All posts by naturelovers101

Don’t Put It Away

Contrary to what your elderly science teacher may preach, electronic devices have proven themselves very useful in the classroom. Incorporating the use of downloadable course materials for students on their tablets and electronic devices can actually benefit the classroom. Course materials viewed on electronic devices have been shown to improve students’ learning in certain areas, students enjoy using them, and it’s economically efficient.

Firstly, electronic devices are not only beneficial to the classroom; they have also been shown to be better than older methods for teaching students certain concepts. A student trying to grasp a geometrical or spatial concept can obviously be aided in a tablet’s use of 3D imagery, a lot more than he can be helped by his science teacher’s scribble of a shape on a blackboard. A study found that students who learned about the solar system through its depiction in a traditional textbook scored lower than those who learned about it with the 3D capabilities of the ipad. This shows that when it comes to concepts like distance, time and spatial visualisation, the ipad beats traditional methods of teaching.  If this is a way to better teach our students and bring about a wave of smarter individuals in the process, there is no reason to avoid incorporating ipads and other electronic devices in the classroom. Not to mention, students seem to really like using electronic devices in the classroom.

Second, students love using electronic devices in the classroom. The kids of the late 90s are all electronically literate, and prefer using electronic devices over any other method of learning. They spend hours a day in front of screens, it’s only normal that incorporating electronic devices in classes would feel natural to them. A student of Vanier College named George Koniaris was asked his opinion on the use of electronic devices in the classroom. George said, “In my biology class, the teacher allows us to bring tablets in class to read the powerpoints she sends us online. I actually prefer this method as I find it more efficient and easier than carrying a bunch of books with me to class. I would like if more teachers promoted the use of tablets in their class.” George is not the first person to mention how having to carry a bag full of books is a hassle, and that hassle disappears with the use of tablets.  A study done in Pepperdine University took a group of students and integrated the ipad into their classroom experience. The study found that most students really enjoyed the ipad, and found it useful. Efficiency is one great thing about the ipad, but the fact that it saves money is another important factor we have to consider.

Lastly, using electronic versions of course materials and student assignments over paper can have a significant effect on costs. Imagine if every time you have to hand in an assignment, you do it online. Imagine that every time you have to bring course notes to class, you put them on your tablet. The amount of paper that would be saved by doing this alone would be phenomenal. This would not only cut costs, but would also be a great step towards making schools more environmentally friendly. A study done at the University of Texas had as one of their research points to find if there were any cost cuts for a department in their school, if that department asked of students to hand in all assignments virtually and for all grades and comments to be given online as well, very similar to our omnivox at Vanier College. The study found that there was a 48% decrease in costs from the last year’s total costs. The majority of students also enjoyed using the online system.  Online submission and overall electronic use in the classroom is an efficient way to go about schooling, and it should become more used.

In conclusion, incorporating electronic devices in the classroom has been shown to actually be more efficient than traditional methods for teaching certain concepts requiring 3D visualisation. Students also really enjoy using them and they cut costs compared to the use of paper notes and course materials in the classroom. They vary from being big enough to fit in your pocket, to big enough to be held in one hand. They are relatively small and compact compared to having to carry a whole bag of books around with you, and don’t weigh you down like a heavy bag pack does. They are a great addition to traditional teaching methods, and in a society that is changing and becoming more technology oriented every year, a change towards electronic devices is inevitable.

By Stamatis Daskos

 

Arney Janna, Jones Irma & Wolf Angela.“Going green: paperless technology and feedback from the classroom”.Journal of Sustainability and Green Business. ND.

Brian Handwerk, National Geographic News, 2013. iPads Improve Classroom Learning, Study Finds. The writer of this article was just describing the findings of a study.

Cameron, Andrea H.; Bush, Michael H., Ed.D.  Pepperdine University, 2011. Digital course materials: A case study of the Apple iPad in the academic environment

 

A Change to Electronics!

 

As we are all surrounded by trees, we are all surrounded also by paper. Where ever we look, we see paper. Whether they’re in a form of a poster, or a journal, or a newspaper, and or a book. Indeed, paper is an important aspect of our everyday life. However, the production of paper can become harmful to our environment, and the need to supplement it is ought to consider. There for, the utility of books and journal should be supplemented by electronic devices as these are more environmentally efficient.

