Developing Connections with Business Mentors

Callum StewartAfter a lifetime of interest in Computer Science, and a more recent involvement in online forums with people from communities less privileged than his own, one St Andrew’s College student has an idea that he hopes will provide a platform for small investors to fund small start-ups in the Third World through a web-based business, tentatively called uEarn.io

Year 10 student, Callum Stewart’s enthusiasm for the cause caught the eye of his Business Studies Teacher, Steve Aldhamland. Quickly identifying the potential benefit, for Callum, of a Business Mentor Steve contacted Robyn Frey, the ‘Head of Special Projects’ at the Young Enterprise Trust. Robyn kindly put Steve in touch with an Alumni of the Trust, Josh Daniells. Josh is currently the Head of Platform and Investor Growth at the successful equity crowdfunding platform, Snowball Effect.

Capture

A screenshot from the Skype session Callum and Josh had, hosted in the Boardroom at St Andrew’s College

Earlier this week, to initiate this mentor relationship, Josh and Callum participated in a Skype session. This session allowed Callum to speak to someone with industry experience and Josh was able to give the young entrepreneur some valuable advice about potential regulatory barriers and the importance of balancing interests between investors and companies.

Reflecting on potential future mentoring within Business Studies

Mr Aldhamland immediately saw the benefits for Callum of this session. The main positives were that it was a medium that allowed each party to see and respond to the body language of the other throughout the conversation. I believe that this was a factor in Josh quickly identifying that Callum has genuine entrepreneurial potential and that he is deadly serious about his business idea.

He is also excited about the future potential of using Skype more regularly in Business Studies, with the ability to connect with business mentors nationally, and even globally.

Reflections on a Term of Integration

As the first term of the school year draws to a close, I find myself increasingly reflecting on the first ten weeks as the eLearning Integrator here at St Andrew’s College. Due to the fact that this position was newly established at the College, there was always a bit of a sense of the unknown.

Hitting the Ground Running

Almost immediately, I was struck by the willingness of the College’s staff to embrace change in their pedagogy, and the overwhelming acceptance that eLearning has an important part to play in this development. While, obviously, staff are at differing stages of their experimentation all have been extremely welcoming and responsive to whatever assistance they have received.

OneNote in the Classroom

By far the major focus for staff has been the continued use of OneNote in their classrooms. With a compulsory 1:1 laptop programme now covering all Year 9 and 10 students the majority of secondary staff have been extremely keen to use OneNote in their classrooms. Feedback from staff has been overwhelmingly positive and success with its use to manage and improve student feedback in English and the potential of student collaboration have already been blogged about this year.

By far the most significant development for staff, has been the launch of the OneNote Classroom creator tool. Numerous staff have mentioned to me how they have appreciated the streamlined organisation that this tool facilitates.

The other major developments that has impacted on our student population are the improvements to the complexity of the OneNote app for Mac. Approximately 65% of our students are using Apple laptops and, although the functionality of the app is still not equivalent to that of the Windows Client version, the improvements have helped to raise the engagement levels of students with the software.

Skype developing

A second area of growth within the school has been the use of Skype. Within the senior syndicate of our Preparatory School especially, Mystery Skypes have been popular. Teachers have found them a great way to make initial conact with students in other areas of the world and also as a valuable way to investigate questioning strategies – not to mention they are great fun!

This term has also seen us experiement with other ways to utilise Skype in the classroom. On World Read Aloud Day 8C jumped at the opportunity to connect with a children’s author, Jennifer Swanson via Skype. SwansonThis session was really motivating for the students and it was great to see them having the opportunity to ask their own questions to an experienced author.

“I think that it’s pretty cool that although Jennifer Swanson is so far away we felt like she was right there in the room thanks to Skype. I think that the whole class enjoyed this experience and we all want to do it again!” Elena, 8C

A final development has been the number of staff in the Senior College beginning to experiement with the potential with Skype to supplement the learning occuring in their classroom. A Year 13 English Teacher, Tam Yuill Proctor, is teaching a course based around James Bond. As part of this I am endeavouring to confirm an academic from the Film and Media School at Aberysthwyth University to join the class in an expert capacity. A second example is from our Commerce department who are beginning to develop relationships with business mentors through Skype. Stay tuned for a future blog post highlighting this!

Staff redefining their own boundaries

Elsewhere in the school, it has also been pleasing to see a number of staff experimenting with other aspects of eLearning. Examples of this has seen Google Earth being used to effectively study setting in English, and Excel being used in conjunction with OneNote in the Preparatory School. It has been really rewarding for me to see increasing examples of staff developing the confidence to conceptualise, develop and implement such tasks in an increasingly independent manner!

