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Mark Sparvell: School Dinners, Ancient buildings and Innovation

by Mark Sparvell
Microsoft in Education Showcase Schools Program

Hello fellow education adventurers!

Date: January 2015

Location: Broadclyst Community Primary School Exeter, UK, EX5 3JG

Distance from home:  Redmond, USA to Devon, UK is 4732.589 miles


Continuing my journey across the globe , capturing the voices, images and insights from some of our amazing Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators and the leaders of the inspiring Showcase Schools. If you haven’t been following my journey on twitter, might like to add @sparvell to your follows.

In its latest Ofsted Report, Broadclyst Primary School was rated as grade 1 (outstanding) . With an international reputation for the use of ICT….but what is it really like? I decided to take a plane from London City Airport and taxi ride along the narrow lanes to see for myself.

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Nam Ngo Thanh: Limitless Creativity with Animation Project

by Nam Ngo Thanh
Expert Educator Columnist, Vietnam

What do your students think about History and Literature? Do they like it or not? Those subjects are really important in education, but how would you make it interesting to students?

According to my survey, the group of student was not really interested in History and Literature. They claimed that both History and Literature are not attractive enough for them.  In my opinion, these subjects are very important for their lives. Teachers should find different ways to teach these subjects.

I would like to share with you some good ways we are using in my school “VIETNAM AUSTRALIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL” about making those two subjects much more interesting.

If your students just listening your talk, they will be boring fast. But, if you allow them to involve in discussion, and ask them to do some practice work, it will help them remember knowledge easily and learning will become fun. Thus, we conducted for our student to do cartoon animation project related to the History, Literature, Arts and Information Technology subjects.  Two projects we have conducted successfully were “When the ocean was the confronted by an olive tree” – the story about the birth of Athens in Greek mythology – and “The Trung Sisters”- heroic traditional values.

How did we do it?

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Padma: Introducing My Column

by Padma S.
Expert Educator Columnist, India

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”—Benjamin Franklin

I am a psychologist and an educator. I teach kids aged 8 years to 11 years in India. Young, curious children teach me new things every day. As an educator, I encourage kids to question, inquire and do independent or group research. As a psychologist, I engage children with learning disabilities. In a classroom full of young minds, that one child unable to tune in just because it’s wired differently draws me in. I simply want to make a difference to that child’s life.

I employ specific learning strategies consisting of systematic desensitization, tripod grip writing, behaviour therapy, neurologic impress, meditation, lazy-eight, coordination exercises, neuro linguistic programming and Brain Gym for difficult learners.

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Bridget Crooks: Creating a Student Technical Team

by Bridget Crooks
Expert Educator Columnist, New Zealand

I am a great believer in collaboration and co-construction.

As a teacher I am only one part of the education equation.

So, when our school was undertaking the change to WiFi and byod, it seemed axiomatic that we should share some of the leadership with the students.

It took a bit of searching to find out what form this would take – but we settled on a team of student experts – who would bridge the gap between the staff and the student body.

I was looking for a group of I.T Ninjas. Students who were users of technology, students who were able to work with others and students who were keen to give something back to the school.

These students would be part of the communication in regards to the technical direction of the school – the student voice that is so important in 21st century education.

The Application Process and Selection

I started the process six months before the roll out of the WiFi and byod programme. I had isolated that I only wanted senior students at first, we would recruit and train younger students as the process became better established. It was important to me that applications should be imbedded in 21st century skills – application forms were available online and application was via email.

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Dai Nguyen Thi: My Story with Microsoft

by Dai Nguyen Thi
Expert Educator Columnist, Vietnam

I am a teacher of Physics and Chemistry at a small junior high school in Vietnam. I have experienced many changes relating to my home country’s education over twenty years of teaching. And honestly, Microsoft has paved a new way for me to reach the destination that I am badly longing for.

More than 10 years ago, I started knowing Microsoft through Power-point and Word Apps. Actually I have utilized these Apps very effectively in teaching for preparing the lectures requiring presentation. I have altered my teaching methodology by combining traditional way of teaching using the blackboard and chalk with the ICT application. Thanks to those alterations, I have made many remarkable achievements in education. And many colleagues of mine have also got the same results.

Along with the development of science, technology and information technology, I have discovered more useful soft-wares and information which make my lectures more interesting and vivid. As the result, my students have been so excited with my lectures, which has given me much happiness. At beginning I thought that the ICT was merely a tool for the teachers. And I used to think of the question: How information communication technology could be used as an effective tool supporting students learn well.

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Angels Soriano: Creativity & OneNote- Tracking the Creative Process

by Angels Soriano
Expert Educator Columnist, Spain

Many of us use OneNote to encourage collaboration, teamwork, and self-regulation when it comes to projects, or even to promote creativity in students learning. The most beautiful word is creativity… Creativity at school that Sir Ken Robinson tells us about (which envy who has been able to listen to him live, must be pure energy!).

During these last two months (December and January) in my language and literature class, we have been evaluating the reading process: We could have made an oral presentation, or a small essay on the opinion that they expressed their book, but why not go one step further and encourage them to make a video overview (book trailer) as an element of creating content from reading?. In this way we could develop different skills such as creativity, collaborative work and the use of ICTs; offering them the possibility to demonstrate their participation and the empowerment of their learning.

