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