RIS report Issue 28, February 2014 - www.romeinternationalschool.it
â€œWays of knowingâ€?
Plus: New Money? Bitcoin explained RIS students head to NY for Model United Nations Volunteering in Lesotho for CAS Grade 5 inquire into migration
Cover image created by Flaminia, Grade 3Y, using the Paper app.
Rome International School
Model United Nations
“Ways of Knowing” 16 - 19 Oct 2014 The central theme of the next IB Regional Conference, to be held in Rome from 16 to 19 October, is “Ways of Knowing”. This is an event that will welcome more than a thousand participants – teachers, administrators and experts coming from 84 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It will be an occasion to push forward the level of awareness and prestige of the schools adopting the IBO programmes, through an exploration of the learning (and questions) that new subjects and new approaches to a theme as-old-as-man have made possible. It is also an opportunity for us to begin reflecting on a subject we are passionate about, while we wait for the debate, in a few monthsʼ time, on the state of the art. Surely today we know a great deal about “how” we learn. We know that there are neuro-chemical and socioemotional bases, as well as memory and organization. We have discovered that the learning process passes through imitation, assimilation, comprehension and lastly use and application, involving different areas and functions of our brain at different times. We distinguish between abstract and practical knowledge and these categories also help us to organize our work, to evaluate what is actually rather than potentially produced. We have also learned to appreciate the fundamental difference that exists, in terms of effective learning, between the mere transmission of knowledge and discovery. This has determined a profound change in the very approach to teaching, in which facilitation of the process of independent discovery by the student is very much more important than a method that simply “spouts” information, a method inevitably limited by the teacherʼs own knowledge, which is finite. Put another way, you canʼt teach what you donʼt know. The key word in the cognitive process is therefore “learning” and this requires the active participation of the learner to go beyond the confines of the class and the curriculum. Obviously, with the impassioned guidance of a new kind of teacher, who besides competence in the subject, must also be a facilitator, carefully supplying solid bases of reference, and preventing the learner from getting side-tracked by overly personal interests. IVANO BORAGINE HEAD OF SCHOOL
RIS students are taking part in the Na1onal High School Model United Na1ons, the world’s largest UN simula1on for high school students that will be held in New York this March.
ver the last few months, RIS s t u d e n t s h a v e h a d a n exci8ng 8me preparing for their ﬁrst Model United Na8ons, in collabora8on with Consules, an NGO that helps to coordinate the programme in Italy .
This conference is aFended every year by about 3,000 students from all over the world. Par8cipants engage in a dynamic debate on all the topics currently on the UN agenda, from human rights to m i l i t a r y c o n ﬂ i c t s u p t o t h e protec8on of the environment. Each student takes on the role of the ambassador of a UN member state a n d n e g o 8 a t e s w i t h o t h e r colleagues to reach an agreement on crucial issues for our future.
Lorenzo De Paola, Federico Tata (Grade 11) Economic and Financial Commi+ee (ECOFIN) Alfredo Coppola (Grade 12) Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Commi+ee (SOCHUM) Saverio Smorto (Grade 12), Gianluca Paradiso (Grade 11) During the ﬁrst two sessions the students received their topics and were given an introduc8on on how to write posi8on papers. They were briefed on the United Na8ons Millennium Goals for 2015 and had prac8ce sessions on "English for I n t e r n a 1 o n a l A ﬀ a i r s a n d Diplomacy".
Our students are delegates of the Republic of Seychelles and have been assigned to the following CommiFees:
Everyone enjoyed Professor Toll's session on 'Introducing a Surprising fact' and being trained on how to deliver a speech in two minutes!
Legal Commi+ee Carlo Alberto Campolo, Ernesto Solis Del Rio (Grade 12)
D u r i n g t h e n e x t w e e k s , o u r delegates will be preparing and ﬁnalising their Posi8on Papers and their Opening Speeches.
