Students Speak Out with Google Technology to Address Climate Change
November 27, 2006
When you were in school, you probably had limited interaction with students at other schools in your county, never mind students halfway around the world. You might have seen them on the soccer field a couple of times a year, met them at a regional math bee, or engaged in a pen pal program. Getting great young minds working together on one project all together, across geographies, used to be a rare occurrence and a logistical challenge. Technology is changing things, though, and educators can increasingly take advantage of the web to create interesting and interactive ways to reach their students, connect them to the world we live in and engage them in critical thinking exercises. The Global Warming Student Speakout, a joint effort over the last several weeks led by Google and the Global SchoolNet Foundation, has been one such opportunity.
Here’s how the Global Warming Student Speakout worked: We invited students from all over the world to brainstorm ideas on how to address the effects of climate change and share their ideas with each other. We provided them with Google Docs & Spreadsheets (docs.google.com) as a tool for capturing and building on their ideas – that way students could access their class’ list of ideas from any web connected computer, at home or at school, and keep their ideas saved in one place over time. Then more than 80 classes and science clubs from more than 20 countries around the world entered their best suggestions into one of several regional spreadsheets (also on the web on Google Docs & Spreadsheets).
From tax incentives to transportation changes, from suggesting new technologies to changing old behaviors, what’s apparent is the students’ enthusiasm for this global collaboration and their deep concern about the world we live in.
Harry Konnor Tetteh, a teacher at the Opuku Ware School in Kumasi, Ghana, told us, "This project has really made my students learn about the practices to prevent global warming. It was just fun brainstorming about these measures. The students were divided into groups of five and given a specific task for research. It was all positive!"
You can view all of the ideas – which came from classrooms as distant as Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Romania – at www.google.com/educators/globalwarmingideas. And we’re sharing the results of this project by publishing one of the students’ ideas in a full-page ad in today’s USA Today.
More details about the Global Warming Student Speakout project are available at www.google.com/educators/globalwarming.html. For educators who want to explore other ways to use technology to encourage collaboration and exploration and creativity in their classrooms, we have lesson ideas, videos and other resources for K-12 educators available on an ongoing basis at www.google.com/educators.