Monday, 21 December 2009

Farewell Mrs Pattle!

Imagining ICT running smoothly at Kellett without Mrs Pattle is impossible! However, that's just what we are going to have to do when we return to school after Christmas. Friday saw Mrs Pattle's last day at Kellett, indeed her last day in Hong Kong as she left that evening to return to her native New Zealand along with Mr Pattle who recently secured a position at a university there.

Pam has been at Kellett for over six years, intially as an ESA but then as ICT Manager and for the last term as Database Manager, although she was still very much involved in the day-to-day running of ICT, providing just-in-time support for students and teachers alike.

Pam's contribution to the development of Kellett's ICT has been immeasurable; she provided a link to the work of Jessica Brown and had a detailed understanding of the legacy of Kellett ICT and knew everything about why and how we were where we are. It's essential that we are able to build upon her work to ensure we continue to make the right decisions about our future paths. Having lost that understanding of past progression that is going to be very difficult, but I'm positive we can rise to the challenge.

One of Pam's great assets is that she was always able to look at things from a variety of viewpoints; system and hardware management, educational and pedagogical perspectives and carried out her duties with a friendly and helpful manner. Staff always spoke very highly of her and her departure will be a huge loss to our support structure.

I spent three years and a term working with Pam and it's no exaggeration to say that I wouldn't have been able to do my job without her. Her support was always invaluable and when the next history of Kellett is written it will need a serious amount of text dedicated to her!!

So, it's with a huge amount of sadness, but also best wishes for the future that we say farwell to Mrs Pattle. Good luck!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Alphabet Thinkers Keys

Here's a great little video by our P2 students using the Alphabet Thinkers Key to organise their research on Neil Armstrong as part of their study on Famous People.

An A-Z of Neil Armstrong

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Artist In Residence

The week beginning the 2nd of November sees Tom Wood visiting Kellett as Artist in Residence. This project will rely heavily upon ICT and we have been busy preparing for it for some time now, not least trying to learn the basics of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) students will be using to manipulate their work.

Tom Wood has prepared a video giving some background to himself and the project. This is an extremely exciting venture and we look forward to sharing the results with you later in the term.

Monday, 5 October 2009


While the National Day/Moon Festival celebrations were a great opportunity for students to enjoy a long weekend, staff were hard at it on the Friday, attending a training day looking at our use of ICT and considering how we can encourage our students to become more 21st Century literate by providing them with appropriate classroom opportunities.

The day began with a presentation on how technology has impacted upon our lives and the implications this has for our classroom practice. We looked at evidence of students learning outside of school and at ways we can provide more authentic uses of technology within the classroom.

Staff then attended a variety of workshops on the following subjects;
Five Websites You Can't Teach Without!
Creating a Wiki
Using Computer Games in the Classroom
Kellett Kit - easy to use tech in the classroom

The afternoon session was spent looking at teh ISTE Standards for students and considering how we can use them within our curriculum.

The day was a very positive experience and it's a clear sign that as a school, we are determined to maximimise the use of technology to the benefit of our students. many thanks to all those attended and a special thanks to all those who presented some great workshops!

ICT INSET Day from Clive Dawes on Vimeo.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

A Big Weekend

Around 500 delegates are expected to be present at HKIS for this weekend's 21st Century Learning Conference. I'm delighted that 10 teachers will be attending from Kellett and look forward to their views on the huge array of presentations and keynotes they will see.

Good luck to three of our teachers who will be presenting their work on Games Based Learning at Kellett. The Slideshare of the presentation is below. It doesn't include the audio or video but gives you a good idea of the sorts of things they'll be talking about.

I will be sitting on a forum discussing Games Based Learning and offering my views and opinions, which should be fun, if a little nerve wracking.

Keynote speakers include Wes Fryer and Robyn Treyvaud, who visited Kellett last year; it will be good to catch up with what she's been up to since we last met!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


The news that our photo slideshow provider, Bubbleshare is about to close down is a bit of a disaster. Our slideshows have been viewed over 9000 times there and it's a great way of showcasing our work.

Originally, we used RockYou for this purpose, which remains an excellent platform too. Sadly, and for no good reason, our ISP, PCCW decided to filter RockYou in school. Despite lengthy protests on our behalf, their rigid (and flawed!) policy persists, meaning we have to look elsewhere.

