Current eForum: Oh Deer!
Monday, October 22 to Friday,
November 16, 2007
Last Updated November 12, 2007
Why we ask for
Control Codes on forms
When the eForums conclude . . .
Change to Thoughtful
eForum Lesson Plan
(you can also reach lesson plans through
the Teacher's Room)
Teachers and schools
as of October 8, 2007
Emails to teachers for Oh Deer! 2007:
Cacapon Institute's challenge in conducting Environmental Forums and
other Potomac Highlands Watershed School activities is to provide a
setting where the content is highly relevant to the required curriculum,
where everything a teacher needs can be readily found, and where
everything works. Making everything work can be more difficult than it
appears, because every school system installs filters on their computer
networks to both prevent students from accessing inappropriate material,
and to prevent harm to their computer system from accidental downloading
of malicious software (viruses, spyware, malware, etc.). Because every
school system, possibly even every school, does this differently, it is
our challenge to develop content and processes that work everywhere.
For example, we do not have a "user name/password" system (the flash
activities have a "visitor's" bypass), we do not post streaming video (although we
would love to), and we take care that eForum activities do not "feel" like a
chat room to school filters that would then kick them off.
How subtle can
the problems be? Pretty subtle. For example, the original file
names for our Flash activities (like Stream Cleaner) included the
word "game." Some systems (one in a Missouri library, one in a WV
school system) had filters that automatically kicked a user who tried to
access these activities off the web because of the word "game." We
learned of the problem because people told us about it.
If you need
something that you can't find, or if something doesn't work for you, we
won't know unless you tell us. So, please, let us know – and we will do
everything in our power to fix it.
Why we ask for the
"Control Code" on forms? We do
this to prevent mischief by students and by "unauthorized" users. The
potential for mischief is vast, and one of our jobs is to make sure that
none of it makes its way to your school computer screens. For example,
the control code should "help deter any temptation students might have
to toy with the survey (for example sign on as a different school and
answer all the questions “wrong”). " We also read every
submittal before manually posting it on the website. With numerous
classes participating, that will keep us plenty
busy during the Thoughtful Questions period.
When the eForums conclude,
we'll ask participating teachers to fill out a short survey to help us
know what went right, what could use improvement, and how the experience
impacted your view of the use of computers in the classroom. We'll also
schedule a time for a conference call where we can all just informally
talk about it. For example, a conference call following our 2006 Oh
Deer! eForum led to a number of significant changes to the time frame
and to the POV page format.
Change to Thoughtful
Questions Form. We simplified the Thoughtful Questions
form on 11/4/2007. Hopefully, students will have less trouble
understanding what to do now. However, it would not be a bad idea
for teachers to run through it with their students one time - there are
six steps and they need to get them right.
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Teachers and Schools participating
Oh Deer! 2007
as of October 8, 2007
Hampshire High School
Jefferson High School
9th Grade General Science
North Harford High School
Rappahannock High School
Petersburg High School
East Hardy High School
Buffalo Gap High School
September 21, 2007 from Frank
Lescallette and Terrie Shank to the eForum teachers club. Welcome
back Bill, Laura, and Denise.
This is the first
of the 2007 periodic emails. While we’ve made some changes to the
web site the best way to enter the eForum is still through our home
www.cacaponinstitute.org and follow the e-school tab and then
click on the door of your choice. In the high school is a phone
that opens Oh Deer! eForum in the fall and the SCE Forum in the
spring. From the
Teachers’ Lounge use the “eForum Updates” to see who is signed
up and to access a lesson plan or review the teacher tips. (move
between classrooms or back to the home page via links at bottom left
of each room.)
Back on the home
page you will be interested in
PHLOW – Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds. We have
resources for students who want to take the extra step of doing a
hands-on watershed conservation research or demonstration project.
(Laura, what should we call the Susquehanna Leaders Of Watershed?)
forward to a new discussion and are preparing the pre/post survey
now. We’ll be in touch soon.
October 21, 2007 from Frank
22, 2007, is the kick off for the 3rd Annual Oh Deer!
