26 March: Meet Today's Learners

The International School of Prague (ISP) showcased 5 projects which were carried out across various levels. A common feature of these projects were, the tasks were designed such that students experienced "Challenge Based Learning", which was the key to the entire presentation.

Projects showcased:

1. Curator of a Day: This was a collaboration between ISP and the Lobkowicz Palace. Students were given an original artifact that had never been catalogued. Their task was to find out as much as they could about the artifact and report back their findings. In this authentic project, students interpret an historical object to come up with their own conclusion.
  • To persuade the museum to choose them to be a Junior Curator
Guiding Questions:
  • What is the purpose of the artifact?
  • What is the historical context of the artifact?
  • Where should it be displayed in the Museum?
  • How should it be displayed?
  • Why does the artifact deserve to be displayed in a museum?
  • What does the artifact tell us about the past or this period of history?

2. IT Design: Students in 2 IT Fundamentals classes collaborate with students from the Games Production class to produce Flash games that incorporate 3D models/ animation and audio-remixing.
  • To create a Flash game with questions about the Czech Republic, which incorporates 3D models made in Autodesk Maya, and music remixed in Logic Express.
Essential Questions:
  • How can we gain a better appreciation of our host country, the Czech Republic, through a project that applies various "IT As a Profession" software we are learning in class?
Sample Guiding Question:
  • Famous Czech people
  • What makes the Czech Republic an interesting place to live in?
  • Finished games will be promoted and made available to the school community through our intranet and on www.
More details can be found at http://www.johnrayworth.info/jsr/CBL-Home.php
Overview of Project: http://www.johnrayworth.info/jsr/CBL/Czech-Appreciation-CBL-Info.php

3. Classroom of the Future: Students were tasked to design the future classroom (some school aspects as well) of the future. Focusing on classroom, curriculum, use of technology... multiple aspects of what education will look like will be addressed. Students hear from experts (architects, financial, "green-friendly"...) to assist them in their design ideas. Students will make connections between real world conditions and their ideal learning environment.
Essential Questions:
  • How can we make the classroom a better place for learning?
  • What will the classroom of the future look like?
Guiding Questions:
  • What courses will I take?
  • Classes: Age of student or academic potential
  • Technology - more or less?
  • Teacher: Instructor or facilitator?
  • Post secondary requirements?
  • Student class sizes?
4. Changing Challenges: The 5th grade Inquiry-based Unit "Changes and Challenges" was developed in response to the new environmental pressures that children of this 'digital world' are now facing at an ever-increasing younger age. The unit was designed to enable children to recognise the positive and negative influences and pressures around them, at a time when they are moving from childhood to adolescence.

The Enduring Understanding of the unit focuses on: Enable children to take responsibility for making informed decisions about their lifestyle choices and the way they perceive themselves and others, in the face of pressure from their peers and the media.

(The "Challenge" and "Guiding Questions" above were from Handout)
Our Observations and/or Takeaways...

From Kwai Yin:
Chatted with students who presented (1) Curator for a Day, (2) IT Design, (3) Classroom of the Future to have a deeper understanding from the students' perspective and experience on what they went through and how the lessons were organised.

1. Projects could be carried out at the individual level, as a group and at varied group level.

  • Curator for a Day is an individual project where students were each assigned an artefact.
  • IT Design was one that bring students with different expertise to come together ('cos subject focus)
  • Classroom of the Future started off with the big idea (i.e. "Classroom of the Future"). The areas were then broken down into various challenges such that students form groups to tackle each challenge.
2. Regardless of the nature of the project, students of all three projects were given about 7.5h (approx. 1.5h per week x 5 weeks) to complete the task, which includes being briefed on the tasks, carried out research and came up with the end product.

  • In the case of the IT Design Project, students said they learnt the software during the project period, too. In this instance, it implied that a 'by-product' of the CBL project could be "students' acquisition of new skills, which could be technology skills".
  • Alternatively, students could also be leveraging on the varying strengths of members in the group (for those group projects) to complete parts of the project.
  • For the Curator For a Day project, it was obvious that ICT skills required from the students were Keynote and Pages only (which they already knew).
3. Research: Resources are not limited to online searches. It could be include site visits and interaction with experts. For example

  • In Curator For a Day, students visited the Lobkowicz Palace to look at the artifact they were assigned to, and also learnt about background of the artifact from the paintings displayed in the palace. This prior information served as useful guides when students went on an internet search - in a way, it was scaffolded and guided.
  • In the Classroom of the Future project, teachers identified and linked up with relevant experts to provide expert inputs to the students. It is highly likely that during the planning stage of the project (i.e. crafting of the task), the broad areas were already identified and arrangement were made in advance so that experts were ready by the time students reached the research stage. This also implied that the teachers would have a critical role to play - to help students to scope, yet cover the essential areas while coming up with the "Challenge". Resources for research could be human experts.
Through the interaction with the students, it was obvious that they were very used/familiar to this approach of learning - given the task and work independently on their own, with support from teachers when they felt there was a need to.

