Although it dominated the headlines during spring and summer, for most students, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a news story far removed from daily lives. Voices on the Gulf, a new social networking site, seeks to find a way to unite students and classrooms from all over to learn more about what happened and the progress of recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast region.
Spearheaded by Paul Allison and others who have been involved in the weekly Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast program, Voices on the Gulf is open to any classroom that wants to get engaged in the topics of energy policy, environmental awareness, and action projects. One aspect of the site that is potentially useful is that there are already some schools from the Gulf signed on as part of the project, which allows for first-hand information.
Students are invited to submit poetry, essays, multimedia compositions, and more. The site is divided up into various areas, including culture, environment, and a dedicated space for elementary students (where I am one of the site leaders).
The site explains:
“This site exists to amplify the voices of those of us who find ourselves on the front lines of the largest oil spill in U.S. history. We invite all of our colleagues who teach on the Gulf Coast to make this site their home and to welcome their students as well. Students from elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, home schools, community colleges, and universities are involved in discussions on this site. We welcome all.”
In the Classroom
You could use this site as a resource about the developments in the Gulf Coast region, or as a social networking opportunity for classrooms to become engaged in the issues with other students. Teachers interested in the Voices on the Gulf site can get more information here about how to participate. The site encourages educators and students to share their thoughts at the site.