Today was our first day at Sir McChesney George Secondary School. We arrived at school bright and early to meet the 30 students who had been chosen to participate in the GPS+Camera Pilot Project. The students ranged from Forms 1-4 (ages 11-15) and we’ve already had some good opportunities for peer learning in our mixed-age classrooms. We started by discussing human-environmental change over time, starting with Amerindian impacts on the island (likely playing a role in the local extinction of the manatee) and moved to the modern day. We ended the section by brainstorming how Barbuda’s geography and environment influenced the different human communities who have lived on Barbuda over time.
Maggie Morrison (the GPS+Camera Biology Teacher and a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University in International Educational Development) then led the combined class in a rousing introduction to mapmaking over time. Students scoffed at the abilities of early mapmakers until asked to draw a map of Barbuda from memory! While we had a number of square islands and Codrington Lagoon moved from one side of the island to the other in several instances, the students by and large did a great job of recreating Barbuda. Using Googlemaps.com, we went on a longitude and latitude scavenger hunt and searched out Barbudan landmarks with satellite maps.
For homework students will be reading about oral histories and traditional knowledge. Tomorrow morning we will start off in our subject groups (Geography, Social Studies, Biology) before moving on to interviewing skills in the afternoon. All in all, a great first.
Dan McGovern is a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research interests include the role of education in community-based climate change adaptation, Education for Sustainability, Place-Based Education, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Education in Emergencies, connections between Sustainability and Conflict, and community-based monitoring and research.
About UsThe Human Ecodynamics Research Center (HERC) at the CUNY Graduate Center is coordinating the effort of scholars in a formal research collaborative addressing crucial issues of sustainability, resilience, and the future of humans on earth. This blog follows the exploits of two of these projects: the GPS+Camera Project and a Brooklyn College GIS field school.