While it seemed that students were capable of working independently, (drawing from their presentation) there were scaffolds and structures provided by the teachers:
  • Critical resources for research - these were 'planned' for
  • Journal writing - the structure was provided and that provided the 'agenda' of the entire project (activities at each stage)
  • End Product - requirement was articulated clearly - not just the form, but also the presence of key components
Another observation: While students aware that the approach was Challenge based learning, their sharing emphasized a lot on independent learning and what they experienced at the "Guiding Questions | Guiding Activities | Guiding Resources" stage. Hence, it was not clear about their understanding and involvement in the developement from "Big Idea" to "Essential Question" to "The Challenge" stages.

We did not get the chance to find out why the learners could not quite articulate their involvement earlier stages of the CBL framework. Based on the above, I would infer and probably suggest that we (at SST) could consider as an implementation approach is:

  • For a start, getting students to go through all the stages of the CBL framework could be tough as each level requires selected set of skills and time to build the skills.
  • It would be easier to start students off at the "Guiding Questions | Guiding Activities | Guiding Resources" stage. Let them become familiar with the the processes/ activities from this stage onwards through a few projects. This would help to instill in them the importance of owning their learning.
  • However, do articulate to them the complete framework and at which stage they start to possess the 'ownership'. This would be useful to the students to see their learning progress over time.
  • Gradually, involve them in coming up with the essential question and draw up the challenge.

I think Kwai Yin have touched quite a large bit on what have been observed during the dinner session. Just to add on my 2 cents' worth, what I do notice is the students' ability to articulate their ideas and thoughts well, even to a large, more adult audience. Clearly, these are the 'other' skill sets that perhaps we at SST might also want to consider developing more intensely amongst our students. The students were clearly in their 'elements' when it comes to presenting their 'products', and were in fact very enthusiastic about showcasing them.

One thing that I do note while asking the students (there was surprisingly, or not, an absence of their teachers during the dinner presentation) is their focus on the PROCESS rather than the final 'products' per se. One of which that I noted was the fact that the team that was doing the project on the school or classroom of the future (and of their dream) had just downloaded the software tool that they used for their presentation about 2 to 3 weeks before the presentation date. (By the way, the tool they were using is called Maya, the Personal Learning Edition version, which is a high-end software for animation and image rendering). Though the output was a little 'rough around the edges', but I do find it of a decently high level, given their recent acquisition, their age, and the steep learning curve that would entail in learning that kind of software tool. My take-away is that the students must have done quite a fair bit of background and research work beforehand for them to be then be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly and decently on such a tool.

The other take away that I had was in the idea of celebrating the students' success. One example was the 'Curator for A Day' project mentioned by Kwai Yin earlier. I think it is important to provide platforms for the students to showcase their works, and not necessarily those better ones! And the whole idea is to also make this platform VISIBLE! The other brochures from the 'Curator for A Day' project was clearly put up and visible along the school's main corridor, when we visited the school the next day, as shown in the picture below! Talking about visibility! :D


27 March: Day 1 of the Summit

We left the hotel early... and the buses took us all the way to the Castle.
While waiting to enter the Landau Theater, we helped ourselves with tea/coffee and finger food.

27 March: Take Action: Make a Difference

by Marco Torres

20th century teaching focuses on the answering who, what, when, where and sometimes how; however, is this enough for us to move ahead, to lead, to innovate, to be ready for a world filled with WHY questions? Knowing is no longer enough. There is a need to help learners use this accessible knowledge. There is a need to encourage curisoity, promote creativity, and empower leadership to ensure that all students love learning.
(extracted from website)

  • Quote: In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with world that no longer exists. (Eric Hoffer, American philosopher)
  • Today's learners see, inquire, take risks, collaborate and associate
Our Observations and/or Takeaways...
From Kin Chuah

It's about

  1. reaching into students' intrinsic curiosity and love of learning to transform their learning

  2. encouraging students' curiosity and promoting their creativity to ensure that they love learning
Interesting quotes/points for pondering

  1. Stay in the question. Don't rush into solutions

  2. Does schooling gets in the way of learning?

  3. Social Studies - Science of Decision Making

  4. Never asks questions that you can look up

  5. International is mandatory

  6. Who is educated? Noun or verb?

From Kwai Yin:
I quite like the clip that showed students playing a classical piece using an electric guitar. What struck me is the youngster's creativity and (also what Marco further shared that) willingness to 'teach' others 'how-to' do it (via the clips!), which was multimedia tutorial. Indeed, it's the 'making' of the a community of the think-alike. It's also from the clips we notice how creative the youngsters are today - e.g. the clip of the re-arranged "4-seasons"... notice how the creator blend the 2 clips together?

