Thursday, 14 October 2010

Thursdays; only Girls Allowed

Terry Freedman in his most recent newsletter highlights the work of the Big Ambition "Girls in IT Month" which highlights technology as a positive and rewarding career path for girls. I know that Terry has voiced his concerns over this type of initiative in the past but I feel they can be a valuable element in the highlighting of tech choices for our female students.

We covered this issue a while back and more recently we have made a change to the format of our lunchtime sessions. Our ICT room is open most lunchtimes for students in KS2 on a daily rotation basis, although those with work to do have priority.

Most of the students who use the room play games of try out different pieces of software. There are a number of guidlines they have to follow, such as no inappropriate games or no use of video sharing websites and in general there are very few problems.

The vast majority of those who turn up to use the room are boys, sometimes as much as 80%. As a result of this I decided to change the timetable this year and made Thursday the day when you could only come to the room if you are a girl. The response has been amazing with most stations used every Thursday. All the girls think it's a good thing; "We're so grateful for you for doing this for us," said one of the students.

Interestingly, many of the games they use are the same as the boys, although more of the Webkinz ilk admittedly.

Thinking about this reminded me to look up the winning video of the Inkwrite Classroom makeover competition from a few years ago, which highlighted girls working with technology. The original link to the video no longer exists but it is still on Youtube and can be seen below;

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Hong Kong Handheld & Mobile Learning Festival

I was lucky enough to be involved in the organisation of the Hong Kong Handheld & Mobile Learning Festival held at the University of Hong Kong last weekend. Over 100 attendees gave up their Saturday to listen and share their experiences on handheld learning.

Two of the presentations featured teachers from our school; Miss Hall presented on her use of iTouch within the classroom alongside Serena Fan from ISF Academy, while Mrs Bookless, Miss Adams and Miss Hitchcox discussed our work with Games Based Learning. It's great to see our teachers sharing and discussing their practice with wider audiences, not only does it help them develop as profession
als by being able to explain their work, it also gives them the opportunity to discuss and share with teachers working in similar ways.

Miss Hall and Miss Fan's presentation can be seen below;

Other presentations included using Nintendo DS consoles in the Chinese languageclassroom, Activote in Early Years and GPS on field trips. Keynote presentations by Professor Cher Ping Lim (HKIEd) and the Library of Congress's Kathleen Ferenz gave the audience much to think about and confirmed my own opinion that the use of handheld and mobile devices is an important tool in empowering students to engage more closely with the learning process.

Later in the day I moderated a forum panel consisting of Dr Daniel Churchill (HKU), Gilbert Ho (Apple Asia) and Peter Woodhead (GSIS). The panel responded to a video presentation featuring Tim Rylands, Derek Robertson and Dawn Hallybone, European based influential voices in this field. The discussion was extremely stimulating and covered such topics as leadership, relevance and emerging technologies.

Hopefully one of the results of the day will be an increased sense of community among those who have an interest in this type of learning. Feedback from the day was certainly positive.

Many thanks to all those presenters who worked so hard to produce stimulating and engaging sessions and also all those who turned up to share and learn!