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BBC NEWS SCHOOL REPORT ENCOURAGES AND ENABLES CITIZEN JOURNALISM

citizen journalismNews School Report is the BBC’s initiative to encourage 11-14-year-olds to become interested in journalism and the news. The BBC offers children from UK schools the chance to make their own video, audio or text-based news at school and to broadcast it for real, with the website becoming a live channel for one day. Launched last year with 120 schools and 3,000 students participating, the successful initiative streamed nine hours of school-based activities and pupils’ news reports, and this year has involved more than 10,000 students from over 250 schools across the country who are all readying themselves for their deadline- of 2pm GMT today, 13th March.

The BBC have also been supplying lesson plans and 200 journalist mentors to share first hand experiences of working in a newsroom and compiling their own stories with the students, and add support throughout the project. The schools will be acting like a real live newsroom, assembling their stories and deciding which order they are to be in by the deadline. They then publish their stories and broadcasts on their own school website which links to the School Report website for today via an interactive map. BBC News has the inside scoop:

Emulating professional journalists, participating 11 to 14-year-olds from over 250 schools are covering breaking news stories and broadcasting prepared reports on a range of topics including mobile phones, anti-social behaviour and body image.

Students from nine schools are holding politicians to account, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrat Party, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Ian Paisley, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and Presiding Officer of the National Assembly of Wales, Dafydd Elis Thomas.

Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman, artists Rolf Harris and Dinos Chapman, and author Nick Hornby are among the celebrities who have already given interviews. Sport is high on the news agenda and Lord Coe, who chaired the successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and Minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell both spoke to School Reporters. One group of students met the England women’s cricket captain Charlotte Edwards, while another is investigating the sporting pay scale for male and female athletes.

A dedicated TV channel and radio station is streaming from 9am today on the BBC News School Report site and through interactive TV

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Filed under: education, for the children,

TEACHING HOW TO GIVE BACK: PHILANTHROPY LESSONS FOR UK SCHOOLS

philanthropy

With the recent reports on McDonald’s being allowed to run it’s own A-level qualifications and Government offering cash incentives for losing weight, it seems that the British Government have got a bit confused in how best to educate the next generation. How refreshing then to see some people taking it upon themselves to teach children about the importance of giving rather than just receiving. The Observer reports on the Dragon School in Oxford’s new plan for ‘generosity’ classes, teaching philanthropy to the next generation of business brains. Having employed Daniel Gill as the exclusive private school’s director of social impact, Gill decided to introduce lessons on philanthropy as an alternative way to give back to the community.

‘I think it is crucial,’ he said about the initiative. ‘We are sowing the seeds for a new generation. We do want the pupils here to understand that by any stretch of the imagination they are privileged. We hope a lot of them will be successful in the future and in a position to give.’

Classes include giving children a pound, asking them to ‘grow it’ and then encouraging them to discuss which charity to donate to. They are also asked to consider whether their school fees have been well invested and to think about what else the money could be used for.

Beyond private school privilege, the article also comments on the Institute for Philanthropy, a non-profit organisation that aims to teach all people understand the impact of giving:

‘Philanthropy is not just about money; it is about time,’ said Musa Okwonga, a spokesman. Lending a charity a manager for two days a week could be equally valuable. The consultancy recently started working in a handful of state schools in London with 14 and 16-year-olds. ‘Giving is not an impulse, it is a skill,’ he said.

The organisation is running a Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – a unique programme designed to teach secondary school pupils the basic skills of effective giving and to highlight the positive impact they, as young people, can have on their communities.

Institute for Philanthropy

The Observer: Generosity Classes at Top School

Filed under: education, for the children, good,

Newtoon teaches Physics on your Phone

newtoon

A mobile phone and web-based gaming activity that embeds physics learning into the core of its application, Newtoon is a collaborative project between UK-based Futurelab and Soda Creative that is designed to encourage children to create, play, edit and share micro-games based on Newton’s laws of physics.

By motivating children to make use of their own phones for learning and encouraging mobile applications within the classroom, the project aims to offer teachers an engaging and exciting new tool for education, as well as hopefully inspiring students to involve science into their lives outside the school walls. There are two key aspects; the ‘microlab’ which allows teachers to demonstrate and explain physics principles, and the ‘microgame’ allows pupils and teachers to create their own games based on these principles, explained in the scenarios give on their website:

Scenario 1

A science teacher is anxious about KS3 Unit 8J: Magnets and electromagnets. She wonders how she can excite her pupils about the world of magnetism. The teacher launches Newtoon on the whiteboard and searches for a tutorial on ‘magnets’. She opens a research microlab and by moving and rotating the bar magnet, she demonstrates that the ferrous bar always attracts while the bar magnet both attracts and repels depending on polarity. On their desktops, the pupils then select ‘dog’s dinner’, a micro-game which explores magnets. Racing against the clock, the pupils steer a dog towards the bone, avoiding the magnetic forces.

Scenario 2

During the science lesson, all the pupils’ games are collected into a game-carousel at the Newtoon website. At home, a pupil, Laura loads the game-carousel onto her mobile phone and challenges her family to play her creations. “How does it work?” her mum asks. Laura explains that her game, ‘dream-date’, uses magnetic variables to make her game characters attract and repel each other depending on how ‘cute’ they are, using pictures she has imported from the internet. She then shows her mum that her game has been the most played by her classmates, and that she has improved in her understanding of physics

Having been prototype tested in schools around the UK already this year, and with trails due to launch any day now, this is an exciting new system for the future of learning that may finally begin to bring about the materialisation of the much-deliberated re-think to the tenets of teaching.

‘The evolution of a gaming community has the potential to invoke an interactive and collaborative classroom culture with doing, debating and deliberating science at its heart. This will involve exploring the possibilities of a 21st century science curriculum.’

Futurelab: Newtoon

Filed under: education, mobile lifestyles, products with a purpose

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