Apr 18

If you are planning to integrate climate change / sustainability into your learning programme in Term 2, the WA made enviro reality TV show EcoHouse Challenge may be of interest. The website contains some engaging activities and with a strong online collaborative angle on tackling the issue of living sustainably. In conjunction with Australian Teachers Of Media (ATOM), Eco House Challenge has developed a comprehensive study guide for use in secondary schools throughout Australia. The Ecological Footprint Calculator for example calculates how much space on earth you need to continue living your current lifestyle.

Here’s the premise:

EHCCan we save the planet? To find out two ordinary Perth suburban households have been wired to monitor their every eco move.

The challenge starts with a bang. Without warning four environmental hotspots, energy, water, transport and waste removal are shut down until further notice. Over several weeks, while still living their normal lives, the families must radically reduce consumption and learn to live sustainably.

I watched a preview of the first couple of episodes at Scitech the other week and the show will most definitely be engaging on many levels for teachers and students alike. It is also impressive because it is the possibly the first mainstream reality TV show to be based around an environmental issue. The reactions, both positive and negative, of the Perth teenagers to the eco-challenges they face, are something I believe all students will associate with. Watching the kids and parents having to use wind-up chargers for their mobile phones was a highlight.

The EcoHouse Challenge runs for 6 weeks on Wednesdays starting April 11th at 7.30pm on SBS. According to The Age, as well as Eco house Challenge there will be a series from ABC TV called “Carbon Cops”.

PS: Using the carbon emissions widget at http://www.greeninternet.org/ this post would have cost 0.0634lbs of carbon to produce, but I’m on Synergy’s Green Power at an extra 3c per unit, so apparently my power comes from genuine, government approved renewable energy sources.

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Apr 01

Eduau LogoWikipedia is living proof that open-source, creative commons and web2.0 works. With vision our very own Education.AU is bringing Jimmy Wales is founder of Wikipedia, co-founder of Wikia and the Wikimedia Foundation. This self-organizing, self-correcting, ever-expanding, and thoroughly addictive encyclopedia of the future is an amazing resource for students and educators alike. I try to approach Wikipedia place in K-12 education optimistically, finding the guts to say yes, rather than approach with fear wanting to say no. Students, even primary school kids are amazed when you tell them that anyone can edit it. Triggered by a critical thinking response, they then approach the resource with a more skeptical, thoughtful eye. It will be great to have Jimmy Wales setting some valuable dialogue alight here in Australia - education.au should be congratulated for trying to engage the occupants of industrial age institutions to join, engage and participate in the discussion of our digital age. An EdNA group will be a central focus for this dialogue. Deanne Bullen sent in this information for interested digital chalkies:

Source: http://www.energylab.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/JimmyWales.jpgJimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, will be the keynote speaker for the first education.au National Seminar for 2007. The seminar will be held in four locations; Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne beginning the week of April 23. Jimmy’s seminar presentation will discuss critical issues such as:

  • The culture of the online community and the implications for education
  • The opportunities for collaborative learning in a globally connected world
  • What does it mean to be discerning in the online world
  • If content can be created and distributed cheaply, what is the future for entrepreneurs
  • Who has the knowledge in today’s global community
  • Creative Commons and the public good – what are the barriers to knowledge sharing.

To access information about the seminar online go here, to register for the seminar go here.

600Px-Wikipedia-Logo-1From the authors own Wikipedia page:

Wales’ father worked as a grocery store manager while his mother, Doris, and his grandmother, Erma, ran a small private school “in the tradition of the one-room schoolhouse” where Wales received his education. Most of the time there were four children in his grade so the school grouped the first, second, third, and fourth grade students together and the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students together.

Jimmy Wales was the first person listed in the “Scientists & Thinkers: the lives and ideas of the world’s most influential people” in Time magazine’s May 8, 2006 issue. Forbes magazine, in naming him one of the Top 25 Web Celebrities for 2007, says of Wales: “only on the Web could an encyclopedia geek become a superstar.”

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