Sunday, December 04, 2005

ICT Impact: Digital Plagiarism

Of concern to educators in the digital age is the prevalence and impact of digital plagiarism. However, not only do digital tools such as the Internet make it easy for students to access the work of others, they also make it relatively easy for non-original work to be detected.

Here at International School Dhaka we have recently developed an 'Academic Honesty' protocol and aim to support students in their studies by making it very clear what is acceptable in terms of orginality of work. In conjunction with a citation system students need to know that they can use words and phrases not belonging to them but must acknowledge their source. We employ two tools to help teachers and students with citation and detecting non-original work.
These are:
  • NoodleBib: A comprehensive and accurate MLA and APA style bibliographic composer
  • Online plagiarism prevention software that promotes originality in student work
In his article "Strategies to Address Digital Plagiarism", Wesley Fryer presents a variety of strategies to address the plagiarism problem. These include:
  • Convey expectations readily to students
  • Require works cited (Bibliography, references)
  • Assess the writing process
  • Requires oral student presentations
  • Require students ot compare and synthesise
  • Teach students to critically question source validity
  • Require students to blog
  • Use assessment rubrics including peer reviews
Wesley concludes: "Just as “testing is not teaching,” neither should plagiarizing be equated with learning. It is a lesson we all need to model and teach."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TechEx Technology Exchange

I recently returned from Thailand where, as well as having a respite from Dhaka with some necessary shopping and cinema excursions, I attended the TechEx conference held at the Bangkok Patana School. At TechEx I also presented on our Handheld Initiative here at ISD. Information about this presentation can be found here.
About 500 educators from
international schools, mainly from the Asia Pacific region, attended a one-day short-session orinted conference. In addition about 80 attended a two-day focused conference on a topic of their choice. I chose the ICT Leadership conference run by British consultant from Cambridge Education, Chris Thatcher.

Some siginificant ideas and experiences to share from the TechEx event:
  • To 'Teach IT to Learn' was a significant theme of the conference. The need for integration of ICT skills along with subject driven content in an organised way was stressed by key presenter Madeleine Brookes, Head of Secondary ICT at Patana.
  • ICT leadership is needed in a school in order to effectively plan for school-wide integration. The concept of an 'e-confident' school was discussed in terms of allocating time and staffing to planning and developing an integrated program for all students.
  • Mobile computing is impacting on schools in a number of different areas. Here at ISD we are fully immersed in developing, supporting and extending our ubiquitous handheld and laptop programs. Other schools are looking at Tablet PC's as a teacher tool in the classroom and as a laptop alternative for students.
Andrew McBean, Thailand's managing director for Microsoft, opened the conference and spoke about the future develpment of software. A sense of nostalgia pervaded the presentation with a 'look where we were, now look where we are and could be soon' theme to his talk. Juxtuposed with words of wisdom from Microsoft was the Open Source software mini conference where attendees learned what was available, what it did and whether it was compatible with their schools and programs.

Bangkok Patana School
was an excellent venue for the conference. The school has over 2000 students and an appropriately large teaching staff and campus. Their ICT resourcing is generous and the ICT leadership course included a tour of the technology facilities on the campus.

The use of SmartBoard technology is prevalent in both Primary and Secondary levels. Along with a mounted digital projector the teacher has full flexibility to inc
lude an interactive learning environment into the classroom. These pictures show the Primary Head of ICT, Andy demonstrate a SmartBoard with a suspended projector used to put computer images onto the board.

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

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bringing Blogging to Bangladesh

Weblogs and Blogging at ISD
For the past two years students and staff at ISD have been blogging and using weblogs for process journaling, creating digital portfolios, class portal websites, discussion forums and interaction within the curriculum. Last week a small group of ISD teachers and students had the opportunity to bring blogging to Bangladesh at the BELTA 2005 International Conference. Julie Lindsay, Paul Horkan and Sohel Rahman attended with students from the Diploma Programme's ITGS (Information Technology in a Global Society) class.
Here is a description of the event in the words of a participating grade 11 student.

On Thursday, 15 September a group of students accompanied by three
teachers from International School Dhaka (ISD) attended a daylong conference in the British Council. Bangladesh English Language Teacher's Association (BELTA) hosted the conference. The conference was attended by English teachers from all over Bangladesh. ISD had a stall, along with universities and book stores in the conference. In their stall ISD displayed how the adaptation of the Internet has evolved education through the usage of blog's, online journals, discussions and digital portfolio's. Mrs. Julie Lindsay the Head of ISD's Technology department addressed the conference by explaining how E-learning works and how it is used by the students in the school. The students Wasi, Saif, Nader and Mehran stated their personal experience on the aspects of E-learning, to the teachers at the conference who came to the ISD stall. This interactive method between was greatly appreciated by teachers attending the conference. For the students it was an overwhelming experience and they got to explain and reflect on a new form of learning, to English teachers from all over Bangladesh.
Written by Wasi Khan, Grade 11, ISD.

Our guest columnist this week is English teacher, Paul Horkan with a word about our BELTA experience.
'According to Paul'
It was fantastic to see four young men represent ISD and the IBO curriculum, at the Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA) International Conference 2005, with such vim and vigour. There is no doubt that this is due to their involvement in the Technology Initative for Education Program. They were able to reflect on their use of telecommunications tools such as email, weblogs, discussion groups, and online collaborative projects. This experiential learning process was a highly valuable one. There was great interest from the delegates and obviously great scope to further develop the experience.

