Tagged: collaboration

Wind Energy – Willatook Wind Farm Open Day

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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

Looking for Collaborative Science Projects?

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The Centre for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education has a great list of collaborative science projects for all ages. Topics include Human Genetics, the Global Sun Temperature Project, Water (“The International Boiling Point Project”, “Bucket Buddies” and “Take a Dip”) and measuring the circumference of the earth. CIESE sponsors and designs interdisciplinary projects that teachers throughout the world can use to enhance their curriculum through compelling use of the Internet. They focus on projects that utilize real time data available from the Internet, and collaborative projects that utilize the Internet’s potential to reach peers and experts around the world.

They also have a great list of “Ask an Expert” sites, where you can go to ask real scienctists questions about their work. The internet has really broadened student horizons and given them opportunities to discover life, work and play outside the classroom!

Blogs, wikis and Nings!

I’ve past another couple of checkpoints on my web 2.0 journey this week – using an ipod recorder, creating a “Wordle”, uploading a podcast to “podOmatic” and creating my own “Ning”. “What’s a Ning?” you sing…

First I have to get my head around what blogs, wikis and nings all have in common:

1. They are all user-created websites with unique URL addresses

2. Hosts (such as Blogger, Edublogs, Wikispaces and Ning) provide the space and customizable themes that you can choose – options include colours, logos, fonts etc.

3. You use your email address and/or a username and password to access the sites, which can notify you of comments via email

4. You can select privacy options – public (accessible to everyone); by-invitation-only; or sign up as a member.

5. All allow feedback or collaboration to a certain extent (although blogs can be blocked from comments?)

6. All can have one or many authors (although one user of a wiki or ning will defeat the purpose)

How are they different?

1. Blogs and Nings (not wikis?) – you can usually add ‘widgets’ – boxes in the sidebars that accommodate gadgets such as calenders, maps, photos, time and date clocks etc.

2. Comments from visitors are invisible in Blogs until selected – in wikis and nings they are part of the discussion and collaboration.

3. Wikis can be kind of ‘messy’ – the idea of everyone collaborating on a project, anytime, means that it is constantly evolving, perhaps with different people having slightly different goals? 

4. Nings are a forum for discussion and it is easier to share word documents and other files, not supported by edublogs? 

5. Wikis and Nings – Any member can create groups, send messages publicly or privately and start discussions.