We had 12 teachers join us for a day of sharing lesson ideas, assessment techniques, and ways to integrate technology into the teaching of the Physical Activity and Health curriculums. The day was a mix of stand and deliver, Q and A and hands-on sharing of activities.
Our grade 6 teachers are in the planning stages for a unit on the Boreal Forest. The guiding question for the study is currently:
How is the Boreal Forest related to the health of the planet?
Students will work through two sections of the study:
1. A mathematical exploration of large numbers, connected to the amount of oxygen needed by humans, and the amount of oxygen produced by trees.
2. A research-based examination of the current situation in Canada's Boreal Forest, approached through various animal species in the region.
You can access the planning documents by clicking here.
We're really excited about our upcoming Mayoral Forum.
The event will be an open webcast allowing anyone with an internet connection to watch - though in particular we're targeting it to Calgary classrooms.
In particular, one of things that's got a group of our grade 9 boys really interested is being the technology crew for the event. We are experimenting with LiveStream as the way to broadcast the event.
We've discovered it is a powerful tool because it allows for multi-camera broadcasting. Livestream lets you log onto one account from multiple sources and then mix the camera feed in real time. We'll be broadcasting our event here.
Our plan is to hook 4 video cameras up to 4 student laptops. We will have 1 student running each one of these camera on tripods. The feeds from these from these camera are then controlled by one main studio computer - which will be controlled by another grade 9 student. This student will be responsible for mixing the live feed that is broadcast our across the web.
As our tech crew was playing around with Livestream this morning, they have discovered how to broadcast graphics, ticker tapes and name tags during the event. This means a couple more students are now needed to orchestrate the use of graphics during the broadcast. Other students will be responsible for reading and responding to the chat window as the questions come in from other schools. Other students are taking responsibility for the sound system and audio needs.
Overall, it looks like we'll have about 12-15 students as part of a tech crew that's responsible for broadcasting this exciting event.
As mentioned before, the Calgary Science School is partnering with Youth Can Vote 2010 to host a panel discussion involving Mayoral Candidates for the upcoming election.
We will be using Ustream to broadcast this event. We imagine that schools will have Ustream blocked by their IT department. If teachers are interested in participating, they should contact their IT department and inquiry about the possibility of unblocking Ustream the day of the event.
We are planning a test broadcast the week before the event (Sept 13-17). This will allow us to test the technical requirements on our end, as well as any classrooms interested in participating.
Details for this event are still being finalized (such as the actual date and time) and we would like to collect contact information to allow us to share details with interested teachers.
If you are interesting in having your classroom participate in this event, please fill out the following link. This will allow us to share unfolding information about the event:
We welcome comments and feedback about this event as we continue to work out the details.
Looking forward to it!!
The laptop program at the Calgary Science School is now entering it's 5th year.
Our 1:1 program started in the fall of 2006 with 100 grade 6 students. This first year of the program was made possible through a Personalized Learning Initiative grant through the Alberta Government.
In the 2007/2008 school year the program expanded to grade 6 and 7 and the in fall of 2008 we moved to a full 1:1 program - all 600 students in grades 4-9 were provided with Apple Macbooks. After the first year of the program, we no longer had access to grant capital and had to internally cover the budget for the technology.
Over the course of the first three years of the program, the Galileo Educational Network conducted research on the impact of our laptop program on student engagement and learning. This research has recently been released and the result has been a number of news stories over the last week.
Overall, the outcome of the research is simple:
Laptops have an impact on student learning when combined with effective teaching practices.
Here's a selection of the news stories about our laptop program and the research conducted so far:
This video comes from the University of Calgary's media department:
Schools pave way for digital future - Globe and Mail, Aug 18, 2010
Researchers like laptops in Calgary classroom - CBC, Aug 26, 2010
Technology aiding learning, researchers say - Calgary Sun Aug 29, 2010
Laptops can help: Study - Metro News, Aug 27, 2010
U of C researchers probe whether tech-savvy students have an advantage - Global Toronto, Aug 27th. (Video news story)
We are very open about discussing our laptop program and sharing our 5 year journey with interested teachers and schools.
If you would like to speak with us about our laptop program, or any of the elements of our school, please contact us. You can comment below with contact information or email our Outreach Coordinator, Neil Stephenson, at neil.s@calgaryscienceschool (dot) com.
We look forward to comments, questions and further discussion about this program.