Project 3: Communicating in the Electronic Mode
Macpherson has been a school which has been very active in the implementation of technology into various areas of its curriculum. The school is now in a position to begin to offer students instruction in one area of technology education, specifically that of communications. Macpherson has been part of the HRD IMIT project with Vaters and St. Theresa for the past two years, and has much of the equipment required to undertake a project in the area of graphic and electronic communications. A key component to offering this project would be high speed access to the Internet. In addition to the role a high speed link to the Internet would play in the implementation of this course, it would have equal, if not more value to all aspect of our curriculum. Presently, Macpherson has a fully networked computer lab, 9 classrooms networked, and a networked administrative section of the building. In September the school will be fully networked and the one outstanding item remaining is that available via Cable Atlantic's fibre/coaxial broadband cable.
This project is a logical step in its curriculum plans which Macpherson has submitted to the Avalon Consolidated School Board this school year (95-96). Over the past 4-5 years the school has been a leader at this level in the implementation of technology into the curriculum of the students. The leadership shown by Mr. Blair Lister in this area is something noted by the Director of Curriculum at the Department of Education and his staff. Macpherson intends that the implementation of this project in the new school year would see it expanded the following year into both Grade 7 and Grade 8. In view of Mr. Lister's participation in the development of the provincial learning outcomes, this project would equal if not exceed these curriculum objectives. We should point out that this project has been developed with the cooperation and/or participation of both the Science Coordinator (Ms. D. Griffins) at the Avalon Consolidated School Board, and Mr. Lyon cooper at the Curriculum Office at the DOE.
In a project which has its basic foundation the electronic communication medium, there can hardly be a more significant role for the Internet connections. The introduction of this project will require an additional expenditure by the school of approximat ely $3500. The project will require the purchase of a Digital Science Zoom camera, Video Phone, several of our computers will need to be upgraded with Video System expansion cards, software and several smaller items. Our School Board has indicated that in addition to any computers the school might receive as a result of the HRD project, they would be installing 15 additional computers primarily for use in the area of technology education.
Learning Outcomes (Internet application only)
We have not yet developed an evaluation form which we intend having distributed for completion by our students. This year the school formed a business partnership with Martek Incorporated and we are hoping that as a result of this course the students will be able to assist this company in a real-life situation. The company has already indicated that it would be interested in having the students assist in such areas as designing and producing various flyers, assisting with home page construction, etc. Obviously we are excited about the real-life application into the business world of such a project.
Macpherson's participation in the HRD project with Vaters and St. Theresa positions our school to utilize its present involvement in Math, English and Science to further augment and integrate these subjects from resources on the Internet. The school has also made application for participation in video conferencing in the Global Schoolhouse project using the CU-SeeMe. This is a powerful demonstration of how the Internet creates global and cultural awareness, augments current event classes, and motivates students to write. The acceptance of our project as a STELLAR School would see this participation as a further expansion into other areas of the curriculum. Macpherson has just (May 96) teamed up with a school in Bristol England and this coming school year we will begin exchanging information. The format is presently begin worked upon by both schools.
We believe that while community access is not as very defined or publicized yet, it is a crucial part of the educational and community building use of the Internet. Macpherson believes there are advantages to providing community access to school resources, accordingly, we are presently planning to offer its parents a 'mini course' in not just computers, but also the Math and English software being used by their students. In addition, this project would also allow us to familiarize them with the Internet. Needless to say STELLAR School status would also allow Macpherson to offer access via dialup accounts to schools systems. Homework assignments archives, schedules, calendars, lunch menus, etc. are just some of the things that can be made publicly available.