From Irfan:
Just to add on or to reiterate to what have been said earlier:
Marco talks about how as teachers and educators, we should be looking at how not to make the ‘Schooling getting in the way of the Learning’. I do find this a little bit strange at first, what with the usual idea that schooling and learning should be one and the same. But upon reflection, I guess there would be instances, and perhaps even more in the near future whereby these two seems to be diverging towards 2 different directions. This dichotomy, though strange, stems from the idea that where the LEARNING situations and environment have changed and adapted with the times, the TEACHING of knowledge have somehow or rather been rather lagging behind!

One interesting thing that Marco also mentioned is the idea that 'Experts are indeed horrible communicators'. A thought that struck me was: Is he referring to experts here in a generic sense, or is he also refering to us teachers? I do find it true that sometimes the worst teachers are the experts themselves, because of their higher probability to succumb to the 'blind side syndrome' (or something like that in nature), where experts couldn't figure out what is so difficult about their subject matter when other non-experts are trying to understand it further.

Marco also mentioned about the value add that we teachers in the classroom are providing to generation of students that have grown up in this digital age. He questioned about what we as teachers, can value-add, when almost EVERYTHING can be GOOGLED?
One thing by Marco that I do find refreshing is the idea of defining a person through the NETWORK that he or she is connected to. What I find refreshing is the fact that as students are getting to be more connected, shouldn't we as teachers be doing so too? And as we move away from the notion that 'teachers are experts' thinking, and everything else can be Googled, shouldn't we as teachers also be connected to, and perhaps network to form a Google-plex connection of our own too?

Marco also managed to highlight the need to be seeing things at really, out of the box. His example of hordes of people taking the SAME pictures of this geographical feature called ULURU in the deserts of Australia, and of how he and his friend took a different path and road, and waited for a different time too, to take a picture of the same feature...and the results were no less as impressive, but more importantly, more refreshing and creative! It is, at the end of it all, about how much risks we would want to take, and about how much effort do we want to take...and move ourselves out from the confines of what has been done before by hordes of others before us, so that we would be able to take a more refreshing, and sometimes, even better 'picture'.

27 March: Inspiration Session (1) Strive for Transformation

by Stephanie Hamilton (Apple, Inc)
It's about...
  • A shift of focus (from teacher comfort's to how technology is used): from ACOT to SAMR
  • ACOT: Apple Classroom of Tomorrow - focused on teachers' comfort with technology
  • SAMR, a model for 21st Century Learning (by Dr Ruben Puentedura, University of Maine) that looks at the type of technology used and its effect on student learning.
  • It emphasizes the importance to move from the enhancement stage to transformation stage.
  • SAMR is a continuum

Our Observations and/or Takeaways...
From Kwai Yin:

  • The SAMR model provides a clearer idea how learning with technology "looks" like in a classroom, in the hands of a teacher (at varying level of ICT integration into teaching and learning).
  • We could adopt this to gauge where we are, based on the teachers' intended use of technology in class. On the other hand, are our learners already at the transformation stage?
  • Implication: The need to narrow this gap - not to move the learners' level down (there's no point of return), but to level up the teachers to the tranformation stage.
From Irfan:
Personally, the SAMR model that was highlighted in the keynote is not necessarily something new. If I can remember, we do have something similar, and its called...the ICT Baseline Guide. :)

Nonetheless it is rather refreshing that such a similar model or concept was brought up during the seminar, as it somewhat gave a certain degree of reaffirmation that the model that we are adopting over here in Singapore, and SST in particular is not to far away from the idealistic outcome. But more important than a strict adherence to what is and what is not in the model, more importantly is how then can our teaching, and the students' learning be levelled up to the transformational stage!

It would thus be interesting as to how this constant need to 'strive for transformation' is something that we, as teachers in SST, must constantly be doing, be practising, and in fact must perhaps be part of our DNA...the DNA of teacher and teaching in SST. And it is in this constant desire to be constantly striving for that transformational stage is our leveraging on 1-to-1 platform be something that perhaps we can latch on and work on even harder, to make A difference, in our students' learning experiences.

