Students as Contributors

In preparation for an upcoming conference (, I was asked to watch this and comment on this question: "What legacy do you think your students can create to make a contribution for other students or the community?"

Wow! I'm so pumped after watching this video. I "heart" TED talks as it is, but I was blow away by how much this resonated with what is happening in my experience right now. At Spring Grove Middle School we've been ramping up to replace our cross curricular project with a service-learning initiative. I teach a CIT course to seventh and eighth- grade students that focuses on what Vicky Davis, the "Coolcat Teacher" refers to as Technology Fluency. To accomplish this I typically develop various Project Based Learning units that compose the entire nine weeks I have students for. Recently, in light of our looming service learning initiative and the disengagement of about 7-10 % of my students with my current project, I decided this last December to replace my 8th grade rebranding project with an open call to use digital design media to promote a "cause" (typically a non-profit or charity the student feels strongly about). In two marking periods, I had students making web sites, movies, mixing original songs, and even starting new student organizations in our building! Finally, I had something my students saw as purposeful work. We were able to publish and share with the world via Edmodo connections and Weebly sites.

For this coming year I plan to continue this project, and hopefully connect it our building's overall service learning initiative. I’ve set up a wiki for this project, and thanks to Alan’s talk, I hope to make it a hub of student participation. Also, I hope to turn the screencasting of new tutorials in Photoshop, Illustrator, Myna, Roc, etc. over to the students to publish to our wiki for the good of the cause. Can my students rock the Spring Grove community and beyond with this Service Learning awesomeness? I bet they can!


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