Conference News
A not to be missed experience is the up and coming conference in Bangkok called TechEx. This bi-annual event will be held from 10-12 November at the Bangkok Patana School. The conference aims to share best practice with the use of technology in education and offers a variety of one-hour sessions and a 1.5 day workshop option. I recommend you spend a few minutes scrolling through their program information found at

Handheld Update
The software 'Inspiration for Palm vs 1.0' has arrived in the school. All Palm using teachers and students can hotsync this onto their handhelds from the SS Lab or from a secondary school computer. Instruction posters are in every room. The interface between the Palm version and the desktop version of Inspiration (we have vs.7.6 on the desktops) is great. It is very easy to move a file from the handheld to the desktop and vice versa. I look forward to seeing more mind-mapping and organisational work using this software.

Podcast Update
Well, after spending an hour multitracking our introductory message for the Podcast Bangladesh weekly segment (yet to be realised in digital format) the program Audacity crashed in the final saving and we not only lost all work but it destroyed my USB. Despite this technical setback we are determined to continue. If you are still not sure what podcasting is all about take a look at the work of technology coordinator Tony Vincent in Nebraska with his Podcasting in Education website and WillowWeb, the student podcast radio group at his school.

Next week on the eLearning Blog we will feature the Diploma subject, Theory of Knowledge, and how weblogs and eLearning are enhancing student discussion and interaction.

More contributions wanted! We welcome your comments and look forward to your contributions to this eLearning blog.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Podcasting comes to ISD

Podcast Bangladesh
The first podcasting group at ISD met this afternoon and experimented with digital sound recording techniques and online blogging. What is podcasting? Well, put simply it is audio blogging, but with an RSS feed so that the mp3 files can be downloaded to your mp3 player for listening to at your convenience. We are not just talking about music here but all forms of audio material including interviews and reports etc. See Wikepedia's definition of podcasting. Also have a look at Sean Fitz's website on 'MP3 Players, Podcasting and Online Audio Materials in Education' for more information than you probably need.....but scroll down until you find the 'Educational Uses of Podcasting' section.

So, with the birth of Podcast Bangldesh comes a whole new era for ISD in online presence, multicultural awareness and global communication. I hope you get a chance to drop by and participate in a podcast this year.

I did mention RSS above. This stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it is! You will notice this blog has links to feeds that viewers can subscribe to. This is RSS. If you want to learn more come and borrow my current bible by David Warlick called Classroom Blogging: A Teacher's Guide to the Blogosphere (Teaching and learning inside the global conversation).

Handheld Club has a new lease of life
Thanks to Stuart C and his continued enthusiasm the ISD Handheld Club is back again and aiming for bigger and better experiences this year. One aim that Stuart has is to encourage a set of student mentors for the handheld program so that teachers and other students will know who they can rely on to help them with technical difficulties and software skill development.

Our Guest Columnist once again this week is Brendan with a timely word about audio recordings.
'Brendan Says'
Analogue Tape is better than CD?Most CD's are encoded with 16 Bit resolution even though 24 Bit, with a wider dynamic range has been available for years. This over compression is killing fidelity. Analogue tape captures the continuous stream of sound, hiss and all. Most digital audio recording cuts sound into 44,100 slices per second (44.1kHz), and introduces errors detectable by human ears. Dont get me started on MP3's that compress information a further 30% making music dull. Convenient yes, but make no mistake it is not better. So use your computer for music as a tool but dont forget to preserve the integrity of your recording as best you can. (Source Wired Mag July 05)
Brendan McGibbon

Links for the week:
  • The Landmark Project: Home page of educational technology consultant David Warlick. This site has somethign for everyone....browse at leisure
  • Kathy Schrock: Power in the Palm of your Hand I have mentioned this site before today (just once or twice ;-)) as it has numerous resources to support our handheld program at ISD.

Contributions wanted! Please contribute to the eLearning weekly blog and become a sharing member of the ISD community and beyond.

Monday, September 05, 2005

eLearning at ISD

Welcome to the International School Dhaka eLearning blog. This blog exists to share ideas about eLearning and technology integration in education, particularly amongst the members of the ISD community.

To get started, let's recap what eLearning experiences we have had at ISD so far this academic year.
  1. Introduction for new staff to recent technology initiatives and eLearning resources including weblogs and handheld and laptop programs.
  2. Approaches to eLearning workshops for all students looking at our new Squirrelmail email system, and Noodletools
  3. Handhelds in Education 101 certificate course delivered over 3 after school sessions where new and former staff were introduced to handheld technology and how to use it as an organisational and curriculum tool in the classroom.

What else has happened in the past two weeks?

  • 50 new PC's have arrived and are being expertly deployed by our technical support staff in the Elementary Lab and Library so far.
  • Over 30 new Palms have arrived at the school for students and staff. We now have over 140 handhelds in the Grade 6, 7 and 8 program.
  • New software has arrived: those who ordered applications and CD's can come and check what is here and start evaluating its use with the students
  • New laptops have not arrived yet...........

Links of the week:

  • Check this out 20 Technology Skills Every Educator Should Have from THE online Magazine. Great links to a variety of resources to do with a number of essential eLearning applications
  • Handheld online PD. If you are ready for taking on more handheld staff development have a look at the k12 handhelds online courses. Good value for money and totally online so you can work through at your own pace. Come and see me about these if you are interested for school funding.

Guest Columnist
'Brendan Says'
Why not save important emails to your palm using "Documents to go". In squirrelmail, when you read an email, you are given the option of saving an email in txt format. Save this to your computer then insert it in "Documents to Go". Then Hotsync and in it goes. This will allow you to directly reference emails when in heated argument with colleagues...i.e. "Thats not what you said in your email....which I happen to have here...!!!"
Brendan McGibbon

Contributions wanted!
Please contribute to the eLearning weekly update with news, ideas and links to share with the ISD community. Send all contributions by email to

Julie Lindsay
Head of Technology
International School Dhaka