From Kin Chuah

I really like this simple model to assess my personal ICT lessons. Where am I for my ICT lesson? Was that my intention when I planned my lesson? If not, what modifications could I make to my lessons? etc...etc...

Great to have a cool tool to use.

27 March: Inspiration Session (2) Quest to Learn: A School for Today's Digital Students

by Arana Shapiro (Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Integration at Quest to Learn)

"Quest to Learn" is a new public school in New York City, which seeks to narrow the divide between playing and learning by creating a game-like curriculum that engages students. The presentation illustrates how traditional school environment that focused on ensuring students acquire basic numeracy, reading and writing skills, has taken steps to create the condition in which students are challenged to help solve the invention and innovation challenges necessary for our time.
(extracted from Handout)

The speaker presented how a typical school day looked like, for students who undergo this non-conventional curriculum approach:

  • 8.35 am - 8.50 am: Morning Meeting - Whole school meeting; wellness focus; teacher and student led
  • 8.50 am to 9.10 am: Homebase - Advisory programme with 10 to 1 student/teacher ratio; consistent groupings, grade 6-12
  • 9.10 am to 10.03 am (Period 1) Domain: Being, Space and Place - Integrated ELA and Social studies; Graphic Novel Mission; Need to know, need to share, Occasion to share
  • 10.05 am - 11.47 am (Periods 2 & 3) Domain - Codeworlds: Integrated maths and ELA; Block schedule; SmallLab
  • 11.49 am to 12.40 pm (Period 4) Domain: The Way Things Work - Integrated Maths & Science; The Troggles; Video tutorials; Email Introductions; iChat and Skype
  • 1.30 pm to 2.15 pm (Period 5) Domain: Sports for the Mind - Media Arts and Game Design; Gamestar Mechanic; Podcasting
  • 2.15 pm to 3.06 pm (Period 6) Domain: Wellness - Integrated Health, Physical Education adn Social Emotional Learning; Being Me; Media posting and ratings
  • 3.08 pm to 3.20 pm: Homebase
Our Observations and/or Takeaways...

From Kwai Yin:
This gives an idea to enhance our existing "A Day @ SST" story, which is currently based on the 4 research initiatives. Perhaps our students could probably create a clip along this line for publicity purpose?

From Kin Chuah:

While I am not sure how effective their programs will be, I like their courage to do something different in terms of timetabling.  At SST, while we work with different models for ADMT and I.Humanities, I find that we are still on the conservative side in terms of the core subjects.

27 March: Inspiration Session (3) Inspire Students to Develop Empathy and Financial Skills Using Microfinance

by Steve Pape: The session presents a lesson in which students personally confront issues of development by becoming microfinance leaders. Through microfinance, students explore issues of poverty in less economically developed countries by persuading their peers and parents to contribute to their $25 loan to the borrower fo their choice through the Kiva website.
(extract from Handout)

  • Content and Skill Development: Microfinance as a Development Strategy
  • Kiva's Website: http://www.kiva.org/about
  • Videoclip (from Youtube): Frontline/WorldKivaPBS
  • Critical Thinking: Students decide who should get their loan
  • An Audience for students: Fund raising
  • Life Long Learning: Kiva account for life
  • Engaging the Real World: Empathy in Development Economics

Our Observations and/or Takeaways...

From Kwai Yin:

It's a very good illustration of relevant opportunity that links learning to authentic application.

I thought the clip was a good introduction - to provide the context of the whole engagement: Right from the beginning, students learnt that it was going to be a meaningful engagement since they were going to help someone (in real life!). Indeed, the website provided clear explanation and guided them step-by-step what to do. It's like just-in-time training for them and students really had the opportunity to apply what they learnt.
On the other hand, I think we do not lack such opportunities in Singapore. The only challenge here is, such organisations/ agencies do not position their organisation 'objective' such that it provides a win-win situation like what we find in the kiva website. Of course, the teacher also plays a critical role to authenticate to ensure the organisation/ agency is not a scam

From Irfan:
I am impressed with the efforts put in by the school, and the teacher in particular, to really educate his students on the concept of microfinancing and how it is something that can be closely tied in with a social enterprise. One key takeaway that I would observe is the immense opportunities that such an integration would provide, and benefits and learning points that it can offer to both the teachers and students. I'm not too sure whether this concept would work over here in Singapore, and SST specifically, but I guess one would definitely like to look at a similar conceptual model to begin with. And then to bind all this up together with CBL...now that I think is definitely a recipe for a good learning platform.