Environmental Forum and we have more schools signed up then ever
including MD, VA, and WV. We’re still hoping for some PA
participants. This isn’t just for science classes. Social studies
can use the material to model the democratic process, an English
class can practice persuasive writing, or a math or economics class
could crunch numbers on the impacts of deer. More than one class
from your school is welcome. If you know anyone looking for a
dynamic inter-school challenge send them to
http://www.cacaponinstitute.org/high.htm to click on the phone
or Info & Sign Up page and join us.
Please ask the
students to do the survey first. The best way for students to enter
the eForum is at
www.cacaponinstitute.org then click on the Potomac Highlands
Watershed School (image bottom right of our home page). Click on
the high school door and the phone inside the classroom. The survey
link will be evident. It should only take 5-10 minutes to complete
the multiple choice questionnaire. Advise the students they are not
expected to know all the answers and will not be graded. We will
inform teachers of the results within a couple days of the class
signing on. We can not identify individual students but the time
period when the survey arrives helps us identify which of your
classes submitted. (We can generally weed out bogus submissions
from students who intentionally submit under the wrong school name.)
If you have more
than one class participating please let us know if you want the
tally together or individual classes broken out.
All the reading
material and links to additional information is in place. The Point
Of View submission form will be available soon. We suggest students
organize into stakeholder groups and draft their POV prior to
submitting via the web based form. You may also want stakeholder
groups to share their work within the class and have an in-class
Thoughtful Question period prior to them posting their POV online.
They will have stronger POVs to share with other schools if they
have a chance to reflect and revise the first draft. POVs submitted
prior to Friday, October 26th will be held and posted
that weekend to be available to all participants Monday, October 29th.
After Monday the
29th POVs will be posted each evening as they arrive
barring unforeseen difficulties. The Thoughtful Questions form will
be available Monday the 29th as well and submission
posted each evening. Please review with your students any etiquette
and manners you feel necessary prior to their submission of TQs.
Stakeholder groups, not individual students, should submit questions
or comments via the TQ form to engage stakeholder groups. They
should work together whenever possible to ensure they are
representing their group and not individual views. The same TQ
web-form is used to reply as well as ask questions. Like minded
stakeholder groups are welcome to submit supportive comments via the
TQ form too but comments should be concise and to the point.
Stakeholder groups may revise their POVs via the POV submission
form by beginning the text with “REVISED POS”. (Incoherent, bogus,
or inappropriate POVs or TQs submissions will be returned to
teachers via email but having students work as a stakeholder group
will reduce the likelihood of misbehavior by a few individuals.)
Should you have
any questions or difficulties please call us or email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to add a high importance
exclamation point to your email.
I will be
attending the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Education Summit from Monday
the 22nd through Wednesday the 24th and will
be unavailable. Neil Gillies, Executive Director, will be available
at the email listed above or phone 304-856-1385 (evenings
304-987-6297). Don’t hesitate to call, we want to hear your
comments or concerns. If long distance calls are an issue email us
with a phone number and time and we’ll contact you. We try very
hard to be accessible.
Good luck and
enjoy. We’re looking forward to students comments.
October 21, 2007 #2 from Frank
Another note prior
to start. Our online Potomac Highlands Watershed School does not
require any pass codes or logon keys. All activities, surveys, and
forms are open to the public. Wherever a “log on” is mentioned that
is an option and a bypass button is available. On the survey form
the “teacher control code” is optional but important for teachers
with more than one class (it can be left blank). Give students in
each class a phrase or “code” to use so we can group the surveys
If the survey form
does not work it could be an in-school firewall blocking
submission. Some jurisdictions do not allow students to send
information of any kind out over the internet so a “submit” button
will not work. If that is the case have students record their
answers on paper and mail them to us (record the question number and
answer of their choice. #1 a, #2 c, etc). Contact us to let us
know of the problem because the Point Of View and Thoughtful
Question submission will have to be done via email or another venue.
October 24, 2007 (from Neil)
I'm seeing a lot of activity on the
site. Lots of surveys being taken, lots of clicks through to
links. As long time participant Bill Moore said: "Here we
The POV entry form is now active and
available in the third bullet of the section that begins "The
"Oh Deer! Forum will use the
following format: " - but that doesn't mean your student
stakeholder groups should rush into posting. Please help them take
the time to get their thoughts in order before posting.
