From the Dispatch:
Metro student linked via video to climate talks
Monday, December 14, 2009 11:38 PM
By Ashley Lutz
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
DuyThanh Tran shuffled his papers nervously and addressed via video the diplomats and scientists at the United Nations' climate-change conference.
Tran, of Upper Arlington, a sophomore at the Metro Early College High School, talked at his school about waste reduction and global cooperation for about five minutes before he was stopped by the Danish moderator of the event tied to the international conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"Can you repeat all that?" the moderator asked. "I didn't understand any of it."
DuyThanh, 16, repeated his speech, but the moderator still didn't understand. He asked DuyThanh to e-mail his ideas instead, amid laughter from the audience.
Technical glitches notwithstanding, DuyThanh and students from three other science centers participated in the environmental problem-solving conference via videoconference from science centers in the U.S. and Europe.
Students in Boston, France and Denmark also added their insights. Student representatives in India, Malaysia and Argentina were supposed to participate but never dialed in.
In Copenhagen, world leaders are debating how best to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
One French student tried to explain in broken English how people should carpool. She then switched to French, and a moderator roughly translated her words.
DuyThanh was selected to present his ideas to the conference because he scored the highest of 42 Metro School students playing the climate-control game Clim'City. The game asks students to come up with strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in their community.
At the Metro School in Columbus, students from around Franklin County focus on math and science.
DuyThanh emphasized the importance of communication among all nations.
"We can't fix global warming unless we act as one nation, with everybody participating," he said.
Metro School science teacher Neil Bluel hopes to use video technology to foster more successful communications between students in the future.
Even though DuyThanh's speech went mostly unheard, Bluel said he was excited that one of his students had the opportunity to send his ideas to the conference.
"I think it's a great opportunity for students to participate in this and apply real-life problems to global problems," Bluel said.