Thanks to my Twitter network, we have started to experiment with PhotoPeach, and here's our first try, which is a repost of work we had on Bubbleshare. The images show students working with the computer game Samorost in Literacy and Drama and will be used when three of our teachers present at the upcoming Hong Kong 21st Century Learning Conference.

Good luck to them and fingers crossed that PhotoPeach meets our needs!

Using Samorost in Literacy on PhotoPeach

Monday, 31 August 2009

Academic Year 09/10

The ICT Room is in disarray with laptops, leads and boxes everywhere...

That can mean only one thing... it's the start of a new school year!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Staying In Touch

The long summer break in an international school means that it can be a challenge for staff to stay in touch with each other.

In our absence there have clearly been issues back at Kellett with the web site and the e-mail system. I understand these are being tackled and the system will be up and running within the next few days.

For all those who have been looking for the Kellett site and been redirected to this blog via search engines, I'd like to apologise for this situation and reiterate that it will be rectified as soon as possible.

Interestingly, it's at times like this when other, often derided forms of communication help out. During the past few days I have conversed with other staff on school matters via both Facebook and Twitter. Thank goodness for reliable old social networking...

If you need to contact me, please use the Kellett ICT Twitter feed (to the right of this post) or leave a message in the comments below.



Wednesday, 17 June 2009

School Closure Activities

With the school currently closed, there may be some of you at a loose end!

Here are some suggestions to keep you actively involved in ICT. I am still at school and looking forward to hearing from you.

P4,5 and 6. Visit and create a map. It could show your year group camp or a recent holiday or two! I've created one showing the locations of FOBISSEA Games events here;

P2 and P3, visit and have a go at creating a picture. If you're feeling a bit more ambitious why not try making a video within the site.

If you're in Reception or P1 why not visit a couple of our favourite web sites if you can get somebody to help you! http:/ or

Good luck! If you have any problems, e-mail me or comment in the space below!

Monday, 15 June 2009


Well done to all those that particiated in a memorable FOBISSEA Games last week. Hosted by Kellett School, Hong Kong, other schools competing were Taipei European School, Taiwan, ELC International School, Malyasia, BIS Vietnam, St Andrew's Rayong, and Regents, Pattaya.

Below is a copy of the video shown at the Gala Dinner... a very rushed edit compiled throughout the games!!

Digital Photography Competition

Photographer Beulah van Rensburg recently visited Kellett to cast her expert eye over our entries to the Digital Photography Competition. Beulah has worked with Kellett students before and is well known for her stunning images created from everyday household objects. There is a great opportunity to view Beulah's work at the Fringe Club in Lower Albert Road, where she has an exhibition from the 19th-29th June. More details can be found here.

Beulah was given the very difficult task of judging this year's competition, choosing a winner for each year group as well as an overall winner. She was very impressed by the standard and was amazed by some of the images taken by our Reception pupils. Given her expertise as a photographer, Beulah was able to explain what it was that made each photograph special and what techniques she spotted that our students had incorporated into their work. Having spent a lot of time looking at the photographs myself it was fascinating to hear her opinion and seeing her point out aspects of the photos that I had missed.

Beulah gave up a large amount of her time to judge the competition and we are very grateful to her for doing so. I'm looking forward to returning the compliment and going to view her exhibition later this week.

Below is a slideshow of each year group winner and runner up as well as the winner of the Best Portfolio, which appear at the end. I'm sure you will all agree that the standard is very high. Many thanks to all those that entered, we had over 500 individual images entered!

BubbleShare: Share photos - Easy Photo Sharing

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Online Learning Project

Last night saw the launch of our collaborative online learning project here at Kellett. This exciting new venture involves Yew Chung and Chinese International Schools working with ourselves to investigate student use of online learning spaces.

The basic outline of the project is that older, experienced users of the programming language Scratch mentor younger users from a different school in the use of the software. Their communications will be entirely online in our purpose built learning environment and will be outside of school time.

As teachers, we are increasingly aware of how the dynamics of education are constantly shifting and how students have access to a huge community of learners and 'teachers' outside of school. We hope that this project will give us an insight into how this community can be used to enhance the learning of our students.

