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Welcome to the second edition of the
SHAMBLES newsletter ...
designed to be of relevance to International Schools in S.E.Asia
for aims, purpose & mailing policy

Apologies if you have received more than one copy of this newsletter - the mailing list software is still being developed.
To subscribe to the newsletter just send a blank email to newsletter-subscribe@shambles.net

CLICK HERE to download a (Microsoft) "Word.doc" version of the newsletter (230kB)
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INDEX (in no specific order)

War or Peace (Advice for Parents) The UK National Numeracy Strategy
Chinese Painting Teachers Websites
English Language Teaching Software Advertising on Shambles
Earth Day Education Statistics
U.N. Literacy Decade Recruitment Online
School Assemblies Resources School Calendars 2003-2004
Shambles Tour 2003 Postponed to 2004 e-learning course on e-learning
Qualifications for Students Summer Courses & Camps
Free Apple Mac OSX for Teachers ! Shanghai Presentation
Effective ELT software with comprehensive teacher support
Teacher Created Materials

War and Peace - Advice for Schools & Families
Terrorism and the threat of war has caused many international schools to increase their security and to make contingency plans should war break out or terrorists strike.

Websites to help with this task include the 'Travel Advice Unit - UK' http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel/ set up by the British Foreign Office, you can check out the current safety status in many countries ... and be advised what to do if it all goes wrong. The US Bureau of Consular Affairs has an equivalent site at http://travel.state.gov/ .

Both these sites will be of help to schools if asked for advice by parents or other school community members on what to do in the case of war or terrorist acts.

I do have a third site on my list called 'Be Ready' http://www.ready.gov/ (US Dept. of Homeland Security) which also gives advice on what to do in the case of a terrorist attack - there are some useful teaching/learning materials about the different types of threats - but when reading the advice I cannot help but think back to the stories from my grandparents about the bomb shelters they built in their back gardens many years ago.

Incidentally - if you are doing projects on Iraq then a great starting point is the Librarians' Index to the Internet - go to http://lii.org/search/iraq but note - "The lii.org database includes numerous other resources on topics such as peace, war, the Mid-East, nuclear weapons and disarmament, the United Nations, and specific countries and issues."

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Chinese Painting
From a very heavy subject to one a little more relaxing, Chinese Painting. It's often said that the best things in life are free and the best presents are the smallest ones, well this online offering meets both of those criteria.

CLEO'S "Four Treasures" is a unique online chinese paintbox, you are able to make your paintings with only a web browser, your mouse, an internet connection and your talents. There are seven brushes to choose from, you can control the thickness of the brush; the expected controls of reset, undo and print are all available.

One additional luxury is a 'recording' option so once the painting is complete the drawing and order of the brush strokes can be replayed and seen again. There are some wonderful opportunities here, for all ages, not only for Art & Design but also Chinese Studies, Multicultural Activities, Language Work ..... and special educational needs.

With thanks to CLEO - 'Cumbria Lancashire Education Online' - for providing this for free and to Liz Hankin for bringing my attention to it .... and it even worked well on my slow modem internet connection.

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English Language Teaching Software
Clarity is a UK- and Hong Kong-based company that started operations in Asia over ten years ago and has become a leading publisher of software for teaching English.

Tense Buster, Clarity's most successful title, has been adopted by the British Council and by Ministries of Education across the world, and is now running on more than 1m computers in over 100 countries. Clarity's most recent publication, STUDY SKILLS Success, is aimed both at IELTS candidates, and at helping students make the adjustment from studying at school to moving into the more independent environment of higher education.

A visit to their website will introduce you to their projects, achievements and involvement with the education community across S.E.Asia ... I've watched the company develop, from a distance, since the early days and consider their products and particularly their support to be "teacher friendly" and "student focused".

Clarity publish a newsletter by regular mail and email .. ... the current edition can be downloaded from http://www.clarity.com.hk/pdf_newsletter/issue10.pdf and you can subscribe (free) to future issues at http://www.clarity.com.hk/loudandclear.htm

If you are involved in ELT (also ESL, EAL, TEFL) work with students then you and your students could well benefit from investigating Clarity in more detail.

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Will the Real 'Earth Day' Stand Up?
What is the date of this year's 'Earth Day'? Well, there is some controversy on this issue, the "official" website http://www.earthday.net/ says it's on 22nd April 2003 ..... but at http://www.earthsite.org/ it is clearly written "Earth Day is not April 22' .... with 20th March being their date.

This could turn into a great assembly topic or even a task where students are evaluating the authenticity of information on websites ...

