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!

Contributions and comments are welcome for this eLearning blog. Please click on 'Comments' below and respond or send an email to

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Theory of Knowledge Weblog
TOK as Theory of knowledge, is a part of the International Baccalaureate curriculum delivered at International School Dhaka. The aim of the TOK course is to give the students the ability to think about their different knowledge they’ve learned through their curriculum: natural sciences, human sciences, arts, ethics, maths, etc. How can I know? What can I know? Is it true? What kind of truth can I expect from a historical statement? From an arts statement and from a scientific one? These are questions that our TOK students try to answer.

The TOK weblog was established for the 2005/2006 TOK students at ISD. The initial use of the weblog has been for students to maintain their own TOK journals. As a minimum requirement for the ISD-based assessment of TOK, students must complete two journal entries per week.
These journal entries must be relevant to areas discussed in recent TOK classes and must have some original input from the student. It may be a summary of discussions, questions raised from discussions or ideas for focus papers, practice essays and presentations. The journals will also be used for resources which students collect.
Each student’s journal is contained in one of the ‘recent discussion’ sections with the student’s name and TOK class as the heading. Other students and TOK teachers have access to student’s work and can post their own comments. The weblog is being developed on an ongoing basis.
Future developments include:

  • international collaboration with TOK students
  • pages for resources: including annotated bibliographies and examples of essays and presentations
  • weekly summaries supplied by TOK teachers
  • requirements for ISD-based and IBO assessment

An advantage of the weblog for ongoing assessment is that each entry has a time and date so that deadlines for entries can be easily checked.
Check out the TOK weblog and individual student postings at:
Written by TOK teachers at ISD: John Lindsay and Francoise de Ryckel

Our featured columnist has a word about environmental awareness in the technology age.

'Brendan Says' "This article is not a rebel article"
It is great that we all have computers but have we forgotten about the poor ol' environment? I went looking on the net to find information on the impact of computers on the environment. Just this single piece of information (on a 30 second Google search) has changed my life. I found the following at the United Nations University web site

"The average 24 kg desktop computer with monitor
requires at least 10 times its weight in fossil fuels and chemicals to
manufacture, much more materials intensive than an automobile or refrigerator, which only require 1-2 times their weight in fossil fuels. Researchers found that manufacturing one desktop computer and 17-inch CRT monitor uses at least 240 kg of fossil fuels, 22 kg of chemicals and 1,500 kg of water – a total of 1.8 tonnes of materials." ..."By the end of 2002, one billion PCs had been sold worldwide"....

You do the math!! Every time I have purchased a computer I was only really concerned with style, size, fast speed I never thought I would be killing cute chipmunks,dolphins, polar bears and polluting the environment so. I'm not being flippant it just "How could I have let this slip under the radar!!" Inever once asked the sales person about their company's "Green" policy. Could it be that we have unwittingly walked into the culture of having the newest technology at any cost and as we marvel at our greatness...our wings begin to melt. So stop it!! Make good choices!! Brendan Says!!

Brendan McGibbon

Links for the week:

  • Both of these come from the Learning and Teaching Scotland website.
    - ICT in education portal
    - Blog for Modern Foreign Languages
  • L&L article (Leading and Learning with Technology is the monthly magzine of the International Association for Technology in Education): (Point/Counterpoint)
    Should School's Strive to be on the Leading Edge? Which side are you on??
  • Skype in the Classroom by Wesley A Fryer (Skype is a relatively new VoIP synchronous communication tool: see the website to find out what this means). Wesley states: "Educators interested in helping motivate students to develop both traditional as well as twenty-first century literacy skills in the classroom can and should use audio conferencing technologies like Skype to literally plug their students into collaborative exchanges with global partners on a variety of projects".

What are you doing with eLearning in education? Contributions to this eLearning blog are welcome. Please send to Julie Lindsay