Penultimate Session T2 (23 June)
Last Session Term 2 – (26 June) – Discussing what makes a good blog post by critiquing a blog entry I had done from a Maths Workshop I went to recently. Our intention was to improve the quality of our weekly blog posts. Free time for working and planning for the rest.
Beginning of Term 3 28th July – A session to get us oriented for the term ahead and 20% Time
The Focus on this weeks session was to do just get up and do stuff with little intervention from me. Some learners worked in the computer room, while others worked in the class or outside on getting there projects moving forward. I also keep forgetting to turn my camera on and now writing this I underestimate it’s value in remembering things!
Somewhere in Term 3 – less scaffolding was given in this term and learners basically just worked on their projects and got feedback as things went. Below is one of the few group sessions we did, which was more of a reflection.
Towards the end of 2016 I attended the Mountain Club of Cape Town’s Leaders training weekend at Du Toitskloof Hut for their Outreach Program. The weekend was a lot of fun and I learnt a great deal. But one session in particular stood out for me – the one on Fynbos with Wendy Hitchcock . I decided to record what stood out for me in the session in the hopes that I could reuse some of the techniques myself in future. Below is a description of the session as best I could remember it.
When we arrived for the session Wendy started by introducing herself and then asking us to sit quietly for a few moments and take note of the sounds and smells around us in Nature. She also had a collection of plants she had picked from the nearby bushes, together with large sheets of paper with labels like Big Leaves , Small Leaves , Waxy Leaves etc.
Our first task as a group was to sort through the collection of plants and put them onto the piece of paper that corresponded to their main characteristic. Wendy suggested techniques to determine these characteristics like blindfolding a group member while asking them to touch and describe a plant or smelling a plant and describe its smell and so on … It was a really sensory experience and I cant remember being quite as observant about plants before. We continued on like this for a while sorting the various plants into categories.
Some of the plants wouldn’t fit neatly into any particular category and so were placed into an unsure category. After the initial sorting was done, Wendy initiated a conversation about the sorting and then continued on to the topic of how to classify things. Names such as Restios, Geophytes , Proteas , Ericas and lots of terms I was only vaguely familiar with were introduced. For someone who hikes a lot, I have been pretty uninterested in plants and this informative session really changed my basic outlook. I really got a sense of the adaption of plants to their environments and how interesting they are. Wendy then allowed us to write up any questions we had about plants onto sheets of paper and addressed them in conversation with the group.
Our last activity was to go on a walk and observe the different plants we had discussed. Wendy had brought along field lenses that allowed us to look at plants on a much smaller scale. Most of them were just inexpensive jewelry lenses but showed remarkable detail once you help them up close to a plant. I liked them so much I bought one on the spot from her.
I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy the session as much as I did and it really highlighted the effect that an Educator can have on a group when they are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subject matter. I really liked how the whole session was done outside under the trees and how natural learning in that environment felt. I feel challenge to get my classes outside more to create some similar experiences.
Create your own digital learning portfolio showing evidence of your individual learning path.
A Personal Learning Portfolio is a virtual, personal space that serves as a dynamic planning tool, archive, profile, and showcase of an individual’s lifelong learning experiences, goals and achievements. It is created by the learner, controlled by the learner, and is on a platform of his or her choice. Though the tool is geared to be an open tool that records the digital footprint of the individual, the learner controls who has access to any section of the portfolio at any given time.
ArtsWorks , Writing Pieces , Video Clips , Audio Recordings, Projects, Books read and reviews of them, Online Courses or Programs , Blog component, Social Campaigns, Growth Filled Experiences, Leadership Roles, Projects Initiated , Volunteer Work , Places you’ve travelled or want to travel , Interviews with Interesting People , Vlogs ….
Tools you could use:
When signing up to create an account with one of these tools, rather select the option to “Sign up with Google” than creating an account from scratch. This means you don’t have to remember different passwords.
What was the Process used to collect survey data and how the survey was implemented?
Google Forms survey tool – Survey was distributed to learners by school email and then followed up in school messaging systems. Learners filled in the survey on school computers or using their cellphones.
