Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Earth Day Megaconference

Earth Day Megaconference (April 22nd, 2020) 
This is an unique opportunity for students (aged 10+), teachers and parents to learn more about current global issues and topics that can be used as professional development opportunities, student research,  and as a stimuli to learn more from global experts in their fields.  Please register below to be sent details on how to participate live on the day.  Come and celebrate World Earth Day with us! 

 Schedule for April 22nd , 2020

Time : 5:30pm Taipei, 10:30am London, 5:30am New York City
Speaker: James MacDiarmidAustralia. 
Title: Ecocenteric Space

Time : 7:45pm Taipei, 12:45pm London, 7:45am New York City
Speaker:  Ben Callison, Borneo Orangutan Survival, UK. 
Title: Human impact on Borneo Orangutans and what we can do to help reduce negative human impact on the orangutan population.

Time: 8:30pm Taipei, 1:30pm London, 8:30am New York City
Speaker:  Robin Elliott, Finger Lakes ReUse, USA, 
Title: National Leadership in “striving to strive to enhance Community, Economy and the Environment through material re-use”

Time: 9:15pm Taipei, 2:15pm London, 9:15am New York City
Speakers: Affiliated High School Chung-Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
Ocean Justice - Mock Moot Court
Title: Students from Affiliated High School Chung-Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan will role play as moot court judges, prosecutors and ocean animals. They will assume the roles of various ocean species who represent and advocate for their own survival rights. The "judges and prosecutors" will provide legal assistance to the "ocean species" to help them make their arguments to protest against human destruction of ocean and other natural habitats.


Time :10:00pm Taipei, 3:00pm London, 10:00am New York City
Speakers: Holland High School, Holland, New York, United States
Affiliated High School Chung-Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
Clean Energy Debate
Title: Students from the schools will debate the following proposition:
“The world should move to solely clean, non-nuclear, renewable energy sources by 2030”

Time: 11:00pm Taipei, 4:00pm London, 11:00am New York City
Speakers: Eco-Justice Poetry, USA.
Shifting Climate Crisis Culture
Title: Poet and editor Melissa Tuckey will read selected poems from "Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice
Poetry Anthology"
and will discuss the role of poets in shifting culture
about climate crisis. She will share strategies for writing poems and
lead participants in an eco-justice writing exercise.


Time : 12:00am Taipei, 5:00pm London, 12:00pm New York City
Speaker: Steve Hall CEO, Society for Underwater Technology, UK.
Title: Human impact on Ocean systems, the present, and the future.

Time : 1:00am Taipei, 6:00pm London, 1:00pm New York City
Speaker: Dr Thomas Hirasuna, USA.
Title: A Moment of Truth–The Climate Reality Project
Dr. Thomas Hirasuna, from The Climate Reality Project, will present “A Moment of Truth”. Recent weather events clearly demonstrate that we must change our behavior and attitudes. New developments in technology give hope that we can change. The key question to consider now is, “Will we change?” Some of Climate Reality’s recent efforts and ways to get involved now will also be highlighted. Tom works as a technology consultant and is a proponent of novel and sustainable technologies. He has industrial experience in applied research, process/product development and manufacturing. His academic training is in chemical engineering and food/biological sciences, with degrees from MIT, Columbia and Cornell. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in New York State.


Time : 2:00am Taipei, 7:00pm London, 2:00pm New York City
Speaker: Words Into Deeds, Gertrude Noden, Exec Director, USA.
Title: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Video Conferencing for Teaching from Home

With over 15 years experience in using various video conference (VC) platforms in education. I have written my MSc on the effective use of VC technology in primary & secondary education (K-12), consulted individual schools, districts, non-profit organisations, global content providers (from both the private and public sector), JANET (JISC) UK and at one time our Department for Education on broadband specifications for VC technology, chaired the UK VC partnerships group and most recently trained and employed teachers in London to deliver weekly English classes to some of the most rural parts of the world. So now I would like to share some good practice and offer free support to government organisations in:
  •  What technologies to use and why.
  •  Teacher training - how to effectively deliver a lesson over VC.
  •  How to successfully implement VC technology across a school, or multiple sites and regions.
The advice below would greatly help to deliver classes to children who are no longer in school due to unforeseen school closures.
Please note the proprietary options offered by the huge technology giants are not always the best video conference solutions (quality wise nor functionality wise).  Please tread very carefully before deploying these.

Platforms that meet interoperbility standards (H323 standards) and companies specialising in delivering video conference solutions to the education sector, eg. the V-scene platform and the Zoom platform, should be considered as viable educational options. Both platforms have a "free" option for schools and a more advanced paid for option.

Here are some guidelines to consider:

1) Who is your audience (age of pupils and class size)?
The age of pupils will determine the delivery of your class, its length and content. Whether or not you use a webinar function or not?  Large groups of younger children may opt for a short webinar without the interaction. With smaller groups of older pupils it is more feasible to allow a fully interactive video and audio connection. The class size determines how easy or not it will be to manage in coming video or audio from multiple sites. All this needs consideration and some planning beforehand.

