Driving the quiet streets of Brisbane in the last week, two school notice billboards caught my attention.
The first, from Our Lady of the Assumption in Enoggera, told how the Year Fours were almost done with their podcasts. Podcasts! My first thought is simply, “Cool.” Then logic kicks in and I think, “Wait, is that really important? Shouldn’t they be doing grammar or mathematics or something?” And then, finally, I kick logic in the teeth and say, “Learning the skills needed to work in a multimedia environment is probably the most important training those kids can get, and at such a young age, they’re off to a good start!” You’ve got to give credit to the teacher who came up with that project. The Year Four page at the school’s site doesn’t yet show the podcasts, but I’ll be keen to check them out if they do post them.
The second billboard was from the primary school I attended during my only year of primary education in Australia, Ashgrove State School. They took out Primary first place in the best web-based student newspaper category for their Kid’s eZine. It’s fairly basic in design and writing, with most of the stories about 100 words in length, but a great achievement for 6-10 year olds! My only suggestion to them would be to put dates on their stories so people know how current they are. My favourite story was one about Ashgrove sports teams written by four of the boys. In it they ask the question, why do Ashgrove sports teams achieve so much? The answer, they decide, is that “the coaches don’t yell, they encourage their teams with firm but quiet talk.” Great stuff.
This sort of information on school noticeboards is much more interesting than the usual “Congratulations Jack and Jane – State Finals”. Apart from Jack and Jane who may get a sense of pride seeing their name by a main road, the general public haven’t learnt much about any of the school’s (possibly) great programs. These boards actually caught my attention and made me interested in what the kids were achieving, underscored by what’s obviously an interesting and fun program. And what they’re doing is great. As I said before, giving young children practical training in a multimedia environment is setting them up for the future.
UPDATE: The title of the post, School 2.0, refers to the now commonly used term Web 2.0, the “supposed second generation of Internet-based services … that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users” (from Wikipedia).