Saturday, May 20, 2006

101 Fabulous Freebies from PC World

One of the truly significant features of Web 2.0 is the availability of FREE tools for collaboration, searching, productivity, communication, organising, file sharing and storage, entertainment, web-based email, blogging, RSS feeds and so on.
PC World have just published their list of 101 free downloads, sites and services that, in their words, are indespensible! See alphabetical listing also.
I was pleased to see that I already use many of these, mostly on a daily basis, including:
On my list to try out this coming week include:
Go to 101 Fabulous Freebies this week and explore web-based tools and desktop and PDA accessories for free!

Monday, May 15, 2006

"Go Digital"

On May 10, 2006 International School Dhaka celebrated student achievement with digital tools. We called the evening "Go Digital". All members of the ISD community were invited to come and interact with students from Grade 2-11. The Bangladesh MP and Minister for ICT and Science, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, was the honoured guest speaker for the evening (dr Khan is also a parent at ISD). Dr Khan spoke about the importance of ICT in the development of Bangladesh and how it will provide opportunities for the countries economic growth. He also stressed how important it is to embrace the digital world and made a play on words with 'digit all' rather than 'digital'.

The onstage section of the evening saw MCs Saif and Shaveena (Grade 11 students) discuss the development of ICT at ISD and reminisce about how few facilities the school had 6 years ago and how little was done using the Internet. Charlie and Vincent presented an insightful presentation called "A Day in the Life of a Digital Student" that covered every waking moment in terms of using digital gadgets for entertainment, preparing food, keeping cool and learning etc.

Shakila in Grade 10 presented her
digital story called "Life Without Me" and I talked a little about Web2.0 jargon and our laptop and handheld programs.

Later, in the secondary building students had the
chance to demonstrate their skills using software and online tools including: digital imaging (PhotoShop Elements); digital animation (SketchUp and Maya); Weblogs, blogs and blogging for digital portfolios, online journals and interactive learning was represented from Grade 4-11; The ITGS class showed their use of wikis, protopage, blogging; Grade 6 and 7 students showed their use of handheld computing; Podcast Bangladesh was represented with some of the evening recorded for future podcasts; ICT in Science was represented with a live display.....and the list continues. Most demonstrations were done live via laptops and the wireless LAN. The Primary school students had access to desktop PCs and a wired LAN and adeptly showed their abilities with many software applications including movie making and blogging. Suppliers of computer equipment to ISD came and provided a mini-trade show including handheld, laptop and other hardware for Mac OS and Windows devices.

It was a great evening, and even the thunderstorm towards the end did not detract from the positive mood of the participants, despite the roof leaking onto a few laptops! I was very proud of the IT Department who worked tirelessly to setup the technical display and of the students who were so keen to show what they were using ICT for in their everyday learnin
g. Let's hope "Go Digital" becomes a permanent feature of the ISD calendar as it is a great way to share ideas and developments using technology with parents and other areas of the school.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The 1-to-1 Stories Project

Originating in the US, the 1-to-1 Stories Project is a collection of stories and collective wisdom from educators implementing laptop and/or handheld programs. As described on their website, the mission is to bring about positive change in education that 1-to-1 promises.
This is a project of the Maine Center for Meaningful Engaged Learning (McMEL) at the University of Maine at Farmington. Mike Muir, McMEL’s director, is the editor for the 1-to-1 Stories Project.

This project has the potential to reduce the isolation of schools who are adopting personal mobile computing objectives and gives all participants a chance to share experiences. All postings are tagged under relveant headings such as 'classroom management', 'impact on learners', 'leadership', 'plagiarism', 'professional development' etc.

Recently I added included one posting about our handheld program at International School Dhaka entitled: "Aiming for a sustainable handheld program: An international persepctive"

Friday, May 05, 2006

More Web 2.0 discussion and resources

In the new free publication "Coming of Age: An Introduction to the NEW World Wide Web", Terry Freedman (Ed) describes Web 2.0 as:

"A cynical response might be, "just another label"! In fact, whereas until recently the world wide web has been seen pretty much as a publishing medium, and therefore a fairly on-sided affair in many respects, it is now regarded more as a partcipatory platform. That's what blogs, wikis and so on are really all about: not merely another way in which "ordinary" people can publish their views, but a means whereby just about anyone can contribute to an ongoing "conversation" in which knowledge is both discovered and constructed as it goes on."

The purpose of the Coming of Age booklet is to provide an introduction to Web 2.0 tools and resources. Many of the current Web 2.0 users and pioneers have representative articles and there is information about blogging, wikis, podcasting and more! Authors include a mixed international such as David Warlick, Alan November, Peter Ford and Ewan McIntosh. As a 'taster' publication I fully recommend educators and others to read and explore the Web 2.0 ideas with the view to using them personally or in a social constructivist mode with students and classes etc.

Another great resource for Web 2.0 tools is Chris Smith's website Shambles and the Web 2.0 link. Chris provides a detailed list of tools for online authoring, sharing and collaboration. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a variety of applications for file sharing, online collaborative work, multimedia hosting, music and more.