1. Description of Our Community
When the students were asked to describe their community, they wrote phrases, such as “small, comfortable little town”, “loving and caring community where every individual cares for another”, “quiet community, filled with kids” and “friendly town where people help each other” yet they also mentioned it is the home of the University of Delaware.
To an outsider, there are two distinct communities within Newark: the “university community” and the “family community” whose kids play soccer together, who know each other in the local grocery store, and who see each other at the public library. The middle school students are very aware of the impact of the university community, on traffic, in stores, on the economy and in the events available.
In addition to discussions about our physical community, we have also talked about virtual communities, such as our online communities and communities formed by our personalities, interests, abilities and “tastes” such as genre of music or books.
2. Summary of Our Project
Our project is about influential people who have lived in Delaware and made a difference, Some are famous, and have used that fame in positive ways. Others have quietly contributed to the community’s well being, yet their impact on our community will be felt, long after their names are forgotten.
Through our contacts with these leaders, we noticed a distinct difference in they way they responded to us. Nationally known people were hard to reach, and weren’t able to give us the individual time to interview them, yet the “unsung heroes” were often humbled to be a part of our project.
Looking at the impact of their leadership, we realized that in many cases, the “unsung heroes” often had made greater impacts on our lives than the more famous personalities.
We concluded that fame is not necessary to make a lasting difference for our community and beyond.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Our school uses Linux operating system and open source software. We took videos of some of our interviews but we weren’t able to edit them as we would have liked.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
The biggest obstacle was time. Our class meets for only one semester, so we only had about 1 marking period to work on this in class. Additionally our class only meets 3 times a week. A lot of the work had to occur outside of class, after the change of the semester.
Contacting and getting responses from prominent figures was a huge problem. Some groups had to start over, focusing on a local leader, while others continued to try to have contact with their prominent figure.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Meeting our local leaders inspired us to be more active in our community. We learned a lot about giving back to the community and we were glad for a chance to honor some well-deserved citizens.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
The skills we learned during this project fit with several curriculum areas.
From the Social Studies curriculum we learned about being a contributing member of our communities.
We learned about leadership skills and how to conduct ourselves in an interview, which is part of what we have been doing right now in Group Guidance. We also practiced group interaction skills.
In terms of technology, we learned to use a video camera and the guidelines for creating a web page. We also utilized our research skills and our writing skills that we have learned in English and our Research class.