Posted by: edevolution | January 25, 2011

Lighting the fuse

As a teacher, I’ve always believed my job is to pose questions, not answer them. Fittingly, this whole project began because of a question. The class was reading Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” and the students were wrestling with a seemingly simple question:
Could children, using the internet, have a dramatic impact on the world around them? Could they influence public opinion, and make a mark on their world?
Perhaps I should’ve seen what was coming, but it still caught me off-guard. Their question to me was simple enough, though:
“Can we try it?”
It did seem the simplest way to settle the question, and so began the greatest experimental education project I’ve ever had the privilege of leading. The scope of our project was mind-boggling. First, figure out the most pervasive internet message-spreading tools. Then, determine the best way to harness them to our advantage. Next, craft our message such that it will spread as best as it possibly can, and finally, prepare all the supporting tools, media, and gear required for such a huge endeavor. I never imagined the variety of tasks that would be required:
– Negotiating with principals for space/allowances
– Negotiating with the district for extra desks and props
– Contacting websites, publishers, recording industries
– Researching all kinds of legalities about Fair Use
You name it, we probably did it. Here’s the best part, though: We had to get the entire thing done and released in four months, using no more than two hours a day, five days a week.
What follows is the account of that adventure – the highs and lows, good moments and bad, through the eyes of the incredible students who made this project happen. If I am to be credited for this, let it only be as the organizer or the conductor of the symphony. The students were the talented musicians who crafted this masterpiece.

J.Fletcher


Responses

  1. “Could children, using the internet, have a dramatic impact on the world around them? Could they influence public opinion, and make a mark on their world?”

    The simple answer is Yes!

    Claire Hertz
    Chief Financial Officer
    Beaverton School District
    Beaverton, Oregon

  2. This entire project and your teaching abilities leave me speechless with amazement.

    I have never seen a more effective method of teaching self-advocacy.

    Thank you for confirming that children now have a voice, and can change their world thanks to technology and the internet.

    And thank you for demonstrating the most efficient way to learn is collaboratively, and project-based (versus teacher-led).

    How grand of you to allow them to lead us all. Thank you.


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