Paper industries are very harmful to our environment and are very environmentally inefficient. They are harmful because they produce a lot of water wastes that are high on toxicity. As well, paper industries are inefficient because they use lots of trees. When paper is being produced for various reasons, such as for books, or newspapers or other, lots of water is consumed. Considering the amount of publishing that goes on everyday around the world, might be scary to imagine how much water is actually wasted. As these waters get intoxicated by different pollutants from the production process, it becomes difficult to eliminate these wastes. For example, Pulp from paper contains lots of bacteria and does not degrade.  There for, leading this whole process to water depletion. Also, when waters get infected, they infect all the ecosystem of the cold waters. in the text “Environmental Management, Structure, Networks and Information Exchange: The Case of a Tasmanian Pulp and Paper Mil”, the author point out that “such effluents [water waste pollutants] can generate unpleasant odours, taint fish flesh, and encourage acidity, slime growth, scum and discolouration to the water”. Thus, possibly also infecting us. So finding solutions to these kind of problems could be difficult. However, if we think out of the box, it could be just as easy. Technology has advances so much with years, to the point that today we can use electronic paper. Through e-books and other electronic devices, reading different books or articles can be much more eco-friendly. As these are not hard-printed-copies, they do not dispose toxic and hazardous pollutants that could harm seriously our waters. Electronic books have no need to be published, as these could be found online through database. The cost productions of electronic books is also lower than that of hard printed books. Making them more accessible physically and financially. Electronic paper should supplement the hard copy paper, as this will reduce environmental damages. There would be no flooding, no deforestation and less wastes.   

Electronic paper as an alternative has lots of advantages. It is not only eco-friendly, it is also student-friendly. Electronic books are compact, small and efficient. They contain everything in one single “book”. Student have no need to carry heavy hard-copy-books, as these are all contained in one. Electronic books are also much less expansive when compared to hard-copy-book. In a research study article “Evaluating the electronic textbook: is it time to dispense with the paper text?” The author points out that when psychology book could be sold for 81.25$, and electronic copy could be purchased almost half price at 40$. He explains in the text that this is due to different production costs. But not only that the electronic book is cheaper in price, it also more efficient for studying. In the same research paper “Evaluating the electronic textbook: is it time to dispense with the paper text?” Result show thatelectronic books are time efficient. Student who participated in the research have shown to study less in time wise than those who study by a hard-copy-book. Its advantages of being electronic permits people to annotate their text easier. By having the option of cut and paste, people don’t need to spend time rewriting their notes on different papers. Making their notes and information more easily accessible. Electronic books are less time consuming. A research has shown that students who studied with a hard-cover-copy spend 2.3hours per week, and students who studied with an electronic device spend 2 hours per week in studying. This research has also shown that students using electronic books found it easier and practical to study, because they had direct access to electronic dictionaries, graphs, videos and other extra resources. 

In overall, people should start using electronic paper rather than hard-copy-paper as these are environmentally harmful and inefficient. As our fresh waters are getting infected by different bacteria, electronic books are safer use. They require no tree cutting and no water wastes. Electronic books are also time efficient. They provide the reader with access to different other useful resources, such as online dictionary that can save time in their research.  Even if electronic books are not yet so popular in their usage, with time they should be more used. As said earlier, they are not only eco-friendly, they are also student-friendly.

 

 

References:

Chadwick, S., & Hanson, D. (2001). Environmental Management, Structure, Networks and Information Exchange: The Case of a Tasmanian Pulp and Paper Mill. Prometheus19(1), 27-43. doi:10.1080/08109020110040879

 

Shepperd, J.A., Grace, J L., Koch, E. (2008). Evaluating the electronic textbook: is it time to dispense with the paper text?  Teaching of Psychology. Vol. 35 Issue 1, p2-5. 4p.  doi: 10.1080/00986280701818532

 

 

No for Keystone XL Pipelines

The debate between whether Barak Obama should or should not approve the XL Pipeline is a very prominent topic of this year. As it seems, many people do not want for Barak Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline that will be carrying Tar Sands oil through a pipeline that would be connected between Canada and the United States. Therefore, Barak Obama should not approve the project of the Keystone XL Pipeline on the basis that this project is harmful to our environment and is harmful to our health as mentioned by Susan Casey-Lefkowitz and Meagan Fitzpatrick .

