Project 1: Two Islands
Experiences gained from a recent teacher exchanged between Tuakau College in New Zealand and Valmont Academy will be extended by the use of this project to further the learning experience for both teachers and students. It quickly became apparent that, despite the fact that both schools are located in rural communities, there is a wide gap in knowledge about the respective countries, with particular respect to wildlife, forestry, geology and culture in general.
The project will attempt to narrow the knowledge gap through the exchange of information via the Internet with the final result being a unit of study which can be used in schools in both countries to foster understanding of each other's way of life and environment.
Current topics in Jr. High Science include Characteristics of Living Things, Environmental Interactions, Diversity of Living Things, Environmental Quality, Changes in the Land, The Earth's Crust and Oceanography. These areas are becoming more and more important in the education program of both countries and an exchange of information on wildlife biology, geology and forestry and the resulting impacts of the environment on each will certainly lead to an awareness that these are becoming global rather than local issues.
Information exchange on the way of life, geography, history and culture in general will lead to a broader world view of the planet we call home.
Through written and graphic presentations on relevant topics, students will transmit and receive information through the web leading to a much greater relevance and understanding of the knowledge explosion the Internet offers.
Through the use of word processors, scanners, search engines, digital cameras, etc., students will become much more aware of the wide resource out there beyond the school walls. Looking at similar topics, successes and problems, students from both countries will develop an appreciation of how small the world really is.
Current research resources are limited to an expanding but still inadequate library resource with limited access and relevance. Despite the schools efforts to computerize, the limited access and time demanding download times of the current Internet connection means that for most students the Internet (and its infinite resources) is only a vague and troublesome underutilized resource. With the provision of newer computers (already acquired) and a vastly improved connection, the project will finally allow students in our rural school (and in New Zealand) to become true cybercitizens in an increasingly technological world.
It is planned to use the knowledge of resource people from the government departments of forestry/agrifoods and mines/energy as both resource persons and mentors to the project utilizing their knowledge and data to supplement material from the students.
The final product, a unit of curriculum which can be used not only by the respective countries involved in the development but also by anyone else through its inclusion as a downloadable package on the web will be the final test of weather the project has succeeded. A more intangible result will be the respect and understanding of each other gained through the sharing of knowledge in a manner which until a few years ago was unheard of and which will go a long way towards the development of true global citizens as we approach the millenium.