Schools

Schools 1

WHAT ARE THE AIMS OF THE SCHOOLS PROJECT?

We believe that education is one of the strongest weapons we have to confront climate change. We do not want to preach, nor lecture people about polar bears. We want to show people that you can lead a fun-filled life and do your bit for the environment. The challenge is to make a subject as large as climate change tangible, accessible and interesting to school children. The project has three objectives:

  1. To increase students’ understanding of the causes and effects of climate change.
  2. To encourage students to explore the links between their past and that of other communities around the Atlantic.
  3. To create direct relationships between pupils in different countries.

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe” – H G Wells

HOW ARE WE DOING THIS?

We are doing this by creating a community of 45 Atlantic schools, found in low lying areas on the Atlantic rim. Why the Atlantic? Because there is a rich and connected history that unites the different groups around the ocean. Slavery, migration and trade have linked disparate cultures around the ocean for 500 years. Language, music and food have bled into each other, creating the sub-cultures and sounds – Creole, Jazz, Cajun, High Life – that are found on streets and stereos from Bristol to Belem. The places most at risk to sea level rise – New Orleans, Banjul, Belize, Georgetown – have been the melting pots for these exchanges.

Our project takes the roots and routes of these historical connections to build friendships amongst children, encouraging them to explore their own history and that of the shared Atlantic environment.

The network will be hosted by Rafi.ki, an online community of schools that uses internet communication to develop school relationships. The project, its resources and materials are aligned with the UK National Curriculum and offer a fantastic way to bring the international dimension to the classroom.

WHERE ARE THE SCHOOLS?

We are linking schools in 13 countries around the Atlantic – Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Liberia, Mexico, Scotland, Sierra Leone, USA and Wales. All the schools are English-medium. The map below shows the countries in which they are located.

Schools network

Countries with participating schools

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Our project works through four simple steps:

Step 1

Atlantic Rising will visit each school for a day to introduce the project, hold filming workshops and give classes on climate change and the Atlantic community.

Step 2

Schools join the secure Rafi.ki network. Each school will have their own home page and students will have their own personal profiles. This gives schools access to Rafi.ki’s network of 1,200 schools in 104 countries.

Step 3

Students build friendships around the Atlantic rim through email, video-conferencing and online discussion forums. Schools collaborate on climate change projects with lesson plans, teaching material and communication tools provided by Atlantic Rising and Rafi.ki.

Step 4

Atlantic Rising returns to the school after the expedition to give further talks and to share information and experiences with students. Schools continue to build relationships around the world through Rafi.ki.

WHO ARE RAFIKI?

Rafiki

Rafi.ki is an online educational community that offers a combination of learning activities to schools around the world through its secure website.

It enables students and teachers to communicate with other schools using email, web forums and video conferencing. This gives schools the chance to build friendships and work together on joint projects aligned with the National Curriculum.

The friendships that pupils form and the immediacy created by modern communication technology make issues that would previously have seemed abstract and distant, vivid and tangible for students.

The King John School in Essex experienced this whilst working on Rafi.ki’s ‘Darfur: Impossible Choices’ project. Their Year 9 Geography class created a collaborative podcast with a partner school in Serbia, where pupils shared their immediate experience of conflict. They also conducted a live interview by video-conference with an MSF doctor about his experiences in Darfur, which formed the basis of a school newspaper article written by the class.

“This project has given pupils the opportunity to see other people’s perspective on life and the difficult situations they have to survive in”

Hina Robinson, The King John School, Benfleet, Essex

Rafi.ki has an existing network of over 1,200 schools in more than 100 countries and won best 21st Century Learning Environment at the 2009 Education Resources Awards.

Participating schools will become part of the Rafi.ki network, giving access to Atlantic Rising’s climate change project and Rafi.ki’s other cross-curricular projects. Here they will obtain lesson plans and teacher packs. These include ‘hot seat’ interviews with prominent climate change experts, short documentaries, maps, resource sheets and presentations.

Schools 3

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE VISIT SCHOOLS?

We are visiting every school involved in the project. Depending on time available, we can provide a number of different workshops:

1. Introductory assembly: Atlantic Rising will launch the project with an introductory talk that presents the idea of the Atlantic community, climate change and the schools network.

2. Citizens of the Atlantic workshop that maps how students and their community are connected to the rest of the Atlantic. This embraces local history, students’ own personal histories as well as the roots of their music, hobbies and possessions.

3. Climate change and me explores in greater depth:

  • What is climate change?
  • What impact will it have on my life?
  • How will it affect other people around the Atlantic?
  • What actions can I take to reduce its effects and how can I adapt to its consequences?

