Category Archives: Principled Action

Surviving the Peace: Mines Advisory Group

Suport the Mines Advisory Group

We support the Mines Advisory Group

As global tensions appear to heighten, it is is easy to get sucked into side-taking on facebook, twitter or other media, yet this is rarely helpful. There is nothing to be gained by sharing yet another horrific photo or vitriolic screed to elicit comments from your followers. As compassionate, educated global citizens we should look instead for ways to support those who are making a positive difference.

Here’s my example.

Mines Advisory Group (MAG) started in a caravan in my hometown of Cockermouth in the UK, and has blossomed over the last two decades into a major worldwide organisation dedicated to making war-torn areas safer by surveying and removing landmines and unexploded ordnance. They were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for their work on the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and are well-deserving of all the funds we can raise.

Check out their 23-minute film, “Surviving the Peace“, which focuses on Laos and outlines how they work and the lasting impacts their work has on the lives of survivors of war. If you want to support them, please make a donation via my Biology4Good page for MAG, on JustGiving.

And here is a more recent video on “Surviving the Peace: Angola“:

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A challenge to i-Biology users

Use your online influence to share links to organisations that focus on protecting our environment or alleviating suffering. I have eight examples on my Biology4Good fundraising page, and you might want to do something similar. Tell the world why you care about their cause and how they’re making a difference. Maybe even work it into a CAS project.

The Future of i-Biology

iBiologyStephenThis post is in response to a number of emails, comments and other messages I’ve received recently regarding plans to update the site. 

A new IB Biology guide has been released for first teaching in summer 2014 and first examinations May 2016. It outlines significant changes to the course, especially in terms of internal assessment and examinations and the prescriptive nature of the content coverage has shifted to be more open-ended.

Much of the content-based work on here will remain useful, though will need to be reorganised (eventually). I will leave the IA support stuff up here for the coming year and will work over the coming academic year to update the site as far as possible. I will likely remove a lot of IA-related content, as we are to expect significant teacher support material on the OCC, and that is where teachers should be making their first stop for reliable documentation.

Personally, my load has shifted a lot in recent years. It has taken about seven years to build this site and all of its assets, and I am happy to continue to share them freely. However, most of my time is now taken up with being an MYP Coordinator and teaching MYP science classes, as well as being HOD for science and having larger groups of students with no lab support. My IB Biology class are currently in IB1, and I will keep them next year on the current guide. I also have family, MA studies and other commitments, so will not likely be able to revamp the presentations in the immediate future. Please give it time and use your judgment as to what is useful and valuable if you are starting teaching of the new guide this summer.

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Biology4Good Charity Project Update

Biology4Good - click to make a donationWe have now passed 3.4 million views on the site, with over £4,000 in charity donations made through Biology4Good. If you donate £20 or more, you can have access to a folder of all the editable resources I still have. These donations and the ability to support a selection of my favourite charities are significant motivators for continuing to update this site, so thank-you for the ongoing support.

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Update: June 7 2014

It was sad to see John Burrell’s announcement that he plans to close Click4Biology, as he has given a great service to students and teachers through his online notes over the last decade. However, his reasoning is sound – the change in the subject guide to move away from such defined assessment statements makes producing these resources more challenging. At the same time, the text resources, such as Allott & Mindorrf’s Course Book, with it’s online edition, have really upped the quality of what is available to students from the publishers.

Looking at this year’s statistics on i-Biology.net, there was the usual big spike around the May exams (around 10,000 on peak day, compared to 2,000-4,000 on regular days), but it was far below the record of over 20,000 last year. From the discussions around #IBBio on twitter, it seems that much of the review traffic has swung towards BioNinja’s apps and notes that are set up for mobile learning and review. Again, this is a great service to students, and there is little point trying to replicate that.

I will think carefully over the coming year about how this site will continue, and it will likely be more streamlined in terms of course content but with more organised ideas for teaching and ed-tech.

If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments below, or find me on Twitter (@iBiologyStephen).

Three Million Views on i-Biology!

i-Biology.net recently passed three million views!

Biology4Good: click to find out more.

Thank-you everyone for the support over the last six and a half years, and especially to those who have been showing your appreciation by making donations to my chosen charities through the Biology4Good lists on JustGiving; we have raised GB£3,415.86 so far (US$5626.95), which is great and helps all this work make a difference beyond the classroom.

If you want to make a donation, please visit the Biology4Good page for more information. 100% of all donations go to the charity (not to me), and the donation can be enhanced with GiftAid if you are a UK taxpayer.

With best wishes for 2014 to all i-Biology.net users,

Stephen.

