Global Connection through an Elementary Chinese Language Class

This week elementary students at SIS and in Singapore met via a video conference to share stories and a song, all in Chinese. Students in Mavis Zhang’s grade 2 Chinese class at SIS were introduced to Shuna Sun’s Kindergarten Chinese class at Singapore American School (SAS) online through a session on Google Hangout. Kelli Buxton, an Educational Technology Coach at SAS, created the video below about the experience from Ms. Sun’s classroom.

Design Thinking and Fitness

Knofick FITT is fully up and running through another round of FITT goals for 9th and 10th grade students.  This project has really blossomed into a fantastic proof of concept for using Design Thinking for goal setting.  Students have recently finished their first round of FITT goals and are in the process of “Choosing” and “Adapting” goals through the end of the year.

263797412_origGraphic Source: http://www.sylvaincottong.com/tools-methods/on-design-thinking/

Student reflection videos are currently being posted to a shared playlist.  Students commented on their progress, modifications that might need to be made, and whether or not the social media aspect helped keep them accountable for their goal.

Stay Tuned project updates!!!

Thanks for making ‘Create’ a success

On March 1 & 2 SIS hosted ‘Create’, a 2 day conference focused on creativity and innovation in learning.

Over 140 teachers from across Asia attended to learn more about the contemporary teaching and learning practices occurring at SIS.  Twenty of our staff presented on a range of topics including digital portfolios, 3D printing, global learning connections, app development and much more.  The feedback they received for their efforts was fantastic:

“Excellent presenters. Collaborative atmosphere.”

“All the sessions were winners”

“Good upbeat experience…will ultimately have impact directly on my constituents.”

“Keep doing what you’re doing!” 

“The weekend was incredibly powerful. From the keynote to global connections and 3D modelling”.

Thank you for sharing great stuff. Very inspiring.

Fantastic job. See you all next year!

A huge thanks goes out to our teacher and student presenters who delivered powerful and compelling sessions.   Also a special thanks goes to our support staff for making everything run smoothly and to one of our talented students, George Du for producing the video above.  

Why you should buy an @Oculus Rift for your school right now.

keanu

The Oculus Rift is amazing. There’s no doubt about it.  Literally every person I’ve seen don the headset drops a, ‘Woah!’  immediately.  It’s unlike anything you’ve experienced and it’s going to have a profound impact on the ways in which we interact and learn through technology.

You encounter a problem though, when trying to explain exactly what the Oculus Rift does.  To invoke Morpheus, “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Oculus Rift is.  You have to see it for yourself”.  Unless you’ve actually put on the headset, preferably with earphones, it’s difficult to comprehend the level of immersion and realness you feel.  So for the uninitiated, it’s Virtual Reality done right.  Wear the Oculus Rift and you’re transported to another place; the moon, the back of a dragon, or in the Giza Necropolis; wherever.  If it can be simulated in a computer, you can experience it.  Needles to say, gamers are excited.

And while the impact on gaming is clear it’s interesting to see that there are already strong learning applications emerging.  Apps like ‘Titans of Space let you tour the solar system and provide a profound sense of the scale of the universe.  Ocean Rift places you alongside sharks and whales as you glide along the sea floor.  VR Cinema gives you an entire 200 seat theatre to yourself while Street View takes advantage of Google Maps letting you tour the world.  And we haven’t touched on the innovations to storytelling and film.  You can even spend a moment as the star of one of Japan’s most successful films, Spirited Away.  Soon there will be movies where YOU play the lead role.

It’s not all beer and skittles though.  Some games make you sick.  You literally need to develop ‘VR legs’ for these.  I was heavily nauseated after 30 minutes of Half-Life 2.  Apparently, the new Oculus Rift dubbed Crystal Cove, alleviates some of this this with a HD display, reduced latency and motion tracking.  I’m hoping to get sick playing GTA4 soon but I can’t get it working yet.  That’s the other bit, you’ll need to be prepared to troubleshoot and explore (which you’ll probably enjoy anyway).

What’s most exciting though are the implications for inclusive settings.  People with physical or mental disabilities will have access to learning experiences and scenarios that were previously difficult to establish.  Learning will become more accessible to all.

So, if you’ve got the budget (around 300 bucks plus a hefty PC or Mac) get your hands on an Oculus Rift.  It’s going to influence the way we interact with technology (check out the minority report style computer in The Cave) and become an integral part of any blended learning environment.  It won’t be too long before it has the form factor of Google Glass.  That will certainly make things interesting.

Follow @Oculus for more information

@j0hnburns