What specific challenges did you come across when collecting survey data – challenges with teachers, children and parents.
Learners were fairly apathetic in filling in the survey , possibly because it was a bit long and it took some effort to complete. Finding time in the school day was difficult too. However if we didn’t find time then , not many would do it in their own time. Teachers were reasonably open to the idea , but didn’t want to give up much time in class. Two of the questions took most of the time. The GPS home question and the distance to school question . They used outside tools and where very necessary but caused the most frustration. If that could be streamlined it would be helpful.
Would you do anything different next time?
Shorter Survey , try to eliminate any questions which didn’t have any value , try to make the GPS and school distance questions easier to do on mobile phone. Don’t leave students to do it on their own time , rather squeeze dedicated slots into a day at school. Rotating learners through the school computer rooms is a helpful strategy if available.
Any tips that will help other schools in the future go through this process?
Buy in at school management level about dedicating the time in the school day to do the survey.
Problems learners had with regard to filling in survey
- Understanding some of the questions and some did not apply to me.
- I live at Waterloo Hostel so most of the questions didn’t apply to me.
- The option to add more than one location that you travel to and from.
- Some questions were unclear for me to understand.
- Trying to figure out what to do in the extra navigation links.
- I didn’t understand some of the questions.
- Some of the questions confused me.
- Consider the girls that dont go home after school and go to sport outside of school
- Some of the questions weren’t very clear and when I pressed the wrong button for whether I took a car, bus or taxi etc. and i tried to change it, it wouldn’t allow me to.
Earlier Articles in the Series
Part 1 Sustainable Transport Collaboration
Part 2 Data Gathering for Sustainable Transport
After receiving a list of possible questions around school transport from Dan, I started the process of adding them into a Google Form, so that capturing the survey data would be far easier. I then added what I thought were pertinent questions and circulated the final result amongst our email group for feedback. After that feedback and some additional feedback from someone in Transport Modelling we generated the form below.
Transport Survey that went out to Learners at WBHS & WGHS
Getting Students & Staff to Fill in the Form
The next challenge was to actually get the learners and staff to fill out the form. The main issue was the GPS co-ordinates question as you needed to use an external web tool, which took time. The grades we were most successful with were GR8 & GR9. They have a weekly lesson in the computer room which allowed us a clearly defined time to do the survey. It was much harder to get the GR10-12’s to participate in the survey. All in all, we bugged people for about 4 weeks to get as much Data as we did.
In the end we managed to collect the following Raw Data. This then needed to be processed for input errors and refined into meaningful Data. The WWF paid for the services of an external firm to do this processing. The results can be seen in the PDF below.
Brett Cohen_Survey Results_Scholar Transport.pptx
Earlier Articles in the Series
Part 1 Sustainable Transport Collaboration
At the beginning of 2017 a friend & colleague of mine who runs the Environmental Club at the school where I work, was invited to be part of a project with the WWF to reduce carbon emissions. The focus of project was environmentally sound changes in school transport. School transport is a major contributer to carbon emissions in the economy and the hope was that this project could generate insight into what changes or shifts could be effected to reduce emissions. I became involved in the project because of my connection to Carynn and my shared values as regards the importance of sustainable societies and preservation of the natural environment. I also felt like I could learn a lot from being involved in the Data Analysis component of the project.
Our first task was to assemble all the those involved for a physical meeting. This happened at WGHS in January 2017 and the main focus was to determine the project goals. The meeting included people from the WWF, WGHS and external parties with specialised Transport knowledge.
First Meeting Agenda
- Motivation for and explanation of WWF’s project, and capacity offered
- List all the transport-related issues at the school and across the four campuses
- Identify which WWF can help with & prioritise the top three
- Brainstorm ideas of what could be done about them
- Plans – checklist of questions for each selected initiative:
- Who has to be informed?
- What do we hope to achieve by the end?
- Who will need to actively participate? How do we best reach and motivate them?
- What information has to be gathered? How do we determine a baseline?
- Can any aspects be turned into a project for the learners?
- How will we monitor progress and outcomes?
- What are the next steps?
First Meeting Summary Notes (Thanks Dan!)