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United Nations Literacy Decade 2003-2012
"While societies enter into the information and knowledge society, and modern technologies develop and spread at rapid speed, 860 million adults are illiterate, over 100 million children have no access to school, and countless children, youth and adults who attend school or other education programmes fall short of the required level to be considered literate in today´s complex world."

The U.N. has passed a resolution proclaiming the ten-year period beginning on 1 January 2003 the United Nations Literacy Decade ..... a poster for display on noticeboards can be downloaded from http://www.unesco.org/education/litdecade/poster.html

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Looking for Material for a School Assembly
I mentioned 'websites to help when planning a school assembly' in the first newsletter but felt that an additional recommendation made to me after publication should not be missed.

"TRE", Teacher Resource Exchange, http://tre.ngfl.gov.uk/ has some wonderful ideas .. just set the search parameters to your particular needs and wait for the materials to appear.

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Shambles Tour 2004
..... (INSET & Professional Course)
The tour / INSET planned for Feb. 2003 has been postponed until Feb. 2004 ...

Training course for ICT Coordinators and
for "Aspiring" ICT Coordinators

.. with full details available at the link above.

The course will start with a face-to-face session in Bangkok. It will consist of a 3-day event run by UK facilitators followed by assignments to be done in school but with online help from the facilitators. The course is accredited by the Nottingham Trent University (UK).

Other professional development opportunities (not just run by Shambles) can be seen on our online calendar at http://www.shambles.net:88/default

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Qualifications and Exam Boards
Are you being asked, by parents, for more information about external qualifications other than that already displayed on your school website?

Probably the best source of information about UK examinations is http://www.dfes.gov.uk/qualifications/ ... "the Department for Education and Skills' Qualifications Website. The site contains everything you need to know about qualifications for (UK) schools and colleges" GCSEs, GCE 'A' levels, entry level qualifications, GNVQ, work-related learning.

I had hoped to also give equally useful sites for USA, Canada and Australia. A request for help from one of my favourite listservs, LM_NET, produced the following responses about the USA:

  • "In the US there are many different qualifications depending on which of the 50 states. Or maybe it is actually one qualification called "the high school diploma" that means different things in different places."
  • "As for exams - the different authorities all set their own exams for their qualifications. but for university entrance - the nationally administered SAT from Princeton is pretty much a universal requirement."
  • "You should know that there are no national standards for Education in either the US or Canada. Education in the elementary and high school levels is a state/provincial responsibility and standards very widely."
  • "Even within the state college/university systems there are different admissions standards. There are two different long standing sets of college admissions exams (SAT and ACT) that are owned by private companies and administered on Saturdays (or Sundays for those with religious exemptions) outside normal school hours, by teachers hired for that purpose."

With thanks to Lisa Oldham (Overseas School of Colombo) and
Dorothy Tissair Library Media Specialist, Old Saybrook, CT

Australia seems to be almost as diverse as the USA although the Education Network Australia (EdNA) offers some guidance at http://www.edna.edu.au/

'Qualifications' and 'Curriculum Frameworks' often appear in the same paragraph ... 'Shambles' has a page dedicated to 'Frameworks' at http://www.shambles.net/pages/staff/CurrFrame/ which has a greater international mix of websites.

and the moral here is ... If you want to know anything - ASK A LIBRARIAN

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Free Apple MacOSX for Teachers in Asia Pacific
Apple is planning to roll out the ‘Free Mac OSX for Teachers’ and the ‘iLife and Keynote’ special offer to teachers in the Asia Pacific region (as shown at http://www.apple.com/education).

International Schools teachers are invited to take advantage of this offer – for more information please send an email directly to the Apple Asia HQ at international_schools@asia.apple.com

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The National Numeracy Strategy (UK)
Primary teachers (UK Curriculum) will be very familiar with the numeracy initiative but what you may have missed is this wonderful page of relevant materials and publications.

In particular some offerings come under the heading of "Interactive Teaching Programs" ... software that can be freely downloaded and is especially suited to whole-class work using an interactive whiteboard (IWB), projector or large monitor.

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Teachers Websites
It's always welcome news to be told about websites that international school teachers have set up to support teaching and learning with their students .. and I continue to include them as links on the 'Shambles' website.

Some I'd like to mention this time, science and Maths related .... all well worth a visit.