Fundraising For Vanuatu – New & Old Approaches

Damages from Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu. Creative Commons: UNICEF Pacific, 2015

Damages from Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu. Creative Commons: UNICEF Pacific, 2015

UPDATE March 30th: New photos have been supplied from Onesua College – scroll down to see them.

Over the weekend of 14-15th March 2015 a Category 5 cyclone cut a path of devastation across the Pacific, with the island nation of Vanuatu experiencing some of the worst damage from this massive storm.

St Andrew’s College has a strong relationship with Onesua Presbyterian College located on the north-eastern side of the main island of Efate, having sent annual Community Service trips there for over a decade. Onesua is a boarding school with around 350 students and suffered extensive damage from the storm:

With the 2015 Community Service Trip to Onesua College scheduled to depart in the first week of the Term 1 holiday break, the timing of this Cyclone resulted in the cancellation of this trip. The leadership team at St Andrew’s College reached out to Onesua immediately to see where we could help and heard from their Principal, Mr Kalmar a week after the storm:

Onesua is badly hid by the cyclone, a lot of classrooms lost their roofs and also staff houses. My office and house roof also flew away. The students are all out of school. Water and food will be a problem. I thank God that not even a single soul was lost during the cyclone at Onesua. We were all safe.

At the moment the school is out of telephone and internet services. I am emailing from Port Vila.

We immediately explored how we could channel existing fundraising approaches to help our sister school in Vanuatu.

UPDATE March 30th: new photos from Onesua College:

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Online Donations:

We setup an online donation option through our existing ticketing and donation platform from PatronBase.com which allowed our community members to make a credit card payment directly to the funds being collected for Onesua:

Online credit card donations for Onesua College via PatronBase.com

Online credit card donations for Onesua College via PatronBase.com

Online Ticket Sale Top-ups:

St Andrew’s has been selling tickets to College events online for 12 months now, and currently both the Senior Production (Urinetown – The Musical) and Style At StAC have tickets selling fast. We were able to include the opportunity for our community to “top up” their ticket payment with a donation for Onesua College:

An option donate to Onesua is provided during the checkout process with ticket sales for St Andrew's College events

An option donate to Onesua is provided during the checkout process with ticket sales for St Andrew’s College events

Mufti Day & Disco:

More traditional approaches to fundraising were also undertaken which included:

  • A mufti-day where students in the Secondary School could come in tidy non-uniform attire. For this event, the College encouraged students to go beyond the usual gold coin donation, and instead gift “folding money” towards Onesua College.
  • Preparatory School Disco. This is the annual fundraiser organised and run by the students going on the annual Community Service Trip, and aimed at students in Years 4-8 to attend a tropical themed disco.
  • Collection raised at the Middle School Chapel service

Total Donations So Far:

By combining both new and old ways of collecting donations, particularly with the ease of online credit card payments, we have been able to reach a wider section of our College community who have been incredibly generous.  Today, St Andrew’s College was able to transfer NZD$10,000 to Onesua Presbyterian College to help them rebuild their damaged school and replace their destroyed teaching resources.

With a number of remaining smaller fund raising activities running into Term 2, there will be a second payment of the remaining funds raised gifted to Onesua.

A huge thank you to our entire community for contributing so generously. In his latest email Mr Aldo, Principal of Onesua, said:

Thank you very much for this much needed support. I thank God that Onesua has build a relationship with STAC.

The Onesua community has set up a working group  consisting of teachers and ancillary staff and carrying out rapid response operations in the college.

This means that they are putting up temporary classrooms and staff houses and dorms to gather for the classes next week. We are all eager to begin classes though we lost a lot of materials.

We will start with what we have available hoping that support will definitely come. Please thank all your community for your support sincerely.

Mystery Skype With Russia Extends Students’ Borders

 Today the Year 6 students at St Andrew’s College had a unique experience, engaging in a game of Mystery Skype with students from a school in the very remote location of Sakhalin Island International School, off the east coast of Russia and north of Japan.

This was arranged by Mr Wilj Dekkers who happened to know the classroom teacher in the International School run by Shell Oil. In fact, the Skype session happened over two days, with the initial session struggling for consistent internet connectivity (they had experienced a massive snow dump the night before which may have contributed to the problem). If anything, this taster added to the suspense for the students and also allowed Mr Dekkers to coach the the students on formulating effective questions, listening carefully to the responses given from the students and using the various atlases and computers to research more effectively:

Students talking to a class on Sakhalin Island, Russia via Skype.

