Singapore: Leaving on a high note

It’s the last day of research here, and I’m attending a presentation by the Edtech Coaches on the topic of ‘what we’re doing and where we’re going’. The Coaches compare their work with constructing an aeroplane while in flight. It’s an image that makes emphatically clear that introducing digital media to schools is no trivial task that can just slot into day-to-day business. But the GESS is providing an example of how it can work and succeed. It’s an uplifting note to leave Singapore on.

GESS think about media use

GESS media literacy

Singapore: History with ThingLink

A year 8 class is visiting a park in Singapore. The students are making videos showing and explaining monuments or historical buildings. They then use ThingLink to create an interactive map of the park.

Singapore: Pink T-Shirt Day

It’s Pink T-Shirt Day! The GESS is focusing on the issue of bullying. A student working group has made a podcast specially for the day and is now out in the yard handing out flyers with QR codes which people can use to listen to the podcast online.

Singapore: Music

A year 6 class is at the smartboard, singing along with gusto to a current hit song with lyrics supplied by a YouTube video.

GESS YouTube music

Singapore: English

The students are working on a shared document in OneNote, visible for everyone at the front of the class via projector. Right now, ‘the board’ is no longer the teacher’s domain, but everyone’s workspace.

Singapore: Geography

A year 11 class is reading about varying standards of living across the world on a Swedish NGO’s website which features photographs of various families, their homes and some of their household objects. For one moment, we have all stepped into other worlds.

Boston: Proud Parents

Tonight parents have been invited to the GISB to watch the short films made by their children featuring performances of classic ballads.

Boston: Project day

It’s project day at the GISB. The top grades will be heading off into the Thanksgiving break after taking part in a simulation on climate change.

Singapore: Design Technology Lab

There’s a smell of wood and glue wafting out of the Design Technology Lab, accompanied by a soundtrack of sawing and of sanding machines. Year 10 students are busy making objects following their own designs. Among the paper, pieces of plastic and wood, and tools, I can see a few laptops, with which the students are documenting their work, searching for potential uses for their products or using design programs to create templates for laser cutting later on.

GESS design paper wood

GESS design laptop

GESS: lab

GESS design technology lab

GESS technology 3-D game

Singapore: Geography

The lesson’s on water consumption, but there’s a side order of computer literacy – the students have learned how to create pie charts in Excel and paste them into other files.

Singapore: German

Year 8 students are producing their own ‘poetry book’ using Book Creator, including pieces of writing, pictures they’ve drawn, photos sourced from the internet and audio elements they’ve recorded. The pages that emerge are wildly varied, some more creative, some less so.

GESS Book Creator

Singapore: Romeo and Juliet

It’s English class and the students are preparing to film a scene from Romeo and Juliet. They’re using OneNote to abridge the text and a phone as the camera.

GESS OneNote

Singapore: Student Council

A Student Council representative is meeting with the Edtech coaches to discuss setting up a GESS student page on Facebook.

Boston: German

German class for advanced students:
they’re doing film analysis and media comparison in the Google Classroom.

Singapore: Edtech coaches

Whether it’s at lunchtime, in free periods, or whenever there’s a moment to spare: the teachers make good use of the opportunity to ask the Edtech coaches for advice or tips on using digital media in the classroom.

Singapore: Latin

The teacher is getting a year 6 class started with using digital textbooks: ‘So you don’t have to carry so many books around any more!’ Getting everyone through the complicated registration procedure required by the publisher Klett takes ages. But then the pupils are tremendously keen, showing admirable focus as they flick through the book and zoom in on content.

Singapore: English

A group of students is doing internet research to create a ‘sway’ on the UK’s political system. It takes them a while to find useful websites and images, but there’s a lot of energetic discussion going on too.

Sing 16.11. english sway

Singapore: English

The Edtech coaches are running a mini-workshop for teaching staff on the quiz software Socrative and how it can be used in class.

Singapore: History

The students have the task of preparing a presentation on Napoleon. They’re doing research online, but I can see lots of open textbooks too. One student is looking for a diagram like the one in her textbook – finding one, she pastes it into her presentation, commenting: ‘This way I know it’s a good illustration.’

GESS History Napoleon

GESS historical investigation