Monday, August 27, 2007

Our new project- Being Green

This week we are beginning a really exciting new project with a school in Andale Kansas. The opportunity arose through some funding that I received through the Knowledge Bank. My idea was to create a connection with a school overseas and to develop a problem based project that used the Intel online Thinking with Technology tools So I approached a fellow Intel Senior trainer, Dyane who is a curriculum consultant in Andale. After about three months of planning we have finally started with our Year 8 students here and Year 7 students at Andale.
We did our planning via Google Docs which was a fantastic way to collaborate and share . We have set up a wiki using PB wiki for both teachers and students.
Beginning with a viewing of An Inconvenient Truth and a skype interview with Dyane and our students, the main task is that students will work in cross country teams and will research an issue that has some effect on their community. They will compare and contrast the differences between our two rural communities and prepare an environmental action plan.
The task after viewing the movie was to reflect on it in the wiki on a shared page for each group.
This is what one of the students said.
After watching 'An Inconvenient Truth' I was surprised at how bad the problem actually is. I never realised it was that disastrous, especially the part about the melting polar ice caps. It was a very confronting film. The statistics shocked me. It made me want to take action.

I am looking forward to learning about my American group members. I want to know how they look and what their personalities are like.

Another two students wrote their response together
The other day we watched an Inconvenient Truth.

It was really surprising to see all of the changes that could occur to the world if global warming continues at the same rate as what it is now and. What surprised me a lot was the amount of people and animals that would be affected by this. For example the polar bears drowning was a fact that reached out to us. Also that whole country could be submerged by water and the central town of Wedderburn might just be on the beach.

Also the increasing temperature and less rainfall was a concern to us as Ashleigh lives on a farm. But we have run out of time so we have to go Bye.

Tomorrow our students are going to calculate their own ecological footprint and add that to the wiki. I think it's going to be a pretty exciting time for us all.


mmgleas3 said...

I really love the idea of students from different countries collaborating on a project, such as the "Being Green" project. As a future Spanish Education teacher in particular, this idea opens up so many doors. How wonderful would it be if I could have my future students work together with Spanish-speaking students from across the world? I want to teach my students not only to speak fluently, but also to be open to new ideas, new cultures, and new ways of thinking. In the past, this could usually only be achieved by sending students to study abroad, a costly experience that is often not practical at the high school level. However, if I could enable my students to interact with other Spanish students from across the world via new computer technology, my students would be able to get a similar experience without ever leaving their desks. I am not what I would call technologically savvy (this is my first blog ever!) however, I am very excited now to start learning about new applications such as wikis and skype that I can use in my classroom to enrich the learning experience of my students.

Anne said...

I am very excited for you as you are entering the world of education at a very dynamic time. With the explosion of Web2.0 and all the applications that support communication and collaboration you will find that the possibilities for your students will engage and excite them in new and interesting ways. The only thing better would be to have them visit the country and as you have already said that is not practical. So this is the next best thing. Good luck with your venture.

Julie Fenelon said...

"My idea was to create a connection with a school overseas and to develop a problem based project that used the Intel online Thinking with Technology tools"
I was excited to read this blog entry for two reasons: the first is that I myself am a Green and think it is incredibly important to be stressing to students the dangers of neglecting our responsibilites in terms of trying to keep our planet clean, and so on. The second reason is that as a future French teacher, who is looking for ways to incorporate exciting technology into my future classroom, I am happy to see students connecting with people overseas. Something like this could be extremely valuable in a foreign language classroom, giving students the opportunity to communicate or speak directly with native language speakers, in my case, French. I really like the idea of using technology like this to gain perspective about how people in other countries view and deal with the same issues that we ourselves deal with. I feel that this promotes a sort of connection with other peoples, and that this will allow the students to identify with a culture about which they might have thought they knew very little. To sum, your new project sounds like a terrific one.

Samantha Golden said...

This project sounds amazing! Junior high and high school students are at the age were they can think abstractly enough to think about long term affects of global warming. Seeing the video is a great way for students it see the big picture and get some real data based on research. The part I love most about this whole thing is that the student can see how their life affects the community in which they live but also the world. Calculating their ecological footprint can really show what kind of impact they are making on the environment and how they can reduce it. I can just tell from reading the responses of the students that this really hit home with them not only about how global changes could affect their lives but also by talking with students on the other side of the world they can see how it affected everyone. This is the ideal age for these kinds of realizations because students are beginning to concrete lifestyle habits that will follow them into adulthood.