Students talking to a class on Sakhalin Island, Russia via Skype.

When the students managed to reconnect, the quality of the call was significantly better, allowing the two classes to freely ask questions back and forth with these having a strong focus on geographical locations such as

Students in the the school in Sakhalin Island

Students in the the school in Sakhalin Island

  • Are you north of the equator?
  • Is your country land locked?
  • Does it snow often in your country?
  • Do you use the Euro as a currency?

The students were required to ask closed questions that could be answered as “Yes” or “No” and quickly realised from this that there was a real skill in being able to formulate a useful closed question.

In the end the students from St Andrew’s College managed to guess the capital city of “Moscow” leading to the inevitable question of “Are you in Russia?”, whereby our new friends followed with “Are you kiwis?” They then shared some interesting facts about their school, including:

  • It’s an international school with all of them being there because their parents are connected with the Oil Industry
  • There are ~140 students in their school, made up of 33 nationalities
  • They were about to head outside and play in the snow and it was -10 Celsius (it has to get to -20 to -25 degrees Celsius before it’s too cold outside to play.

The St Andrew’s students then performed a rousing waiata to finish off the very enjoyable Skype session:

Introducing Tom Adams – eLearning Integrator at St Andrew’s College

StAC Logo WhiteStarting in 2015, St Andrew’s College has created a new position to support teaching and learning with technology both in and out of the classroom. This role, called eLearning Integrator, has been filled by Mr Tom Adams and reflects the College’s continuing commitment to ensuring both staff and students are equipped to maximise the opportunities presented by technology.

To ensure this happens, Mr Adams will be teaching a single class (senior Geography) and using the rest of his time supporting teachers and students both in and out of the classroom. The interview below introduces Mr Adams and his role.

Tom, you have joined St Andrew’s College from Christchurch Girls High School. Can you provide an overview of how your role there supported eLearning initiatives?

My role at CGHS was twofold. The first aspect of the job was to oversee the continued development of a strong infrastructure; both wired and wireless. We all know the futility of trying to make meaningful progress with e-Learning without this aspect falling into place. The second aspect was to oversee the actual teaching and learning aspect of e-Learning. The main initiative predominantly involved the conceptualisation and development of a Moodle site which has, pleasingly, became relatively engrained in the teaching and learning programmes of most staff and students.

Of the various initiatives you introduced at CGHS, which were you most pleased with and why?

On reflection it would have to be the way that the Moodle site became ingrained in the learning culture of both staff and students. Our average hit rate of over 1000 site visits daily was evidence that students and staff were using it as the basis of their online learning needs. Early in 2015 the site will record its 2 millionth site visit!

You have experience with both Google Apps For Education (GAFE) and Microsoft’s Office365 (which StAC uses). Do you have any thoughts on the relative strengths and weaknesses of these products and how they can assist teachers and students with learning in the classroom?

I feel that this is an area that a number of schools are going to really struggle with over the next few years as both GAFE and 365 continue to develop their competitive capabilities in this growing market of eLearning. I personally feel that GAFE currently has certain advantages such as its ease of use and smooth integration between its complementary products, however, the new developments within 365 in the last 18 months have certainly brought that package into line, and 365 now offers greater functionality and the incredibly exciting potential of OneNote in an education setting. OneNote is a product that GAFE currently does not match. With 365’s impressive, recent developments it will be interesting to see GAFE’s response in 2015!

StAC has seen massive uptake amongst staff of Microsoft OneNote in the last 12-18 months. Some schools are now using this as their Learning Management System, whereas St Andrew’s remains committed to using Moodle as the primary LMS. Can you share your thoughts on the value of Moodle to both teachers and students?

I believe that the separation from 365 that Moodle allows is an important aspect. By using the Sharepoint platform as your LMS there is the risk of becoming insulated, self-congratulatory, and ultimately too reliant on 365 to provide a one stop e-Learning platform. Using 365 in the classroom should only be one aspect of a teacher’s e-Learning commitment. By having an intermediate platform, itself with many great features, allows a teacher, and their students, to have a central platform to feed other learning experiences into. It also allows the school to more fully involve its wider school community in the e-Learning process by making use of the public functionality of Moodle, as appropriate, to help give a more personalised feel than is provided by most school websites.

