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Appendix D

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The Space Science Workshop:
Development of a New ICT Learning Model
Lawrence Williams


This was my plan for the Workshop, as posted on the MirandaNet site, Institute of Education, London University, Autumn Term, 2000:

For information on the background to the Workshop, see

For a direct link to the NASA Glenn Learning Technologies Project web site, see:

A New Learning Model

Integrating aspects of the Holy Cross and NASA curriculum models

The Holy Cross Model

Until now, at Holy Cross we have deliberately shunned using the web, because of its static nature, and have instead used the new ICT tools to develop dynamic projects centered mainly on the creation of Expressive Arts events. Using videoconferencing equipment running over ISDN 2 telephone lines, these have included shared music workshops with the LSO and Japan Philharmonic Orchestras, the "Kabuki Gift" drama, which was performed simultaneously by school students in London and in Osaka, as well as a scientific exchange with NASA scientists.

As indicated in my "Poskole 2000" paper (Charles University, Prague), at Holy Cross we are trying to develop the integration of the new ICT tools for learning, so that each tool is used not only to its maximum individual potential, but at the same time in harmony with other tools.

In this way, we hope to see how best to use the new ICT tools in harmony with each other and within a creative framework.

The NASA Model

The NASA model works through the development of pre- and post-conference activities, using the web as an electronic library where relevant and useful scientific information is stored and can be researched by the students. They can also communicate with NASA team members through e-mail and share ideas through the videoconference.

The presentation styles involve either Topic Guest Speakers who share their expertise with the students, or the Panels of Experts, who can share their thoughts both with the students and with each other, during the course of the conference.

The results of the conferences are monitored and evaluated through the web.

Integrating the Two Models

The next logical step in working with the new ICT tools, therefore, is to develop a working model that brings about the further integration of these tools by blending the above models into one. The static nature of the Web and the dynamic nature of the other tools can thus come together creatively.

How this will work:

The Bristol "Science, Creativity and the Young Mind" Project Workshop is an example. During the week beginning July 22, 2001, ten groups, each consisting of three English and three Japanese students (a total of sixty students, aged 16 plus), will be given a problem at the beginning of the week. Working with the academic staff at Bristol University as mentors, in most cases, the students will work together to solve "Real World" problems, presenting their findings and solutions to the whole group on Friday.

· The web will be used as the resource for information, which one group of students, "The NASA Group," will access before the Workshop and videoconference begins.

· On the first day of the Workshop (Monday, 10 a.m. US time and 3 p.m. UK time) the six students of the NASA Group (3 from Japan and 3 from the UK) discuss their task with NASA through the first videoconference. This is to ensure that they clearly understand the nature of the problem. (Use of videoconferencing equipment)

· During the week, in the same way that the other groups of students have access to the academic staff at Bristol University, the NASA group will have access to tutorial help through e-mail and fax with NASA experts. (Use of e-mail and attachments)

· Images of work in progress will be sent back to Ohio for comment by the NASA scientists. (Use of digital camera and e-mail)

· The overhead document camera can be used to show diagrams and sketches of the students' solutions. (Use of document camera)

· On Thursday, before all groups present their findings to their peers and tutors in Bristol, the NASA Group will present their work through a final videoconference to their tutors in Cleveland. (Use of videoconferencing kit again)

· Finally, the e-mail messages, the evaluations, and the video clips and stills of the various presentations will be uploaded onto the NASA web site so that the process can be continued and developed. (Further use of the web)

This creates a graceful cycle of ICT use, starting and ending with the web.

In this way, the ICT tools used are essential to the success of the project and are used in harmony with each other. But the web site itself is also developed and, therefore, becomes dynamic rather than static as new ideas are added through similar future projects.

We firmly believe that this interaction between the new ICT tools is the way forward for education in the Information Age, a vision that is shared by our colleagues at NASA.

Contact address:
Lawrence Williams
Director of Studies/Assistant Head Teacher
The Holy Cross School
65 Westbury Road
New Malden
Surrey, UK



I am delighted to report that the Workshop exceeded my highest expectations. Through the expertise of the team assembled by Dr.Eric Albone to support this project, the Space Science Workshop was outstanding in all its aspirations. Supporting this Workshop were Professor Steve Sparks, Fellow of the Royal Society, who gave a useful introduction to the group about the basics of plate tectonics and further supported us with tutorial visits. The students felt honored by his visits. Throughout the week Dr. Carsten Riedel and Stuart Stansfield, both part of Professor Spark's team, excelled as inspirational teachers, working with the students from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with coffee and lunch breaks pared to the minimum by the students themselves, who wanted to develop their ideas to the fullest extent. I have a JPEG photo of the group working long after a coffee break was called! Carsten and Stu were the driving force behind the scientific work of the group, challenging the students and encouraging them with outstanding professionalism. I have assessed many teachers during my years as a senior manager, but I willingly assert that these two members of the team were truly outstanding in their expertise, their enthusiasm, and their encouragement of the students.

From the NASA end, Joe Kolecki provided daily tutorial support by videoconference, and, again, was an inspiration to the group. Following the last videoconference with Joe, I expressed our gratitude to him and his team for their help in this venture. His response declared that the Bristol group had achieved a landmark in education! (The complete text is given on Day 5, message nos. ii and iii.)

Among other successes, socially, culturally, and in uniting the academic communities of three continents, this has been a landmark in the development of the integration of ICT for learning, and I warmly thank all of the team for this.

Lawrence Williams

Web links:

Becta's site for the NASA link with Holy Cross:

And the Becta/Holy Cross Drama Report:


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Responsible NASA Official: Theresa M. Scott