Further reflections on Earth Day April 22, 2009

The following was prepared at the request of Vanessa Middleton, who asked me to “provide a few lines describing the organization of the event and your role.  We have student writing about their experiences participating.    Oh, yes the link to the archive would be nice to include as well.”

I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the students write. Here’s what I did …

On April 22, 2009, Vance Stevens, computing instructor at the Arzanah campus, helped the Petroleum Institute celebrate Earth Day with many others from around the world via the affordances of modern digital synchronous communications technologies and social networking. 

In Vance’s words:

I responded to a call for suggestions for what PI faculty thought might help PI celebrate Earth Day by offering to coordinate participation in two online events staged by two different digital communities on the day that PI would be celebrating its Earth Day face-to-face at the Arzanah campus.  At one of these events I had been asked to moderate three hours of a conversation being sustained online for 24 straight hours by colleagues of Jay Cross, a well known writer on informal learning. The synchronous part of Corporate Learning Trends and Innovation: http://learntrends.ning.com/page/april-2009-event, was held in Elluminate, a robust online presentation tool with voice, web tour capabilities, and whiteboard. My part of the program was to stimulate conversations between members of Jay’s community and mine, Webhheads in Action, whom I had invited for the occasion.  WiA are a robust community of educators who have been exploring online collaboration for over ten years together. WiA recently mounted their own 3-day continually running international online event, the 3rd bi-annual Webheads in Action Online Convergence: http://wiaoc09.pbworks.com/.

I managed to schedule my time-slot for the LearnTrends event for the afternoon when PI would just be finishing its face-to-face Earth Day celebrations. I then put myself down to host an hour of the second online event being mounted on behalf of Earth Day by the webcasters at Earthbridges on http://earthbridges.wikispaces.com/Earth+Day+2009.  This event is staged each year online for the 24 GMT-hours of Earth Day, and classrooms and educators around the world participate by writing their proposed events in a wiki against any available time slots.  I was fortunate to find a time that coincided with my participation in the Learning Trends event.

So we had three communities meeting online in a voice enabled online space, with Earthbridges webcasters set to enter that space and stream whatever went on there to the world at large from http://earthbridges.net/live. It now remained only to invite students at the Petroleum Institute to come along and join the conversation. To help facilitate this aspect, Ms. Vanessa Middleton (Associate Head, Library) arranged for students to tune in from the Arzanah Library.  Thanks to her support, the students’ thoughts about our environment became a recorded part of both the LearnTrends and Earthbridges events.

A record of the event was made at http://advanceducation.blogspot.com/2009/04/learntrends-in-global-learn-day-april.html.  Here you can find pictures of the event taking place at the PI, the URLs for the recordings of the event, and screen shots of the response of community members, mainly on Twitter, as the event unfolded.

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