- Parking , Congestion (7am-8am and 3-330pm) – start and end of school day,
- 1 kid in every car
- Reliability of trains not good
- Cycling – road safety, crime. To be addressed
- Kids don’t want to stay at school and wait
Other points made
- Taxis are used (Wynberg taxi rank)
- Trains are used
- Need for flexibility – multi stop trips.
- Walk (some)
- Contract with Golden Arrow for bus. School specific – busses not full. Why can’t bus leave later?
- There are some busses
- Do survey on how people travel to school (home location, times come to and leave school)
- Know the distance learners travel to/from school – Required to calculate emissions.
- Waves of transport
- Uber Pool ?
- Lift clubs can have a great impact
- School Travel Plan can have a positive impact and form as basis of project
- Learners should be actively involved in promoting selected interventions among other learners
- Fun competitions could help increase use of selected interventions
- An Active Travel month could help encourage learners to try different modes
Interventions/actions to address pain points
- Survey of modes (distance traveled, home location, times they leave for school and home)
- Monitor car occupancy
- Uber Pool and other potential route planner solutions like WIMT and GoMetro
- Bus routes + timetables (taxis, trains, GABS, BRT)
- Cycling and Walking
- Lift clubs
- School facilities – hang out
- Waves of transport
- Traffic flow
- Green driving’ training for parents
Problems to overcome
- SORT OUT PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- Understand demand (homes, times, modes, etc.)
- Understand what services are available
- Demand management – spatial
- Traffic planning
- Forcing people to not park (shrinking car enablers)
- Less Private Car use
- Carpooling (committed to all cars in area and not just 1 car)
- Increased Public Transport and NMT Use
- On demand public transport (to the home) – dial a ride sort of service (taxi)
- Spines and Feeders
First and Last mile
- Behavioral Change Can be product of marketing different transport options
- Facilitate ways on behavioral change
- Commute Log
- WWF to share potential survey questions
- Launch concept with principal and teachers and SGB
- Enviro club assembly launch
- Survey learners to find baseline and decide on which interventions to focus on
After the meeting I was struck by the strong sense of purpose everyone involved seemed to share. I also liked the fact that there was a diversity of views at the table and all seemed to permeate into the discussion. Having the WWF co-ordinate as project leader together with motivated teachers on the ground co-ordinating and gathering information seemed like a good fit for making something happen. The main focus of the first term would be, designing a survey to gather baseline data and then going about collecting that data. From an initial list of questions drawn up by Dan, I set about creating an online survey form for this purpose. I then added what I thought were pertinent questions and circulated the form for feedback. After several rounds of feedback and some helpful advice from a Transport Modeller courtesy of Gerard’s contacts, we had a form we could use. I then set about circulating the form as well as encouraging & persuading learners to fill it in.
I recently complete the Google Certified Trainer course and thought the material was so good I wanted to make sure I had easy access to it in future. So I decided to create this mind map. There is an enormous amount in information in here, so I would suggest just concentrating on one piece at a time.
After working with Staff at WGHS for 18 Months introducing ICT into the classroom, an opportunity arose for me to attend a Google Apps for Education Conference (ZAGAFE2013). About 6 weeks before the conference they put out a call for local presenters and feeling brave I decided to volunteer. I was really into Google Forms at the time and wanted to show other teachers how easy it was to make a formative assessment tool at no cost, that greatly resembled the clicker systems being sold at the time. I enjoyed the process of presenting, but a far bigger highlight was being able to meet fellow presenters especially those on the EdTechTeam. The depth of conversation and pedagogical rigour was something I had not experienced before, but i really liked!! It felt like this was a group worth staying connected to. It also felt like the journey they were on in terms of reforming Education was something I wanted to be a part of. Two presenters who I was fortunate enough to spend time chatting to at the presenters dinner were Rushton Hurley and Chris Betcher. I was struck by how open they were about sharing their knowledge. It was a real breath of fresh air in terms of the openness of conversation. I definitely walked away from those conversations with a sense of possibility for my career as an Educator.
My original Presentation – which hasn’t aged well (:
My original planning folder