You’ve come to a few events hosted by StAC over the last couple of years and have had a chance to see how the College is resourced and the direction we are moving in with respect to eLearning. What excites you the most about this role? 

This potential of this role is incredibly exciting. I am in the privileged position to be at a school that is committed to offering effective e-Learning to their students, and a school that is willing to create a position such as mine. The fact that, in the position, I have been allocated the time and freedom to really help shape the future of e-Learning in the school is something which I am really looking forward to!

The College is quite different from other schools you’ve worked in, being co-educational and also Year 1-13. What are some of the personal goals you’re hoping to focus on when you start?

The ability to work with staff and students Y1-13 was one aspect of the job that really attracted me to it. I have so much to learn about teaching at a primary level and that will be great fun. The other aspect of the position that will be an initial goal of mine will be to gain the trust and confidence of as many staff as possible, as quickly as possible! This will be a massive undertaking as it is a privilege to be allowed into someone else’s classroom, and it is not something that all teachers are comfortable with.

Finally, what other interests do you have outside of technology and teaching?

I am currently enjoying the pleasures of having a young family. Cait and I have two boys, Ollie (4) and Sam (1), who currently provide the entertainment at home. Outside of my family, I am an absolute sports tragic. As well as passionately supporting a number of, predominantly unsuccessful, teams across a few different sports I am a lower grade cricketer (who is a bit susceptible to an early straight delivery), and an ageing, and slowing, central midfielder for a local football club.

Moving forward, I anticipate Mr Adams will be posting blogs directly, sharing some of the eLearning stories emerging from his work with staff and students at St Andrew’s College.

Guest Post: Year 6 Mystery Skype With Alabama School

This post was written by a student in Year 6SD after a Mystery Skype session in Term 4.

On November 21st 6SD was involved in a mystery skype with another Year 6 class.

As soon as they spoke we knew that they were in America, so we had to guess what State they were in. To make it more interesting and more challenging, we were only to ask yes, no questions. We were allowed to use our devices to check information and it didn’t take long for us to ask if their State had a starting letter between A and L.  We asked if their capital city was Montgomery and they replied yes. We found out on our devices that they were in Alabama.  Ben played on his electric guitar, Sweet home Alabama and they told us we were right!

They found out we were in New Zealand. After we both knew what Country/City each other was in, we asked them questions about Alabama, like what their favourite sports teams were. We found out some very cool facts about Alabama like that they get to wear mufti every day while we had to wear uniforms all the time and also that at 9.10am on Friday morning it was only 2.10pm on Thursday for them.

Overall it was a great experience and we would love to do it again.

By Henry

This post was also displayed for students to see on the College Moodle site

Teaching The Teachers: Year 7 Students Show Off Sketchup Skills

On Monday 29th September, teachers from the member schools of the Burnside Learning Community Cluster met at Fendalton Open Air Primary School for a teacher-led conference on teaching and learning with digital devices.

Earlier in Term 3, Fendalton’s Principal Mr Paul Sibson had visited St Andrew’s College and together we saw saw some Year 7 students teaching Year 6 students in Mr Wilj Dekkers class how to use the design software Sketchup. Upon seeing this, Paul asked me if I could organise these students to present to teachers at the BLCC conference on teaching and learning with digital devices.

The two students, Tim and James, having already self-taught themselves when designing house floor plans for a maths unit were keen to help out.

Floor plans designed in Sketchup by Tim and James

Floor plans designed in Sketchup by Tim and James

The two had even created instructions in OneNote to share tips with other students and teachers that included things like:

There Are things that you can benefit from using this program like…

  • Helps get an understanding of what the real world designers use
  • Uses a great skill level and can help with the ability for some designers in the making
  • Great for some house designing projects
  • Helps with 3D shapes, measurement, geometry, angles, percentages and ratios
  • And finally you have fun creating with your imagination
Sketchup instructions from James and Tim

Sketchup instructions from James and Tim

Two laptops from St Andrew’s were supplied to the boys for the conference and together they ran a session for around 15 teachers and a number of students from Fendalton Primary who were also in attendance. They taught the teachers the basics of Sketchup, explained the toolbars and icons and gave some examples on how Sketchup could be used in class.

From time to time Mr Dekkers added additional information to the teachers present so they could further understand how Sketchup was integrated into the Maths unit focusing on percentages and proportions.