Sharing OneNote through Office365 platform enables students to work autonomously through different phases of the project after reading the book. Thus, we can find a tab where students show the script of the future book trailer, the second phase was the preparation of an initial PowerPoint, and the third phase was the accomplished book trailer, all using OneNote to get different parts of the process in one place (the cloud!) and from any device.

OneNote is a versatile tool for the monitoring and evaluation of our students, performing their tasks with the OneNote Class Notebook Creator that offers us the possibility of creating OneNote with non-editable sections, and others where the students can see their own progress. Using OneNote as teachers can, not only as a notebook of evaluation, sharing schedules with other teachers from the Centre or other colleges, projects between different Schools. As teachers OneNote offers the possibility to be creative… why not share an OneNote for the shopping list? Creativity is in the air.

Marija Petreska: The Art of Powerpoint

by Marija Petreska
Expert Educator Columnist, Macedonia

I bet you have never thought of PowerPoint as a canvas for art work. Nor have we. It was an innocent play with the shapes and colors in PowerPoint that led us to a whole new discovery. We could create our own infographics with handmade clip art and background paper in PowerPoint with the shapes and edit options and the colors. It turned out to be so fun that we now have over ten handmade interactive infographics and at least four more not yet published.

This post is a step by step guide how to create your own clip art and background paper, how to connect it all in a story on a slide, how to merge the slides into an infographic and make it an interactive one.

Step 1 Creating Handmade Clip Art

The one thing you need to be skillful with is the edit shape button

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Diah Fakhmawati: Designing Offline Webquest Using Powerpoint

by Diah Fakhmawati
Expert Educator Columnist, Indonesia

Internet for language learning provides many benefits such as providing intrinsic motivation to students, giving authentic material resources, and improving reading and writing skills. One of language learning program utilizing internet is WebQuest. Webquest is mini-projects in which a large percentage of the input and material is supplied from the internet. It is an inquiry lesson plan that requires students to express, apply, and present information which they obtain from internet. Webquest is potential for second language learning because as a pedagogical strategy, it provides the students a chance to use the target language in form of reading web pages which can develop students critical thinking and writing production of task. Webquests is related to task-based learning, as the students have to deal with amount of specific information on the web and perform a task. The task is a piece of classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target language. In frame of task-based learning, webquest offers chances to students to learn certain or integrated skill by completing the task. Further, Stoks (2002) suggested that by engaging in a WebQuest students increase their language comprehension and do problem solving through language learning facilitated by WebQuest. In addition, it provides access to online resources while scaffolding the learning process to encourage order thinking and in some extent WebQuest brings together the most effective instructional practice into one integrated learning activity. To gain the benefits of webquest for EFL learners it is important to design appropriate Webquest to be applied in EFL context.

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Doug Bergman: STEM- No Longer an All-Boys Club

by Doug Bergman
Expert Educator Columnist, USA

Congratulations to hundreds of girls around the country who have just been recognized by NCWIT( National Council for Women in Technology) at the national and state level for their accomplishments and participation in Computer Science. In my state of South Carolina, 5 of the 12 awards were our Porter-Gaud girls! We are very proud!

I am so honored to be part of a Computer Science program that values having females as integral members. In my first year teaching at Porter-Gaud there were exactly ZERO females in my advanced classes. I think one reason why females have not been attracted to Computer Science is because it is oftentimes seen as an all-boys club. What girl wants to be the only one on the class? I can see that. And traditionally, for whatever reason, the public face for Computer Science has been seen as predominantly male. Although if we dive deeper, we find that females have played a significant part in getting us to where we are today—they just don’t get much credit (i.e. to name a few: Radia Perlman, Fran Bilas, Helen Greiner, Lixia Zhang, Christina Amon, Anita Borg, Ada Lovelace, and Mary Lou Jepsen.) The teachers of Computer Science have tended to be male, the textbook authors tended to be male, and the curriculum tended to be written by men and driven towards the male student. All examples, sample code, projects, and stories tended to be targeted towards males. Even game design classes, hoping to attract non-techies tended to be games that were blowing things up, loud noises, fast action, and other boyish traits. And in the infancy of the “personal computer age” where Computer Science has actually become accessible to people, this is the environment we had set up for ourselves. In my days as a student at Clemson University, there were only 1 or 2 women in any of my classes. In some Computer Science programs today, that is still the case. And that bothers me. Why has this not changed?

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Tammy Dunbar: Can I Sway You to Blog?

by Tammy Dunbar
Expert Educator Columnist, USA

teachergeekOutdoor School (aka Science Camp) is an amazing experience for students in the fifth and sixth grades: hiking along redwood trails with banana slugs or tide pools with colorful sea anemones, learning about precious ecosystems, practicing teamwork in cabin groups and singing joyful campfire songs for five whole days.

But the hardest part about convincing parents their students should participate in this incredible life-changing experience is the fact their students are gone for five whole days.

onegreatOne great solution to making parents comfortable enough to allow their students to attend Outdoor School is for the teacher going with the students to blog from camp. Most Outdoor Schools have wireless internet available (at least in the administration cabin), so all a teacher has to do is bring a camera and a computer (or just a smart phone) and spend a little time after lights out to post their blog and pictures.

We just returned from five incredible days at San Joaquin Outdoor School in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains of California. All four schools that attended last week’s camp were from Manteca Unified School District, where the #goingdigital2015 project is in full swing. Since all teachers in our district have been training for more than a year on digital devices and their use, all teachers who attended Outdoor School last week were comfortable enough to try blogging.

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