SIS wins '21st Century Learning' School of the year award #21CLHK

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We are delighted that Shekou International School (SIS) has been selected as the winner of the 21st Century Learning School of the Year 2014 Award. There were a large number of entries from schools in 15 countries and it is a great commendation to our staff, students and program.

The global judging panel were extremely impressed by our entry and wanted to commend the school on the highly quality of the work they saw including the documentation and the supporting video materials.

Feedback from the judging panel below:

“Very impressive. Loved that the pedagogy is leading the tech infusion. Also that social-emotional aspects of the program are being drawn upon to foster collaboration, networking and thinking. We were impressed with the diversity of learning platforms being used in this school. Consideration of the physical environment and the effect on students and teachers was a valid and important point that does not get addressed. So, we liked the unique but student-centred approach that took the other perspectives into consideration. You are very lucky to have such a talented and inspirational team of teachers in your school. ” ~ 21 Century Learning Awards

BYOD – Chromium OS

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What Is It?

It’s a Dell Latitude running Chromium OS, a downloadable OS created by Hexxeh. It’s very much similar to  a ChromeBook running Chrome OS. This is the cheapest way to see if a ChromeBook is for you, the user interface is nearly identical with a few features that are not accessible. Anyone with Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X is able to follow instructions of downloading and extracting files on to a 4 GB USB jump drive. The user then boots through the USB key to access Chromium OS. User can also download the OS on to a virtual box or VMWare if they so choose to boot Chromium that way.

 Who is it for?

This is for anyone who wants to use a computer solely working on the web or cloud based applications. There is no need to backup to ones local HardDrive because Chromium OS is running off a 4 – 8 GB  USB jump drive. Keep in mind that is a maker’s ChromeBook. The features that are not available due to licensing are Flash, Java, and Google Voice/Video plugin. Great for connected education institutions and businesses.

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photo credit: Ivan Zhekov

 

Design?

Whether you are converting an old or new PC laptop into a “ChromeBook” in this instance a ChromiumBook, the hardware it must have is a USB port, ethernet port, and WiFi connectivity. The design, look, and feel is purely from the users prospective, it’s experience of having Google Chrome web browser, Chromium in this case as their only computing highway.  The user has to hit the boot option key(F12) in order to select the USB jump drive to have Chromium be the main operating system. Otherwise, when powering on a PC with deciding which environment to boot in, the default OS will run instead. On the other hand a user deciding to purchase an actual ChromeBook is offer several designs and specs to meet the needs of that particular consumer.

Using It

The user interface of Chromium OS is very simple. The application task bar or what is known as launcher, resides at the bottom left hand corner. By default have the user has quick access to Chromium(Google Chrome), users Google Drive, and Android-esque approach on accessing the users Apps that they have installed from the Chrome web store. Toggling through the users App drawer, they are able to customize their launcher by right clicking and add any App that they have installed from the chrome web store to their launcher for quick access.

Access to chrome web store

The chrome web store can be accesses through the launcher, icon resembles a dial pad. Chrome offers a wide array of applications that can be installed into Chromium, most of which are free. However, due to the fact that Chromium is missing Flash and several other plugin that allow for animation, a error message will pop-up after a few seconds attempting to install the app of your choosing.

Google Drive

If you are familiar with Google Drive, then this should not be any news to you. First time sign on to Chromium OS gives you direct access to your Google Drive. Adding and editing working documents are seamless.

Settings Draw and Notifications

The right hand corner of the desktop interface, the user has a notification button that he or she can manipulate to their liking. Adjacent to the notification button is the settings drawer. Here the user is able to lock the computer, set up Wifi, or log-out of their account. Keep in mind its all through the USB jump drive that is running Chromium OS.

Like

Cloud based computing, it’s the future of doing everyday operations in education and business. Chromium has the potential for the user to test out the goods before they invest in an actual ChromeBook. Though a ChromeBook starts at $199 USD, depending on what you want out of it, the ChromeBook Pixel is $1299 USD, equivalent to a 13-inch MacBook Pro.  Overall, I like the concept of no local storage.  No worries, no backups, it’s just there when you want it.

Don’t Like

Due to the fact that this review is focused on Chromium OS with the understanding that it has several missing features, that says it all. I am not able to load anything that requires Flash or play video.  I don’t like that I am not able to use the camera to capture video or images to upload straight to my Google drive. When setting up Chromium OS, it doesn’t allow me to bind to a WiFi network right away, I have to hardwire an ethernet cable. When the computer goes to sleep it basically freezes and I have reboot the system again. Finally, this will only work if you are connected to the internet.