Hmmm, perhaps the ADMT department's proposed work on 'The Elderly Challenge' would be something that SST can start of with? It is of a similar conceptual model, where an integration of content knowledge and some form of a social endeavour (not necessarily a social enterprise) is combined. Let us see how it goes in Semester 2 then!

Kin Chuah:  Similar to the Curator of a Day, this project provides a real-life learning experience for the students.  I have no doubt students by the end of the day know what micro-financing is about but also learn about empathy, critical thinking and communication skills.  


27 March: Inspiration Session (4) Screaming in Visual Language: Student Voice in Film and Media Making

by Wayne Shackelford : The presentation shared how today's learners embraced film-making in the academic context - when students of all ages are quite naturally 'ready for close-up'. Exceedingly comfortable wiht visual modes of communication, learners are channeling powerful voices both behind and in front of the camera.
(extracted from Handout)
Our Observations and/or Takeaways...

From Irfan:

One key takeway is the quote shown: "Emulation the proven path to Mastery". Though film-making per se is something rather new as a means to teaching and learning, I do find the idea that film making in itself could be a rich and very effective platform of teaching, refreshing. And I don't mean film-making here in the sense of having just a storyline, but rather, the whole process and technicalities of behind-the-scenes actions that happens before, during, and even after the film has been made. And lastly, and more importantly, through film-making, we are giving students their due audience!

27 March: Inspiration Session (5) How We Are Rethinking Cyber Security

by Steve Druggan: The presentation highlights the 'shift' in the approach cyber security undertakes - with the group of users (teachers and students) being more and more savvier. A team-based, multi-layered, high touch approach to cyber security is proposed.
  • Emphasis to users: The way they behave digitally should align with their 'analog' behaviour.
  • Recognise the fact that, some children just wanted to be differnet
  • Walk the talk - Digital Drug testing vs Beers & Books
  • The choice of pronoun: "We" or "They" - describes the digital of involvement/ engagement and trust


  • high portability & accessibility
  • disperses information quickly
  • allows for synchronous and asynchronous access
  • welcomes new participation
  • promotes & enahnce dialogue
  • promotes community formation


  • promotes distraction
  • reflects a loss of control over information
  • challenges traditional systems & ideals
  • requires new systems of organisation, access, & distribution and obsoleces old ones
  • provides access to a quantity of information that is quickly overwhelming


Our Observations and/or Takeaways...


27 March: Inspiration Session (6) Changing Higher Education, One Challenge at a Time

by Nell Thompson (Vice President of Academic Affairs at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida)

It's about... creating Conditions where CBL flourishes: 3 areas were outlined:

1. Environment

  • Campus (networked).
  • Integrated Platform (with apple) = Device (Macbook Pro) + Online Platform.
  • MobileMe account for publishing & communication

2. Educator

3. Community Mindset

  • Collababoration: It's about integration
  • Critical Thinking Skills (aligns back to emphasis of 21C skills: Leadership skills, Social skills, Critical Thinking skills, Collaborative skills, Communication skills)
  • Being a Risk Taker
  • Value system

Our Observations and/or Takeaways...


27 March: Closing Keynote - Here They Are: Understanding Today's Learner

by Clay Shirky

It's a session where 7 ISP students from different grades were invited on stage to talk about their learning experiences and how they envisage learning is like / should look like.
Our Observations and/or Takeaways...

28 March: Music as a Metaphor for Leadership and Learning

by Itay Talgam: Making reference to the styles of 4-5 orchestra maestros, Itay led the audience to (not just) look at the different leadership styles, (but also) to make comparisons of the strengths and weaknesses of each style of leadership. It left the audience to connect the learning to their own contexts.

Itay delivered the same topic in TED show 2009:

Live performance by 4 ISP students who played "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"

From Kwai Yin:
It is refreshing to learn about the different styles of leadership from a different context - Orchestra conducting. Beliefs and values shape one's leadership style (of course, also the organisational culture). Itay used a few orchestras to represent the different kinds of organisations, amongst them are...
  • Carlos Kleiber who danced, smiled, with his eyes communicating intimately with his musicians and his whole body speaking music.
  • Riccardo Muti who was all control, severity and precision, his express, on stony and impenetrable, his hands slicing almost angrily through the air.
  • Leonard Bernstein who was full of humour and demonstrated humanity, filled with love for the music and the musicians, his every glance and gesture full of expressiveness.

For each clip he showed, he elicited views of both perspectives from the audience, their like/dislike or desire to have the maestro in the organisation, which he insisted there was not right or wrong answers. This further illustrates there were pros and cons in each leadership 'style', depending on the culture of the organisation.