The project is likely to begin next week on the completion of our online environment and students will be involved for around eight months. At various points we will be updating parents about the progress we are making and expect to feed back to the wider education community in the new academic year, most notably at the Hong Kong 21st Century Learning Conference in September.

We are also grateful for the involvement of LEAD who will be evaluating our results when the project is completed.
Below is a copy of the presentation given last night.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Same Old, Same Old

After a hard fought season, the Kellett Staff Fantasy Football League came to a less than thrilling conclusion at the weekend with reigning champion Mr. Lovell retaining his title by a comfortable margin. Runner up Miss Lewis finished a gallant and somewhat unlucky second after leading the competition for the vast majority of the 38 weeks.

In third place for the second year running was Mr Dawes, representing the accumulated brainpower of the ICT Department.

Unfortunately there was a familiar look to the bottom of the league too, but to save embarrassment we wont be discussing that here!

A special well done to Leo who was the winner of the first Kellett Student League. no mean feat as there were nearly 100 entries in that event.

Monday, 18 May 2009

World Scratch Day - Hong Kong Event

It's great that a group like LEAD exists in Hong Kong to help raise the awareness of technology opportunities within the curriculum. Even better that they were able to organise an event to mark the second birthday of Scratch, the interactive programming language devised at MIT.

Hong Kong's event, which added to events in over 40 other countries took place on Saturday at the Cyberport, a fitting venue to consider technology within the curriculum.

On show were a number of Scratch presentations from local HK schools, including the amazing Sawing Down the Tree game. The standard of presentations wa extremely high and I was left a little bemused after a Year 5 student showed me his complex and entertaining presentation. It's clear that there's some great work going on in HK schools and this was a great opportunity to observe, and dareisay, think of ways in which we might be able to catch up!

It was then down to work, as in my haste I had mistakenly signed up for the 'Advanced' Workshop! Edmond from LEAD gave us the complete technical lowdown on how to use external Pico boards with Scratch and it was a fantastic opportunity to play with buttons, sliders, audio and light sensors. We certainly need to add some of these to our stock as they are a great way of adding that element of external control to presentations.

Back to the theatre for a session on how Scratch has made an impact in local schools and well done to the translation team who were brilliantly efficient in allowing colleagues from the international school community full access to the discussion.

Another session on using Web 2.0 tools within Scratch followed after lunch. We covered some of this stuff with Year 6 earlier in the year and hopefully the new version of Scratch may have an improved picture editor so that this type of work can be done within the interface. Nevertheless, the session was useful, it was good idea to use Audacity to add your own sounds and the pitch altering tool made for some fun effects!

BubbleShare: Share photos - Easy Photo Sharing

The final session initially involved colleagues from local secondary schools talking about the new secondary curriculum and how Scratch was being used to help with ideas involving, creativity, design and problem-solving - it was great to hear those words being used.

The day rounded off with a panel discussion focussing on A New Paradigm of Teaching and Learning featuring Jane Harris (CIS), Dan Everest (YCIS) and myself. We discussed our feelings about the importance of Scratch within the creative 21st Century curriculum and outlined our collaborative project (more on that later!). We also touched on the importance of games within the wider curriculum, assessment and a number of other issues close to our hearts!

It was a bit un-nerving sitting on a sofa in front of an audience, but moderator Dr Felicia Tsang ran the session well and I only felt stupid the one time!

Well done to all those involved on the day and we look forward to building upon this good work to spread Scratch out of the lab and into the classroom where it belongs!!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

World Scratch Day - Hong Kong

Firstly, apologies for the lack of blogging recently. It's not that there's nothing going on, in fact, it's completely the opposite, which is one of the reasons for the lack of blog posts....

That, combined with the 'R' word... r_ p _ _ _ s - no prizes for guessing what the least favorite occupational hazard involved with teaching is!

Anyway, yesterday was World Scratch Day and Hong Kong was one of 42 countries involved, with an event at the Cyberport. I'll add a full report of the day as soon as the other r_p _ _ _s are finsished, but here's Mitch Resnick and Karen Brennan to give a bit of background and flavour:

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Education Leadership Summit

So, day one of Apple's Education Leadership Summit. Firstly, what a pleasure to see so many influential, creative people come to HK to talk to the education community. Heppell was the same as ever, completely engrossing, and what a bonus to see Greg Whitby, hadn't expected him to be there. A good excuse to embed one of my fav vids (below).

