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What is the journey?

In an attempt to develop a meaningful context for the work  students do in Digital Technology  and how it pertains to their lives (life-long independent learning (communication, self-determination and self-management), resilience (adaptation to new ideas, barriers and problem solving), a sense of interdependence and values (confident, connected, actively involved)  and to develop skills concepts and understandings in an applied environment, we chose to use our new school systems in a determined way to influence a global issue.  
Transition from ICT PD toward blended e-learning. 
The intent of this work is to model the use of our new digital environment (global playroom), particularly using Adobe Design Premium, MS Office and the Google cloud environment, applied in the context of the senior ICT and DGT courses (2788 and 2789 DTP and 2.41 Dynamically linked data).  Elements of the approach have been extended across the Intermediate department in their Digital Literacy Programme (Digital Literacy diagram) and Information Literacy in Y9&10 Social Studies (Information Literacy Diagram).  This process is being formalised in senior History classes and it is expected that students engaged in any research in the senior school will use these tools in a paper-free process.  In addition to this a matrix of expectations for the application of digital tools skills and concepts across all classes and years will be used as a guide in 2013 (Digital Literacy overview diagram).
The Context: Yasuni ITT Story: 
This is an opportunity to model the seamless global integrated invisible immediate digital information and communications network with our students.  The Yasuni ITT is a project to leave 850M barrels of oil in the ground and to preserve one of the most diverse and untouched areas of the Amazon (1 million Ha of rainforest in northern Ecuador.  ( Ecuador Sows seeds of hope ,fact sheet1, Fact sheet 2, Rafael Corea statement)This keeps 1.2 billion tonnes of CO


 out of the atmosphere. The Yasuni ITT project has become a model for developing and “developed” countries alike, and an opportunity to model the application of digital solutions for Year 12 and 13 DGT and ICT students.  So for the children we talk about beauty, diversity, colour, patterns, animals and amazing plants and how it all fits together.  We look at images, video, sound, and about how the Government and people want to preserve it for all time, by rewriting their constitution around the rainforest and working with the United Nations Development Programme to preserve the caveat in law.  We look at how poor they are compared to us.  The children ask: “What can we do?”  What sorts of things do people do in situations like this?  Let’s write a letter or better still create a pamphlet and send it.
 School system
At Kavanagh College we are blessed with ultra-fast broadband, new wiring, wireless access, a new server, an opportunity for staff and students to use BYOD, well spec’d computers, COWs in the intermediate school and library, and one class and its teachers “trialling” an immersion with iPads within an integrated teaching programme.  To all intents we have a seamless, immediate, invisible integrated global digital information and communication (learning) environment.  Within the school this includes Adobe CS5 Design Premium, MS Office and recently Google mail, docs and calendar. In addition to this Evernote, Diigo and Myportfolio are supported with PD for those who are using them.  We have discussed Single Sign On and see limitations.  For the time being will use a common name and password for each user, which they will enter when required.
Students are becoming aware of the “flatness” (lack of hierarchy) across the planet, accessibility of experts and expert knowledge, and their place in decision making for a world that belongs to them and their children.  The global digital network is their medium for this.  The elements of their coursework are being used to grow their awareness, courage, and sense of belonging, both now and in a future of hope.  They are learning to ask and offer within the class, across classes and the school, and beyond to anywhere they can reach (anywhere!).  This is exemplified by their ability to collaborate on designs, specialise in the areas of data processing, technical tool manipulation, text and language editing skills, asking for expert help within and beyond the school, and finally, reaching into social structures across the world (UNDP, Ecuador Government, Yasuni ITT initiative, BrownLloydJames World Communications Strategists and our own experts and Government)
The Process
Beginning with an information review (of wesites, movies, images and articles), the students then used InDesign to create pamphlets to be merged on paper and emailed to MPs.  Calculating the cost of printing for 60 student’s flyer to all recipients to be in the vicinity of $3500 (notwithstanding the footprint), they decided to email.  They collected profiles and contact information from the internet, and created a database.  They learned how to merge a flyer with personal information linked to their database, then to be emailed.  During the unit the school changed from MS Outlook to G-mail.  The result is a lack of integrity between the “platforms”.  The students found the process of merging in G-docs prohibitively complicated.   They converted their publications to  HTML to include in the  body of a G-mail merge and are realising some grave limitations in both the education G-mail accounts they have,  and the ability to integrate and sync across apps and devices.  These classes are enjoying working on a project in which they can make a difference, and see the urgency and importance of being able to work seamlessly across the planet from their own profile/identity from wherever they are.  More than just a lesson in learning.  The context will continue to be developed as we use it as a model in Website analysis and development, and an integrated Web 2:0 communications package, including Facebook, Twitter, email, Website, paper information sheets and multimedia (movies, images, sound).   This unit and the motivation for it featured in a guest appearance on “Sustainable Lens” (Otago Access Radio).   This can be replayed here: (http://sustainablelens.org/?p=293)