Appendix A LearnOnLines REEL Power Project

Figure A-1: A 21st Century Learning and Teaching Project sponsored by LearnOnLine, Inc.

LearnOnLine's REEL Power Project, which stands for "Renewable Energy Education Lab," is the inspiration for this course on energy. REEL Power is designed to help students understand and apply the math and science they are studying by means of a motivationally enhancing (make that "fun filled") renewable energy project. REEL Power is both classroom-based and Internet-based and makes excellent use of both these local and worldwide resources to help students with their studies.

So what exactly is REEL Power?

The REEL Power project is designed to create a "simulated", nationwide, Internet-connected power grid where each REEL Power System becomes a "virtual power plant" on the grid. To become a virtual power plant, schools, educational organizations, hobbyists and experimenters can either use the solar panels and three-phase AC alternator used in these experiments or acquire more powerful models, which are available from LearnOnLine. These become the power sources for the virtual power plants.

However, the most exciting feature of the of the REEL Power project is that these renewable energy devices can be connected to the Internet from your computer where the

"measure" of power is automatically sent to the REEL Power web site for display on a digitized map. As the measure of power reaches it, the REEL Power web site displays each virtual power plant as an illuminated graphic icon on the computerized map.

Schools, organizations and individuals that have the renewable energy equipment are given the label of "Power Generators". Power Generators, like real-world power plants, generate wind and solar power for consumption by their customers. To extend the similarity of a real-world power grid, schools without the renewable energy equipment can also participate in the REEL Power project as "Power Consumers". Power Consumer schools act as "loads" on the virtual power grid much like homes and businesses do on a real-world power grid. Power Generator schools are directed to seek out other local schools that can act as Power Consumers for their generated power, and each category of Power Generator and Power Consumer has its own separate graphic icon on the computerized map.

Figure A-2: Schools can form a vi rtual power grid over the Internet.

Foothill Technology HS

100 Day Road Ventura, CA 93030 email: [email protected]

Ventura County Power Grid

Established: April 14, 2003 Host: Foothill Technology HS

Established: March 3, 2003 Status: Power Generator Advisor: John Weldele Member: Ventura County Power Gird Today's Power Output - 46.7 watts


Ventura HS - Power Generator Nordhoff HS- Power Consumer

Santa Paula HS - Power Consumer Buena HS - Power Generator

Combined Power Output: Power Consumed:

127.3 watts

LastSample Taken @ 2:32 PM, 5/2/2003

89.7 watts

Figure A-3: REEL Power participants on the Internet

By clicking on any Power Generator or Power Consumer icon on the digital map the name of the school, teacher and students responsible for the REEL Power setup are displayed along with accompanying photos and text, as well as the amount of power generated or consumed that day.

REEL Power gives students relevant reasons for studying math and science, since it is likened to the same real-world power generation systems and elements that everyone experiences on a daily basis. Teachers always hear the same "What good is studying math and science?" and "When will I ever get to use it?" lines from their students. REEL Power gives teachers viable answers to these recurring questions and also provides the incentive for students to excel in these subjects.

With REEL Power's understandable real-world renewable energy simulations it is anticipated that parents and caregivers will become more aware of the relevance of a math and science education in terms of future career choices for their children. This should lead to greater parental interest and participation in their children's daily studies of these subjects. This is especially true for parents of "at risk" children who may otherwise not have the incentive to remain in school, let alone be inspired to pursue a technical career after high school.

Technically the REEL Power project makes good use of computers and the Internet; items which are in place in many schools but are rarely used to their best capabilities. And socially the project promotes collaboration among teachers and students, both in class and with other schools via the Internet, bringing together individuals from a wide variety of social and economic backgrounds to work together on a common activity.

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Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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