Explanation of key tools in Sketchup from instructions stored in OneNote

Explanation of key tools in Sketchup from instructions stored in OneNote

The session was well received and was right in line with the goals of the BLCC which include:

  • establish shared, ongoing, professional learning programmes for teacher effectiveness and the collaborative leadership of learning across the cluster
  • Initiate a teacher-led conference, at which teachers from all BLCC schools will be enabled to run a mini-workshop for their colleagues on some aspect of TWDT.

Here are a selection of photos from the presentation at the conference:

It is excellent to see some of our students confident to show their skills in using software and present that to other teachers in the wider Burnside Learning Community Cluster who can then go on to use this technology in their own classes.

Well done James and Tim!

Guest Post: Yr8 Mystery Skype

MysterySkype

This post was guest written by Noah, Harry and Angus from Year 8C

Last Thursday, 8C was part of a ‘Mystery Skype’ with another unknown school in the world. We didn’t know what to expect because we had never experienced this before. A ‘Mystery Skype’ is an activity where a random class or school in the world Skype us in order to find out our location and our school name. It is a competition between the two schools to identify each other first.

A day in advance, we had to prepare. We had to split into different groups, consisting of questioners, answerers, atlas mappers, poster mappers, Google mappers, note takers and photographers. Every group had 2-4 people working on it.

Firstly, we had to have Mr McNeill (our school Director of ICT) set up the webcam and project the Skype video onto the classroom interactive whiteboard. Once that was all ready, we were prepared to make the call. Just before we made it though, Mrs Preston told us some heartbreaking news: the teacher from the mystery class had told his class that we are in New Zealand. This made it so much easier for the opposition to find where we are. Anyway, there was no looking back. We made the call. The teacher from the other school greeted us warmly. But, they also greeted us with a very well known accent. The teacher had a classic, Aussie twang to his voice. As well the students had their school logo on their jerseys

As our first question we asked ‘Are you from Australia?’ as it was obvious from the accents. The reply was yes and then they asked ‘Are you in the South Island?’ The answer was yes.

[tweet https://twitter.com/samuelmcneill/status/509882183171837952 align=’right’ width=’275′]

After a few questions they asked ‘Are you in Wellington?’ we had a bit of a laugh while replying ‘No.’

As we closed in, we found out that they were from Tasmania, Hobart and that they were only aged 8-9 years old [which helped us knowledge wise].

We managed to successfully guess they were from St Virgil’s College in Hobart

Then as we started to wrap up the Skype call they started to talk about their sport and the Tasmanian tiger and devils. Then the Skype call ended. As a class we talked about the pros and cons and what we could we improve on.

In conclusion, our class enjoyed this experience and would like to do it with another class one time but would hope for older, more experienced classes our age.

Noah, Harry and Angus.

Full video of our Mystery Skype with St Virgil’s College

Exploring A Digital World Of Kiwiana

Preparatory School Inquiry Learning Model

Preparatory School Inquiry Learning Model

This morning the students of Year 6S were presenting their inquiry research into Kiwiana and extended an invite to Mr Bierworth (Deputy Rector and Principal of the Preparatory School) and myself to attend.  Over the last few weeks they have been conducting an inquiry learning project around the question “What is Kiwiana?”

To spark enthusiasm the students visited the Canterbury Museum and toured the Paua Shell House, before looking at other Kiwiana icons.  There was also some cross-curricular learning happening here, with students working on area and proportion in Maths, where Mr Dekkers tasked them with designing their ultimate Kiwi bach (holiday home).

The students jumped at this challenge as it was a chance to use Minecraft in class for learning! They started to look at old family baches their families owned or visited, brought photos to class and asked the question “what would the ultimate bach include now?” Students had to include certain criteria such as:

  • Where would the BBQ live? (afterall, how could it be a Kiwi holiday home without a BBQ?)
  • Where would the mountain bikes and surfboards be stored?
  • What was the access to water going to be? (sea / river / lake etc)

Having gained experience in Maths using Minecraft, this was extended to the inquiry topic where the challenge was to research iconic Kiwiana features of New Zealand and then include them into a Kiwiana theme park.

Being adept at using OneNote for research and planning, the children worked collaboratively to identify their iconic images and locations and record their research in a shared OneNote notebook. Here is a fantastic example of one:

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What impressed me so much about their use of OneNote was:

  • Using “Tasks” that could be ticked off when each job was completed – this meant they knew exactly who had to do what.
  • Having the “show contributors” turned on so the initials of each group member was alongside their work, meaning they could see who had contributed what to the research.
  • Storing images in the notebook as examples for when they started to build their Minecraft theme park.
  • Use of highlighting – key words / concepts were highlighted to ensure they would be include in the theme park and oral presentation.
  • Using their iPads and OneNote to read their notes from during the actual presentation.
  • Mr Dekkers writing feedback directly into their OneNote notebook during the presentation so by the time they finished they would see his comments.

