even between versions of the same browser. However there is normally a way to extract a summary file of the certificate and loading it on a local machine to permanently avoid warnings about an unrecognised signing certificate authority—the encryption is still 100% affective.

I have also uploaded a new batch of web site files in which the Perl code provides a picture file upload on the user registration form. This zipped archive replaces the one that was available on the workshop web site in the Workshop documents section. It is also a cleaner archive!


Mohammed Salihu Nasir   Tue 09 Sep 2014

The programme is becoming more interesting by the day. I personally learnt alot, tanx George and Christy.

Day 4

Christine Cahoon   Fri 05 Sep 2014

Today we covered a variety of topics to cater for both programmers and content providers. We addressed setting up a simple web site framework using scripts and code modules with the programming language, Perl, HTML form validation with JavaScript, then web design aspects relating to usability, the basics of search engine optimisation (SEO) and the promotion of web pages. During the practicals groups were able to add the Perl script, Javascript and HTML files and test how the forms worked and their content submitted, validated.

The practicals ensured that your web site framework was in place, ready for the second week when you will be concentrating on each of your projects. You will be developing:

  • your web site design, making your design and style attractive to users
  • the content, making it easy for users to get to the information they're looking for (remember the invested information pyramid)
  • developing an online form so that it has the questions and answers for your project
  • improving search engine optimisation of your site, making sure metatags have keywords that's relevant to the content on each page


ibrahim bala   Fri 05 Sep 2014

George makes the training look so simple in fact as easy as collecting candy from baby!!!! alto I ask too much questions? and George is a kind of woooow!!! My questions are too much.....!!!!! don't worry George am just trying to solve all the challenges am expecting from the users of forms.

George Munroe   Fri 05 Sep 2014

Keep them coming Ibrahim :-). Life would be so boring without the questions!

Instructions and files for Day 4

George Munroe   Thu 04 Sep 2014   updated: Thu 02 Oct 2014

The first thing on the agenda: install all database software components on the server. A simple summary of all the required commands, extracted from the workshop slides, is available in the workshop web site Online resources section, or directly at address:

Later, experiment with simple forms and form validation. Download the following zipped folder of files including HTML, JavaScript and Perl then work out where to put them on your server to demonstrate two simple forms working and transfer to your server using WinSCP!

You don't need to change much in these files to make them work on your server—but you do need to think carefully about where they should be placed on the server.

Day 3

Christine Cahoon   Thu 04 Sep 2014

This morning we split into two groups. My group, for those who arrived on Wednesday, focused on the first practicals dealing with document preparation within Google Docs and Slides, writing web pages with HTML and then creating CSS and JavaScript files to improve style and functionality. We also generated key pairs using Puttygen and emailed public keys to the system administrators keeping the private keys so that we could login and transfer files securely to the workshop servers later on. George led the system administrators on setting up an email service on all workshop servers.

In the afternoon group members worked together to complete setting up of the web servers, starting appropriate processes and securely uploading files using the WinSCP application.

Teaching modules included server housekeeping, and introductions to HTML forms, Perl, MySQL and phpMyAdmin.

After three days of groundwork, it was time to discuss what the group projects should and could contain. The following are desirable in each project:

  • a clearly defined and communicated purpose
  • an example of data collection using a form
  • reports from the data gathered using the from
  • complementary information related to the site purpose
  • appropriate graphics to improve the effectiveness of web pages

Suggestions were raised for possible projects as follows.

  • Nigerian Education Facts. This could contain a survey to assess public views on aspects of education in the country. Summaries of answers from all those submitting responses could be displayed while also displaying related actual facts.
  • Nigerian Education Equality. A mini version of a working school assessment form accompanied by complementary pages outlining the process by which the Federal government is enabling a consistent level of quality education for all scholars.
  • Nigerian Education Excellence. Perhaps a short online questionnaire for teachers undergoing training to test their awareness of the skills required to communicate competently and professionally using digital media with complementary information pages that outline some basic principles that could enable teachers to deliver and share learning resources more cost effectively and set standards of excellence that would be propagated to other teachers and pupils.

At the end of the day, we were reminded of IYFTPYPTF—If You Fail To Plan You Plan To Fail. Time to get the thinking caps on!

Day 2

George Munroe   Thu 04 Sep 2014

At last our group reinforcements arrived! Mohammed is now joined by Suleiman in the Lion group, Ibrahim is joined by Angela in the Leopard group and Kanam is joined by Zainab in the Cheetah group.

We spent a short time reviewing work to date for the benefit of our new arrivals and went through the expectations for the group projects in some detail.

We then proceeded with our introductory module on How the internet works which dealt with physical connections and how information is sent in packets and switched by routers between source and destination. We addressed numeric network addresses and how these are mapped to domain names using the domain name service (DNS). Authoritative regional registries maintain network address allocations and top level domain registries control the allocation of domain names.

Our introductory internet considerations led to our second module on Cloud computing. We reviewed virtualisation and the many benefits afforded to suppliers and users. We focused on Amazon Web Services and how internet server and associated services can be deployed in that particular cloud.

After lunch we logged in to an AWS account which has been set up for the workshop. We launched a new instance and saw what options were available for creating this with the AWS Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) options. In particular we noted how a public/private key pair is necessary to initially connect to and log in to the new server instance and that a security group (set of firewall rules) can further control access to the server.