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Should I Buy It?

You don’t have to buy anything, you can test and experience this on your computer now or an old computer thats collecting dust. This is just the gateway for you to decide if you want an actual ChromeBook or keep using what you have.  This will only work if Google works all the time, there are several countries that censor Google and their applications. Nonetheless, it’s certainly something to experience, but it would be a waste of your time to actually use this on a daily basis.

 

 

 

Physical Making + Virtual Making = Learning to Make

We have been taking full advantage of virtual learning spaces here @ SIS. Our next step is to broaden our teaching horizon with tinkering and making learning happen. The eCoaches recently attended Learning2.013 conference and was apart of an extended session called Learning in the Making with @briancsmith . The whole session was making things from soldering simple circuitry, LED lights, play doh, to programming with arduino and raspberry pi prototyping platforms. Brian has done brilliant work on making this happen at his international school, he host all of these resources on his site. We look forward to taking those ideas and make learning happen @ SIS in the near future.

Digital Portfolios in Kindergarten

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Melissa Edwards has redefined student led conferences in Kindergarten via iBooks Author.   When a 5 year old can independently lead you through a 20 minute reflection on learning, you know something special has happened.  Other Kindergarten staff have leveraged PhotoStream, KidBlog and Book Creator with similar success.

Tap the image below for a short Vine video of our digital portfolios in action.

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The iPad seemed like a toy to me…

When Liz Cho asked members of the Student Council about their iPad use, she never expected this.  A fantastic personal reflection from student Julie Kim.

 

“The iPad seemed like a toy to me, when I first received it from you near the Genius Bar.  I did not know what to do with it because to me, the iPad was just a game-playing machine.  But spending most of my time with it this year, I realized, no, the iPad is not a toy.  It is a learning tool that is very very essential for students.  It became a necessary part of my life that I cannot imagine myself without it around now.

As a treasurer in STUCO, the first app that I downloaded was called “Smart Budget”.  Although I had to download a sample version because the full version asked me to pay $2.99, it still helped me a lot in tracking down income and outcome of the STUCO budget.  At the beginning of the year, I calculated how much the original budget was, and inserted the number value in. Then whenever I added a new entry, the program just calculated the net budget automatically. For example, when I entered “Dry Ice for Haunted House” and “-$810”, it automatically showed me the date of entry along with the net budget value.  As I like organized and colorful stuff, this iPad app was a great tool for me to use as a STUCO treasurer.  With the support of this useful tool, I sometimes felt like I was doing nothing – iPad did all the calculations for me, and I just had to stare at the screen with all the numbers on. Which reduced my stress! I know machines are smarter than me, so I did not have to check for calculations over and over again.  I wonder how treasurers from previous STUCO years tracked their budget – did they do calculations using their brains and hands? If they did, I am so lucky to be the first treasurer who was able to utilize the technology.

As a member of STUCO, I used my iPad to research, look up for photos, visit STUCO website, take notes, take photos for various STUCO events and make memorable, fun videos using apps such as “VidRhythm”. Please check the attached photos – they were all taken using my iPad. As our aim this year was to leave behind “legacy”, taking photos for events were very important – and iPad helped me doing so as I carried it along with me for all the events.

Furthermore, as a 21st century student, I used my iPad in my other classes such as Chemistry and Biology. Mr. McElroy loves technology as we all know – and he suggested me to download some cool apps such as “Educreations”, “Aurasma” and “Calculator”. “iTunesU” was the application that Mr. Grezeszak loved the most and suggested all the Chemistry students to download, and he kept posting learning materials on there to help us to get prepared for the exam.

Thank you so much for requesting iPads for me and STUCO this year.  It really helped me to become a 21st century learner, and a leader.  Without your warm support and trust, I am sure we won’t have done this much.

P.S. Ask senior girls, especially Ji, how I have utilized iPad throughout this year for further evidence.

Ji even wrote a poem to me, saying: “A friend like you is a friend who utilizes iPad very productively”.. hahaha!”

Thank You!

Julie Kim

Capture an Education Creation

Educreations is one of many iOS applications that allows students to capture their learning through technology. One of our recent professional learning session was leveraging Educreation with math and science.  Kurt Callahan  headed this presentation with practical examples of how his students demonstrate their learning through this redefining application. The image below will link you to Kurt’s keynotes, you may also find useful links for your EAL students as well.

 

Educreations App ICon