Over 200 schoools from 21 countries represented, a truely global event.

First up, Dave McMaster of Canadian welcoming all and talking about their tech journey. Then Tom Kelley from IDEo with a hugely entertaining session on innovation. Some really interesting definitions of the types of innovators and a real bonus, a FREE copy of his book. I was too cool to get in the line to get him to sign it though, maybe I'll sneak it to him tomorrow when nobody's looking.

Vivienne Stewart from the Asia Society was next to speak concerning education and globalisation. Her words struck a real chord and have massive significance for a school like ours. Our "Islands of the World" project with among others, Martha's Vineyard and the Orkneys is a start, but we clearly have much to do in fostering the sort of collaboration and understanding she talked about. As usual, it's all about giving teachers explicit support and the time to explore the possibilities available to them. Hopefully our upcoming International Day can be a springboard for more of this work.

Lunch was an extended one, purposely I assume to give people the chance to connect. I was lucky enough to meet Noah Katz from Renaissance College's Digital Technology Team. One of the features of events like these is that just when you think you might be beginning to master the skills, concepts and knowledge you need to move forward, you meet somebody like Noah who makes you realise the journey has only just begun. He was naieve enough to give me his contact details... big mistake, Noah!

A discussion panel on 21st Century Leadership followed by a breakout session gave us greater opportunity to explore global collaboration and some good ideas from Greg Israel.
The day ended with John Couch, VP from Apple Aducation talking about Apple's Vision for Modern Education. All you need to know about John's session is that it was due to finish at 5.30 and at 5.50 on a Saturday evening, everybody was still sat listening.

With events like this there's little chance for deeper reflection until the event is over, so the above is a brief, rushed summary of Day One. I'm off to Day Two now!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Apple Conference Countdown - Bring It On!

It's fair to say that I'm pretty excited about this weekend's Education Leadership Summit at Canadian International School. I've spoken to quite a few teachers who are attending in the last few days and it seems I'm not the only one! Clearly Hong Kong is ready for this type of event now and it's to Apple's credit that they have assembled such an impressive list of speakers and persuaded delegates to attend from all over Asia. It's important that the ed-tech community here in HK builds upon this weekend and moves forward, not only at our own conference in September, but also in the future.

Hopefully, more exciting collaborative projects like the one documented below will be born this weekend.

On another note this will be the first major conference I have been to since the "Birth of Twitter" and I suspect that it will be a major feature of the conference, providing an interactive back-channel to the proceedings and enriching the conference experience for delegates. Twitter is a great tool for teachers. It helps them to learn. Yes, it has been trivialised in the media to an extent, but it's helping teachers to connect and converse with each other. Without Twitter, we would not be involved in the Islands of the World project, which came about through a Twitter contact.

Thanks to Tom Barrett (again!) for pointing out US Principal Bill Carozza's blog post with regard to teacher's use of Twitter - well worth a read. He makes the telling point about the tool;

"Twitter and its ability to form a PLN has been one of the most useful professional development instruments in my 25 years in the biz"

So, I'll be sure to have my laptop charged ready to tweet the weekend away...

During my teaching career I've heard the word's "Thank goodness it's Friday" mentioned a few times. That's how I feel... I can't wait to get to work... on Saturday morning.

Global Collaborative Project

You know that you are beginning to win the battle when a student approaches you at the end of the lesson and asks if you can post links to what they've just covered on 'your blog'....


P4 have begun to look at the global collaborative project on islands that I've been tweeting about a lot recently. We looked at the project Wiki and also located the other schools using Google Maps. We spent time looking at Hong Kong Island making sure we knew the districts so that we could explain them to a student from another school.

During the next session we will begin to assemble the resources we need to present information abour our island life and about our school. As we were looking at satellite images of the skyscrapers in and around mid-levels we thought about how the students of one of the schools in the project might feel about our island. Their island, in the Orkneys of Scotland has a total population of 70 - most of the buildings in mid-levels have at least that number living in them!

Google Maps is a great resource for studying your own locality as well as that of others - here's the link.

For this of you who want to explore Hong Kong a little more why not take a look at out Google Earth quiz from last year?

If you would like to know more about our global islands project, the Wiki can be viewed here. We've only just started but hopefully more should appear shortly.