  • For example, while one is recognised as a strong leader (who ensure success to tasks assigned), however, because of his (authoritative) leadership style which does not fit into the organisation's norm, it is quite unlikely that he could 'survive' in such organisation as others do not want to be lead by him! (EQ matters here!)
  • While one is passionate and enjoys the work, and influences others; it does not necessary mean one is a good leader when instructions are unclear to the team members. So, it is good not to make assumptions based on one's acceptable code of behaviour.
  • Must leaders take the 'lead' all the time? Why some leaders do not give clear instructions? Is it because they see the potential of the team and adopt a different strategy to build team spirit & team culture?

All in all, it was a very engaging session, and indeed he injected humour along the way...
For instance, he wittily borrowed words that we are familiar with from one context and apply in another - super-conductor, semi-conductor (Physics; Music). Hahaha...

In the 2nd half of the presentation, through his interaction with 4 young musicians, he conveyed the following:

  • While the followers take the 'cue' from the leader, we should recognise that each and everyone play an equally important role when working as a team
  • What happens if there is a change in leadership? Would the team performance be affected?
  • How does one respond when one is out of his comfort zone and put in a 'passive' position?


28 March: Thinking Ahead

by John Couch, Apple Inc
Some Quotes:
  • Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower (Steve Jobs, 1977)
  • Leadership requires we think ahead "Some people skate to the puck, I stake to where the puck is going to be." (Wayne Gretzky)
  • Role of Teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge (Seymour Papert)

The Challenge: The StageCoach - what role we play and who's the focus (key stakeholder)?

  • Market research is valid when you work on the existing context/environment
  • When you are training for new markets, people can't think ahead and can't envision that
  • Technology is disruptive

Leadership and Innovative Thinking transforms technology

  • 1978-1984: Personal Computer... where Kids Can't Wait & ACOT
  • 2003: Music & iPod... emergence of Podcasts & iTunes
  • 2008-2009: iPhone & iPod touch... Mobile

Leadership by Vision

When one sees with their eyes, it is called sight. When one sees with their imagination and passion, it is called vision.

  • It gives clarity to one's mission
  • Uniqueness to one's strategic directions
  • Creativity to one's tactical steps
  • Freedom for people to think ahead

Today's Students drive the need of transformation

Tradition Instruction

  • Activity: Teacher-centred and didactic
  • Teacher role: Fact teller, expert & resource collector
  • Student role: Listerner and Learner
  • Learning emphasis: Facts and replication
  • Concept of Knowledge: Accumulation
  • Demonstration of Success: Quantity
  • Assessment: Norm-referenced, essay, multiple choice and teacher scored
  • Technology use: Seat Work

21st Century Learning

  • Activity: Learner-centred and interactive
  • Teacher role: Collaborator, and sometimes learner
  • Student role: Collaborator and sometimes expert
  • Learning emphasis: Relationships and Inquiry
  • Concept of Knowledge: Transformation
  • Demonstration of Success: Quanlity
  • Assessment: Criterion-referenced, portfolio-based and technology aided
  • Technology use: Communication, collaboration, information access and expression

New Generation of Students

  • Expects... A learning environment that provides equivalent functionality as their social environment
  • Accommodates... A mobile lifestyle
  • Adapts... To individual learning styles
  • Encourages... Collaboration and teamwork

Apple's Education Vision: A world in which all learners are empowered to discover their own special genius

Apple's Education Mission: Create the best possible "creative" learning environment for this generation of students

Apple's Digital Content: iTunes global asset management system

  • Music
  • Podcasts
  • iTunes U
  • App Store
  • (latest) iBook Store
Technology in Classroom

Making reference to the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge TPCK Framework (Koehler & Mishra)

Source of image: http://tpack.org/

Our Observations and/or Takeaways...


27 March: Breakout session (1)

Free at Last: Learning Beyond Textbooks by Matt Federoff
(Attended: Kwai Yin)

