44 schools showcase innovative ideas at fest

Rosyth School pupils explaining their project to a member of the public at the recent ExCEL Fest. The school's two-part programme comprises a news broadcast and a forum.
Rosyth School pupils explaining their project to a member of the public at the recent ExCEL Fest. The school's two-part programme comprises a news broadcast and a forum.ST PHOTO: DAVID TAY

ExCEL Fest's 60 featured exhibits attract 13,000 people this year

Forty-four schools put their best foot forward at the Ministry of Education's ExCEL Fest this year to show off innovative ideas their schools came up with.

The annual affair, held on March 30 and 31, allows schools to share their new or successful programmes with one another, and with the public. This year, it attracted about 13,000 people with its 60 featured exhibits. Here are three:

ROSYTH SCHOOL

Rosyth School pupils get a fortnightly news bulletin created and curated by pupil volunteers, with the help of their teachers.

It is a two-part programme comprising 60 Seconds of News, and the Rosyth Forum, which was inspired by The Straits Times Voices of Youth forum.

In 60 Seconds of News, pupils write and submit scripts on a topic of their choice, pupil Soh Jun Hee, 11, explained. Afterwards, they play news presenters and present their scripts on video. The clips are then edited using the iMovie app.

These clips are aired every fortnight at the school's Friday morning assembly, and other pupils can submit Forum letters related to them.

Pupil Leia Sim, 11, who was involved in both parts of the programme, said: "It was a very exciting and rare experience for me. Being recorded (for 60 Seconds of News) really helped boost my confidence."

BENDEMEER SECONDARY SCHOOL

Classes, such as on fencing, sand animation, horse-care management and sailing, have students at Bendemeer Secondary School looking forward to Fridays.

The classes, for those from the Normal (Technical) stream, come under a programme called NTcipate Life. They are geared towards helping students build confidence and skills, and develop an interest in various areas.

At ExCEL Fest, four of the school's lower secondary students from the Normal (Technical) stream demonstrated their prowess in handling drones, commanding them to perform backflips and side-flips with scripts they crafted.

A second programme, called Sequoia and designed for Normal (Academic) students, covers topics such as precision drumming and how to make cake pops.

CEDAR PRIMARY SCHOOL

The school held a camp last year during which pupils were taught how to code under the school's Creative and Inventive Thinking programme.

As a result, one particular prototype the pupils made stood out at ExCEL Fest: A cardboard cutout of a cat, with aluminium foil on various parts of its body. Crocodile clips were attached to the foil, and people were invited to touch various parts of the cat with another clip.

If the cat was happy with where it was touched, bubbly, upbeat music would play on the attached computer, but when one touched the cat on an area it is uncomfortable with, it would give a pained yowl.

Its creators are two Primary 5 pupils, Umaiza and Kulandaivel Udayar Senthilkumar Lakshayaa, both 11, who wanted to raise awareness of animal cruelty.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2017, with the headline '44 schools showcase innovative ideas at fest'. Print Edition | Subscribe