Group Presentation On Kiwiana Theme Park Using Minecraft & OneNote

Using a SurfacePro 3 to provide feedback into student OneNote notebooks

Using a SurfacePro 3 to provide feedback into student OneNote notebooks

One of the skills that Mr Dekkers was focusing on as part of this Inquiry unit was synthesising information found as part of their research with their own ideas, discussions and information from their parents.

This allowed the conversation to include plagiarism and why this is a serious issue – a great way to remind students that being a good Digital Citizen includes protecting and respecting the intellectual property of others that has been shared online (see this post for more information on Digital Citizenship).

The presentation skills of the students were excellent, and it was delightful to see them seamlessly switching between presenting to their classmates using their iPads / OneNote for reference, whilst also navigating through their Kiwiana theme park designed on Minecraft. I am sure they would have been delighted with the feedback they received:

Feedback written by Mr Dekkers on his SurfacePro3 - available immediately to the students

Feedback written by Mr Dekkers on his SurfacePro3 – available immediately to the students

SUMMARY:

  • Whilst plenty of technology was being used in this unit and presentation, it was very much in the background. It was not being seen as a distraction, but rather a tool to get the job done.
  • Students made great use of OneNote as a shared document that was accessible anytime, anywhere for them to record their research.
  • Students were accountable to one another and their teacher as it was evident who had contributed what to the notebook.
  • Interest, engagement and enthusiasm from the students was very high – they loved the “gamification” of their learning by being allowed to use Minecraft to design a theme park.
  • Students were keen to share their learning – they wanted their Principal and Director of ICT to see their learning – they were proud of their efforts.

This kind of cross-curricular learning, with deep and authentic integration of technology is incredibly pleasing to see in our classrooms.

Students Lead a “Celebration of Learning” Evening – Then Quiz Their Parents!

A number of our Year 6 classes have moved away from the traditional Parent-Teacher interviews towards a “Celebration of Learning Evening” which was held recently and the students grouped together to present their learning to around 90 adults who attended.

Preparatory School Inquiry Learning Model

Preparatory School Inquiry Learning Model

The students had completed a unit on various aspects of Chinese culture, including calligraphy, fan dancing, paper cutting, cookery, lion and dragon masks, children’s games and kung fu. This was the same unit that our Year 12 students had filmed and presented in their Fusion TV Show that I blogged about earlier.

The learning had taken place within the new inquiry learning framework developed by the Preparatory School for their students, and the children were excited to be presenting this learning back to their parents.

The adults moved around the various displays over the course of the hour, with numerous groups seamlessly including technology into their presentations, using a range of tablet devices to show how they had collated their research into sections in their MS OneNote notebooks, along with sharing cooking clips, kung fu moves and music. The parents could also try their hand at calligraphy with different apps being used on the tablets to support this.

Nearing the end of the performing arts section, one of the students ask Mr Dekkers if they could create a quiz for the parents using Socrative.com, a tool that allows for real time quizzing within a class and one that I’ve blogged about before here. The aim of the quiz was to check parents had been reading all the work the students had on display, and included a number of multi-choice and short answer questions:

  • What does the colour red mean?
  • When were the first Chinese masks made?
  • China is a country with up of about ___________ years of culture and history?
  • What are the dances that are well known in China?

Parents were then asked to use their own smart phones to access the quiz online (the students guided them through this process, showing how simple the technology actually was). You can see some of the answers below (parent names removed!):

The parent answers to a quick Socrative.com quiz created by students during a "Celebration of Learning" evening in the Preparatory School.

The parent answers to a quick Socrative.com quiz created by students during a “Celebration of Learning” evening in the Preparatory School.

When I heard about this from Mr Dekkers I was delighted by the initiative demonstrated and that our students are starting to see technology as “just another tool” that can both help with their learning, but also to demonstrate their learning. I mentioned in this earlier post that:

Whilst the phrase “ubiquitousness of technology” is over used, this lesson did demonstrate that when used effectively, the technology is not at the forefront of the lesson.

I see this example from the Preparatory School as reinforcing this – it was the student voice and presentations that was the true celebration of learning, the technology used merely augmented this.

As the confidence of students increases and they identify a wider range of applications for technology in their learning, I anticipate more examples such as this emerging from our classrooms.