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Author Archives: Viviene Tuckerman

About Viviene Tuckerman

ICT mentor helping teachers integrate ICT across KLAs. I love Edmodo, Minecraft and Web 2.0 tools.

Preparing our children for a better world

Preparing our children for a better world

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Wordle-Logo Sustainability-2.


Preparing our children for a better world

Chat iconMost teachers accept that Climate Change is a reality.  All around us we see extreme and unpredictable weather events occurring and the devastation they bring to our people and fellow creatures on our beautiful planet.  I was born in the 1950’s and never thought I would live to see the day when so many iconic animals would be on the verge of extinction.  I rue the day that the only place future generations will see Elephants, Rhinos and Lions will be in a zoo!  Yet it seems as I write that this may well come to pass unless we take positive action to protect our environment on a global level.

As educators I believe the most critical issue of our time is sustainability.  It is our duty to help prepare our students for what may well be the fight of their lives to save the planet and our precious wildlife.  The human population is now over 7 billion worldwide and we all need shelter and food.  Food security will become an increasingly pressing issue, as will the availability of clean water for our crops and consumption.  Realistically, we cannot ignore the fact that fundamental resources are becoming increasingly scarce.  Hence we must arm our students with the knowledge and passion to live in a sustainable and less consumer driven way.

THUMBS-UPIncreasingly in Australian schools I see teachers setting up vegetable gardens and chicken runs, in order to foster in our children an understanding of how to produce their own food in a sustainable and humane way.  We also need to make our students aware of where the food in the big supermarket chains come from and how they are produced.  More than ever before our mainstream food is full of pesticides and is genetically engineered.  The meat we eat comes from unsustainable factory farms, which are not only inhumane but also highly polluting.  When we talk about carbon and pollution, our children and we ourselves, should be aware that livestock production in it’s current numbers is one of the biggest contributors to destroying our planet.

I note a growing awareness in my global social media connections, that to eat meat on such a massive scale as we have become accustomed to, is simply ecocide.  For example, did you know that every half kilo of beef we produce takes 6,810 litres of water, 3 kilos of grain (plus irrigation), 16.4 kilos of roughage for feed (plus irrigation), and an addition 70 litres of water for drinking and processing!  This is staggering and we need to start to seriously question our diet in the light of these figures, or else face the consequence of being unable to feed our burgeoning population.  Here is an excellent National Geographic post with an interactive diagram of just how much water different types of livestock consume:

National Geographic is a very credible source information and this particular site is full of useful information for teaching sustainability issues.  The following infographic makes it clear that reducing the animal protein we consume will make an enormous contribution to the health of the planet.

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Plastic is another terrible polluter and is destroying our oceans, which are the very lungs of the Earth itself. Birds, marine mammals and fish are full of plastic.  Creatures are often caught in plastic garbage and die slow, torturous deaths.  This is a sad fact, but in reality it is an easy problem to fix.  Don’t use plastic bags and don’t use plastic bottles for your water.  When I was a child we took string bags to the shops for our groceries and water never came in plastic bottles.  We used glass bottles for our drinks.

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.As teachers we are in a unique position to help the next generation to protect our planet and we become like a pebble dropped in the ocean, with the ripples of awareness spreading far and wide.  

We teach so many students our potential sphere of influence is enormous. Our access to social media makes it possible now to spread awareness all over the globe and connect to others we can exchange information with instantaneously.

Twitter has become an exceptional tool for spreading news and finding out facts the mainstream media do not cover.  Hence teaching students to use social media and twitter properly is also vital.  Just consider some of the recent uprisings and environmental disasters.

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The first news of these came out on Twitter;  we have never had such a powerful tool to connect globally and unite against corporate greed and keep Earth and it’s creatures alive and healthy.

My plea to educators is to make the effort to connect with not only other teachers, but also to groups who are dedicated to saving our planet for future generations. We can take advantage of technology such as Skype to have live sessions with scientists and conservationists to further assist our students to cope with the challenging times ahead of them.

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===> WE ALL need to learn about “Critical-Thinking” and “Proactive-Thinking” to understand THE importance of “Sustainability“!!! <===

Image Sources:  

1.  http://thepurebar.com/blog/2011/02/15/9-easy-ways-to-use-less-plastic-infographic/

2.  http://inhabitat.com/veganism-and-the-environment-infographic-shows-the-environmental-impact-of-raising-animals-for-food/

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Using Social Media in Education to Effect Positive Global Change

Using Social Media in Education to Effect Positive Global Change

There is no doubt we now live in challenging times on Planet Earth.  Our burgeoning human population is seven billion and rising.  Resources are diminishing and our iconic species are disappearing at an exponential rate. We do not have to stand by and watch our beautiful planet destroyed and trashed.  In addition to reducing our own environmental footprint and teaching our students to do the same, we now have the power of social media at our fingertips to help raise awareness of important issues right around the world.  This beautiful image appearing in the Arctic Ice before the Sea Shepherd has become a powerful symbol and rallying flag for the cause of our wonderful marine mammals:

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When environmental disasters occur and there are social uprisings of oppressed peoples of the world, no longer do we have to rely on mainstream media, which are often in the pocket of powerful political interests.