Matt Federoff spoke about the journey of Vail, moving into the non-print state.
  • Revolution: The challenge is to find the content for every subject. The benefit of riding the online content is that, it offers every delivery modality, that is imaginable to match any teaching style.
  • Metaphor of textbook: Totally out of context - California Open Source Textbook (http://www.opensourcetext.org/) [Quote: "COSTP's mandate does not replace printed textbooks; it simply makes them less expensive to produce; and, in doing so creates many additional benefits, economies, and efficiencies that will fully leverage California's activities in the K-12 textbook publishing domain."]
  • The search in the internet (e.g. via Google): It is chunk content in bits and pieces; unlimited creativity; aggregated effort harvesting enthusiasm.
  • Content is out there: Web-delivered content; downloadable content; teacher-created content; Prenium (Paid) content - Locate it > Aggregate it > Sort it > Serve it
  • Serve it in the way it matches instructional goals, is "just in time" and enables teachers to add value back (This marks the difference of having a digitalised copy of textbook and learning with Digital Content)
  • OLD Iron rule of Lesson Planning: "You teach with the stuff you have, and the stuff you have determines what you teach" - i.e. using the content we have
  • The NEW way is to use goal to select digital content to meet the instructional goals
  • NEW Rule: "You teach the stuff you have, and now you have unlimited stuff"
  • The approach adopted by Vail School District


27 March: Breakout session - Science Escapes the Lab, So How Do I Measure Success? - Chris Warnecke

Synopsis from conference document:

This session will look at using common software applications to design an authentic, unit- or year-culminating performance assessments, commonly referred to as Cornerstone Assessments, that optimally evaluate student understanding. Participants will construct a multi-faceted, real-world activity that includes many different modes for assessing student achievement. Participants will simultaneously design the rubrics for the different modes and develop spread-sheets that incorporate numeric representations of student results. While this session will be offered from a Science perspective, the content is applicable across every discipline. Experience with Pages and Numbers are essential but experience with rubrics and UBD, while ideal, are not necessary.

[Attended] by Kin Chuah

Chris shared how he approaches in the design of their Science Internal Assessment.
Had a short chat with him after the presentation and found out some information on the projects.

  • The project in individual-based
  • Student decide on topics for project/task, hence projects are diverse for his classes
  • Students have 5 to 6 weeks to complete the project and each week consist of about 2 to 2.5 hours of Science lesson.
  • Students are assessed on the following aspects: attitude/display/report/oral
  • Besides these cornerstone assessments, students do go through standard pen and paper tests when they are in their year 7 and first half of year 8.
  • Simple materials are provided by the school but for other materials students are expected to get their own.  For example, Chris shared that one student wanted to demonstrate how a bicycle can be used to generate electricity.  So he provided him with wires and light bulb but the student has to source for his own bicycle.  In the end, student was able to find a single-wheel cycle from a junkyard.
  • One constraint he faced was space as his classroom as shown below has to contain all the projects during the 5 to 6 weeks.

Can we do this in SST?  Definitely, we would probably want to see how this can fit into our curriculum for Lower Secondary.  We could even scope it in such a sense such that we can send the top few projects for competition.

27 March: Breakout session - Science on the Go (by Paul Dolk)

Synopsis from conference document:
Engaging students in science is essential in promoting further interest in mathematics and science. Implementing science using mobile technology and "learning to go" is one way to engage all learners. Come see how the iPod touch & iPhone enable an entirely new class of experimentation in and out of the classroom, engaging even the most reluctant learners. This track investigates how these devices can accelerate learning in the field of science. Get a hands on experience with the latest applications on mobile devices that will allow your school to extend science everywhere. In the first part of this 1.5h workshop we will work with the sensors that are native to the iPod touch, the accelerometers and the microphone. In the second part we will use some external measuring probes (from a range of many) that enable us to do science experiments that the iPod on its own cannot.

[Attended by Kin Chuah]:
I was excited when I read the synopsis especially after experiencing much difficulty last year in searching for a data logger that is compatible to Mac.

Paul started by sharing the native sensors in both iPod touch and iPhone as seen below.

For the next hour, we spent time experimenting with 
(a) the microphone on iPod touch to study the characteristics of sound such as loudness, pitch and doppler effect.

One of the apps to measure loudness in decibel.
Other apps allow measurement of amplitude and frequency.

(b) the accelerometer to obtain data on motion using coastermate apps as shown below.


Due to its touch screen interface, make it even more fun to do data logger experiment.

What really excites me was when Paul introduce that PASCO has a new app "sparkvue" with iPod Touch and this allows their sensors to be use with the device.  Wow, that will be pretty cool and this will further facilitate experimentation out of the class.

The apps was still under beta version when we tried it and not available on the apps store.  We were given a preview and once the interface problem was resolved, we started our task in locating a magnet using a magnetic field sensor.

With this new found possibility, I am exploring the possibility of adding to our inventory iPod Touch and relevant sensors for year 2011 curriculum.

The "sparkvue" is now available to download for free and as I am trying out the iPod Touch, incidentally I found other ideas on how to use iPod Touch at this link.

