2006 - Energy Collaborarive Workshop - Cairo - Aug 21-24 (1 of 11)
Link to facilitator workshop page: http://planetseed.com/node/104280/
SEED Facilitator Workshop
August 19-20, 2006
SEED Collaborative Workshop
August 21-24, 2006
6th of October City, Egypt
The new SEED theme of Global Climate Change and Energy was featured in this collaborative workshop, one of an ongoing series hosted in Egypt. Following a two-day facilitator training session, the four-day workshop and its documents, discussions, web information, and field trip provided the motivation and inspiration for the development of six projects.
Five of the projects were related to the concept of an energy-efficient building such as a home, school, or mosque that combined traditional architectural design with modern technology. The sixth project dealt with the capture of undersea geothermal energy.
60 participants, including
22 facilitators, made up of
6 Schlumberger volunteers from Egypt
1 Schlumberger volunteer from Saudi Arabia (Sara Al Somali)
1 Schlumberger volunteer from Russia (Svetlana Belova)
7 experienced teachers from Egypt
3 representatives from libraries in Egypt
2 representatives from the Egyptian Ministry of Education
2 international SEED facilitators (Tom Lough and Sherezada Acosta, USA)
9 teacher participants, made up of
7 teachers from Egypt
1 teacher from Saudi Arabia (Salma Raad)
1 teacher from Syria (Zakaria Al Ali)
29 student participants, made up of
23 students from Egypt
5 students from Saudi Arabia
1 student from Syria
1 field trip (two destinations)
Venue and Facilities
The workshop was held at the Novotel in 6th of October City, near Cairo. The workshop participants stayed at the same hotel, a very convenient arrangement.
We had a spacious (22 m by 15 m) room, large enough for a group discussion area, five small group meeting tables, computers, a printer, a central projection and speaking area, a “general store” area for building materials, and a soldering / cutting area. There were 20 leased computers in the workshop room, seven of which had Internet connections. Electrical supply and Internet connectivity were fully reliable. We also had a small adjacent storage room that could be locked. The break area was a furnished lobby outside of the workshop room.
Thursday and Friday, August 17 and 18, were spent setting up the workshop area, supervising the computer installation, unpacking and storing materials and equipment, and doing last minute shopping.
Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20, were devoted to a facilitator workshop for the volunteers and experienced teachers. We began with a safety briefing, and then discussed the goals of the facilitator workshop and of the collaborative workshop to follow. We reviewed the GoGo hardware and software and MicroWorlds software, and practiced with these tools. We presented and discussed the workshop theme of Global Climate Change and Energy, and reviewed the information available on the web site and in the documents. Then we reviewed the brainstorming procedure and practiced the process. The remainder of the time was devoted to detailed planning of the agenda and of the roles of the various teachers and volunteers.
On Monday, August 21, the teachers and students arrived for the workshop. After welcoming remarks by Mohamed Abbas, the SEED coordinator for Egypt, and by Samir Hassan Mohamed, a representative from the Egypt Ministry of Education, everyone introduced themselves. Ayman El Sayed from the Alexandria Library acted as the host, and facilitated nearly the entire workshop in Arabic. The first main agenda item was a QHSE briefing by SEED volunteer Hamdy El Dawy. Then SEED volunteer Rana Medhat coordinated a series of interesting and engaging ice-breaking activities. Next, the five groups were formed. Each group had ten or eleven members, including participants from the two-day facilitator workshop and newly-arrived teachers and students. The remainder of the day was devoted to getting familiar with the new theme of Global Climate Change and Energy and with the workshop tools (GoGo boards and MicroWorlds software). For part of the climate change introduction, each group presented a brief skit focused on the question, “How is climate change affecting our lives?” One of the highlights was showing a special file with the climate change web pages in Arabic. (The pages are available online only in English at present.) For additional ideas, we also distributed a project sheet on energy-efficient buildings (energy_efficient_building.pdf). At the end of the day, several student groups made presentations about previous projects. Also, Nahed Mokhtar made a brief presentation about field trip planning and preparation, and introduced a field trip form for student notes (Preparation for a workshop.doc).
Tuesday, August 22, started out with a field trip to an electrical generation plant in Cairo and an energy-efficient building on the outskirts of 6th of October City. At the power plant, participants saw a scale model of the facility and received an overview of its operation. Some of them realized for the first time that reducing electricity consumption in the homes could reduce the demand for production at the plant, thereby saving energy all around. At the energy-efficient building, participants saw an example of how traditional architecture can be combined with scientific concepts to develop a building with minimal power requirements. In this case, the architectural modifications promoted the circulation of air without using any energy. We returned to the Novotel in time for lunch. The field trip gave them many project ideas. The afternoon was devoted to brainstorming and project concept development. Each project had to have a sketch or diagram showing an overview and a flow chart showing the control logic. Based on these items, each group then wrote out a list of the materials needed. The materials were then issued from the “general store” so that project construction could begin. A few students attended an optional MicroWorlds session after dinner.