Monday, 20 April 2009

An Apple a Day

This weekend sees Apple's Education Leadership Summit taking place at Canadian International School. The gathered array of keynotes and workshop leaders are as impressive a group as I've seen in one place and the whole event promises to be extremely interesting.

A number of staff from Kellett will be attending throughout the weekend and I hope it proves to be a rewarding experience. I'm really looking forward to hearing Stephen Heppell speak having attended Schools for the Future conference he was leading many years ago.

The conference is perhaps an indication of Apple's determination to conquer the education market in Hong Kong. They appear to have made a conscious decision to target this area and it's good to see a company clearly committed to working in our sector who understand the issues and who can work with teachers to develop pedagogies.

Their strategy appears to be working. A recent unscientific poll I carried out in some of our classes shows that Apple are now the dominant home computer in many year groups.

For the first time ever in my teaching career I heard one of our Apple pupils utter these immortal words; "Man, I really hate Windows" !!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Visiting HKFYG HQ

During the Easter holiday I was lucky enough to be invited to a meeting with LEAD (Learning through Engineering Art & Design) at their Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups headquarters in Quarry Bay. Along with Joanna Cheung from LEAD, Jane Harris from CIS and Dr Felicia Tsang (LEAD Project Consultant) we discussed the upcoming World Scratch Day and the Hong Kong event which will take place at the Cyberport on Saturday 16th May.

As can be seen from the agenda I will be sitting on a panel discussion at the end of the day tackling "A New Paradigm of Teaching and Learning". During the meeting we discussed some of the issues surrounding this topic and how we might as a group support teachers in their understanding of how teaching and learning might look in this technology-rich era. It was an extremely interesting meeting as we covered many aspects, including how teachers are learners as well as students these days and how some teachers find that concept difficult to come to terms with. In relation to Scratch we also looked at different formats of assessment and discussed how teachers could use formative assessment within their work.

I'm really looking forward to the day at Cyberport and to meeting teachers from the whole of Hong Kong who have been using Scratch in their classrooms, as well as supporting those who are yet to use it.

In the two meetings I have had with representatives of LEAD I have been extremely impressed by their knowledge and understanding of education technology and it is clear they have been undertaking some fascinating creative projects in HK schools. I'm looking forward to developing our relationship further.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Easter in HK

Easter hols are almost over, hope everybody had a good one.

Here's a few of the places I visited, maybe you've already been or you're considering going there at some point. Anyway, here are a few thoughts.

First up a visit to Shau Kei Wan to the Museum of Coastal Defense. Based within and around a coastal fort the museum documents Hong Kong's relationship with the surrounding sea and the various conflicts that have occured on it. It's a great way to spend half a day, especially if the weather's not too hot and there's plenty of interest in the different historical displays, which are broken down into different time zones. As an added bonus, there are some big guns to look at as well!!

Next up was Wonder Park Plus, situated on the 6th floor of the World Trade Centre in Wan Chai, this much hyped Japanese gaming centre has long been on my list of places to visit. Whilst it's true there are a huge array of fantastic arcade games available within the centre the problem is that they are all in the adult section. It's hard to understand why games such as Virtua Tennis and all the motor racing games there are deemed to be only suitable for adults. All that's left for the under 16s are the grabber type games which are frankly a waste of time. Wonder Park Plus gets a big thumbs down from me, I'm afraid. My junior sidekick was not happy there!!

Given it was the holidays that means it was necessary to visit some of the great shopping areas in HK, namely my two favourites! No, not IFC, but 188 gaming mall and Sham Shui Po Flea Market. Great fun as always.

So, refreshed and rested it's time to start a new term. There are some really exciting things going on in ICT this term, not only at Kellett but in the wider HK ICT community as well.

More on these developments soon. Meantime, here are some of my holiday snaps!

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Kellett Is a Nice School

It's important to make that clear before we continue with this thread! The short films you are about to view bare no relation to what school life is really like at Kellett!

Year 7 students have just completed their English/ICT film module. During the module they are encouraged to look at aspects of movie making, including scripting, directing and editing. They also have to story board their films, file a shooting schedule and arrange for props and locations themselves. Important lessons include how to frame action and how to ensure continuity within their films.