We now have Twitter, which in my view is one of the most powerful tools for social change and raising global awareness we have ever had!  Through my own proactive participation on Twitter, I have been able to take part in positive social movements for change in unison with those of like mind.  

One of my most passionate concerns is for our increasingly fragile ecosystem.  Through Twitter I have witnessed the power of the people to shine a light on ecocide and to pressure governments and organisations to change destructive practices.  WE are able to connect with those of like mind and have the power to directly contact news providers and celebrities who have great power and massive followings.  Twitter is an immediate real time global conversation.

Just recently the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, and the captivity of highly sentient orcas in marine parks has triggered global outrage.  Twitter is playing an enormous part in bringing the plight of these wonderful creatures to the attention of the people of the world.  Groups have been able to organize and participate in a new phenomenon known as Tweetstorms, where many people act in union to make a topic trend around the world. For example the topic #tweet4taiji trended around the world for several days, and resulted in worldwide mainstream media coverage. We all have power when united on social media.  Every individual counts.

OUR students will inherit many difficult political, social and environmental problems, the severity of which we can only imagine.  We are truly derelict in our duty if we fail to empower our students to raise their own voices in the fight for our precious planet and the generations to come.  I intend to initiate a project involving my students researching, debating, creating digital projects and then using Twitter to raise awareness about the shark cull my own government has embarked on in Western Australia.  Using Twitter will enable my students to not only access an authentic global audience, but also to effect real change.  Other schools will also be doing similar projects.

Images and symbols are important in global Twitter campaigns and give students and people a strong focus.  Twitpic can be used to add images to our posts and we can also add links to youtube videos, online flyers, Thinglinks, Padlets and other digital media created by students.  Platforms like TweetDeck and HootSuite enable users to organise their twitter stream into topics and schedule their messages.  We need to teach our students how to use these features.

Never has a generation needed a voice more than now.  We are on the cusp of a major paradigm shift in the way we as humans view and treat our fellow creatures and our environment.  Our students need to become the stewards of the earth not it’s conquerors or exploiters.

===> WE need to teach them how to use social media like twitter safely, responsibly and powerfully to help protect and nurture our planet. <===

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help-books-aj-svgajash01Useful and related links:

 

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The Power of Social Media in Education

As a teacher in Australia, I first started my journey into social media at a conference where I was introduced to Edmodo, a global network for teachers and students.  Through Edmodo I was able to break down the walls of our classroom and enable my students to communicate with students and their teachers all over the world. One of the most exciting things we did was join a multi-global group with classes from the U.S, China, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.  We discussed important issues, found out what we had in common and shared our projects with an authentic audience.  The students loved it, and particularly loved the interaction and the feedback they would get from teachers and students in other parts of the world.  Our school is in an isolated rural area, and this connection was extremely exciting and helpful in promoting global understanding for my students.  Giving students the ability to connect on educational social media is just as important as making connections with other teachers is for me.

My next step into the world of social media for educators was to join twitter.  As an older teacher, this was a big step for me, but it was a very positive one.  Through twitter I was able to connect in real time with teachers from all parts of the world and have fascinating and informative discussions on an extraordinary range of educational topics.  I now regularly participate in weekly discussions on twitter with other teachers.  I have gained tremendous knowledge and amassed terrific resources and connections through twitter.  I cannot recommend it enough to other teachers.

Yammer is another network I regularly participate in with other teachers from the Department of Education & Communities in NSW.  Yammer has become an essential part of my professional development and also provides enormous inspiration to me as a teacher.  I am able to ask a question on any technical or educational topic I could ever imagine, and almost immediately I receive wonderful advice, resources and support from other wonderful, collaborative teachers.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine such a treasure trove of educational support than I receive from my network on Yammer!

Blogging is another medium my students and I have used to connect with other classes online. My class kept their own blogs and posted their links to a multi-class group on Edmodo and received tremendous feedback, again learning so much about what goes on in other classrooms beyond the walls of our school.

Our students live in a world where social media is the norm, in terms of connecting with others. They need to practice and learn safe digital citizenship under our care so they can navigate the internet without danger.  It is our duty of care to give them a  safe online space where they can master these skills in preparation for both their present and future.  We are negligent if we do not provide this opportunity and model the necessary skills and ethics they need to use online.

The game of Minecraft, which can be likened to digital lego in a virtual world, can also be a shared community for students.  I setup a server so that my classes could all enter a Minecraft world together and help each other to build.  We named this unit of work Respectful Relationships, and the students put together their own Charter of Rights for all to follow.  This was an extremely engaging and exciting experience for the students.  The most rewarding aspect of the unit was that it was the students who peer taught each other collaboratively.  It was a truly wholistic, student centred learning activity.

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It was wonderful to see students teaching each other how to build.  In addition, some of my students joined in a weekly session on a minecraft server with students and teachers from other schools.  We were all able to learn a great deal, problem solve and have fun doing so.

Social media comes in many forms now, but has become an essential part of my teaching practice and professional learning.  My professional learning network has grown exponentially since my journey began in 2010.

Viviene Tuckerman

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Uncategorized