Users of Blackboard Collaborate
Water is fast becoming the world’s most important strategic resource, its pivotal role in the health and environmental sciences, and the critical role it plays to cities from North Dakota, to New Orleans, to Dhaka, Bangladesh, provides an infinite buffet for education of all things STEM. The project has received much positive feedback and the encouragement is truly uplifting, but building the capacity of the project is my dream.
A tool like Blackboard Collaborate is a critical component toward the successful implementation of this K-12 STEM project, allowing the development of teams within schools/districts from as many regions as possible.
Our Water Quality Project serves as proof of concept for something that could be a model for a larger STEM initiative that aims to inspire future scientists. I think that an initiative such as this has great potential to grow across the country, already I have a young teacher 400 miles away who has begun the project on her watershed, (now part of the flooding of the rivers of the Missouri River watershed). I think the center of it would be district team-building to foster STEM Ed; administrators having the power to affect change, and educators having the power to implement change. Blackboard Collaborate would allow the collaborating teams from anywhere to meet to clarify goals, formulate content, and to articulate the pedagogical approaches to examine their own unique watersheds.
District teams should focus on examining past or current problems within their local ecosystems and integrating interdisciplinary content that is grounded in National or State standards. It would be project-based, and place-based. Because it is place-based, there is a need for a tool like Blackboard Collaborate to connect the teaching groups.
Finally, the students can share their projects on Blackboard Collaborate, creating a national/international forum to discuss the state of our watersheds, bringing into focus the need to monitor and maintain the health of those watersheds. Climate change will make this imperative, and Blackboard Collaborate could be integral to bringing it to the forefront of education.