2) What technology to use?
Using a webinar function with younger children for a short 20 minute booster class may work really well.  Whereas, with older pupils in a smaller group allowing the interaction with a web cam is more feasible.  The platform used to deliver the classes must be secure, encrypted and interoperable.  The teacher's computer being used to deliver the classes needs to have a camera and microphone with good internet connectivity (ideally via physical cable to a modem).

3) Training.
Teachers should to be trained to deliver lessons over video conference.  For most this is a very scary thought. This isn't something that teachers will be able to do well without being given some additional support. Training is needed to build confidence with  both the pedagogy and the technology.

4) Safeguarding.
The platform you use to deliver your classes is key. Not only for ease of use but for security. It is worth remembering that your teachers will be sat at their homes, video conferencing into the homes of their pupils, which can bring about its own unforeseen issues.  So in this event once again, teachers must be trained to mute mics, switch off video, etc.

This is an incredibly trying time and full of new norms needing to be implemented effectively, robustly and quickly, though hopefully only on a temporary basis.
Please feel free to contact me about any of the above.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Earth Day Megaconference 2020

What: Clean Energy Debate(s)
When: April 20, 21, 22, or 23
How: Video conference 
Who: Student ages approximately 17&18

Please note: At least one of these debates will be scheduled on April 22 as part of "Earth Day Megaconference!" - a 12 hour stretch of environmentally focused live video conference programming coordinated by Video Conference for Global Learning in collaboration with many partners, including Internet2, Zoom, Vscene and many wonderful individuals in the field! (more info about "Earth Day Megaconference" soon)
Building on previous work of those involved in the Global Alternative Energy Debate, we are offering coordination for, and moderation of, the third iteration of the “Clean Energy Debates.” Our goal is to promote discussion and education about the Global Climate Disruption impact of our energy source choices. For the debate, one school will be assigned the affirmative and the other school will be assigned the negative on the following proposal:

The world should move to solely clean, non-nuclear, renewable energy sources by 2030”
While we suggest the following “agenda” for a debate lasting approx. 70 minutes, paired teachers may seek to mutually agree to modifications. (but should do so in advance of the date of their debate and in consultation with debate moderator RenĂ© Carver)
  • 5 minutes – audio video verification, welcome, introductions, recap of etiquette guidelines
  • 10 minutes – School-A school - affirmative school - makes its ‘constructive’ speech that presents research-based arguments
  • 10 minutes – School-B - negative school - makes its ‘constructive’ speech that presents research-based arguments
  • 15 minutes -  lively ‘cross-examination’ period, between constructive speeches, where schools ask each other questions about their research and respective positions
  • 10 minutes – School-A makes its ‘rebuttal’ speech that advances a strategically relevant portion of its arguments while responding to the other team’s answers.
  • 10 minutes – School-B makes its ‘rebuttal’ speech that advances a strategically relevant portion of its arguments while responding to the other team’s answers.
  • 10 minutes – convivial closing.  Open discussion. Appreciative remarks from both sides.

Our goal is for students to educate themselves as much as possible about:
  • energy consumption levels, current and projected
  • methods of energy consumption reduction
  • “start to finish” environmental impacts of energy sources; solar, tidal, geothermal, wind, heat exchange systems, coal, nuclear, gas, oil, hydro-power
  • Current and projected production levels for each energy source
  • Micro and macro options for all of those
  • Energy storage potential, micro and macro scale

1) We encourage each side to prepare well enough to sway the argument to their point of view. We have not constructed this in a manner to evaluate or declare a “winner” of the debate. The level of “winning” is determined by the level of learning about required action to ensure a viable future. To that end, we encourage paired schools to share their research resources prior to the debate as a means of promoting learning and discussion.

2) Plan to orchestrate/participate in a test call with your assigned partner class and the moderator!

3) Organizers will do their best to match registrants with partner classes, and will create those matches as sites register to participate.

Pleaser register at this link: https://tinyurl.com/cleanenergy2020 or send email to René Carver, newyorkdl@gmail.com

As further background, plus a note of appreciation and attribution, we used ideas from the Cornell University Speech and Debate Society’s website regarding “Policy Debates”

Policy debate, also called Cross Examination debate, is one of the oldest formats of collegiate debate practiced in the U.S. ....... Each debater speaks twice: a ‘constructive’ speech that presents research-based arguments and a ‘rebuttal’ speech that advances a strategically relevant portion of those arguments while responding to the other team’s answers. Each debate round also involves a lively ‘cross-examination’ period, between constructive speeches, where debaters ask each other questions. The affirmative team typically recommends a plan of action that proves by example that the resolution is true. The negative team will often try to prove that the affirmative proposal is unworkable and disadvantageous. Both affirmative and negative teams will also sometimes engage in broader discussions about the paradigms and norms that inform the understanding of the resolution. In these cases, arguments will be introduced that make use of philosophy, communications theory, and cultural studies. Policy debate involves advance strategy, cultivates critical thinking skills, and trains students to make use of cutting-edge academic theory in a wide variety of disciplines.