Wednesday, August 23, began with a full group meeting, during which each small group gave a brief overview of their project concept. Each of the five groups decided on the concept of a building with energy-saving aspects. One group also decided on an additional project in which water is pumped into a section of the ocean floor that contains lava; the water is turned into steam which is then used to generate electricity. The remainder of the day was devoted to project construction, GoGo board and MicroWorlds work, and endless testing and revision. At any time during the day, a visitor could look around the room and find every participant actively engaged in meaningful project work. At the end of the day, another full group meeting focused on reviewing what had been done and preparing for the sharing session on the next day. Afterwards, Tom Lough, SEED facilitator, conducted a meeting of ten teachers, two from each small group, during which he introduced a prototype of the Solar Energy SEEDPACK. After demonstrating two activities from the pack and obtaining a commitment from the teachers to perform the activities themselves and send him feedback, he presented the teachers with SEEDPACKs to take back home with them.
On Thursday, August 24, groups worked on their projects until 12:00. By then, they had to have all project files copied to a zip disk and transferred to the presentation laptop computer by the projector. From 12:00 until 4:00, with an hour break for lunch at 1:00, each group hosted a 30-minute sharing session to tell about their project. Questions from the audience were enthusiastic and lively. Everyone seemed to enjoy the variety of projects. Starting at 4:00, Mr. Murat Aksoy, geomarket manager, hosted the closing ceremonies. He praised the participants for their work and thanked the volunteers for their contributions. Then he and Mohamed Abbas presented each participant with a certificate and a special gift of a SEED backpack or SEED athletic bag. Packs of GoGo boards and other electronic components were given to teachers for use in their schools. After the participants departed, the volunteers and SEED staff cleaned up the room and packed up the remaining materials for transportation back to the base.
Highlights, Development Areas, and Lessons Learned
The workshop was judged by Mohamed Abbas to be a success. The theme of Global Climate Change and Energy was carried out effectively and appropriately. The project results were excellent. A survey administered voluntarily ting teachers and representatives from libraries and from the Ministry of Education yielded 18 respondents, with results indicating that the workshop goals were achieved. The details of these results are contained in a separate report (SurveyResults.doc).
This workshop included several international participants. Their presence enriched the overall workshop environment and gave a broader sense of meaning to the event. From Saudi Arabia came a SLB volunteer, a teacher, and five students. From Syria came a teacher and a student. From Russia came a SLB volunteer who was also the SEED country coordinator. The other workshop participants welcomed these international delegates and made them part of the whole event. The country coordinator from Russia found her visit to be particularly helpful, because she is planning a similar workshop to be held in October. Involving new SEED coordinators from other countries in collaborative workshops such as this is an effective way to help them gain firsthand information about the workshop planning and delivery process.
Local support was outstanding, as evidenced by the large number of volunteers who were available both for the facilitator workshop and for the collaborative workshop. They were enthusiastic and proactive, seeking out on their own ways to help. Volunteers produced the workshop directory and the newsletter, for example, and helped to establish and maintain an atmosphere of safety awareness. This core of local support made it possible for two international facilitators to function effectively.
The venue at the Novotel was well-matched to the needs of the workshop. The main room was spacious enough for the 20 computers, a large group meeting area complete with central projection stand and screen, round tables for small group meetings, and separate areas for materials and for soldering / cutting. The adjacent storage room was large enough for all equipment and materials, making it easy to secure them during the evening. The lobby area was an excellent area for tea breaks. The hotel business staff paid several visits to the workshop to check that everything was satisfactory. Since the participants stayed in the Novotel as well, they could come back to the workshop room for evening sessions or early morning work as desired. Such a venue enables a greatly consolidated setting, with benefits of reduced transportation costs and increased safety, comfort, and efficiency. Moreover, the hotel staff was quite responsive to our needs, even on a last-minute basis. Wherever possible, this approach to venue selection should be followed.
The computer equipment was supplied and installed by a local company. A local network of 20 desktop computers and one laser printer was set up. The LCD monitors, keyboards, and mice were placed on the tabletops and the desktop computers themselves were placed on the floor, giving a good amount of workspace on the table. After the first setup day, a number of technical problems were found with the computers. The local company representative returned and made the required adjustments so that all computers were operational before the facilitator workshop needed them. The hotel was able to provide seven connections to the internet. We set up three computers on three tables with six chairs for each small group, with a spillover area of three additional computers and two computers for administrative purposes. We also asked that the laptop station by the LCD projector have both an internet connection and a printer connection. One point that was overlooked: None of the desktop computers included a CD burner. This limited CD production to volunteer laptops. In the future, we should specify that at least two or three of the desktop computers should have a CD burner. We should also make sure that there are SEED mousepads available for all desktop computers.
