SEEDing Russia, One Workshop at a Time
SEEDing Russia, One Workshop at a Time
March 2010 [Noviy Urengoy]
In late March 2010, the Noviy Urengoy Vocational Training School hosted a collaborative SEED workshop for teachers and students.
SEED is an educational, highly interactive program geared towards youth and teachers. It was started in 1998 by the volunteers from international oil-and-gas service company Schlumberger as a constructive response to the increasing worldwide demand in information and communication technologies. What does SEED stand for? And how did it happen that such a corporation became involved with children’s education?
The Teachers prepare for the first day of the workshop.
The program’s creators truly believe that everything big begins with a small seed. The acronym stands for “Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development.” SEED workshops are an avenue for submerging students in an educational environment with the motto of “learning while doing” (LWD). The LWD method contributes to a practical development of new skills and acquirement of knowledge in various science fields. It encourages teamwork while advancing individual projects directed at solving current global issues such as climate change, energy conservation, and water quality.
Within the framework of the SEED model, students and teachers use information technologies, materials, and products provided by SEED, all designed to enrich their knowledge of the subject matter and gain practical experience. This educational approach is nurtured by scientists, engineers, and volunteers from Schlumberger.
SEED Sprouts in Russia
Once upon a time, or at least in 2001, a “SEED” landed in Russia, with the help of the local Schlumberger office. Russia used to have science and technology clubs for youth, but by then these clubs had become much missed relics of the past. Therefore, the Schlumberger initiative received a warm welcome. Participation in the program requires a substantial financial investment from Schlumberger and SEED, through grants that are awarded to schools to connect them to the Internet. SEED’s Web site (www.planetseed.com) introduces online experiments and articles authored by Schlumberger experts, among others. The Web site even invites users to ask and receive answers from technical experts, in seven languages including Russian. By early 2005, nine grant-winning schools in Russia--from Moscow to Sakhalin--had the right to call themselves the sprouts of SEED. In August 2005 these schools met in Noviy Urengoy where SEED held a national science and technology workshop in High School #13.
Project groups begin working on their projects.
One of the participants was teacher Svetlana Malysheva. She began working with SEED in 2005 and has since actively participated in six practical science and technology workshops for youth and teachers in Russia. Another participant was Michael Tempel, Manager of the SEED Educational Programs and a member of the International Association of Educators of New York City. According to Michael, SEED workshops have proven to be very successful in Russia, due to talented and enthusiastic students, and the teachers’ close involvement in the learning process.
Svetlana Belova , Russia’s SEED Coordinator, has greatly helped to promote SEED in Russia. Workshops were held in Moscow, Tyumen, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk on the Lake Baykal, and in Krasnoyarsk. Ayrat Gusakov from the High School #13 and Anna Gavrish from the Noviy Urengoy Gymnasium eagerly volunteered at the Noviy Urengoy workshop, representing the local schools.
The World of Science is Opened to Students and Teachers
According to Svetlana Malysheva , the lead SEED teacher in the Noviy Urengoy area, and a workshop coordinator, the 2009 workshop was the first attempt to introduce students from all the city schools to SEED. This turned out to be a big success. The workshop gathered students and teachers from the following city schools: HS #1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, and 17 as well as The Noviy Urengoy Gymnasium and the Istoki Center. Gokhan H. Aker, Schlumberger Sales and Marketing Mmanager in Noviy Urengoy, happily accepted an invitation to attend the workshop. Thanks to support from Schlumberger, participants could enjoy working in specially prepared classrooms and auditoriums; the lobby and the performance hall were decorated for this event; meals and snacks were provided to the participants. Finally, Schlumberger organized a guided tour to the Oil and Gas Industry Development exhibit in Urengoy Museum and provided participants with the Internet access.
The workshop’s theme of “Climate Change and Energy Conservation” was of interest to everyone. Students had an opportunity to expand their knowledge on this subject and form views on current environmental issues. Speeches by Dr. Michael Atepalikhin, the associate professor of the Tyumen State University, and Alexander Baranov, the chief engineer with the Mobile Power Stations in Noviy Urengoy, shed more light on these topics. This helped workshop participants understand the reasons behind climate change, as well as the consequences of a warmer Earth. The participants also studies the use of traditional and alternative energy sources, and learned about ways to reduce energy use through conservation models.
On the second day of the workshop, participants worked on their energy conservation projects. Students and teachers were divided into small groups representing the various city schools. Each group had to build a working model showing their solutions and make a presentation on the computer. The presentations on the first day of GoGo boards, the animation program Scratch, and the MicroWorlds software proved to be useful in these tasks. The brainstorming and idea exchange sessions were followed by hours of model production. It was amazing to see the zeal and excitement in the students and teachers as they worked on their projects, cutting, glueing, and putting the models together. Pieces of foam, plastic, foil, cloth, and other materials came in handy. And the group members assigned to make sure that solar batteries, windmills, and other alternative energy sources would work were doing their magic on computers. Nobody was left out from the creative process and the presentations went exceptionally well.
The students are eager set their projects in motion on the computers.
This smoothly-run event wouldn’t have been possible without the volunteers’ coordinated efforts. When summing up the workshop’s results, the participants and Alexander Klochkov , the Principal of the Noviy Urengoy Vocational Training School, recognized the contribution of the volunteers with special diplomas. The diplomas were handed out by Gokhan Aker. Later, in an interview with the Pravda Severa Newspaper, he highlighted the importance of the workshop because it created a community of people that are now engaged in the Company’s initiative. “Schlumberger is stationed in Urengoy not just to help extract oil and gas but also to contribute as much as possible to all the layers of the city’s life, and education is one of them,” he said.
SEED brings the latest scientific inventions to the classroom, enabling young people to assess and resolve problems facing our planet. Now the youth of Noviy Urengoy has been empowered by SEED. All student project reports will be published on the SEED Web site. If the students choose to participate in upcoming workshops, they can utilize what they’ve learned and continue working on them in the frame of new collaborative projects. Thanks to Schlumberger the world of science is wide open to the Noviy Urengoy youth.