Thursday, 18 August 2011

What about getting involved in SchoolNet's Adobe Youth Voices programme?

Submitted by Warren Sparrow
SchoolNetSA offers the Adobe Youth Voices programme to interested teachers. This is an exciting way of using video meaningfully with your learners to highlight issues in society. If you are accepted into the programme Adobe (via SchoolNet) sends you Adobe Premier and Adobe Photoshop Essentials with enough licenses for the group of learners you will use. They offer  free online training in a group setting along with educators from around the world, and then require a project in the form of a movie. Warren Sparrow's movie is entitled Super Veggie Man and was selected to represent South Africa at the recent Adobe Youth Media Conference in Taiwan. Warren writes this guest post about his experience in Taiwan. Just to tell you a little more about Warren, he teaches at Rondebosch Prep, www.rondebosch.com, where he is the Head of Information Technology. He was a winner of the Microsoft Innovative Teacher competition in 2010 in South Africa and in Pan Africa and participated in the World Finals event in Cape Town with his project "Who wants to be a millionaire” which can be found at www.wsparrow.co.za. This year he won the 21st century classroom project of the year, for the most  innovative use  of technology for enhancing learning in schools in South Africa.  His school has recently been admitted into the Microsoft Innovative Schools programme - the third South African school to receive this distinction. He is currently working on a mathematics outreach program called “Maths is Fun” which can be found at www.wsparrow.co.za/maths.
  
I have written a brief synopsis of the conference below:
The group
From the Opening ceremony I was immediately impressed with the vision of how important collaboration is between both other teachers, as well as other learners from different countries.   This was one of the underlying themes through the conference.  Although there were many other themes, like peace, etc, I think this is what sets it apart from many of the other conferences that I have attended.

Everyone at Conference


I found the workshops most worthwhile.  I was very happy to attend the learning – circles workshop that gave me an overview of the entire project approach.  They also explained how each project was divided into 6 categories and went through the phases of each learning circle which would stretch over a period of 16 weeks.


The  talk by Lara Nietzer covered some of the same content, but she gave very good examples of some of the projects have been integrated into their school curriculum.

The workshop that Rowena ran was one of my favourite.  Her passion and knowledge of her subject was very evident in her talk and she had very good ideas on how to implement different things that I found very worthwhile.  I was amazed at her knowledge across the different topics that she discussed.  I will be implementing the solar cooking project with the learners at my school and her talk on the vegetable garden was obviously a topic very close to my heart.  She also dazzled us with the UV beads and gave us lesson notes on how we could implement this into our class.
The talk by Sergi and Ramon from Spain where they linked everything that they have been doing with Web 2.0 tools with the growing and producing of wine was very entertaining.  They emphasised how important it was to have a whole school approach and not just an individual that runs the program.

One of the workshops
The My Hero Project that was presented by the facilitator and 2 learners from Iraq was very good and they gave a very detailed presentation of the different videos that the learners had created, which allowed us to see the finished product and how the project was developed.  I was so impressed with this project that I immediately e-mailed a member of staff at my school and asked her to download the manual and go through it and she has agreed to run this project later on during the year.
I was blown away by Toni Casserrrass’ OpenSims talk.  Although I think that I might be a little way off doing something similar and it is also more suited to high school learners, I would really like for my learners to experience this.

The  Film festival was another favourite of mine.  It was very enjoyable seeing what other learners had created and what their messages were.    I was amazed at some of the levels of proficiency of  the videos that were created. 
There was also a very good cultural stand and exhibition which gave us the opportunity to talk to other teachers and talk to them about their project or country.

Tapai city life

Our outing to Taipei on the speed train, going to the night markets , seeing the largest Buddist temple in Taiwan, as well as going to a few museums was incredible.  It was a surreal experience and it was amazing seeing the hustle and bustle of the city life.

I must admit that I had a great time and I thought it was an incredible experience.  I have come back with so many ideas that I am using in the school and showing other staff members.  It will take me a little while to go through all the projects from website and manuals.  I am starting by giving short feedback sessions over 3 days every week to the staff and hopefully this will continue for the rest of the year!
Here is Warren's movie entitled Super Veggie Man

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