Duke of Edinburgh Award

Trust me, it’s even better than the person it’s named after!!

Last year, I achieved my Bronze Award. It’s incredibly rewarding to feel that I had achieved a lot in terms of helping people and developing my skills as a person. In this article I’m gonna use the term “DofE” instead of Duke Of Edinburgh.

There are 3 sections to the DofE award. Actually, there are 4, but you have to complete 3 in order to do the fourth. The 3 sections are Volunteering, Skill and Physical.

Volunteering is self-explanatory. You may think it’s going to be incredibly boring, especially being a teenager which is what you will be when you start it (unless you start really late). In the end, you are gonna wish you did it more often. That is one of the main points of the DofE award; it’s designed so you can get something fulfilling out of it, rather than a badge and a chance to shake hands with HRRH himself. You can help out at after-school clubs, old-people’s homes, even your local sports club.

The skill section is where you learn a new skill. Or developing and improving it. One of the most common is learning to play a tactical game, like chess, or any card game. You can also be learning an instrument. You may discover some hidden talents!

The physical section is where you do something active. In my case, it’s playing football for my team. After all, you have to be physically (kind of), but more importantly mentally able to embark and complete your expedition.

You can complete all of these sections simultaneously because otherwise it gets too boring waiting for the expedition (4th section)) to arrive, especially as you’ll be doing these for longer periods of time as you do your Silver and Gold awards.

The expedition is the fun part. You should be thinking by this stage, ‘let’s do this and get our badges’, but also, the expedition is also an opportunity to have fun with your group. Get out in the good outdoors, have a laugh. Keep on track, certainly – but don’t get stubborn or get in a strop. (Not when you’re out walking.) Have a good time, and come back feeling exhausted (you will do, seeing as the trek is quite long), but the feeling in your head will be one of satisfaction and euphoria.

Some people, having read 400 words of technicalities, will refuse the DofE Award. The people that are looking for adventure, want to widen boundaries in their abilities (and their life story, to an extent) will take this on (until you reach 25, because then you’re not allowed to do it anymore). With the thought of sounding a bit like the voice-over on the National Lottery Advert, I shall leave you with the freedom to return to whatever you were doing previously before you started to read this awesome post! A bientot followers!!

B+E+two Ts= Best and biggest Technology Show in the world!

Seriously, my titles don’t lie.

The experience you get over at BETT (British Educational Technology and Training) is too much to fit into 400 words. In fact, it’s too much to fit into the 4 days BETT comes here. But I urge anybody that has an interest in computers (or uses them, so that counts as all of us), to get down there and take a look.

Don’t worry if you don’t think you look the part to be in an upmarket area in a famous event. It’s meant to be informal. You can browse around, and have a look at what the world’s leading ICT companies have come up with. Get an insight and an understanding of where technology will move in the future. It will affect every single one of us, because we are all involved in technology in one way or another.

In terms of my experiences there, I learnt a hell of a lot, and I was supposed to be the one showing people all about Google, Google Apps and how to use their Chromebooks. I’ve learnt a hell of a lot from other companies, and as a result I’ve become more interested and attached to technology, the future of it and how I can use it to help me with my learning. This concept of cloud computing is one that I feel has a lot of potential, especially in the near-future, when computers, laptops and Chromebooks alike will not be equipped with hard drives, floppy disk drives. Flash memory sticks will become in my opinion, a thing of the past.

My wider message to all the authorities out there, is to simply not worry about all the ‘side effects’, because one way or another, cloud computing is going to become the focal point of all document use and modification. The USP I think, especially in Google’s case, is collaboration. Google’s education facilities is very suitable for kids from age 5 to use. I do believe older students can use this, perhaps even a bit more extensively. I’ve shown some of the staff and pupils at my school, and they have warmed to it (and trust me, my ICT syllabus for GCSE belongs in the Dark Ages.)

NORFOLK HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THIS. EVERY PUPIL IN EVERY SCHOOL HAS A GOOGLE ACCOUNT. THE SOONER YOU GUYS CAN ACCEPT AND TRY IT OUT, THE EASIER IT WILL BE FOR YOUR SCHOOLS TO EXPERIENCE JUST HOW AMAZING THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY IS!

On that note, I’ve gone past my 400 word mark. I’ll be publishing multimedia stuff next week (once I don’t get homework for any GCSE subject.

Shall We Get Serious Now Please?

Today marks the start of the 4-day show at Kensington Olympia: The British Education Technology and Training Show, or BETT for short. I have been invited by Google to join them on their stand on Thursday, so I am going to do what I originally set out to do when I first started blogging – let you guys know about Google Apps, how you can use them, and my feel that the internet is a great device for use in schools, and that the authorities are too worried about minor things such a viruses, which is why they filter any website containing a picture the wrong side of a stick man.

I know, it’s a lot to fit into one blog. Still, here goes.

Today, in Maths, we uploaded (or should I say, tried to upload),  some of our previously completed revision material for our Unit 1 Maths external GCSE exam. My school’s Virtual Learning Environment crashed 3 times in that one-hour period. It is a fantastic scenario to prove that Google Docs is the bast way to encourage, not only more efficiency in the uploading stuff, but also it encourages more group/pair work in the classroom. Even on its back doorstep, you can feel many times in ICT (speaking as a student taking the subject for GCSE) a bit lonely. It doesn’t matter what kind of task you may be doing; whether it be planning for a drama storyline, working on a History project, or simply doing an extra-curricular task.

I’m telling you this for free, so pay attention. When hard drives disappear from computers in the next 5 years, Google Docs will be the main force behind all document editing and collaboration. It will be so exciting for pupils doing a computer task, being told to work in pairs, but having to use separate computers. Instead of one person doing all the research, one doing all the flashy presentation effects, Google Docs will allow you to work on the same document at the same time, so everyone can contribute to all aspects of the task.

 

(Wouldn’t it have been better if we just uploaded all our stuff onto Google Docs, and shared it with the whole class? With our school’s VLE, you have to click on one thing, then another, then another to get to where you want to. On Google Docs, it’s just there.)

If I had to suggest one hint of improvement, is that you can make folders for all your documents to be manually organised into. This allows you the best of both worlds, because while you’re and you’ll still be used to organising files on Windows Explorer, but you’ll still be exposed to the new ideas and concepts of Google Docs.

 

That’s my review, up to you to make a decision. See you at BETT 2012!!!