The PuTTY application suite on a Windows personal computer was used by the group system administrators to log into the group servers at AWS by using the private keys which had been created with the group servers. Several system tasks were followed after logging in, including creating new user accounts for other group members.

PuTTY was used by group members to create personal public/private key pairs and the public key was forwarded to the group leader for installation on the server so that the new users would be able to log in at some later stage.

System administrators updated server software and used the nano editor to change some configuration files, and generally become accustomed to using the Linux command line interface. Meanwhile new group members created Google accounts as required and began updating notes in their Google Drive collection of documents.

We concluded the day by viewing a video which illustrated how pervasive social media applications have become for many ordinary people.

Day 1

George Munroe   Wed 03 Sep 2014   updated: Thu 02 Oct 2014

So we took it slow because some participants were still en route to the workshop and not expected until Day 2. A lot of discussion about backgrounds, current work, and expectations for the workshop.

Ibrahim mentioned work in UBEC that involves visiting schools and completing assessments by completing forms from which reports are produced. Many of these schools are in remote areas without internet connectivity and often without electricity also. Mobile devices are used to collect the assessment information. His hope is that this information could be collected in exactly the same way as with online forms then automatically uploaded to a central database when the device came online again. We mentioned that HTML5 features should provide this capability and we will revisit later in the workshop.

The discussion about low cost Android mobile devices also led to the development of Android apps and we talked about how HTML5 apps could be used on all operating system platforms with obvious advantages over native apps.

We talked about the group projects we hope to complete by the end of the workshop and assigned Mohammed as the Lion group leader, Kanam as the Cheetah group leader and Ibrahim as the Leopard group leader.

In the afternoon we confirmed Google IDs and logged into Google Drive applications, created a Notes document each for recording notes on what we learn every day. We also looked at the Google presentation app which we will use for group presentations next week. We reviewed how to structure both documents and presentations correctly using proper style definitions and master slide layouts. We related this structuring of documents to web pages and HTML.

While using the personal computers we explored the contents of our USB drives, trying Notepad++ for simple text editing and creating an HTML document, linked CSS file and linked JavaScript file then viewing in the Chrome web browser. We also looked at the different components of the PuTTY collection of secure shell client software for connecting to internet servers.

A full day, despite the low numbers!


George Munroe   Sun 31 Aug 2014   updated: Thu 02 Oct 2014

Hello everyone and welcome to this workshop!

I'll be leading many of the workshop sessions and hopefully taking you on a journey that will see you setting up your own online server, installing email and web services, building a web site with pages generated by your code using content from a server database that you set up, and learning more about HTML5, JavaScript and CSS as you enhance your site.

As well as transferring knowledge to you about web related topics, we will also be encouraging you to recognise good practice in areas such as document preparation, planning as a group, developing goals and objectives, presenting your learning and achievements to others.

You will all have an opportunity to demonstrate new things you have learnt to the whole workshop as we near the end of the second week.

Many of you may already have some knowledge about topics we are covering but I'm confident you will find more of interest! However if you don't know anything about what we're talking about then don't panic. We will take our time and there is plenty of scope in our programme for you to focus on those topics of most interest to you.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy the workshop, find your achievements very satisfying and that it all proves helpful in your work in the future—even if you are exhausted at the end of all the hard work!



Christine Cahoon   Tue 02 Sep 2014

To introduce myself... I'm the workshop co-ordinator over the two weeks so if there's anything that's causing you concern just let me know. I also will be taking some of the sessions during the second week.

We would like you to use this blog to provide feedback on any aspect of the workshop, the facilities and any of the topics covered.

We'll be adding at least one new blog post a day for you to add comments, including any questions.

I will be encouraging you to use the hashtag #jamboworkshop when tweeting with Twitter.

Mohammed Salihu Nasir   Tue 02 Sep 2014

Hi I am Mohammed from Nigeria married with two kids, working with TETFUND a Government parastatal.

Attending my first training with netskills on modern use of ict tools, I hope at the end of the workshop we will become more educated and learnt new ideas.

Kanam Saleh Saidu   Tue 02 Sep 2014

I am call and known as Mal. Saleh Saidu Kanam or Mr. Kanam for short. I am a Nigerian, from Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State. I work with the Universal Basic Education Commission, a parastal under the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja.

I came to the UK to attain an ICT training at the University of Newcastle, and was sponsored by my organisation, UBEC. So far, the training is proving to be interesting and perfectly packaged.

ibrahim bala   Tue 02 Sep 2014

hello all,Am ibrahim works with UBEC Ngeria Today is the first day on the training modern application in ICT and the introductory session by George and Christine was wonderful and i hope after the training i will go back home fully equipped with all the questions i asked George and Christine. A member of the LEOPARD TEAM

Suleiman Dauda   Wed 03 Sep 2014

Hello, I am Dauda Suleiman form working with National Teachers' Institute Kaduna - Nigeria, a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Education (FME).

I am attending a training on modern application in ICT organised by netskill, University of Newcastle.

The training is highly educative and interesting with friendly resource persons George and Christie.

zainab amimu   Wed 03 Sep 2014


Am zainab from NTI Kaduna. Am a staff of NTI computer center h/q kaduna. Am here in Newcastle to update my ICT Skills. The workshop is educative.

Angela Eze   Wed 03 Sep 2014

Iam Angela Eze from National Teachers' Institute, kaduna attending workshop on Modern ICT Techniques. Very Educative and Interesting. I wish to learn more of programming as my work centres around it. Thanks.