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5/15/07

Science and Arts Foundation Newsletter: Bam IT Center complete and fully functional

Newsletter No. 52, April-May 2007: www.science-arts.org, www.saf.ir

 

1-BAM IT CENTRE

 

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, BAM Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Centre, is now complete and fully functional. The Center was built under the leadership of the Science and Arts Foundation with support from Bam's Department of Education, Iranian charitable individuals ,Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Coalition of Persian Charities and UNICEF. Construction commenced on 1 January 2005 and took 20 months to complete.

 

This two storey building replaces the IT centre which was established in temporary buildings shortly after the earthquake. The centre is fully equipped with computers and runs courses for both teachers and students.

 

More information about the ICT center in BAM will appear in next number of the newsletter.

 

 

2-SECOND MATHEMATICS AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE (VIP) CONFERENCE, ISFAHAN

 

The second conference of mathematics and visually impaired people was held in Isfahan on Saturday 11th November 2006 with the participation of 60 university professors, visually impaired mathematics teachers, and a committee of visually impaired and sighted teachers.

 

This conference was supported by the Impaired Education Ministry of Isfahan, Isfahan Mathematics House, Aba Basir Educational Center, Moj-e-Noor Cultural Committee, Isfahan Education Ministry, Mathematics Teacher Committee and interested VIP.  In this conference Mr. Rahmi who is visually impaired himself and has a PhD in mathematics, made a speech and emphasised VIP's right to have access to all the educational facilities. He also stressed the necessity of changing Braille code into Nemeth code for scientific uses.  He reminded the audience that VIP should not be deprived of some sections of science such as geometry shapes and drawing curves.

 

Mr. Nasrollaf Rezayi, a retired VIP teacher, also emphasized the use of computer software such as Maple and Excel in teaching mathematics and statistics to VIP.  He announced that he had written a book for teaching mathematics replacing Braille symbols with Nemeth code for the first time.

 

 

3-SCHOOLNET PORTAL – Interview with Mr.Moeeni – Schoolnet Portal Developer

 

-What is the Schoolnet portal site?

 

Briefly, the Schoolnet portal is a Content Management System (CMS) portal to allow Iranian students and teachers to easily create and publish their content on the Internet.

 

-What features and facilities does the Schoolnet portal offer at the moment?

 

It lets students to create easily various content types on the site and submit them to their teachers for approval, but the point is that they can do all of their interactions with the site using their Internet browser and do not have to use any other 3rd party software.

 

In our portal, each member of school (students and teachers) will publish their contents below their school space.  All content which is created by a user on the site, will show the author information, too. This can be a high encouragement for our students.

 

-Would you explain more about the activities undertaken to create this site?

 

Well, first of all we needed to evaluate and design the site and develop it but let me mention that in the development, we merely used quality open-source software. However as our site is in Persian and hence right-to-left, in addition to developing site features, we had to deal with right-to-left issues. This took a great deal of time and energy to fix or at least make it less of an issue.

 

We introduced it to a very limited number of our schools and also held some workshops for a few groups of students and teachers.  Unfortunately this did not help much and there was a reason for that; users could not be fully trained in a one-session crowded workshop.  So we created a user's manual for it.  We took a considerable amount of time to design and write a quality manual to help users.  With the help of this manual, students and teachers have been able to train themselves.  This is the last thing we did for our project.

 

-What are the future plans for SchoolNet portal?

 

There can be many.  But it also depends on the interaction of users with the system as well as their feedback.  We can develop the system to offer new content types and also improve the visual design of the site.  But promoting portal among students and teachers is the first priority. Unfortunately lack of human resources and fund slow down our programs but we are highly-motivated about our portal project.

 

4-(c)REATIVITY (c)LUB

 

The creativity club is a subset of Schoolnet and is created to help with the interaction between high school students and schools. Its activities are done by members of Creativity Extension Association and it is the intermediary between high school students and the website is http://creativity.schoolnet.ir

 

The Creativity Association was formed in summer 2003 and the Creativity Club was formed in spring 2005.

 

Some of this club's plans are:


-Creativity day programs

-Second course about creativity in Rayamadreseh

-At least 2 workshops in high schools

-At least 1 match in SUT

 

Our principal aim is the extension of the concept of creativity.

 

Our programs included putting on the site subjects for students to read and to introduce them to various creativity definitions, identifying some of the obstacles, morality of creative people and different techniques in creativity. But these all were not enough. We needed a two way relationship and a more interactive one. So we prepared a competition and set up workshops at some schools.

 

The Program which we have now undertaken covers a series of workshops and summer courses for Creativity, which will include team-games. We are also preparing for a Big Competition on International Creativity Day!

 

When this project started, we had high expectations and hoped for a great deal more response from students. Sadly, we were disappointed. In spite of all the attractions of this subject and the attention from students to our workshops and specially team-games, it seems that our problem is with the structures of the electronic club.

 

 

5-SCHOOLNET EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM FOR SPRING 2007

 

The Schoolnet Educational Team has started learning courses for teachers who are members of Schoolnet since the year 2004. These courses are both face to face and online.  Now the courses are accessible for people all over the world freely!  The team tries to observe UNESCO standards for ICT in educating.

 

The courses which have been published until now are:

Web Designing, C++, Java, PHP, Robotics, Excel, Flash MX, Chemistry, Biology, Arabic, Net Support, Registry, Networking, Windows xp OS and Creativity. Courses such as 'Word 2003' , 'Power Point 2003' , 'Learning Management System ( LMS )

for teachers'  & 'Participating in Group Projects teaching' are future plans and will publish soon…

 

You can find the Time-Table for the spring course at:

http://raya.schoolnet.ir/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=227

 

______________________________________________________________________________

For comments on the SAF Newsletter, please contact the editor at:

info@science-arts.org

 

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