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Third HK Teachers Using ICT to Enhance Learning Seminar

We were indeed very fortunate last evening to be treated to
an inspiring and informative discussion of Web 2.0 tools and their implications
for students in Hong Kong by Peter Woodhead of the ESF. Peter’s enthusiasm for
the tools and their possibilities was clearly evident. Peter introduced us to
his own blog and CLC page and showed how he had used the flexibility of the
feeds under the new tools to be able to “Mash” very rich and useful information
such as Frappr maps onto a single page to make a fantastically convenient and very
informative source of one-stop information.

 

Peter expertly demonstrated the use of social bookmarking
tools like del.icio.us and furl and spoke about the need for educators to
explore the use of these with classes in creative ways so that there is an element
of analysis and discussion of websites as opposed to simply asking kids to list
50 websites. Peter went on to give some examples of the use of images in
educational applications and discussed the many ways in which Flickr was being
used in schools.

 

In all, Peter’s discussion provided a great insight into
what was possible in a world of a Web 2.0 using classroom. He suggested that
what we had seen so far was simply the tip of an iceberg and that the
connectedness that Web 2.0 was something that we as educators ignored at the
peril of us becoming quite irrelevant in the lives of our students. Peter very
generously made his notes available for us on his Learning Platform page. You
can access all that you that Peter covered on the ESF’s Connected Learning
Community pages here: http://clc.esf.edu.hk/GroupHomepage.asp?GroupID=1

 

By way of a commercial, I followed on from Peter to
demonstrate a Web 2.0 tool that has been produced by Softease in the UK and released
at this year’s BETT expo in January. The product is called “Podium” and is a
great way to get kids into Podcasting on the Windows platform. Using Podium, it
is very intuitive for a teacher or student to prepare a script, using colour
coding for each bit part, to then record students readings of the script using
the software to control line by line reading, then to edit the audio quickly
and easily and, finally, to publish to a preconfigured server.

 

Prior to the release of Podium, a teacher really had to
download something like Audacity, work out that it needed a special encoder downloaded
for MP3, try to simplify the huge number of auditing tools to make them “kid
friendly” for podcasts, know about FTP clients and RSS feeds and all of those somewhat
“geeky” things. Now a teacher can let the kids get on with the scripting and
publishing and know that it all just works. I have some Podium demo disks and
should have the pricing for the product in Hong Kong
by next week. Email me if you have any interest in the product for your school.

 

I also showed a product that will be of interest to a lot of
schools with Interactive Whiteboards. RM in the UK has a product called CPD
workshop which is a training kit for teachers who use IWBs. The kit itself is
for sale as a package for schools. There is a range of pricing depending upon
the size of the school with the largest school paying HK$6300 for the kit with
all of the lesson resources, video case studies, trainer’s notes etc. I am also
certified to come and deliver the training to a school at a price following
purchase of the kit. More details and pricing for smaller schools is available
from me.

 

The bit of these seminars that are always the highlight for
me is the sharing session where we just open the floor to informal discussion.
There was a lot of very rich offerings this time, as always.

A newcomer, Muriel who works at SKH Tin Wan Chi Nam Primary
School near Aberdeen gave a rich insight into the world of local schools where
often the teachers are very highly skilled and enthusiastic about the use of
ICT for learning but the kids are so busy that they do not have time to access
the work on the computer, especially seeing that parental expectations are for
them to be spending time “on the books”.

Ed Edquist has already posted to the list and given an
indication of the discussion that took place on office upgrades in schools and
whether the Google offerings meant that schools has gone through their last
painful office upgrade.

By far the richest discussion of the seminar was on how we
manage kid’s use of online tools to ensure that they behaved appropriately when
they accessed the inevitable unacceptable content out there. It was suggested that
even the most sophisticated filtering and blocking tools were ineffective and
that education was by far the best long-term answer to the problem. It was
acknowledged that the new breed of school leaders were beginning to understand
this but the task of dealing with this effectively was going to remain a big
one for the foreseeable.

 

Naturally there was a lot more informal discussion that I
could not do justice to hear but suffice to say our third seminar was a great success
and everyone is very keen to seem them continue in the new school year.

 

On that note, any offers from schools to host the next one
early in the new school year? It will have to give regard to the fact that a
lot of us are probably attending the Learning 2.0 Conference in Shanghai on September
14-16. http://www.learning2.net.cn/ Perhaps
late September/Early October would be good.

 

Regards

 

Paul

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