Friday, October 21, 2005

Having an Online Presence: The Power and the Responsibility

Fostering online learning communities at ISD
There are a number of initiatives at International School Dhaka this year where students and teachers are interacting online. The technology used along with curriculum integration objectives are providing powerful learning experiences and fostering sociability and interactivity amongst participants. Students now feel that they have a voice and an audience. Teachers now have a new way to deliver information and communicate with their students.
However, along with the use of bulletin boards, blogs and podcasts comes not only the power to communicate in a virtual world for a potential global audience but the responsibility as cybercitizens to do it sensibly. A code of ethics for online communciation should be adopted by all participants to ensure fair and equal representation and freedom of expression. This code of ethics must include the need for honesty and respect for all members of the community.
Examples of online communities at ISD:
  • Our first Podcast Bangladesh! Yes, we have mastered the technology and started to find direction for our podacsting project this year. What is podcasting?, you ask. All is revealed at our Podcast Bangladesh blog, and you can listen to and/or download our first episode.
  • Student PHP Forum Grade 11 students have introduced a bulletin board for secondary students at ISD. This online forum provides a medium for all students to interact and discuss issues, exchange ideas and work through problems. The forum is moderated by teachers and students. Current discussions include student council suggestions and discussions, music, movies, sport, homework help, and a very interesting thread on the differences between O levels and MYP courses. Read the Un-Official ISD Forum today!
  • MYP Technology Process Journal Blogs Students in grades 9 and 10 maintain blogs to record evidence of participation in the design cycle for each unit of work. The blogs are setup with (same as this eLearning blog) and regular postings are made. Images can also be uploaded and comments can be made to each others blogs therefore encouraging reading of other posts and interaction and exchange of ideas. Recently students have been using the concept of Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats in order to structure and organise their thoughts. Three excellent examples of student process journal blogs are Vanille, Nusrat and Taufiq. All gained 'Blogger of the Week' recently.
Here is an example from Nusrat's blog:
(The unit of work is based on developing a digital portfolio)

thinking hat:.......

I have got several ideas for my digital portfolio, which at this stage will remain as a planning. I would want to include the first page which would be the webpage, would have general information about my webpage, the digital portfolio and a little bit about myself as well. People would be able to click on the contents page with headings such as Academic progress, Extra Curriculum activities, and personal life. .There would link on each page, so that it would be easier to go back or forward to pages. I would like to include pictures in my personal life section, so that people enjoy looking at my work, however it wouldn’t be a really good idea either because everyone around the world would be able to view it. I think I would include some pictures, but not a lot of them. For my blog I have decided to have a theme for each lesson for example this lesson my theme for my blog will be hats and for next class it would be flowers. Therefore I would include pictures of matching coloured hats and next lesson with flowers having the same colours as the hats. I am going to do this to make my blog more interesting and attractive.
  • TOK Weblog This was discussed in the last post for eLearning blog. Have another look as the students are developing more mature responses to the Theory of Knowledge discussion as the course progresses.

'According to Paul' Our guest columnist comments on the ISD Forum
The UN-Official ISD forum is a wonderful new departure for the whole school community. It is refreshing to see students and faculty discuss issues ranging from sports, music, games, and movies, to their academic work in such an informal and relaxed setting. We all can share our views, respond to items of interest, post new topics and exchange ideas and resources. If you haven’t used it yet then get moving and register now at:

Blogging 101: Weblogs go to Schools
This recent online article describes blogging initiatives in other schools and outlines the educational benefits of blogging. Highly recommended reading for all!

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