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Posts Tagged ‘environmental science’

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And from some unlikely places in the news today.

From Jamie Crawford, CNN: The White House is installing solar panels and a solar water heater, Energy Secretary Chu said today.  Apparently Carter had solar panels installed on the roof during, but Reagan took them down, and George W. used solar panels to heat the presidential pool.  Full story

And Popular Science reports that the “U.S. military Aims to Use 50 Percent Renewable Energy Within 10 Years,” citing cost and safety of solar energy, relative to the cost of transporting and protecting fossil fuels.

While the installation of solar panels on the roof of the White House is unlikely to kickstart any significant growth in the industry related to research and development, it’s a nice gesture.  They might as well install some.  The military commitment, on the other hand, does carry a lot more weight.  Hopefully it causes a ripple effect of influence on technology, availability, and cost, things that will eventually make their way into the civilian marketplace.

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I am presenting a session at a CAIS workshop tomorrow at the Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury, CT.

A colleague and I will be talking about the series of environmental debates that we do with our seventh grade classes.  In the grand scheme of things, our presentation (and the project itself) are fairly low-tech.  What makes it a 21st Century Skill-type project (and why we’re presenting) are the elements of collaboration, research, writing, and communicating effectively that the students are required to do.  The students also have to think on their feet, anticipate what their opponents will say, and have evidence ready in order to respond effectively.  The technology piece is there (Google Docs helps students share information with each other, and helps them keep track of drafts and revisions of their prepared remarks; the vast majority of the research they do will be online; and they use PowerPoint and YouTube to show graphs, images, video, statistics, etc, in support of their points), but the technology is integrated into the project.  In fact, we used to do this project with pens, paper, and BOOKS!  And I’d argue that it fostered these “21st Century Skills” even then, way back in the 20th Century.

Our talk is entitled Using Debate in the Middle School Classroom: Getting Everyone Involved.

More to follow.

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