Category: collaboration

WEEC (Brisbane) and ATEA (Melbourne) Conferences

Degraveslane
Lunch after the ATEA conference with Maxine, Michelle and myself in DeGraves Lane.

I won’t be back for school after the mid-year break at Hawkesdale P12 College – not because I don’t want to be there, but because I will be attending the 6th World Environmental Education Conference in Brisbane. I attended the same conference four years ago, in Durban, South Africa, but this time I will be presenting with researchers from RMIT University, about School Community Learning Partnerships for Sustainability. The title of our workshop will be “Stories to Evaluate and Facilitate Learning for Change: Different Perspectives”. This will be an exciting opportunity to share the great education for sustainability work that we do at Hawkesdale.

Last week I attended the Australian Teacher Education Association conference in Melbourne, with Maxine Cooper (University of Ballarat), Abby Schultz and Michelle Iro (beginning teachers who did teaching rounds at Hawkesdale P12 College last year.) We presented on the Virtual Teaching Program that was supported by Country Education Project, UB and DEECD, that involved three pre-service teachers spending six weeks working with Hawkesdale teachers and students to learn new web2.0 tools and practise new ways of teaching using Elluminate (now called Blackboard Collaborate), Skype, Wallwisher, Google Docs and other innovative teaching and learning platforms.

ideasLAB

Following on from our presentation was the ideasLAB presentation from Brian Dixon and Richard Olsen. The ideasLAB is an innovative, advocacy and thought leadership company with high profile sponsors including Intel and DEECD. I was very interested in their approach to technology in education, although it does assume ubiquitous access to internet-connected devices. Although the data given showed increasing numbers of people in Australia and other countries having this access, it wasn’t explained as a proportion of the population. My concern is for equity – we may have already passed the point of environmentally sustainable computer and internet use, so again, communities in less developed countries will be excluded from the benefits. However, Brian and Richard presented a very interesting “big ideas” perspective on technology in education. Through two free, creative commons publications, ideasLAB provide the language and framework for moving towards contemporary teaching and learning that embraces the ‘collective knowledge constructive model’. Richard Olsen’s showcase publication, “Understanding Virtual Pedagogies for Contemporary Teaching and Learning” uses a theoretical model to enable us to better understand our student’s use of technology, with the main framework as follows:

1. Connecting (Archiving, Exposure to ideas, Seeking answers)

2. Communicating (Adding value, Responding, Presenting)

3. Collaborating (Remixing, Contrasting, Personal sense-making)

4. Learning Collectively (Curation, Synthesis, Collective meaning making)

International Energy Debate on Elluminate

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These are ten of the twelve Voicethreads produced by students from five schools across three countries during the International Energy Challenge. Although we have had a few difficulties, including that we are never all at school at the same time, students have persisted to produce some excellent Voicethreads explaining the advantages of twelve different energy sources. On Thursday, we are going to run a town meeting on Elluminate, where representatives of each group defend their energy choice against other group reps.  As many of the participants will be using Elluminate for the first time, please read the following code of conduct carefully:

  1. Greet people with an appropriate introduction, showing respect at all times.
  2. Always use full English ie no IM or txt language. This is a professional site and translators cannot translate IM.
  3. Logon with an appropriate username that does not reveal your full identity. Keep that user name for the entire session (eg. Britt from Hawkesdale)
  4. No spamming eg zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  5. Use appropriate language at all times – no swearing, slang, words of dubious nature or double meanings.
  6. No cyberbullying or put-downs etc
  7. Be sensitive to people from other cultures who may be present.
  8. Never reveal any personal information eg phone numbers, addressess etc
  9. Avoid using CAPS, as it means you are shouting!
  10. Share and use the whiteboard responsibly – don’t scribble or block out other people’s work.
  11. If in doubt, just don’t do it!

As Elluminate has a whiteboard available, I would like each team leader to send a Powerpoint slide with an image and title of their energy source and the names of the students in their group to my gmail address. Please do this ASAP, at least 24 hours before the session. I will then send you an email link to the session. To check that you can access Elluminate and have all the correct software, go to:

 http://www.elluminate.com/Support/?id=62

You can access the session from 30 minutes prior to the session starting. Log in with your first name and school at the following link:

 https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2007026&password=M.55EE2271153E937E4C0026B0A5011A

P.S. This session was recorded at:

https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2010-12-08.1440.M.CACBA240AB126A2A99E89AB0F0ED21.vcr&sid=2007026

Wind Energy – Willatook Wind Farm Open Day

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Image Source

This Thursday, 11th November, the company developing the Willatook Wind Farm, “Wind Prospect” will be holding a public exhibition and open day at the Hawkesdale Hall, between 2.00pm and 8.00pm. This will be a great opportunity for Luke and Dylan to find out more about their International Energy Project and answer the qurestions on the student Wind Energy Wiki. I suggest you write down a list of the questions you would like to ask and take a microphone and voice recorder to record an interview with representatives from Wind Prospect.

Your questions should help you to answer the following: How is the energy produced from the source?
What technologies are used in the production of the energy?
Where is the energy produced?
What are the advantages for your energy source in the following categories: Availability, economically, environmentally, ethically, safety, and socially? (These should reflect the perspective of each country.)

MelissaToiflOn Friday, we will have Melissa Toifl,  use Elluminate to present a slideshow about Biomass Energy – specifically, using algae as fuel. Melissa is our Scientist in Schools mentor and works with the CSIRO. I am hoping that Michelle Iro, our student teacher will facilitate this session. It will be Sean and Harvey who have the responsibility of asking questions to assist with their Biomass Project.

If you know of any other energy experts who could assist with this project, please leave a comment below. The International Energy Challenge involves Year 6, 7 and 8 students from five schools in three countries collaborating to produce a Voicethread to ‘sell’ their type of energy source. In early December, representatives of each group will debate the merits of each energy type on Elluminate.

Two International Science Projects

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The International Paper Airplane Challenge

To finish off term 3, year 6/7 students will be learning about the scientific method, while they research, make and fly paper planes. Students from three  other schools, in Philadelphia, New York and Tasmania, will be doing the same experiments and we will compare our results. Ms Catherine Laguna from Philadelphia, Dr Gerald Ardito, from PVC Middle School (NY) and Mr Deon Scanlon from St Aloysius Catholic College (Tas.) all teach 12-13 year old students science.

Students decide what defines the “best” paper plane for them – is it the one that flies the furtherest, most accurately, highest in the air or looks the best? They research different styles of planes and develop a hypothesis – a statement about a measurable factor of the plane (length, width, angle of wings, mass etc) that impacts on the best performance. They then write up the procedure accurately, so the experiment can be repeated anywhere, anytime, with the same results. Students choose three planes to trial and collect the data to graph and compare with international students.  Students will use The International Paper Airplane Challenge wiki to document their progress and post their videos and Google Docs to compare their results.

International Energy Challenge

This project, for year 6/7 and 8 students, will involve Terri Johnson (Bode Middle School, St, Joseph, Missouri) and Kristy Lathrop (Messa Middle School, Castle Rock, Colorado) and Gerardo Lazaro (Lima, Peru)  in a Siemens – STEM – Institute facilitated collaboration. We will use the Energy Challenge wiki, Google docs, Skype and other tools to allow communication with students across the Pacific Ocean.

Terri and Kristy have already done some great brainstorming and planning during their school holidays, with the ideal aim of the collaboration being that students will:

  • see different viewpoints
  • be able to suspend judgment
  • be able to make informed decisions
  • be risk takers
  • understand that “energy cannot be created or destroyed…” and that
  • there are costs/benefits to all technology decisions