Special Poli0cal and Decoloniza0on Commi+ee (SPECPOL) Sonia Vallocchia (Grade 12), Wendy Afoekelu (Grade 11) Disarmament and Interna0onal Security (DISEC)
Students will depart for the conference in New York on Monday 3 March. We wish them all success! LAILA EL SHEIKH MUN COORDINATOR
io t c e
Imagining the future
Nelson Mandela Mandela is a hero who has changed the world with his words and actions. BY
admire Nelson Mandela because he is one of very few people who stood for what he believed to be right even though he had a lot of obstacles preven0ng him from accomplishing his goals.
Mandela is a man to be admired not only because of his struggle for equality but also for his love of educa8on and ability to encourage forgiveness. He sought to advance reconcilia8on in South Africa, a country that had been divided thanks to apartheid. In fact, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, he “shared the Prize with the man who had released him, President Frederik Willem de Klerk, because they had agreed on a peaceful transi8on to majority rule.”(1) Un8l his death in December 2013, he remained a devoted champion for peace and social jus8ce in his own na8on and around the world.
EHAB KHIZARAN GRADE 12
Did you know? Mandela had a passion for boxing. As he states in his biography: “I did not like the violence of boxing. I was more interested in the science of it - how you move your body to protect yourself, how you use a plan to attack and retreat, and how you pace yourself through a fight." His membership of the African National Congress meant that he was kept on the US terror watch list until 2008! His inspiration while he was in prison, was William Ernest Henley's "Invictus", a poem about never giving up.
Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/06/ world/africa/nelson-mandelasurprising-facts/
(1) hFp://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/ laureates/1993/mandela-‐facts.html
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
It is always tempting to view space (and particularly space travel) as a form of metaphor or symbol. One definition of science fiction for example is that it is really a narrative of our own times, a representation of current issues and conflicts simply cast in a symbolic futuristic ‘other’. A device like this allows us to explore social problems (and fears) at a ‘safe distance’ from our own actual lives. However, in reality space travel is much more about imagining the future than finding responses to the direct present. In space exploration the ability to see new possibilities ahead, to imagine and to ‘dare’ seem to be the most important attributes. These things take courage. During the relatively recent landing on Mars, NASA talked about its ‘seven minutes of terror’(1), as they tried a complicated multi-million dollar procedure for the very first time. The issue is that the more new techniques you try, the more danger there is of failure…but also of course of discovery. The latest daring attempt to ‘awaken’ the sleeping satellite Rosetta and attach it to a passing comet(2) is a startling example of science and engineering...but also of the imagination. Perhaps this is really what space represents for us, a physical manifestation of possibility, of risk-taking and of pursuing the ‘impossible’. As Stuart Clark in the Guardian newspaper puts it, ‘In space, simple is always the preferred option but in the quest for better science, risks have to be taken...and sometimes fortune favours the bold.’ (3) In the field of education this also seems true. It would be easy to always stick to the same approaches and techniques that we are familiar and comfortable with. However, for teachers and students equally, sometimes there is a need to take a risk. New concepts in learning are sometimes met with reserve, if not hostility blended learning, independent learning, flipped classrooms, experiential learning, service learning, the virtual classroom - all of these present new exciting possibilities for education although not of course without risk. But if our aim is to create bold, independent and enquiring students then it has to be a risk worth taking. Perhaps we can expand our ‘learning universe’ by trying new techniques and strategies, by exploring the possibilities offered beyond the classroom environment. Then maybe we can ask students at the end of the school day not just ‘what did you learn today’ but also ‘what did you discover today’’. (1) See the video at http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/videos/ index.cfm?v=49
Nelson Mandela, 1918 - 2013
(2) for full detaisl see the Europaen Space Agencies webpage at hFp:// www.esa.int/Our_Ac8vi8es/Space_Science/RoseFa (3) hFp://www.theguardian.com/science/across-‐the-‐universe/2012/aug/03/ mars-‐curiosity-‐rover-‐nasa-‐gale-‐crater
WILLIAM IRELAND DEPUTY HEAD MIDDLE & HIGH PRINCIPAL
Volunteering in Lesotho for the Themba Project BY KAMO
uring the ﬁrst weeks of December as
paying for all of his health care and
I was preparing to leave for Lesotho,
a small country surrounded by South
To start with, Mr. Mohua introduced me to
Africa, Ms. Brunet, my CAS teacher spoke to
a group of single mothers. These are
me about a development project in
women who formed a group, helping to
Mafeteng, Ha Ramohapi. This project is an ini8a8ve of the Themba Development
clean schoolyards without pay. They also try to establish small ini8a8ves to raise
Project which is a registered humanitarian-‐
funds for themselves and their families, as
aid and development organisa8on that
all of them are unemployed. I then met a
works at the grass roots level to assist
group of older women who do the same
chronically poor people in South Africa and
type of work at churchyards. I was then
Lesotho. Themba basically works to
taken to the ﬁeld where another group was
empower residents to take charge of their
plan8ng trees whose seeds had been
own development, addressing poverty,
provided by the government. That is where
food security, skills development, and
I spent most of my 8me. I was also
e d u c a 8 o n t h r o u g h c o m m u n i t y l e d development approaches. 1
introduced to a couple of other groups who basically did all they could to ensure their
My par8cipa8on in the project helped me
self-‐development in order to escape from
to learn more about the project whilst
poverty and I was happy to have worked
carrying out service ac8vi8es to help
with them as well.