Biology4Good Charity Focus | Hope HIV

Thanks Kasia from Hope HIV for getting in touch and sending this video, that outlines the great work that they do with the donations people make. They focus on the idea of ‘using who you are to make a difference,’ which is perfect for IB students and teachers. Visit this page in particular to see some stories of people that they have hope in – and then if you feel like making a donation, please visit my JustGiving page for Hope HIV here.

For more resources on HIV and how it connects to our curriculum, visit the page for 6.3 Defense Against Infectious Disease here.

And this one outlines their amazing work and growth since 2000.

Biology4Good Charity Focus | Save the Rhino

The first donation I processed for Biology4Good was a sleeping bag for a rhino ranger (thanks Mum!). Thanks to Katherine from the Save the Rhino team for sending this 10-minute documentary that showcases the important work that StR do and why you should support them.

This connects across the curriculum, with conservation, biodiversity and, due to the nature of rhino horn-hunting, protein structure, alternative medicine and TOK.

If you like the resources here on i-Biology and like the work that they do, please make a donation via my JustGiving page.

Biology4Good Charity Focus | Marine Conservation Society

As a Marine Biologist by training, salty water and the things that live in it are close to my heart, which is why I’m happy to be supporting the Marine Conservation Society with their fundraising through my Biology4good project. They do great work on education, outreach, beach cleanups and campaigns. A current (har-har) area of focus is marine conservation zones, which connects neatly to Option G4: Conservation of Biodiversity.

If you like the resources here and like the work they do, please make a donation on my JustGiving page.

Biology4Good Charity Focus | Save The Children


Thanks to Abi from Save the Children UK for getting in touch with links to resources to showcase some of the amazing work Save The Children do – I’ve had a monthly standing order donation with them since Freshers’ Week 1999 (must have been a cute volunteer outside Queen’s University Belfast), and I know they put money to great use.

The slogan is simple: No Child Born To Die. Watch the video below to see some of their accomplishments over 2011 alone, none of which is possible without donations. Their work includes IB Biology-relevant work on vaccinations, development and nutrition, as well as post-tsunami recovery work here in Japan and tireless work at home in the UK.

If you think their work is worthwhile and like what you use here at i-Biology.net, you can donate on my JustGiving page here.

Biology4Good Charity Focus | Mines Advisory Group

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 11.18.36 PM

Hesty, Stephen & Cockermouth

Mines Advisory Group (MAG) started in a caravan in my hometown of Cockermouth in the UK, and has blossomed over the last two decades into a major worldwide organisation dedicated to making war-torn areas safer by surveying and removing landmines and unexploded ordnance. They were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for their work on the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and are well-deserving of all the funds we can raise.

Here is a 23-minute film, “Surviving the Peace“, which focuses on Laos and outlines how they work and the lasting impacts their work has on the lives of survivors of war. If you want to support them, please make a donation via my Biology4Good page for MAG, on JustGiving.

Updated for International Mines Awareness Day 2013 (4 April), here is a new video on “Surviving the Peace: Angola“:

From the MAG Website:

“After more than 27 years of civil war (1975-2002), Angola is one of the most landmine-affected countries in the world.

These deadly weapons don’t discriminate between soldiers and civilians, nor between adults and children.

They:

• cause death and injury to people carrying out their everyday activities;

• deny communities access to their farming land and water sources;

• cause food insecurity and poverty;

• deny movement, leaving communities socially and economically isolated;

• prevent refugees and internally displaced people returning home;

• hamper rehabilitation and post-conflict reconstruction;

• leave populations living in fear.

MAG is removing the threat of injury and death in Angola, and helping to alleviate economic devastation.”

 

Make a donation here.

Biology4Good Charity Focus | Medecins Sans Frontieres

MSFLogoDualThanks to Maryam from Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), for getting in touch with links to these two videos that explain the excellent work MSF do in responding to natural and human-caused disasters. Many of you using this site will be thinking about medicine or the health sciences as a career. As IB students you are global-minded, caring and principled young adults. Watch these, get inspired and maybe ten years from now we’ll see you on their videos.

If you want to support MSF, please visit my Biology4Good JustGiving page.

Biology4Good Charity Focus | Tree Aid

TreeAid

Yesterday I moved my Biology4good donations to a JustGiving.com team. Since then, some of the charities have got in contact to share resources to encourage donations. First up: Tree Aid. Thanks Tom for the emails and for uploading this video to show the work they do – it is truly amazing and I am happy to be supporting them.

Serendipitously, the video focuses on the nutrional benefits of planting moringa trees to benefit communities, which ties in closely with the final unit for my own class, Option A: Human Nutrition & Health.

If you like what you see, please visit my TreeAid page and make a small donation.

Thank-you!

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