Three of the completed films are shown below.

This is the second year we've worked on this project and again it has been a huge success. Working with a much larger year group was challenging but the students rose to the challenge and applied themselves really well. A great job!

If Teacher Tube is downloading slowly, the movies are also hosted on our Youtube page here.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

School Visits

It's always good to get out and visit other schools to see what they're up to.

Last week I was lucky enough to visit two schools in HK for completely different reasons.

First up was Yew Chung Inernational School in Kowloon Tong. I met with Dan Everest from there along with Jane Harris from CIS to discuss our use of the programming software Scratch.

We've all used the software in completely different ways and it was good to talk about what we had learnt and share our expertise. Yew Cheung have been using Scratch in their Literacy lessons to enhance student understanding of MacBeth, whilst CIS have embedded their work on Scratch within Numeracy, using it to explore shape and space. At Kellett we've been using Scratch to investigate aspects of computer game design with our P6 and Y7 classes.

Whilst our experiences are clearly different there were some common trends for all of us.

Firstly, the usefulness of Scratch as a classroom tool is obvious. It is engaging and stimulating for pupils and there is an easy entry level for those students who need to work at a basic starting point.

Secondly, the scope for students to extend and self-explore progression in the software is enormous. Tasks can be open ended and exploratory in their nature, which means students can continue to expand their horizons within the environment at their own pace.

Thirdly, we all agreed one of the marked successes of working with the software was the emergence of experts within the classroom who take on the role of mentor with their peers. These self-acting "pupil teachers' are able to add their advice and insight into the software. Students seem to naturally accept this type of help and have far fewer hang-ups about it than teachers do.
The days of the 'sage on the stage' are long gone. It's simply not possible for teachers to have a wide enough experience and expertise on new software and we need to accept that's ok! That can be quite a difficult thing for teachers to do and can be a major barrier to 21st Century Learning. Most students don't have a problem with it.

As a result of our discussions and sharing we now have a bank of good practice using Scratch and we are now formulating ways we can develop this further. It may be that the upcoming World Scratch Day Event at the Cyberport in Hong Kong gives us the opportunity.

Saturday May 16th is World Scratch Day and events are taking place around the world to showcase and introduce the software to teachers who are new to the platform, as well as those who have more experience. HK's event is at the Cyberport and the programme looks to contain some interesting sessions. I will be meeting with the group involved in organising the event shortly, so will have more information then.

My second school visit in as many days was to Canadian International School. I accompanied our new ICT Strategy Manager, Billy Ling to look at Canadian's successful implementation of the Apple platform into their school. It was certainly impressive and gives us lots of helpful information as we look to develop our infrastructure for the future.

One of the key aspects of schools progressing in the the 21st Century is the ability they have to share their expertise, either through a teacher's own development of their personal learning netoworks, or through good old fashioned sitting down and talking face-to-face! Without that things would be so much more difficult.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Another Great Application

I'm pretty sure it was Lee Kolbert who first pointed out what a great web site Today's Meet is. Originally designed to run as a back channel during conference presentations, this excellent tool offers a time limited, Twitter style communication platform that could be used by classroom teachers.

Last week I asked our teachers to use Todays Meet to think of ways that it could be utilised to help teaching and learning.

This is what they came up with;
  • If you are watching video footage as a stimulus, children can enter their first responses as they watch the footage, note taking on a forum basis
  • I can see this being used as a homework tool. Set a problem to be solved and the children respond and can see all other responses
  • I'm wondering if this can be used across a year group so all three classes could see peers comments on a common topic e.g. Cross class collaboration
  • This would be great for evaluating artists' work. All children can respond to the art work at the same time as well as responding to each other
  • It could provide a platform for older pupils to have discussions for group homework. Providing an open "room" for ideas to be easily shared.
  • Students could post arguments for science ethics topics, either for or against and then discuss in class
  • Students can make a brief comment on a text I have set them for homework!
  • It would be amazing as a homework tool for our Big Talk Topics - children can post comments about the topic as well as the 'dinner talk'
  • Real time peer assessment of presentations.

These are just a few ideas complied over a rushed Friday - there's clearly lots of scope for using this tool and we'll be trying out some different ways in the coming weeks. If anybody is using this in an educational context, please let us know!

