Hawaii's Electronic School Hawaii's Department of Education Electronic School (E-school) is a virtual learning center accessed over the Internet and supported by content and strategies provided via instructional television, videos, and CD-ROM. The media empower students to use information technologies to develop marketable skills and to heighten their creative and critical thinking facilities. Hawaii's E-school aims to provide high-quality education to all students at a "school" that can by any place, any time, and which is open to learners of all ages, geographic settings, and both academic over- and under-achievers. The project curriculum extends beyond the classroom to a network of worldwide resources through access to the information superhighway (Internet).
A partner in this project is the Chicago Public School system, whose 407,000 students will have access to Hawaii's E-school physically located more than 4,000 miles away but instantly accessible at all hours of the day through today's global telecommunications infrastructure. Together, this distance learning project will provide enhanced educational opportunities to nearly 600,000 students from 800 schools located in urban and rural communities with diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds.
This is the 2nd year of the E-school project, and presently there are 17 classes offered over the Internet. These range from traditional subjects like Geometry and Shakespeare to more hands-on classes in Entrepreneurship and Design and Multimedia Development.
This year, two E-school courses are being offered which will take advantage of the Puna Ridge expedition learning activities. ACCN #SA45, Seminar in Scientific Research: Year of the Ocean is being team taught by Soo Boo Tan, a Kaimuki High School biology teacher and Malia Chow, a researcher with the University of Hawaii's Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. ACCN#SE20, Earth Science is being taught by Naidah Gamurot, a Waianae High School Earth Science teacher. Both courses are seeking to provide students with a hands-on learning environment by mentoring with real-life scientists on actual ongoing scientific research.
The Teacher-on-Board project seeks to provide additional enriching educational experiences for both the teachers, who can use their experiences during their stay on board the R/V Thompson as part of our scientific party back to their classrooms, and to students and the public in general, who will be the recipients of daily postings on our Puna Ridge Web site by the Teacher-on-Board.
PROWL is lucky to have E-school teachers Iris Clyne (1) and Naidah Gamurot (SE20) (1) as part of our program. They are planning to implement a true virtual learning environment for everyone by teaching from the R/V Thomas Thompson while are sea with us! Our third "teachers" are Larry Gaddis (1) and Bob Golden. Larry is a former school teacher and principal whose expertise now lies in telecommunications and network operating systems as an educational specialist with Hawaii's Department of Education. Bob is the Hawaii DOE Deputy District Superintendent for Central Oahu District public schools. Both Bob and Larry are avid deep-sea fishermen in there spare time, and hope that all of you will be interested in their "fish tales" from sea!
Each of them will contribute to our Daily Flashes through their own Teacher-on-Board web page. Please look for their activities daily when they're on board! Iris will be leaving with us from Honolulu on September 26, and stay until October 3. Larry and Bob will replace her on October 3, and stay until October 15. Naidah will replace him on October 15, and return with us to Honolulu on October 31.
It's a relatively simple scheme using telecommunications services that are available to everyone at reasonable costs, with the added criteria that we have several different telecommunications schemes in case one method goes down. For the most part, we will use a 3-watt cellular phone (a car phone) with a 4.5 dB mast-mounted marine antenna that is connected to our computers. We will create our Web content on the portable computers, and download the text and image files to our Web server in Massachusetts. To do this, we will use our cell phone to dial a local Internet Service Provider on the Big Island, and once connected, we will "ftp" our files to our Webmaster, who will then post it on our server. Because of the techonology, we think we will be limited to transmission rates of only 4800 or 9600 bps, and depending on the ocean seas (whether it is rough or not), our connection may time out sometimes, but it really is that simple!
To make sure we can do this successfully everyday, though, our backups will be to dial up the USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory computer, or to send our files as file attachments via email as part of the regular electronic mail service of the R/V Thompson using INMARSAT satellite communications.