On 14th June, representatives from four schools travelled from across the UK to the Embassy of Japan in London, to celebrate their successes in the Japan Webpage Contest for Schools.
As well as receiving their prizes and trophies from the contest judges, each school gave a demonstration of their website before an audience of around 80, including many representatives from educational and Japanese organisations.
We were honoured to be joined by four teachers from the Overall Winner, Ballyclare Primary School, who travelled all the way from Northern Ireland to attend the event. Karen Irwin and Simon McLean, coordinators of Ballyclare’s entry, presented their inspiring website and partnership with Tomei Primary School in Japan.
"We were very pleased to have been shortlisted, and totally delighted to have won the overall first prize," said Ballyclare Primary School Principal, Kim Cowden. "We are very fortunate to have a lot of ICT experience and the two teachers involved were able to do all the web designing and create the finished link with input from some very talented pupils. We are very proud of this achievement and commend our two staff, Mrs Irwin and Mr McLean for their outstanding work. The award will give us great satisfaction and will build enthusiasm in the future for our Japanese link. We have lots of plans to develop this and we hope this will be of interest to our neighbouring schools in Northern Ireland and also those in the UK as a whole. We thank the Japan Foundation for their generosity and to our partners in the school link, the Daiwa Foundation and the British Council. Without all of their support, we would be unable to sustain such a meaningful and exciting project for our school community."
South Wolds Community School, one of the joint Runners-Up, was represented by Japanese teacher Anne Rajakumar and Year 11 student James Forsythe. James gave a wonderful demonstration of the school’s extensive Japanese website, including year group pages, a video-tour of the school in Japanese by Year 10 students, and Japanese language resources and games. James also spoke about how much he had enjoyed the school’s trips to Japan.
Class teacher Athole McLauchlan and Primary 6 pupil Adam Stanley travelled down from Glasgow to collect their Runner-Up prize and Public Vote Award on behalf of Bearsden Primary School. Adam eloquently demonstrated his class’s site, Godzilla’s Den, and said “The website was exciting and interesting to make and everyone in the class did at least something for it. I really liked making the block prints on Hokusai’s Great Wave, and the other artwork like manga and anime”.
Japanese teacher Dan Thomson and IT technician Jamie Lee collected the Design Prize Award on behalf of Tile Hill Wood School and Language College, for their stylish website. Jamie explained that the scrolling carousel navigation had been inspired by conveyor belt sushi restaurants! Dan spoke about the school’s projects with Japanese pop star Suga Shikao and even gave the audience a sneak preview of their latest collaboration.
The audience was also thoroughly entertained by two thank you videos showing pupils from Ballyclare and Bearsden celebrating their awards and even speaking in Japanese. Although these pupils couldn’t be at the event in person, their presence and their contributions to the websites were felt very strongly, and made the evening even more special.
After an enlightening question and answer session, all school representatives and guests enjoyed a reception in the Embassy’s wonderful ballroom, and the chance to make new contacts and take a closer look at all the webpages.
Takashi Ishida, Director General of the Japan Foundation London said “We were delighted to receive 32 entries to the contest, and deeply impressed at the range and quality of the webpages, many of which did not exist before the contest began. I would like to congratulate and thank all of the schools that participated.”
Thank you to the Embassy of Japan for hosting and co-organising the Presentation Evening and Award Ceremony, and to all of our contest partner organisations, judges, school representatives and guests.
Click here to see all webpage entries and gain inspiration for Japan-related projects that you can try!
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