Presentation Slides - Harvey Weir
- A Class Project System
- Pilot Period - 1995-96 school year
- Developed and administered by STEM~Net
The SchoolNet RINGS Pre-Pilot
Survey: Participating teachers-Pre-pilot
- considerable support for the SchoolNet RINGS approach
- All teachers responding felt that students had learned the
value of networking from their projects
- more than 80% felt that their projects had tied in well
with their classes and added value
- More than 90% wish to continue or repeat their projects next
- More than 80% indicated students had become comfortable with
the interface and had learned how to use email effectively
- Many teachers requested full Internet access for their students.
The Name "SchoolNet RINGS"
- "SchoolNet" indicates that these projects are sponsored
by the national SchoolNet initiative of Industry Canada.
- The term RINGS is both an acronym and a double-edged metaphor:
-each participating class or group forms a local RING. All the
participating groups or RINGS are then linked into a district-wide,
province-wide, Canada-wide or internationally-based project, forming
a "Project RING".
- For each project, one group or RING is invited by SchoolNet to
be the project leader. This group then electronically "RINGS"
or contacts the other groups that have expressed an interest in
this type, grade-level and category of project and invites them
to be a part of the specified project RING.
- RINGS is an acronym for "Reports and Investigations by
Networked Groups of Students".
Features of RINGS
- support a teacher-selected or class-selected section or area
of the curriculum
- be student- and learning-centered
- involve groups of students
- involve network-based collaboration
- involve investigations
- involve online reports (publication) of the investigations;
Project Organization and Leadership
Project coordination and leadership by ONE of the participating
RINGS (the Lead RING), normally the one with the most experience
in such activities, with support and assistance from the SchoolNet
RINGS Project Officer;
The SchoolNet RINGS Project Officer groups potential RINGS by
grade, curriculum, topic, and network resources level, invites
the various RINGS to participate, and invite one of the RINGS
to be the Lead RING
RING-based (team-based) activities, in which the problem or challenge
being investigated is broken into sub-tasks or challenges and
distributed among the participating RINGS or teams.
Features of RINGS Communications
- regular network-based consultations and discussions among
the participating RINGS throughout the project;
- an "end-of-project" online (asynchronous, in most cases)
conference in which final results are shared (based on the professional
conference model), and a "joint" report is discussed;
- the preparation of the final "joint" report on the
project, a responsibility of the Lead RING
- a "joint" publication of the final report in the
online SchoolNet RINGS Journal.
Communications Software and Tools
"SchoolNet RINGS" is not tied to a particular piece
of network software, hardware or tool, but will be adapted to
the resources available to each project's participating RINGS.
Thus, different projects will make use of one or more of the
resources that are available to them, where the tools selected
will be available to all the RINGS in any given project.
Scalability of "SchoolNet RINGS"
"SchoolNet RINGS" is completely scalable both numbers
of participating RINGS, geographic coverage and time. "SchoolNet
RINGS" is also scalable by subject area.
At one end of the size continuum, the number of RINGS in a
project can be as few as one or can include as many as are appropriate
for meeting the goals set for the project.
At one end of a geographic continuum, it can encompass a single
class, school or district, and on the other end it may encompass
At one end of the time continuum, it can encompass a single week-long
"focused" activity, and at the other end, a full school
year. It is entirely possible that some projects might be extended
with the same participants or RINGS over multiple years.
The Pilot Phase and Goals
A pilot phase is proposed for the period September 1995 to June
1996, covering the full school year. The pilot will cover all
grades, with at least five available curriculum-relevant themes
for each of the primary, elementary, intermediate and high-school
The pilot is intended to:
- evaluate the overall educational, administrative, technical
and funding feasibility of the SchoolNet RINGS system;
- determine the levels, types, availabilities and development
requirements of software and online resources needed by RINGS;
- investigate the motivational and teaching/learning effectiveness
of different types of projects in various subject and cross-subject
areas, for the full range of grade levels; and
- develop a process for helping educators reach a vision of Canada-wide
and world-wide classes in which the curriculum comes alive in
a learning environment without walls.
Selection and Pilot Training
- A call for participation will be issued in early September
- The call will include the curriculum-relevant themes for the
various grade categories.
- Participants will be selected to ensure coverage of these grade
levels and equitable representation of all provinces and territories.
- Where needed for global themes, classes from other countries
will be invited to participate.
It is assumed that participating teachers have access to the Internet
and already have skills in using email and one or more of news,
gopher and web utilities.
A SchoolNet RINGS Handbook will be available online (and in
hard-copy form) when the call for participation is issued.