consolidate my CAS hours, an essen8al
I was touched by how people in less
requirement of the IB Diploma Programme.
developed countries live. However, I was
My arrival there was a very warm one
impressed by their coopera8on in ﬁgh8ng
thanks to Mr Mohau, who is the counselor
poverty and even though unemployed,
at Ha Ramohapi. He gathered around all the
t h a n k s t o t h e h e l p f r o m T h e m b a
people he works with for a very welcoming introduc8on ceremony. He introduced the
Development Project volunteers, they created projects to support themselves
small and varied work groups that had to
ﬁnancially. I am happy I spent 8me with
perform diﬀerent ac8vi8es as part of the
them and I would have loved to do more.
development program. Amongst these
RIS has been suppor8ng the Themba
groups was a very sick old man in his
Development Project over the last few
seven8es, who lived in a household of ten
years, through fundraising events helds at
people, none of which were employed. The
school. Learn more about this organisa8on
community of Ha Mohapi has been doing
v i s i t : h F p : / / w w w . f r e e w e b s . c o m /
its best to support this family ﬁnancially.
thembaproject/. Dona8ons can also be
However, I realized that their help wasn’t enough. That is when my mother and I
made at: canadahelps.org.
decided that we would help the family by
MOLELLE GRADE 12
My arrival and introduction
The old man
Women cleaning school yards
Me planting a tree!
Explorers This term Grade 3’s Unit of Inquiry is about explora8on, with the central idea: Explora0on can lead to discoveries, opportuni0es and new understandings. The lines of inquiry are: the reasons for explora8on; what we learn through explora8on; methods of naviga8on and the consequences of explora8on.
Migration n Grade 5 we are studying a unit about migra8on! We have been interviewing people we know in and out of school that may have migrated. We have also spoken about slavery and The Mayﬂower ship which carried pilgrims. We also had to keep a diary where we had to pretend to be a girl/boy whose boat has just sunk and we had to choose ﬁve
special things with which we could survive. We watched the Pocahontas cartoon ﬁlm because we wanted to see the diﬀerence between this and the real history story. The ac8vi8es in class and the interviews we are doing help us to understand the diﬀerent reasons why people migrate. BY
MARIA CHIMENTI GRADE 5M
We all counted down with great excitement for the visit of Italian astronaut Mr Paolo Nespoli that took place on Thursday 13 February. Mr Nespoli treated our students to a talk on the importance of explora8on and the reasons for going into space. Some of our students also par8cipated in a demonstra8on of what it feels like to take oﬀ in a space shuFle! Mr Nespoli’s inspiring talk served to underline how each of us are explorers in our own way. Grade 3 were also very lucky to enjoy a presenta8on from another famous speaker who discussed his life’s work in underwater explora8on. Mr Alberto Luca Recchi, is a former RIS parent and a talented journalist, photographer and documentary ﬁlm maker. He spoke about the diﬀerent layers of the sea, the features of the ocean ﬂoor and the eﬀects of water pressure. He showed the students instruments used to make underwater explora8on safer, such as his special computer watch that helps him to ﬁnd his way and a special glove made of
On the move
metal, which he wears to protect himself when he is taking photographs of sharks. For his visit to Grade 3 he dressed in his diving equipment and tried to make the room as dark as the lower layers of the ocean. Much remains to be learned from exploring the
rade 5 have been following lines of inquiry into people “On the Move." What do you do if you live in a country in a civil war and your wife is pregnant and you need to escape? Well my dad Mr Lana, a human rights lawyer, helped one migrant family. He talked to us about their story when he came into our class wearing his work robes. My dad told us about the situa8on on migra8on and refugees from the past un8l now. He said to us how he helped them and the importance of refugees and also about the diﬀerence between refugees and migrants.
