Sunday, September 1, 2013

Learning With Purpose

We have just arrived home after an amazing day out at Young ICT Explorers Competition at NSW University. Amazing because I saw our students imagining the possibilities and working so hard to achieve those possibilities.

What does the preparation for a competition such as this look like?

Let me give you an insight.

I saw:
  • students who met blocks along the way but not one student gave up – they persevered until they ‘got it’.
  • a community of learners supporting each other in their inquiry and discovery.
  • this same community of learners cheer each other on when a break through occurred.
  • students learning what it means to communicate effectively with each other and manage conflict within a group
  • students analyzing their projects and discerning where they needed to make adjustments, where they needed to go for advice and thinking outside the box
  • students who learned to manage their time effectively
  • students facing stress when competition day approached and using strategies to prevent that stress from impacting on progress
  • exponential growth in independence and confidence
  • passion that comes from students working for real purpose and about topics that they are interested in
  • students who on competition day bubbled enthusiasm and excitement
  • students who were very nervous and needed to manage those nerves
  • deep learning and inquiry – pushing me to my limits of expertise (love it!)
  • students presenting their projects to the judges independently, with conviction and eloquence – girls you amaze me
  • an amazing atmosphere on judging day where schools mutually affirmed, encouraged and supported all competitors – mutual respect for all

Entering this competition was about a lot more than winning a prize at the end – it was about growth, developing skills that develop a whole person and personal satisfaction from imagining the possibilities and working to see them come to fruition. I’m amazed that many students are now thinking and planning beyond their original ideas…kudos to you my amazing learners.

Here are some of the links and/or descriptions of the girls projects:
  • Stop Plastic Bags NOW! These students are passionate about stopping the use of plastic bags after researching the devastating impact these bags can have on the environment. Check out their creative school action plan
  • Anti-bullying:  This website also has an app that allows you to access the information easily. These students want to make accessing information and seeking help easier for those students impacted by bullying.
  • Citrus Energy Thinking beyond their own community, this group wanted to see if they could use the power of citrus to power devices, lights in poorer countries
  • Stop Bullying today  These girls took a creative approach by creating a video of a bullying scenario..very creative way to raise awareness
Other projects which did not have web pages but achieved amazing things were:
  • Clean up the Classroom – a programmed robot which tracked his own journey around the classroom with the use of an ultrasonic sensor. When he detected rubbish on the ground, the robot would stop and set off an alarm
  • The Cupcake Scale – two students who learned how to code an app using xcode. This app calculates the amount of calories consumed in a day, gives the equivalent amount of cupcakes in calories and then recommends how much exercise is required to burn off those calories…amazing
  • Behind the Scenes of Video Making – this student created a 1 minute news report about the tragedy of the Japanese Earth quake utilising green screening techniques to make it look like she was right in amongst the action.