The problems that might arise from the extraction of the tar sands oil could result into devastating environmental consequences. The tar sands oil is very heavy as a substance. So due to its heaviness, it will require some serious extracting methods. These extracting methods can be very harmful to the environment.  As the process of extracting the oil from the Tar Sands can leak around the pit, its toxicity could get released in the air and therefore could increase the carbon dioxide in our environment. In fact, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz points out in her article “Passion Remains High Because Keystone XL Marks a Turning Point on Climate” that the extraction of the Tar Sands oil can “[add] pollution to our air equal to carbon emissions from 5.7 million cars”. She explains that if the XL pipeline project will be approved, our carbon emissions will increase at a generous rate. As well, it is also a lot of carbon emission that we are talking about. Taking into account, that we already have 5.7 million other cars emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we do not need more of it.

 What Susan Casey-Lefkowitz is also suggesting above, is that if Barak Obama will approve the XL pipeline project, we will have more cars on our roads. And having more cars on our roads thanks to natural resources that is already being overexploited seems ironic. As we will extract a natural resource under dangerous conditions, we will then use this natural resource to produce even more hazardous toxins into the environment. We should also know that eventually, these resources will no longer be accessible. If Barak Obama does approve the XL Pipeline project, he will also approve to put our environment into jeopardy. As well, problems that might arise from this project are not worth the long term unknown devastating consequences.  

Moreover, the approval of the XL Pipeline can result into serious health issues. As the oil is very dirty, people who will get to extract it might suffer from serious health problems and especially those who live around the extracting area. Because the Tar Sands could be found not far from cohabited area, its pollutants could affect people that live in these areas. In fact, Meagan Fitzpatrick states in her article “Keystone XL would endanger health of Americans, U.S. senator say” that “carcinogens get into the food chain, water and air in communities downstream from the oil sands and that those toxins are linked to cancers”.  Meagan Fitzpatrick addresses an important health consequence that might be caused by the XL pipeline. People’s lives could be endangered through such a project. And we’re not talking about a few people that could get infected, we’re talking about a whole populated area where more than just a few people live. It will be selfish to produce an energy source that could cost many people’s lives. If Barak Obama will approve the XL Pipeline, Canadian and American citizens’ health could be highly endangered. Thus, due to carcinogenic consequences that might not be recovered later on, Barak Obama shouldn’t approve the XL Pipeline project.

Therefore, due to environmental devastations and health issues that might arise because of the Tar Sands, Barak Obama should not approve the project of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Our environment can strongly be altered and harmed through this kind of project. The installation of The Keystone Pipeline is not worth the irreversible environmental consequences that might arise. As well, it is not fair to put people’s life at stake for an overexploited resource. If we’re ought to exploit our resources, such activities should be done in full safety and with no major impacts that might cause great danger. However, if the XL Pipeline will be approved, our environment and people’s health will be left in jeopardy. Do you, Barak Obama, as a president would sacrifice your citizen’s lives and environment so that more dirty energy could be produced?

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Meagan Fritzpatrick. February 26, 2014. Keystone XL would endanger health of Americans, U.S. senators say. Cbcnews. URL:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/keystone-xl-would-endanger-health-of-americans-u-s-senators-say-1.2552425

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz. February 21, 2014. Passion Remains High Because Keystone XL Marks a Turning Point on Climate. SwitchBoard. URL: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/sclefkowitz/passion_remains_high_because_k.html

  Karina Vakhroucheva 

Do The Right Thing

Dear Mr. Obama,

The Keystone XL pipeline is an idea that may be a smart move for the North American economy, although is us buying ourselves coffins in terms of the amount of carbon emissions we will be making because of it. President Obama, I believe it is a bad idea because it means us going in the opposite direction of what our goals for cutting carbon emissions are, it is going to end up costing us a lot in environmental costs, and it is going to bring on negative health consequences.