4. Film workshop enables students to create a portrait of their school to be posted onto their Rafi.ki homepage – a great introduction for other schools in the network.

Schools 2

WHAT LONGER TERM CLASSROOM PROJECTS ARE THERE?

Working with Rafi.ki’s curriculum specialists, we have designed a project to broaden students’ understanding of climate change. It incorporates four elements:

UN Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009 – In December 2009 world leaders will meet to discuss global strategies for tackling climate change. Atlantic Rising and Rafi.ki are taking a schools action plan to this conference that gives students’ perspectives on climate change. At each school we will interview pupils to hear their own stories and attitudes to climate change.

Carbon Footprint your school – Best Foot Forward have given us access to their unique project – FOOTPRINTER – that allows students to measure their school’s footprint and discover ways of reducing their impact on the environment. This information can be shared across Rafi.ki’s network.

Atlantic Community project – We will provide lesson plans and resources for the classroom (presentations, videos, pupil activities), encouraging students to link with other schools and explore how climate change impacts different parts of the world.

Atlantic Rising Website – As we bring schools into the network, pupils will be updated on a regular basis with twitter feeds tracking the expedition’s progress including video footage and articles on pupils and places around the Atlantic rim.

Schools 4

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Whilst Atlantic Rising provide their services for free, Rafi.ki is a not-for-profit organisation who charge an annual subscription fee of £750 for Gold Membership. However, Atlantic Rising can offer a £200 subsidy on this price for every school’s initial subscription. The cost of membership includes:

  • 24 hour access to Rafi.ki for all students and staff.
  • Free comprehensive training provided by Rafi.ki.
  • International video conferencing free of charge. Connect in two clicks. Requires web cam and microphone.
  • Facilitators who can help link to other schools and manage relationships, saving hours of staff time.
  • Free technical support (8am-6pm Monday to Friday)
  • A safe, moderated environment.
  • Free resources and lesson plans created by leading educationalists and charities.

All subscriptions are used to ensure that Rafi.ki is free for schools in developing countries and to provide professional moderation, ensuring 100% safety online.

We realise that educational budgets are extremely tight and are anxious to work with schools to secure sponsorship from local trusts and businesses.

Teachers can sign-on for free Silver Membership at http://www.rafi.ki/ to trial the community and start communicating with schools today.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR PUPILS?

Atlantic Rising and Rafi.ki will connect pupils to other cultures and communities making global issues tangible and delivering the following specific benefits:

  • The chance to explore shared historical links across the Atlantic community
  • An opportunity to have a voice in the global debate about climate change and an awareness of what pupils can do to make a difference
  • An exciting and immediate opportunity to interact with other cultures and make new friends
  • An enriched Wider Key Skills programme with a global perspective
  • Promotion of responsible global citizenship
  • Personalised and independent learning
  • ICT incorporated into the curriculum
  • Supports Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

“I cannot recall a class being so enthusiastic about a classroom activity. In terms of motivating pupils and broadening their horizons Rafi.ki has been an excellent tool”

Matthew King, Language Teacher at the Emmbrook School, Berkshire

Schools 5

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR SCHOOLS?

Atlantic Rising and Rafi.ki’s range of subject-specific projects can be used to cover learning objectives in Key Skills, Wider Key Skills and ASDAN’s COPE qualification.

  • Raises attainment in all subjects across the curriculum – 75% of teachers say Rafi.ki is improving class MFL skills*
  • Makes lessons more accessible and inclusive – 96% of teachers asserted that Rafi.ki is able to motivate the most disengaged learners*
  • Develops opportunities for ICT best practice – 84% of pupils said that Rafi.ki has a positive effect on their computer skills*
  • Introduce accelerated learning for Gifted and Talented pupils as well as opportunities for personalised and independent learning
  • Supports all levels of the International Schools Award
  • Supports KS3/4 enrichment programmes
  • Develops the cross-curricular aspects of the syllabus
  • Supports Every Child Matters

*Evaluation by Richard Shotton, Manchester Metropolitan University

“The incredible amount of support resources already on Rafi.ki’s site make it easy for pupils and staff to get going very quickly, thus a lot of the hard work is taken away from staff”

Brian Diack, ICT teacher, North Walls Community School, Orkney

WHAT SOURCES OF FUNDING ARE AVAILABLE TO SCHOOLS TO SUBSIDIZE THIS COST?

The following funding opportunities are available to schools to cover the cost of subscription to Rafi.ki:

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