27 March: Breakout session (2)

How to Envision (and Realize!) What's Next for Your School by Bill Rankin
(Attended: Kwai Yin)

Cycles of Technology Change:
  • Stage 1: Innovating
  • Stage 2: Building
  • Stage 3: Solidifying
  • Stage 4: Destabilising

Here's the elaboration:

Mobility requires

  • ubiquity of devices
  • redesign of facilities for mobility and collaboration
  • infrastructure for all-the-time/ everywhere learning
  • infrastructure to support creation and participation
  • bulletproof, pervasive, high-bandwidth networking
  • extension of services and reach beyond campus
  • killing old technologies and initiatives

On-going goals

  • increase student learning
  • increase student engagement
  • advance undergraduate enrolmnet
  • foster on-going culture of innovation
  • serve the educational community broadly
  • empirically evaluate all aspects of our programme
  • openly disseminate, share and work with others

Consortium for Innovation and Research in Converged Learning [CIRCL] http://www.opencircl.org/

27 March: Breakout session (3)

Going Mobile: Building for the New Mobility by Bill Rankin
(Attended: Kwai Yin)
Bill Rankin shared ACU's experience with the pervasive 1-to-1 environment based on the iPone and iPod Touch.

1. Blueprint for Deployment
  • Research
  • Observe
  • Integrate
  • Build
  • Evaluate
  • Modify

2. Characteristics of 1st generation mobility

  • situated access
  • expectations of coverage
  • prolonged usage
  • throttled interactions
  • portability

3. Characteristics of next generation mobility

  • always-on access
  • expectations for instantaneity
  • burst usage
  • high-bandwidth interactions
  • actual mobility

4. Core services in ACU (Abilene Christian University)

  • All students are provided with an iPhone and iPod Touch

5. Infrastructure Recommendations

  • think in terms of capacity
  • look at student foot traffic
  • students perfer WiFi
  • balance access and security
  • RF is an artform
  • be ready to adjust the design
  • be ready for weird cases
  • keep people informed

March 27: Breakout Session - Capture the Big Ideas: Re-imagining Learning - Marco Torres

Synopsis from conference document:
Challenge Based Learning: a collaborative learning experience in which teachers and students work together to learn about compelling issues, propose solutions to real problems, and take action. The approach asks students to reflect on their learning and the impact of their actions, and publish their solutions to a worldwide audience. (Wikipedia). This workshop will immerse the attendees in the basics of Challenge Based Learning using digital media.

[Attended by Irfan]:
This was one of the LONG session that lasted 3 hours for the second half of the day of Day 2 of the seminar, but boy was it TOO SHORT! Yes, Marco indeed has this thing about being able to really capture your interests with his work, tips and ideas, and he is very open and willing to share all of it with the participants.

Amongst some of the tools that he mentioned would be of use in the classroom is the software tool called Inspiration. It is similar to a Mindmapping tool, in fact it IS a mindmapping tool...and more. In the session, he demonstrated how the software, through the use of a simple example on what goes on in a hamburger, can be used by teachers to demonstrate to students on how information can be organised! He also related his own experience of using the software to teach non-native English-speaking students in his school how paragraphs in essays should be organised. It was one of those Aha! moments that I thought is useful to share here! And one of the best thing about the software tool is the fact that it is THE tool of choice for a lot of scriptwriters and movie directors over in the US, as the tool is powerful and good enough for them to be able to organise their thoughts and ideas. I just wish that perhaps we could purchase a license or 2 for us 'to play around' with! :D

Using collaboration as a tool for teaching and learning:
Another example that he showed was on how collaboration here is not only something that the students should be doing, but also the teachers. He showed an example, from one of his lessons, of how he had challenged his students to reach out to as many students as they can, and to gather as many pictures of leaves, for their classroom homework assignment. And boy, can I really see the power of networking here taking place. He got online with his network of other teachers from all over the world, and put forth a request before he goes to bed. Waking up hours later, he managed to gather almost 70 responses (I think!) and a similar number of pictures of leaves from all over the world. From leaves that are usually seen in a tropical climate, to one that is half in size to the picture of the girl that is taking it, to the one response from a teacher in Alaska that mentioned that his students dug for almost 2 hours in the permafrost outside the classroom, but was still UNABLE to find a single leaf! Such is the power of collaboration and networking, and it was really one of those things that really made me think, about how we in SST could really use and leverage on our learning platforms and environment over here to really deepen our students' learning experiences.

Classroom setup for the breakout session that I attended

 Marco Torrest (standing - apologies for the blur picture) giving his presentation to an almost capacity crowd!

A slide detailing the process of how to make a movie