This is discussion about The STEM of Biomass Fuel.
The partnership between Days Creek and McKinstry seems to be a potentially viable and impactful relationship, and the expertise from McKinstry can definitely be utilized to enhance student learning. Can you elaborate a bit more on how STEM professionals from McKinstry will directly engage with students on a long-term, part-time basis, as outlined in the welcome letter?
Thank you, Cameo, for your thoughtful question. The drive between McKinstry in Portland and our schools in Days Creek is about 3.5 hours. Though live "guest speaker" opportunities will exist, we plan to use a real-time web video-conferencing system with a desktop feature such as WebEx for live interaction between STEM professionals and students in the classroom. Each STEM unit will start with an introduction presented by the classroom teacher and the McKinstry partner(s) either together in-person or with the STEM expert present by video-conference on the classroom interactive whiteboard. With a desktop sharing feature, the McKinstry expert can display (from their own computer desktop) diagrams, applications, spreadsheets, images - anything that is needed to teach the lesson or answer student questions. Our STEM units expect an in-person or web-based presence by the McKinstry expert at least once a week. Additionally, each STEM unit will be built on an online course magagement system such as CourseSites by Blackboard. Within the system, course participants (students, classroom teacher, and McKinstry experts) will communicate through a messaging feature - not-unlike we are doing now on Changemakers.com. The CourseSite system also allows teachers and McKinstry experts to collaborate online to develop the lessons and upload course resources. Message threads and video-conferences will be archived on the CourseSite system for student reference. I suppose I could say the online course management system and the video-conferencing add more T to the STEM integration!
I don't recall reading these details in the submission, and I would highly recommend adding this level of detail in the activities section! Sounds like an exciting project and a great use of technology!
Indeed, Cameo, those clarifying details were not in the first version of my submission - but thanks to your suggestion, they were in an edited version about 20 minutes after I received your feedback! I hopped on "edit" right away. To level the playing field a bit in our remote rural district, my staff and I have used Moodle and now CourseSites by Blackboard to develop other hybrid e-learning course platforms for the past two years. It is second nature for us to visualize that paradigm when we discuss "developing a course." However, by leaving those details out of my original description, some of the most powerful components could not have been known by outside readers.
I thank you again (and most sincerely!) for helping me provide a more robust picture of our proposal.