In the last two weeks we have launched two new initiatives at my school to provide students with incentives and opportunities to engage in extended independent learning. The first was the KEGS Global Blog Challenge.
This offers a token £100 prize for the blog with the greatest global reach by June next year. In the first week over 20 blogs were set up by students and more are registering all the time. The students’ ages span from Y7 to Y13 covering an eclectic range of interests from languages (blogs written entirely in French or German) to drama, gaming, photography, sport, religious interpretations of science, numbers, politics… it goes on. Some blogs are general blogs covering a range of topics and some provide an account of school life. The challenge will be to sustain the quality over the whole time frame…. I can’t wait to see how they get on.
The dedicated kegsblogs site provides a vehicle to give guidance and to show the sites that are registered. Please take a look.
This simple idea has been a catalyst for a lot of activity and, hopefully, will inspire students to continue blogging independently. The incidental learning about technical issues, e-safety and writing for an audience are important but the main aim is to illustrate that, via the internet, global communication is real and is open to anyone. They have the power to communicate with anyone out there… It is exciting. The guidance is clear in relation to the self-policing of content. In the same spirit as our student newspaper, The KEGS Ambassador (see the related post here), bloggers will need to consider their output and take responsibility for it. This the best way to learn.
The second initiative is The KEGS Foundation Prize. This is a more formal concept but, again, this was conceived to stimulate and reward extended study across the curriculum, encouraging students to engage in a depth-study of high quality. The idea was mine but I received support from our Foundation Governors to provide the funding. The money-prize is quite significant but we wanted to provide a substantial incentive to students so that they pitch their work to the highest standards possible – we are looking for a supremely high standard of work.
The KEGS Foundation will award a prize of £200 to the winner of each category with £50 for the runners-up. The entries should comprise work that is completed over and above any work that is submitted for an examination although it could be a development from work done previously. Each category is for all age-groups. My view is that it is impossible to account for age in a simple manner and younger students are capable of dazzling with their efforts in any case. As a guide, we’ve suggested that the work submitted for each prize should be equivalent to the production of 5000 word essay in terms of time, depth and scale. This is comparable to the Pre-U Global Perspectives essay or the equivalent Extended Project – but I wanted it to be open to all students and to have a range of formats that would span the curriculum.
A year from now, I hope to be able to showcase some of the entries. The seeds have been sown – let’s see what happens.