Written for Ignite Magazine, below is a guest article about Energy4me, volunteering and the importance of energy education. Great read!
Energy is a critical issue worldwide and education about energy is important to keep the industry growing. The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) encourages its members to educate the public about energy and put a face on the industry. SPE saw a need to provide teachers with factual, unbiased information that can be used in classrooms worldwide to spread the word about energy conservation and the future of the oil and gas industry.
In order to meet this need, SPE created Energy4me, an energy education programme that provides energy resources to educators, teaches about careers in petroleum engineering, and discusses industry challenges. It was designed to make an impact through classroom and website resources, teacher development, and speaker programmes.
Front Row (Left to Right): Lewis Milne, Michael Fernyhough. Back Row (Left to Right): Colin Black, Jennifer Kirk, 2012 SPE President, Ganesh Thakur.
The Energy4me resources include a kit with classroom materials created by teachers for teachers, and have been tested in a classroom environment. The kit contains ready-to-go presentations, classroom activities, lesson plans, and hands-on experiences to demonstrate the dynamic process of the discovery of oil and gas and how it shapes our lives. Many of the materials are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
Free one-day teacher workshops are held at select SPE conferences. Each event covers age-specific, hands-on energy lessons and activities, offers a keynote speaker from the industry, and includes a technology tour. For their participation in the workshops, teachers receive the Oil and Natural Gas book, an information-filled book on the history and uses of oil to take back and use in their classroom.
The Energy4me programme also holds student STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) workshops for secondary students at select SPE conferences. Students see firsthand the exciting opportunities the energy industry can offer by touring the latest state-of-the-art technology, meeting industry professionals, and participating in hands-on activities. These events also give students the chance to learn about emerging technology in the petroleum industry, career opportunities, or how energy makes an impact on our everyday lives.
Participation from SPE members is fundamental to the success of the Energy4me programme. Members are encouraged, worldwide, to serve as classroom speakers, science fair judges, lead students and teachers in educational activities at select SPE conferences, and career fair exhibitors, as well as donate materials to schools.
Colin Black, Optima Solutions UK Ltd Director and SPE School Career Guidance Chairman of the Aberdeen Section, is doing his part to give back to the Energy4me programme. He has organized a partnership with SPE, the Satrosphere Science Centre, and the Aberdeen City Council to develop the Energy4me Development project that aims to promote and enhance the learning and teaching of energy topics in primary schools in Aberdeen and throughout Scotland.
“Energy education is vital to the future of our industry and it is important that we take the time to create a fun learning environment for students,” Black said. “By partnering SPE with the Satrosphere Science Centre and the Aberdeen City Council we have been given the opportunity to develop a programme that will make the difference in the lives of many students and hopefully entice them to pursue a future in the oil and gas industry.”
Representatives from SPE, the Satrosphere Science Centre, and three teachers from the Aberdeen City schools worked together to develop an Energy4me pack, a useful and relevant educational resource that complements and supports curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes. It includes five lessons that meet the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence but can still be used anywhere in the world with modifications. The lessons have been trialed in schools and were then refined and amended before the final version was produced for publication.
Following a launch event to release the Energy4me pack, a continuing professional development session will be organized for local teachers. They will be given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the materials and activities prior to engaging their students. SPE volunteers will contribute to the training sessions and will also provide assistance in the classroom when the materials are introduced. The materials will be distributed in schools upon completion of the training sessions.
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