Firstly, the Keystone XL pipeline is going to increase our carbon emissions significantly. The extraction of oil from the ground is a huge use of energy. Then, once we get this oil out and to distributors, our carbon emissions are going to explode. As is mentioned in The Huffington Post’s article “Why The Keystone XL Pipeline Matters For Climate” a extra 1.4 billion metric tons is going to have been released into the atmosphere by the time the 50 year Keystone plan is finished. In what way can 1.4 billion extra tons of carbon coexist with our goal to reduce our overall carbon emissions by 2020? The simple answer is that it cannot. The Canadian government is pushing the Keystone XL pipeline, and then states its past successes when faced with people who oppose the pipeline. The Canadian government says that they are more on track in terms of environmental management than the United States. They make this statement to the people who can see how the pipeline will obviously ruin the environment. The government stating this is just complete nonsense because of course they won’t be able to continue their trend when the pipeline is created. Just because a boxer wins one fight it doesn’t mean he’ll be the world champion forever. Like I said before, 1.4 billion tons is what we are looking at. There is no way we can lower overall emissions with that type of excretion. Who knows though, maybe Canada will start pushing for recycling again when the pipeline is created.

Second, the overall environmental costs this is going to have. We are talking about oil spills along the pipeline, the destruction of animal habitats, and the emissions from the tar sands extraction. And if you believe the pipeline can be made to avoid oil spills, according to attorney Anthony Swift, the last pipeline Keystone created has spilled 12 times. Its last spill dropped 21 000 gallons of oil onto the surrounding area. There is going to be oil spills along the pipeline, and this will damage the area around the spill. Small animals can be covered by the toxic oil and die, as well as larger animals that may eat this small toxic prey and get sick as well. These spills will destroy the areas they occur on and make the grasslands around them unsuitable for life. According to the “National Wildlife Federation”, these pipes will also be passing through farmers properties and can spill unto their produce. Does that not sound delicious? Farmers and ranchers have also been protesting against the pipeline because of this. Also, just getting this oil out of the ground wastes a huge amount of fuel; energy we could be using for something more efficient and beneficial to mankind. Not to mention, tar sand oil is one of the dirtiest oil sources available, and is 17% more polluting than other sources. With the huge amount of energy we will have to use to extract this oil, along with the oil itself being more polluting than other types of oil, it is easy to see why you should not pass this pipeline Mr. Obama.

Lastly, but probably most important, are the health consequences associated to building the pipeline. If you do not care about the environment or the wildlife, know that you too will be affected by the pipeline. Dr. John O’Connor, a physician, has said that carcinogens will be getting into the air, food chain, and water of the communities downstream from the oil sands, and that can have extremely negative effects on their health, such as the development of tumors and cancer. Like I mentioned earlier, there will be spillage along the length of the pipeline. There are also many farmers’ and ranchers’ properties along the length of the pipeline. The toxic gunk that will be spilling out of this pipeline causes cancer, and there is a good chance it will be spilling around the produce that ends up at your supermarket and that you will consume. This thought makes me feel very uncomfortable, and if I live on a continent that puts economy over the well-being and health of their population, I really feel disappointed my parents decided to immigrate here from Europe. The health of our bodies and the health of our planet are so critically important to our well-being, that if you sign this deal you are essentially signing that you do not care about the lives of your people Mr. Obama.

The Keystone pipeline is a bad idea from start to finish. The economy is slowly healing on its own, and it does not need the help of a concept that could slowly kill off the human race. The Keystone XL pipeline will make it impossible to reach our carbon reduction goals, turning the North American governments into a bunch of liars and hypocrites, our environment is going to be devastated, and the health of North Americans will decline. Even though everyone in the government is at the age where death is already at their footsteps, I am not. I do not want to start getting sick until I am in my late 70’s, and I feel like I have lived a complete and happy life, in a country strong enough to make good decisions for its people, and at the same time smart enough to make sure those decisions do not bring negative effects later on. This is my final statement to you, President Obama. Do the right thing.

– Stamatis D.

 

References:

Anthony Swift, Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/aswift/the_first_keystone_tar_sands_p.html

Anthony Swift, The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anthony-swift/why-the-keystone-xl-tar-s_b_4935205.html

Dr. John O’Connor, CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/keystone-xl-would-endanger-health-of-americans-u-s-senators-say-1.2552425

National Wildlife Federation. http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Energy-and-Climate/Drilling-and-Mining/Tar-Sands/Keystone-XL-Pipeline.aspx