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30 May 2017
World telecommunication and information society day is held each year and gives us a chance to consider the impact of modern technology on our lives.
We marked this day with activities in our schools, each taking a different approach to their exploration of telecommunications and technology.
Academic Manager Ian Holmes gave a plenary discussing topics of data security and how data can impact our lives. You can read his full blog post here. In addition to this, the school arranged a number of excursions to London museums to help them explore these ideas further.
The school held a Big Data (Knowledge for a Global Community) Fair, which tied in with World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. Students presented information on findings from large data sets, including census data, corpora, and spending data. This gave students a chance to think about how data can be used to make predictions and discoveries and also gave them an opportunity to learn about the customs and habits of the UK population. The presentations were a chance for students to exercise their spoken performance skills and think critically about the data they were presented with, drawing conclusions and presenting relevant information to the group.
Regent Scanbrit in Bournemouth:
Teachers at Regent Scanbrit in Bournemouth asked students to hold a debate showing the advantages and disadvantages of your boss being able to contact you outside of working hours. Students had to consider the way that advances in information technology have led to a '24 hour society' and how this contributes to society and productivity but may also lead to individuals feeling overworked or feeling more stress as a result.
Students looked at news and media in their Knowledge for a Global Community classes and discussed how we find and interpret facts and information. With this in mind, students worked on their communication skills by producing their own podcasts.
Academic Manager Alex and the Upper Intermediate class found out more about UN World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and looked at the impact of the growing presence of fake news on society. Does the internet bridge the digital divide or open the floodgates to hoaxes and deceit from unreliable sources? The BBC's reputation as a credible and sound source framed the lesson as the class focused in on the main headlines in the one-minute world news. Students discussed the ubiquitous nature of fake news, from the satirical press and outright invented news to political bias in the mediat. One of our students Cordula from Switzerland came up with a good way of defining the term "clickbait": 'it's a bit like cheese for a mouse, only it's a hyperlink to click - it gets our attention!' So, what are the best ways of spotting a fake? A video from Common Sense Media showed us how in five steps - the group decided they were pretty good fact-checkers after all. For the next 48 hours, the class tracked the news articles they clicked on, read and shared and then used wordclouds as a visual representation of where most of their news really came from.
To mark World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, Regent Cambridge spent a week focusing on the idea of "Big Data for Big Impact". They linked the theme to a variety of activities throughout the week, including Knowledge for a Global Community lessons, morning plenaries, a film discussion club and a spirited debate on the impact of the internet on our society.
Ideally, Big Data should be able to improve our living and working conditions by analysing the incredible amount of information that can be processed using today's technology, but there's a balance: how much of our data are we willing to share? As Bill Gates said: "The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow." With so many different perspectives from students, staff and teachers, it was an intellectually stimulating week full of insightful ideas.
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