Renowned education specialist, Neil Emery’s third visit to the Amazon Rainforest resulted in the delivery of yet another successful project, this time focussing on river pollution. Utilising a range of innovative technology solutions to engage with pupils, Neil collaborated with three schools in the UK and one in the Amazonian Rainforest to deliver this project.
Neil commented, “Pupils selected to take part in the project were incredibly enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to get on with their river tests. The thought of being involved in a “real” project where they could share their results publicly proved very motivating. Their excitement was really inspiring.”
The pupils were challenged with using a special water quality kit, supplied by Pasco Scientific to measure the levels of PH, oxygen, conductivity and temperature in their local rivers. They were instructed to take readings at three different positions and look for parts of the river that could be affected by pollution.
Neil had set up an iBook template with the headings “What is river pollution?” “What causes river pollution?’ “What are the effects of River Pollution?” and ‘What action can be taken to prevent it?” which the pupils used to enable them to concisely produce their research and findings. Participating pupils were asked to add content to each chapter, documenting their research, findings, data and conclusions. They were also actively encouraged to use a variety of media to demonstrate their finding such as text, images, audio and video. They were then presented with yet another challenging task to create a marketing campaign that they could put into action to help create sales for their finished publication.
Dan Oakes, Head Teacher of one of the UK schools, Malmesbury C of E Primary School, commented, “It is our aspiration that the children in our school are provided with every opportunity to enable them to reach their true potential and be fully prepared for the future that lies ahead of them. The Amazon project was a unique platform for our children to use technology to make a real life connection with a significantly and culturally different community. We were absolutely delighted to participate in this inspirational project and were thrilled by the way our pupils embraced the challenge of investigating and concluding on local issues that in turn will help make a difference to the children in the Amazon.”
The Amazonian school from the Añangu community had been involved with Neil’s Amazon project in 2013 and the pupils were delighted to be involved again. Having engaged with pupils from UK schools and experienced the different culture and approach, they were well prepared to take on this new challenge.
The Amazonian pupils used a range of digital technology devices to deliver their findings. Neil’s extensive skills as an educational trainer were fully exploited as he spent his first day in the community providing iPad training to nine teachers. These skills were then put into action and pupils were engaged in scripting, filming and editing. Those who had experience of the equipment from the year before were confident and creative in filming and producing video content to demonstrate their findings.
Elm Park Primary School in London had taken part in the previous Amazon project so were thrilled to be on board again. Equipped with a wide range of Apple technology, they were looking for creative ways to use these tools to connect with the world. They are now looking to build the work undertaken by their pupils into their curriculum and help research sustainability and their responses to it in a meaningful way.
Neil contacted the UK schools via Skype whilst he was in the Amazon and the children from each of the schools were able to communicate, share and discuss their findings and challenges. This proved fascinating with humorous exchanges between the children as well as a genuine interest in how others had approached the whole project.
All content, videos and images from the project were collated by Neil to enable him to put the publication together in preparation for the children to market it.
Another UK school involved in the project were South Moulton Community College from north Devon. Their year seven pupils began their school career with a trip to Exmoor to investigate the water quality of their local river, and they are now looking forward to using the data they have collected to support their work with Neil and connecting with learners from the Ecuador rain forest.
Pasco Scientific who provided the equipment used by the pupils, and SciChem, who aim to inspire the scientists of the future, sponsored the project. In their view “this project was truly inspirational for budding scientists.”
Neil concluded, “I feel so passionate about technology being utilised to inspire learning, and this project proved just how successful it can be. It spans several areas of the curriculum such as science, geography, ICT and creative skills, not to mention the life skills it provided for many pupils. It demonstrates what really can be achieved when the technology that many schools have invested in fully integrated into all areas of teaching and used to its full potential. By engaging with pupils and bringing a subject to life through technology the results can be genuinely inspirational.”
The schools are currently working on their projects for inclusion in the book, which will be published in the summer.
This years project was supported by our sponsors, and the generous donations made through our WeFund campaign.
For more information, have a look at our dedicated Amazon website: www.amazon.trilby.co.uk