The week before, we had watched a short ﬁlm about the family he helped. It showed my dad speaking at the Interna8onal Court of Human Rights -‐ he won the case. The class and Mr Crase were very happy to listen to him.
mysteries of the deep. Covering more than 70 percent of the planet's surface the ocean is the lifeblood of Earth, containing more than 97% of the planet’s water, driving weather, regula8ng temperature, and ul8mately suppor8ng all living organisms. Yet for all of our reliance on the ocean, 95% of this realm remains unexplored. Aoer reﬂec8ng on the visit, students shared their ‘wonderings’ that included: If so much of the ocean is unexplored, how do we know that the Mariana Trench is the deepest part? Why are sharks’ teeth bigger than whales’ teeth? Why does water pressure not eﬀect ﬁsh? We thank Mr Nespoli and Mr Recchi for helping Grade 3 to understand more about their Unit of Inquiry on explora8on.
PATRICIA MARTIN-‐SMITH EARLY YEARS / ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL BY
ALESSANDRO LANA GRADE 5C
Grade 3’s exploration tools o showcase the children's learning and achievements with the iPads this year, I have created a blog where the children's artwork, posters, writing, musical compositions and films will be presented. The blog will be updated regularly and I hope that the children and their parents will be able to use the blog to celebrate their achievements but also to reflect on their learning, and see examples of other work which may inspire them. A comment option will be added and I welcome you to leave a comment about the work which will then be
shown to the children, encouraging and motivating them further. Students have also created pieces of art using their the app Pic Collage, which reflects their learning on undersea exploration. Enjoy some of the highlights below! The link is: http://romeinternationalschool.tumblr.com. Happy browsing!
GRADE 3 TEACHER / iPAD COORDINATOR
Recipe for success! The enrolment period for the new academic year is
The appalling weather meant that my son had to remain at school
underway allowing me to witness loving and concerned parents make one of the most important decisions for their children: choosing the right school for them. For the youngest of our children, this is the beginning of a rich and rewarding learning journey.
until I could work out a way to reach him. When, after hours of chaotic travelling at a snail’s pace, I finally arrived, I found that the children were really happy, drawing, playing, and reading. There seemed to be a feeling of calm, peaceful contentment surrounding them.
It has been fascinating to observe parents carefully examining various classes and aspects of school life, looking for ‘signals’, anything that would confirm that they are ‘doing the right thing’. In their eyes I can see the same questions and thoughts that were going through my mind a few years ago, when I was choosing a school for my own child. I had researched endlessly, looked at league tables, learned about teaching methods, made sure that the library was properly stocked, that technology and labs provisions were in place. I had covered all the angles, checked and re checked everything that I felt was important to his education. In short, I was sure I had made the best choice possible for my little one. It was only when torrential rain hit town with a vengeance, making travelling impossible, that I finally understood the importance of such a decision.
The ingredients that make RIS unique are an ideal mix of international values in a nurturing environment:
- It begins by encouraging the natural ability that children have for creating and for seeing things from diﬀerent perspectives; - It develops by growing their appreciation for beautiful literature, music and art; - It grows by engaging young minds, helping them to be inquisitive and curious learners.