The field trip was taken on the morning of the second day of the workshop, using one large bus and one minibus. We went to two destinations, a natural gas electrical generation plant in Cairo and an energy-efficient building near the workshop site in 6th of October City. On the day before the trip, Nahed Mokhtar had introduced a field trip form (Preparation for a field trip.doc) for all participants. She distributed this form on the bus and participants used the form for taking notes during the trip. This helped to focus their attention and give them a way to organize their information, and is recommended for future workshop field trips. At the second field site, the participants walked around the energy-efficient building and examined its features. Then they returned to the bus, where the guide used the on-board microphone to discuss the structure and respond to questions. This technique of turning the bus into an air-conditioned classroom in which everyone can be heard is recommended for similar future field trips.
An attitude of safety was established and maintained throughout the workshop. On the first day, Hamdy El Dawy gave a QHSE orientation and showed his Schlumberger QHSE shirt. He showed the locations of the first aid kit and the various fire extinguishers and went over the fire plan. Throughout the workshop, he gave reminders about safe practices. When students began moving quickly in their excitement, they were stopped and reminded to walk. He made sure that the soldering area had proper equipment. We asked the teachers to do any cutting and soldering, and teach the students safe methods at the same time. We encouraged the use of header pin connectors and alligator clip cables so that the need for soldering was reduced. There were no significant incidents or injuries.
The equipment and materials list was divided into two parts, one for local procurement and one for shipment from SEED. The local list included ordinary items such as cardboard, sheets of Styrofoam, and hand tools which could be purchased from nearby stores. The shipment list included mostly GoGo boards and electronic components. This shipment was delayed somewhat by Egyptian customs, but arrived in time for use in the facilitator workshop. In addition, items from a previous workshop were brought from the base. The 9-volt solar cell packs (682-SP60-6V) were excellent and are highly recommended for future workshops. However, on some packs the holes in the frame did not align well with the holes on the solar cell, making assembly rather difficult.
Several groups wanted to demonstrate the generation of electricity with wind power, but we were not able to configure the available propellers and electric motors to do this. Instead, participants set up a system of propellers connected to electric motors and just simulated the generation of electricity. On hand were a number of stepper motors, but we were not able to get them operating properly during the workshop. This will be investigated and remedied after the workshop. At the end of the workshop, most of the electronics equipment was divided up into packs and given to participating teachers for project continuation.
The following additional items are recommended for future workshops.
- set of powered computer speakers
- laser pointer
- zip disk for each group
- uninsulated wire for fastening
- twine or string
- small mirrors
- small hinges
- more rulers and cutters
- flashlight bulbs and sockets
- more small jeweler screwdrivers
- saw for cutting holes in sheets of wood
- system of windmill blades and electric motor capable of generating electricity from wind power (e.g., from participants blowing on the blades)
Although experiments could be encouraged in this workshop context, there was little opportunity to do so. There was one informal investigation of the three-way switch that was akin to experimentation. When the participants could not figure out how the three-way switch worked, they were furnished with a multimeter and shown how the continuity function worked. They were then able to figure out how the three-way switch worked by testing it with different connections to the multimeter. In the future, we could include a bit more datalogging in the GoGo board introduction. Perhaps this would stimulate more questions that could lead to experimentation. Another direction we could go would be for projects to be based on questions, such as “Which is the better insulator, Styrofoam or paper?” This would give the workshop a science fair direction, which is somewhat different from the project-based approach. However, it would promote more experimentation. Maybe we could find some way to incorporate experimentation into each project.
We had on hand six prototype Solar Energy SEEDPACKs. In this particular workshop, none of the SEEDPACK activities were related to the small group projects very closely. Therefore, SEEDPACKS were introduced to selected teachers in a separate meeting so that they did not detract from or interfere with small group project development. The solar tracker and water heater activities were shown in detail to ten teachers, assisted by Mohamed Abbas and Ministry of Education representatives. Teachers were given photocopies of the activities and teacher notes so that they could follow along and ask questions. After obtaining a commitment from each teacher to try the activities and report their feedback, we presented the six packs to them to take home. We gave one pack to each of three pairs of teachers who lived close together (Alexandria, Cairo, and Port Said), and one pack to each of three teachers who did not live near another colleague (Syria, Saudia Arabia, and Ras Ghareb). One teacher (from Luxor) agreed to wait until another pack could be procured for him.
No representatives from the media attended the workshop. However, one of the SLB volunteers collected information for a future Voices article. The next collaborative workshop in Egypt might be sometime in early 2007, perhaps in February.