Dr Carl Doige at Ruamrudee International School in Bangkok has built a website to support Chemistry and in particular that related to I.B. at http://www.rism.ac.th/class/hs/doigec/index/index1.htm

Chad Evan's at Tanglin Trust School in Singapore has built a site to support his teaching of GCE (A1/A2) Biology & Genetics at http://www.chadevans.co.uk/abase.htm and also supporting GCSE Biology and Maths http://www.chadevans.co.uk/gcsebase.htm

I asked David Elliott, long time IT guru at Hong Kong International School, for some recommendations and he responded with "What is important is the decision of an entire department to maintain a web presence providing students with resources and materials." with a suggestion to look at the schools Maths (sorry 'Math') and Science areas at http://dragonnet.hkis.edu.hk/hs/math and http://dragonnet.hkis.edu.hk/hs/science

Please let me know of any staff / student websites you would recommend for showcasing here in the future.

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Schools Advertising on Shambles
I am contacted regularly by surfers, who have found 'Shambles' by using the search engines, who ask me if I will recommend a school in the area they are moving to in one of the 17 countries in S.E.Asia.

The policy on this is that I will not recommend individual schools but will point the enquirer to the relevant page(s) that contains the lists of schools and contact details

Schools do, though, have the option to raise your own profile on those pages by taking up the advertising opportunities.

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Education Statistics and Targets
Did you know that in the USA - Public School Trends 2002-2003 - 752 New schools opened due to enrolment growth, 847 Schools closed or merged into another school, 6,500 Schools experienced a shift in their grade range (i.e., a K-8 school is now a K-6 school), 3,135 Schools operate year-round, up 6% from the prior year, 22,545 Schools offer before- and after-school programs, 78,451 (90%) Are site-based managed schools, 10,569 Alternative education schools/programs serve at-risk students?.
                                                                                                                                 MDR - http://www.schooldata.com

.. and ... did you know that in the UK DfES has set 2004 targets for average computer:pupil ratios of 1:8 in primary schools and 1:5 in secondary schools. This target includes pupils in secondary school 6th forms
                                                                                     DfES http://www.dfes.gov.uk/standardsfund/grant601.htm

.. and ... did you know that there is a real time world population clock at http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/clock.html and for the China population at http://www.cpirc.org.cn/eindex.htm

All these above are examples of links in the Shambles "Education Statistics" area.

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Teacher Recruitment Online - It's Here NOW!
It's beginning to happen for real ... schools are not only advertising vacancies online but also only accepting applications online ... which is one sure way to check the applicant has a certain level of ICT capability (or that they at least have a friend who does)

If (when) you are looking for teaching jobs yourself I would strongly advise joining The Times Educational Supplement (UK) http://www.tes.co.uk/ free notification list ... mailed out every Monday - a two day delay as they really want you to buy the paper copy on the previous Friday.

The notification list, which they call "my alerts" is very configurable, e.g. "international school, primary, japan" would only give you adverts with vacancies matching those criteria. Most International School throughout the world advertise here ... so it is a MUST to join.

Other websites are offering similar services- it is difficult, but not impossible, for them to compete with the TES ... you can see a list of sites at http://www.shambles.net/pages/staff/#recruit

The following are two examples of schools that insisted, this year, that only applications would be accepted online (unless you were the new CEO)

The English Schools Foundation (Hong Kong) http://www.esf.edu.hk had sixteen international schools and only accepted application online through its website http://www.ESFrecruit.net . The site was built and is managed by one of the ICT coordinators Nick Villeperieux nickvp@nuri-hijau.com and even though the deadlines for this year are past you can still add your name to a mailing list to be informed of future vacancies.

The first year of such a large project results in a certain amount of 'pain' from the applicants as well as the schools, some comments from Nick, who used a package called 'liquid office' as part of the ESF solution, include:

"A very big step to take, which will invariably have teething problems that can only be addressed through actual deployment - as a whole I was very pleased with the general success of the operation, it is the way ahead"

"Make sure your application form is user friendly as far as the web is concerned, the ability for potential applicants to save their application on the fly is a real plus. Typically forms that have been designed for hand written completion do not work too well online"

"Plan, plan and then plan again - make sure you thoroughly think through the deployment and have fail safe measures built in ... just in case!"

Bangkok Patana School http://www.patana.ac.th/ is another example of an organisation leading the way with their online recruitment page at http://www.patana.ac.th/Recruitment/ although one of the differences is that they designed their software completely in-house.

Jackie Houghton jaho@patana.ac.th, Director of Staff Development at Patana is the contact person and, when we met, she highlighted the advantages of having all the applicants information in a searchable database and the eventual 'time saving' that resulted in.

