International Eco-Conversations: Carbon Emissions

Last week we had five sessions over two days of our Eco-Conversations project. Dowagiac Middle School connected to five different schools to discuss carbon emissions.  Here are some notes I wrote during the sessions:

The presentation from Westcliff High School for Girls included a play on “The Weakest Link”. Five students were interviewed about how they got to school. After their carbon footprints were revealed, the student with the highest carbon footprint was pronounced “the weakest link. Goodbye!” Their students also interviewed our students as part of a school energy use survey.

The Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys is one of the only schools in their area to receive a “green flag” status for schools in their area. We learned a lot about what they are doing for the environment in their school and community. This connection we had trouble with the audio. At the end, they couldn’t hear us, but we could hear them. Some students ran quickly to get a whiteboard and they improvised. It still worked out very well. Even in the Q&A section, students were focused on the environment issues. They asked questions such as, Do you have ethanol for your cars? How far do you drive to school? Do you have all big cars in America or is that just a British myth?

Next we connected to Rosslyn Jr. High, in Edmonton Alberta. Students asked questions like, What is your local government doing to reduce carbon emissions? And, what is the cost of gas in your area?

St. Peters Church of England School. This group is working on putting a recycling plan in place in the school. As it happens, they have a group called the Global Action Plan coming to their school for a waste audit the day of the conference. Their presentation included the work they are doing on waste products and also about the waste audit. There are about 10 students in the EcoGroup school club.

When talking to the coordinators and technicians, we learned that there are over 200 schools in the UK who want to do projects like this. I think there is a big untapped market for collaborative projects in the UK. We just need to figure out how to find each other. I believe that sites like Collaborations Around the Planet, Global Leap, and Janet Collaborate are important tools for finding collaborative partners in the UK. The trick is, if at all possible, figure out the time zone difference for your desired connection ahead of time so you can ask for reasonable timed connections of your potential partners. When we emailed for partners, I listed both times, EST & UK.

One issue with this project was the preparation for the presentations. I did hear from concern about the amount of preparation work. I hear this a lot from our middle schools, and wish we could design more projects that are easier to implement for tight curriculum schedules for middle and high school students. However I did receive this reaction from the lead teacher for the project:

My students absolutely LOVED IT. You know they really liked it when they are telling other teachers and students about it!!! Talking to another country is by far the best VC out there!! When you have students like those here in Dowagiac who have maybe been as far away as Detroit or Chicago (many not that far) they are fascinated with the accents, language usage…….very cool, I would talk to another country any time it was available!

Finally, thanks to Google Alerts, I ran across this great write-up from the  Dowagiac Daily News.

A great experience for one of our RUS grant schools, showing the power of videoconferencing in rural schools.


About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
This entry was posted in Collaborations, International VCs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to International Eco-Conversations: Carbon Emissions

  1. Great.! the necessity to be green from school days will definitly mould a bunch of eco aware citizens for the future..

    A cool green blog u have in here..!

Comments are closed.