The sense of being gently directed in their studies, the warm embrace of concern of the people in the school, who are themselves parents, before being teachers and educators, make this environment a special one where children succeed and are happy to learn. BY
FORMER RIS PARENT
New Money: Cryptocurrencies When talking about cryptocurrencies we are discussing a medium of exchange that is mainly used on the web to complete the online trading of goods and services. You’ve probably heard about one of the most popular types of digital currency - bitcoins. But what are they and what is so special about them? BY
CARLO ALBERTO CAMPOLO GRADE 12
Cryptography is used to control the crea8on and transfer of money.(1) Just like normal currencies (such as the Euro and the US Dollar), the value of this ‘virtual money’ can rise or fall depending on the frequency with which these coins are exchanged over the internet. In the last few years, this whole system has gained enormous aFen8on through the internet. A lot of people think that they can become instantly rich just by owning some of these coins and using them instead of real money since the value is higher. Bitcoin is the most commonly used between the various types of cryptocurrencies. It was introduced in 2009 and it works on a 'peer-‐to-‐peer' basis, this means that is directly shared and transmiFed through PCs. Other examples of cryptomoney are LiteCoins (Ł), Peercoins (Ᵽ) and Primecoins (Ψ). All of these have a diﬀerent value and a total limited amount of units circula8ng the web. You can obtain this money either by buying it with real money on certain currency exchange sites or by 'mining' them. Mining bitcoins is the correct term to use when someone is earning digital money using a speciﬁc free program that you can download from the internet that exploits the parallel processing capabili8es of computers' GPUs (graphics card processors) to calculate extremely complicated algorithms. Ooen processes like these can take up to ﬁve years of con8nuous calcula8ons. In fact some communi8es of people have created 'pools' that simplify the process by connec8ng more computers together forming a network, which helps to lighten the load. In this way the algorithmic packages are divided into smaller parts, speeding up the comple8on. A whole pack of calcula8ons has a net value of 25 bitcoins (that is then shared if within a pool). The pros of mining cryptocurrencies are quite obvious: you earn money just by clicking on a ‘start mining’ buFon on your computer screen. All you need is a computer that you are happy is connected 24/7 to the internet and always on. The more packages you compile the more money you earn. On the other hand, these programs may shorten your hardware life span since they keep them constantly under stress and at very high temperature. The
chips inside your computer may deteriorate and not work properly aoer some 8me. An alterna8ve to this is by buying and using some Bitcoin eruptors that emulate your graphics card and therefore reduce damage to any internal parts. You can connect them through a USB port and you’re done! They will automa8cally start to mine for you. During the past months the value of bitcoins have increased from €250 to €474 (current value today, 15 February). This is also one of the main reasons why many companies may hijack their own computers to mine coins. An example of this is the famous company E-‐Sports Entertainment that was accused of hijacking 14,000 computers to obtain bitcoins; the case was seFled in November with the organisa8on ﬁned US$1 million (hFp:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin#Unauthorized_mining). But how is this all possible? This system relies on the privacy provided by an open source project called the 'Tor Network'. This is a free sooware that helps defend you against traﬃc analysis, prevents your current posi8on being localised and blocks the tracking of your browsing data. In other words, by using this program, all of what the user looks up on the internet remains anonymous making it almost impossible to have a privacy viola8on. Bitcoin con8nues to receive a lot of praise from security and technology experts because it is a unique system that opens doors to possibili8es. At the same 8me, cri8cs challenge it because it can also open the door to illegal ac8vi8es. However, this digital currency also has long-‐term poten8al which can posi8vely aﬀect ﬁnancial systems, individuals and businesses, all of whom rely on the internet for daily transac8ons and informa8on. Sources: Cryptography: hFp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptography Bitcoin: hFp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin Bitcoin eruptor diagram: hFp://bitcoinexaminer.org/asic-‐miner-‐ infographic/ Bitcoin value converter (in real 8me): hFp://preev.com/btc/eur
RIS report is a monthly publication by Rome International School. Registration Registrazione n. 476 del 31/12/10 Direttore Responsabile Maria Corbi Editor-in-Chief Tania Gobena firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic design Tania Gobena Rome International School Via Panama 25 00198, Rome +39 06 84482650/1 email@example.com www.romeinternationalschool.it facebook.com/romeinternationalschool
Look out for the highlights from astronaut Paolo Nespoliâ€™s talk to RIS students in the March edition of the RIS report. Visit our website to browse through the photo gallery.