Friday, 13 March 2009

The Non-Netbook

I love this video which is currently doing the rounds and is beginning to attain cult status as viewing figures go through the roof. It is apparently the result of an impromtu walkabout by a teacher in a classroom at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.

The ensuing conversation, whilst being very funny, raises huge issues and questions with regard to how our students see their use of knowledge resources.

We could of course discuss the implications that this has for us as teachers... but I don't have a spare 20 hours to consider it at the moment so I'm just enjoying it instead!

My favourite bit is when he clicks on the word to try to get some context help.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Music and ICT

Following on from our photography module, most year groups will now be spending a few lessons looking at Music in ICT. It's fair to say that these two areas of the curriculum are very closely related and it's not unusual to see students using laptops in the Music room rather than instruments.

Early lessons involve creating sequences and working with loops. We use 2Simple's Music Toolkit to cover a lot of the objectives, but also make use of some web sites too.

An old favourite is the BBCs One Studio Sequencer which is no longer being updated but does still work! This is an excellent site for creating sequences and some great tunes have already been made.

Some younger students have been looking at Super Duper Music Looper. There is an online version which although very limited, does show how music can be painted into timelines. The adding of sounds into a timeline is an important skill and students will be developing this type of skill throughout the module.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

What's Going On in ICT??

Dear Parents, and other interested parties!

Ever feel the need to find out what we're doing in ICT?!

It's always a bit of an eye opener when I talk to parents and show them the work we're doing in ICT and they say something like; "I never realised you did that sort of thing."

The ICT curriculum has come a long way in a short amount of time and as I've said before, if you think it's changing fast now, just wait and see what happens next! Keeping up with current developments is a real task for teachers, but it's important they do so if they are to successfully embed technology into what they do and provide students with challenges that are real and relevant.

One if the ways I keep in touch with developments is by using a Personal Learning Network (PLN)of colleagues, ex-colleagues, friends, leading thinkers in ed-tech etc as a basis for my ideas. Sometimes I read what they're up to via their blogs (using Google Reader), sometimes I'm in closer contact via forums or Nings, but more recently I've invested a bit of time in Twitter.

I've had a Twitter account for around about a year, but after my initial efforts at updating I sort of gave up on it. However, it has now begun to become a more widely used tool in education and in society itself. High profile users of Twitter include Lance Armstrong and Stephen Fry and their use has been highlighted in the media. Use of the software around important world events has also raised awareness.

Having revived my account I now find that more people I know and want to discuss my work with are using Twitter and that meaningful conversations are beginning to take place. I'm sure this will be a help to my own professional development and therefore impact upon the work of my students.

As well as my own account I have also set up a Kellett ICT Twitter account and will use this to update what's going on in our lessons (hopefully) on a day-to-day basis.

If you already have a Twitter account and would like to follow us, our account name is kellettict, or you can just click on the Follow me on Twitter link in the right hand side of this page.

If you would like to know more about Twitter, you can visit the web site, or see what Wikipedia has to say about it.

We look forward to you following us!!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Crazy Talk in Schools

Year 8 have been investigating the facial animation software, Crazy Talk.

What ways do they think Crazy Talk could be used in an educational context?

Friday, 13 February 2009

The Wind of Change?

In a blog post last December, leading HK ICT Consultant Paul McMahon talked about the wind of change blowing through the Hong Kong education community, ironically after a visit to Kellett School!

Paul's position enables him to visit and run workshops in a variety of contexts and I was interested to read his upbeat take on progress within the region.

For those of us who remain impatient with regard to curriculum change and aspects of 21st Century Learning it can be easy to forget the changes that have occurred during the past couple of years. At the time I read the post it was rather cold in Hong Kong and I remember feeling that it wasn't so much a wind of change I felt, but a chilly draft! The chilly draft of change doesn't quite have the same ring about it.

Two months later and my sceptcism about his post may be beginning to waver somewhat.

During the past few weeks there have been a number of developments that indicate that the pace of change is beginning to pick up. Maybe Paul is right, and the draft I was feeling is much more:

As a result of sharing work at our Scratch seminar, some like minded teachers have got together and are planning a joint project. Initially this will be a case study of work carried out at Kellett, Chinese International School and Yew Chung International School, but there is a chance that this could be the start of something much bigger, hopefully in the way of student collaboration or mentoring.