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School Calendars 2003-2004
Schools are already compiling their calendars for next year and the draft dates are probably just now waiting for the government public holidays to be announced before going to the printers.

There is a section dedicated to calendars on 'Shambles' at http://www.shambles.net/calendar/ but I cannot resist highlighting one URL http://www.printablecalendar.ca/ where you can, very easily, create free printable calendars that are formatted for Microsoft Word.

Useful not only for administrators but teachers when helping students organise their time/work .... you could well be trying to remember this site when working with a class next November ... just remember you saw it on 'Shambles'.

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e-learning course on e-learning - online (of cause)
Adelaideiglobal, an elearning specialist unit at Adelaide Institute of TAFE in Australia, offer a post-graduate qualification - the Graduate Certificate in eLearning.

Catriona Ward, elearning consultant and Coordinator of the course, says "We discovered that although many teachers receive Professional Development within their school environment, this PD tends to focus on the technology - how to click the buttons rather than how to incorporate elearning into the existing teaching environment"

The Graduate Certificate in eLearning is a Nationally (Australia) accredited one year part time course of study aimed at complementing participants’ previous specialist education and training experience and to enhance knowledge and skills necessary to implement quality elearning educational programs. It is specifically designed for teachers, lecturers, trainers and educators.

This course is available totally online, reflecting the nature of the learning outcomes and the needs of the course participants. All course subjects will be delivered via a secure elearning environment accessed via the Internet and available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for the duration of the subject.

For more details "CLICK HERE" for a pop-up box

But to get the full background, without any obligation, then email Catriona directly ... "CLICK HERE"

.... and if you were wondering what TAFE stands for - it is "Technical and Further Education"

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Summer Courses and Camps
It's coming up to that time of the year when families will be asking for advice about summer camps and courses overseas as well as in your own school.

When asked you might like just to pass on these URLs and recommend they do a little directed browsing .... for the UK see http://www.shambles.net/pages/Countries/uksummer/ and for the USA see http://www.shambles.net/pages/Countries/usasummer/ ... if you find any new links then please add them or email them to me directly.

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Shanghai Presentation - Prof. Dev. Materials
In Shanghai on Thursday 20th March 2003 there is a presentation of online professional development materials from the UK company Fieldwork Education . They now have 24 courses available covering aspects of 'personal effectiveness', 'teaching & learning', 'school leadership, management and governance' and 'supporting non-teaching staff', for a full list visit http://www.fieldworkonlinetraining.com/currenttitles.php

Details of the presentation and discussion are:

  • Thur. 20th March 4:30pm (end 6:00)
  • Silver Court, 98 Shou Ning Rd., (Tibet Rd South), Shanghai (room will be signposted)
  • Topic: Online Professional Development (PD) Materials and Opportunities from Fieldwork Education (UK)
  • This session is specifically, designed to support staff in International Schools who have an interest or a responsibility for professional development in their schools - and other senior management staff or administrators who are investigating PD opportunities for themselves or colleagues.
  • Presenters : Mike Forster (Director, Fieldwork Online Training) and Trevor Higginbottom (Shanghai representative and consultant)
  • For more details telephone Trevor in Shanghai : mobile +(86) 13 66 144 5323
  • the session will be in English

editors note : these materials are already being used by international schools in several countries in S.E.Asia including Thailand and Hong kong

To email information about this Shanghai event to a colleague then Click Here

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That's IT
I hope you have found something here again that can be of help when working with your students, colleagues and parents ... and also something of personal interest as well. Also good luck to all those staff who have now resigned and are on the journey looking for a new school.

The next newsletter will be in May 2003


Any feedback you can give about this newsletter would be appreciated .... especially ideas or contributions for future editions.

If you know of any new international schools opening in the region - Brunei Burma/Myanmar Cambodia China Hong Kong (HKSAR) India Indonesia Japan Laos Macau Malaysia Philippines Singapore South Korea Taiwan Thailand Vietnam - the please let me know csmith@iESF.net

email Chris Smith

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Computers are being replaced
There is a rumour circulating around S.E.Asia that some schools have decided that computers are just not living up to their original promise .... and these schools are considering replacing them with a more cost effective technology. I've managed to track down the details of this initiative which is not being publicly discussed for some reason ... for details CLICK HERE

... and I almost forgot the musical aspect of this terms newsletter ...
with apologies to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
and the Salvation Army Band
but echoing the Shambles message
(can you identify the main singer?)

To subscribe to future editions (if not already subscribed), just send a blank email to

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