Monday, 28 April 2008

Sneak Preview!

Here's a sneak preview of one of the ICT pages from this year's School Magazine which is busily being put together at the moment. The background of the pages are from a photo of the manipulated image of the building inauguration which appeared on the noticeboard outside the Music Room earlier in the year.

The idea of the pages is to convey how new technologies and applications are impacting upon the ICT curriculum. Hence, students using digital video equipment feature prominently, as do many of the applications we use on the internet; eg blogging, our Ning site and essentials such as Google Earth, Sketchup and Voicethread.
The finished publication will be ready early next term, but you can check out one of the ICT pages now!

Friday, 25 April 2008

What Gives?

I'm really looking forward to attending the Hong Kong 21st Century Learning Conference next weekend over at KGV. This is clearly an important event as HK schools continue to adapt to the need to shift their curriculum to take into account new technologies and new ideas.

I know that Paul McMahon who is helping to organise this event feels the pace of change in HK should be much quicker. However, he should take heart from the recent Education Bureau publication 'Right Technology at the Right Time for the Right Task'. In this document, Dept Secretary for Education Chris Wardlaw acknowledges the crucial role that new communication technologies have in schools;

"teachers and students are using blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds for collaborative learning and sharing knowledge in cyber-connected communities. The value of such peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges and collaboration is that the more a student knows about a relevant subject, the more he/she is recognized and sought out by peers for his/her knowledge. In turn, the more he/she shares his/her knowledge, the deeper and richer his/her understanding of the subject becomes. In addition, by facilitating students to work together to investigate problems according to their interest, these applications can help them develop inquisitive learning skills."

Collaboration is a key word here and influences much of the thinking behind ideas of 21st Century Learning, alongside enquiry based learning, critical thinking, analysing and filtering information, media literacy and digital citizenship.

The issue for our schools is how we integrate these skills and ideals into our already crowded curriculum. And if we are able to recognise and implement 21st Century Learning, are we also able to recognise and evaluate the worth of 20th Century Learning?!

Something has to give in the curriculum to allow for these essential new skills to be taught and used, but the question is what?! As somebody brought up in the 20th Century it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that skills valued during my own schooling may no longer be relevant.

When I first started teaching (132 years ago) I could recognise the handwriting of all my colleagues. I could probably only recognise the writing of one or two of my current colleagues.

I'm sure my handwriting was always the neatest! What price neat cursive script in the 21st Century?!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Google Earth Quiz

The following images are all taken from Google Earth. They are all on Hong Kong island. Can you identify them? Remember that some of the images may be a little out of date as GE is not updated in real time.

There are a few easy ones to start with but then they get much harder! You can use the comment option to add your answers. Please remember to only use your first name, NOT your full name.

If you'd prefer to e-mail me your answers, or give them me the old fashioned way, you can do that too!

Any pupils at Kellett who get all the answers right can come and claim a precious Kellett point. If you get them all right and you're not at Kellett then you get a big well done instead!

Good luck.

Picture 1

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Picture 12

Monday, 21 April 2008

Year 5 & 7 Trips

Good luck to all staff and students taking part in extended trips this week. Year 5 will be on their annual pilgrimage to Beijing whilst Year 7s will be visiting Kota Kinabalu for a Science expedition.

Both groups have spent time exploring where they are going using Google Earth. year 7 students have started to learn about geo-tagging which will allow them to use their own images in GE when they get back.

Thankfully for those going to Beijing the weather will be significantly better than when the current Google Earth image was created. Here below the marble boat area of the Summer Palace with the surrounding lake completely frozen!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Digital Photography Competition Results

If you haven't looked, the results of the Digital Photography Competition are now on the wall outside the Music Room. The standard was very high and it was extremely difficult for the judges to make their decisions. In each year group a number of entries were awarded a highly commended note alongside the year group winner.

So difficult was it to separate entries, that joint winners were declared in the P4 section. To be perfectly honest, any of the photos that received highly commended could have won their relevant section.

Congratulations to Florence who won the Overall Prize... an amazing picture (see below).

Well done to everybody that entered, I have been so impressed with your work and I know others have been too.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Book Day 2008

Monday saw the rescheduled Book Day which was postponed at the end of last term. Pupils engaged in a number of 'bookish' activities throughout the day, which included a visit by author Sarah Brennan.