Hong Kong will be thrust into the limelight of the technology in education world when it hosts the 21st Century Learning Conference in October this year. Around 500 educators will be attending this event to look at how learning and teaching might look and feel in the current technology rich environment we live in. I'm delighted to be helping out on one of the steering committees and I'm looking forward to a stimulating and challenging event.

Kellett has it's first class blog! It's really exciting that we are continuing to forge ahead using technology, giving real purpose and audience to our students. It will be fascinating to see how our P1 pupils use their blog and the interest it provokes in the community. Please visit and comment here.

We are currently looking at the ISTE Guidelines on the use of technology in our school with a view to implementing them as support for staff and students alike. To allow interested parties to contribute to the discussions a number of staff are collaborating on Google Docs to formulate ways in which Kellett can take advantage of these guidelines. Members of the Senior Leadership Team have also begun to use Google Docs in this way. This is a great development as it allows teachers to work in a more efficient way and helps to overcome the never ending problem of endless e-mails with amended documents attached. Well done to Year 7s for being the pioneers with Google Docs. They have set an example for staff to follow.

None of these developments or ideas were in place six months ago, but they may soon become part and parcel of what we do on a regular basis.

As I've said before, if you think things are fast now, just hang on as it's going to get faster.

Wind turbine image by Brentdanley

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

No posts!

Not much activity on here recently, so does that mean nothing's going on? Of course not, just that there's a few too many 'schooly' things going on! It comes with the job!

Lots to consider and discuss in the next few weeks, including our annual Digital Photography Competition, preparations for the HK 21st Century Learning Conference in October, interactive camp using Google Maps and some great new web sites to consider.

In the meantime, here's our Alphabet Challenge winner. Well done to Saffie! Her technique was not what I was expecting, but she is likely to be called into action for end of year reports next term! (Joke).

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Alphabet Challenge - How Fast Are you?

P4 pupils have been looking at keyboarding skills and have been trying to build up their fluency and accuracy. One site that looks purely at speed, as opposed to finger position etc is the Alphabet Challenge.

It's all very simple, you just have to type the alphabet as fast as you can.

So how fast are you? Let us know in the comments below. The speed of some pupils is amazing!
You can visit the site by clicking the link here.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Which M&M is your favourite?

Year One pupils have been looking at Data Handling in their ICT lessons. First of all they looked at pictograms and found that it was very easy to create presentations using ICT, although maybe it was not so much fun!

They then went on to look at more complex graphs using Data Sweet. The real life question they were asked was:

In bags of M&Ms and Skittles are there equal amounts of each colour?

We weren't sure of the answer, so we carried out an experiment to find out. In groups we counted the number of each colour and recorded our results in a tally chart. This helped us to work out the totals for each colour.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

We had to type into the software to help create a graph, adding a title and inputting the data. This was quite time consuming although it was easy to see those pupils who are quite used to keyboarding at a fast pace. Most pupils were able to save their work and print out their results.

To our surprise, there was a huge variation in results, some bags had quite close totals whilst others were a long way apart. With the use of ICT we were able to interpret the data efficiently and find out what we wanted to know.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta

Just don't.... trust me... don't!!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

New Toys

So what did you get from Santa?

After a highly optimistic series of Christmas letters, here, and here, I was hoping for a bumper festive season. Oh well, it's not long until Santa visits again!

On returning to school though, some late presents were waiting for me. Our order from TTS in the UK finally arived and we've already had some great fun exploring the two peripherals we bought.

First out of the box, was the handheld USB microphone which I mentioned early last year. These look extremely useful and clearly have a wide range of curriculum uses. Unfortunately, three hours after I opened the boxes, the P5 teachers stole them off me and I haven't seen them since! Apparently they are being used extensively by P5 students in a series of interviews. When I get them back I'll be sure to test them out and plan to use them in KS1 after Chinese New Year.
BubbleShare: Share photos - Easy Photo Sharing
Our 6 ProBots also arrived and Computer Club have been taking them for a test drive. These programmable cars build upon work carried out in the Foundation Stage with Bee Bots and add a degree of complexity to our study of Control Technology. Not only do they cover directional control, the addition of light, sound and sensors mean that they can be used throughout the primary years.

We all look forward to seeing them put through their paces!