Student Blogging Results in Mayoral Visit
Students at Dr. A.E. Perry were treated to a special visitor as a result of their outstanding literacy skills. The grade seven and eight classes at Perry investigated Regina’s hot debate regarding plans to possibly construct a multi-million dollar dome stadium. Students reviewed media releases regarding the dome debate, putting together a persuasive writing piece. The students then posted their opinion pieces on our classroom blog sites and Mayor Fiacco took notice, eventually agreeing to visit the students in person to discuss the city’s plan for a new facility.
Students at MacNeil School also read the blogs and became interested in the issues. Therefore we made it possible for the MacNeil students to view Mayor Fiacco’s presentation by streaming it live via a secure, password protected, synchronous communication tool called Ustream. The MacNeil students also had the opportunity to participate in the discussion with the mayor by using a process called back-channeling, a relatively new instructional tool in K-12 education. Basically, a back-channel is an online conversation that takes place during a live presentation.
In many ways, our project challenges the traditional ways that instruction is delivered and resources and knowledge are shared. Learning can, and should be, authentic, meaningful, and networked.
The following is recount of the Mayoral visit prepared by a grade eight student at Dr. A.E. Perry School:
On Tuesday, November 10th the grade seven and eight students of Dr. A. E. Perry School received a visit from Pat Fiacco, mayor of Regina. His visit revolved around the topic of the proposed new dome and around the ways Regina is changing. Dr. Perry students weren’t the only to benefit from the visit though. The grade eight students from McNeil also took in Pat Fiacco’s inspiring words through Ustream, an online tool that allows video and audio streaming. This allowed them to watch the mayor speak but to also ask questions through the embedded chat feature.
Throughout the topics we discussed the main idea and discussion of interest was about Regina’s plans for a new dome. We were made aware though that the “dome” wasn’t only dome but an entertainment facility with the ability to be used for all sorts of cultural and sporting events, concerts, and trade shows. Mayor Fiacco argues that building a dome makes Regina a city of opportunity. He says it brings employment options, housing which can be built where Mosaic Stadium is now, and an opportunity to put Regina on the move.
A common question asked at our visit was where will spectators park? According to Mayor Fiacco, a multi-level parking structure could be constructed and a public transportation shuttle service might be created. This would allow the inner city to be less busy with spectators’ vehicles attending the facility but to also save the Earth by having quite a few people transported by one mode of transportation.
The construction of the new facility also brings more hotels and restaurants to our city. As today’s youth, we will find out more about our future in January 2010 when we receive back the feasibility study stating whether we can afford this entertainment facility and whether this facility will really cost its pre-determined $350 million dollars. This project is lead by the provincial government and I am sure that they’ll make the right decision for our city and do what is best for us.
Overall, the visit from the mayor was greatly appreciated. It was amazing how he cared about today’s youth’s opinions and found the time in his schedule to come talk with us. It showed us what putting our opinions on a blog can do and shows us that we never really know who is reading and taking an interest in our writing.
Submitted by Courtney, grade eight student, Dr. A.E. Perry School