If you would like to share, we would
love to post pictures of your class (if that is acceptable), your
school, or maybe some woodlands in your area to give students in
other areas a "face" to put on you and your setting.
Clarification: in Frank's second email
on Sunday, he said: "On the survey form the “teacher control code”
is optional but important for teachers with more than one class (it
can be left blank). Give students in each class a phrase or “code”
to use so we can group the surveys accordingly." The teacher
control code also helps us ensure that the work is really coming
from your class, and is not coming from students elsewhere bent on
mischief. I'm sure it would not surprise any of you that such a
thing is a possibility.
Frank will be away until tomorrow.
Yesterday, he was the opening "content" speaker at the Chesapeake
Bay Education Summit, which is focused on innovative use of
technology in environmental education. At CI we're doing our best
to push the envelope on creative and substantive use of
technology in the classroom, and in related hands-on activities by
students and with their community. As participants in our
"flagship" eForum program, we encourage your feedback to help us
improve our content and process. If you have a problem, we won't
know about it unless you tell us. As Don Rumsfield famously said
‘There are known knowns. There are known unknowns. And there are
unknown unknowns.’ We really need your help to fill in the
That said, have fun. It is always
exhilarating on this end when the POVs and Thoughtful Questions
flood in, and rewarding to receive comments from teachers like this
one after the Stream Cleaner Environmental Forum last spring:
students are learning a great deal about our watershed.
Something that I hadn't counted on is that they are learning
life lessons on how to deal with people of different ages and
October 26, 2007 from Frank
For those of you
who can access Google Earth in the classroom we want to share this
“tour” of the nine schools participating in the 2007 Oh Deer! eForum.
Save the attached file (note: file sent via email) to your computer
and with Google Earth running in the background open the file. The
kmz file should appear in the “Places” folder to the left of the GE
screen. Select the file and choose “Play Tour” in the Tools menu.
You can adjust the speed of the tour etc. under “Options” in the
We invite your
students to write a short description of their school including web
links to information about their community, or pictures of the
class, for us to post on our web site. We want the students to feel
part of a community of learning and the introductions might help
engage their peers.
Should you have
any questions or comments don’t hesitate to call or write. I’m
available in the evening at 304-258-7657.
teachers: If you have GIS software you can find high resolution
(1:4,800) aerial images at
The index of images by location is at:
You’ll need to
activate the MrSID extension.
October 31, 2007 from Frank
Please remind students to use the drop
down menu to identify who they are addressing. There is a drop down
for "All Farmers" etc if they want to address an entire group of
They should also identify themselves in
the "from" drop down menu (at the bottom). Their stakeholder group
name will only appear in the drop down the day after they have
posted a POV. If they ask TQs on the first day of posting (the same
day they post thier own POV) they should end thier TQ with "Signed
so-and-so" so we can identify them. In other words, if they don't
see their own name in the "from" drop down menu they should add a
signature line within the TQ dialogue box on the web page form.
Thanks for the POVs and TQs that we've seen. There are some
clever students out there and its good to see some humor. If it
gets a little too silly the moderator will post a comment.
November 12, 2007 from Frank
We appreciate all
the Thoughtful Questions so far and the listing of references has
been impressive. That the students reached out to explore Lyme
disease and open a dialogue on that is very impressive. We had not
stressed that impact deer have on humans. We have one week
remaining for Thoughtful Questions so those who have not written in
still have a chance.
comments have been added reminding students that just stating their
opinion isn’t likely to change other's opinions. They must project
facts and rationales that are strong enough to convince other
stakeholders to come over to their side. As we move into the
consensus phase remind students it doesn’t have to be an either-or
solution, a combination of tactics could also be effective.
Form has been added but we prefer the papers be emailed
because the web based submissions lose some of the tab and paragraph
formatting. Sending the consensus paper as a word document
email@example.com will ensure it appears just as the
students wrote it. We have begun to see consensus papers arrive and
will post all that we have beginning Friday November 16th
and continue through the end of the month.
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