P5 pupils visited the ICT room and had the opportunity to view a number of film trailers of children's books that have been adapted for the big screen. The ones viewed were taken from a variety of online polls asking 'Which is the best adaptation of a children's book?'
Whilst the classic Watership Down remains a firm favourite, two adaptations I haven't seen yet, but which I'm planning to after yesterday's session are Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce, (although the novel was written after the film was made) and Holes by Louis Sachar.

To top off a great book day and in a triumph for creativity over Pottinger Street commercialism (!), the best staff costume was won by The Iron Man.... ME!!! Hurrah!


Another Year 7 short movie project as a result of collaboration between English and ICT.
The hardest part of this one was getting the normally exciting teacher to sound boring... what great acting!!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Chameleon Workshop Exhibition

Mrs Ponter and I popped in to the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre on Friday evening to attend the opening of the Day Dream Art Exhibition created by pupils and staff from the Chameleon Workshop.

The standard of work was amazing with many pieces being colourful and thought provoking. Well done to all those who were exhibiting, including quite a few from Kellett.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Digital Photography Competition

Here are some examples of the high standard of photography from this year's competition.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Making Films

In ICT, Year 7 have been working on making a silent film for a project we were working on. Everyone has almost finished their films and already one has been posted on this blog. Soon all of them will be for viewing on the Kellett ICT blog, TeacherTube and YouTube. We started a little bit on film and cameras in our English class, so we are already got a head start on this unit.

Year 7 Video - The Great Chase

In a project with ICT and English, Year 7 pupils have been scripting, shooting and editing a short movie. Groups of 3-5 students worked together on producing the films.

Using Media Wales' "Making Movies Make Sense" to help them understand about camera angles and composition, they tried to use different techniques to help convey meaning in their work.

As usual, in any film project, much of the hard work is carried out without a camera in hand, namely planning and editing. The project was a great success and students learnt lots about the film-making process. It was good to see that even at the end of the project they all had ideas about how they could further improve their work if they had the opportunity.

Well done to all those involved.

The first film follows;

Visiting Artist

Yesterday saw the first visit of Beulah van Rensburg to Kellett to begin our Art/ICT project. She spoke to Year 7 students showing examples of her work, referring to her inspirations as well as the Surrealist movement in general.

We also had chance to ask some of the technical 'how to' questions that will help us to produce our finished artwork.

Beulah is pictured below with one of her images, entitled "Bellybuttons".

Beulah also works with the Chameleon Workshop. They have an exhibition entitled Day Dreams from April 11th. Full details can be found here.

Monday, 7 April 2008

The Byron Review

Well done to all those who successfully identified the lady below as Dr Tanya Byron, author of the recently published Byron Review. Having given out so many points I am now virtually bankrupt!

Byron was asked by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to report on the potential dangers to children in using the internet and playing video or console games. Her report makes fascinating reading and is available in a number of formats. The executive summary is certainly something that parents should note. All pupils from P3 to Y7 will be receiving their own copy of the summary specifically written for young people.

Some of her advice on safe use of the internet is copied below;

10. The internet is a vast many-to-many network which allows users to communicate freely with others all over the world – ideas can be spread quickly, cheaply and freely. One consequence of this is that there is no obvious single point at which editorial control can be exercised. This means that it is very difficult for national Governments to reduce the
availability of harmful and inappropriate material. However, the majority of material accessed by internet users is hosted on a relatively small number of highly popular sites,the rest of it occupying a ‘long tail’ of less popular material. This means that we should focus our efforts on reducing the availability of harmful and inappropriate material in the most popular part of the internet.

11. Parents also have a key role to play in managing children’s access to such material. There is a range of technical tools that can help parents do this (eg. safe search), but they only work effectively if users understand them. So restricting children’s access to harmful and
inappropriate material is not just a question of what industry can do to protect children(e.g. by developing better parental control software), but also of what parents can do to protect children (e.g. by setting up parental control software properly) and what children can do to protect themselves (e.g. by not giving out their contact details online).

12. Just like in the offline world, no amount of effort to reduce potential risks to children will eliminate those risks completely. We cannot make the internet completely safe. Because of this, we must also build children’s resilience to the material to which they may be exposed
so that they have the confidence and skills to navigate these new media waters more safely.

Another key element concerns empowerment of our students, and Byron states;

Children and young people need to be empowered to keep themselves safe – this isn’t just about a top-down approach. Children will be children – pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim.

There's certainly a lot more to digest from this significant report and more will follow.