CyberFair Project ID: 4914

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Hurricane Rita: Our Loss, Our Gain
Category: 7. Environmental Awareness

School: F. K. White Technology Enriched Learning Center
    Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA

33 students, ages 11 - 12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 19, 2007. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2007

Classes and Teachers: Lydia Kebodeaux

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

For this project, our community, is the area of Southwest Louisiana where Hurricane Rita made landfall, especially Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. Our community has changed dramatically since Hurricane Rita. We have been impacted economically and have had many difficult obstacles.

2. Summary of Our Project

Hurricane Rita: Our Loss, Our Gain was about going through the devastation of a major hurricane and coming together as a community to reconstruct our physical environment and rebuild lives. We acted as ambassadors in our local community as we conducted interviews and gathered information. The Mayor of Lake Charles and The Port Director visited with us to tell about the awesome responsibilities of rebuilding a city economy. We also told our own personal experiences and we explained about hurricanes in general. This project reveals how people can work together to overcome any obstacle.

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:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our Internet access is part of the Technology Enriched Learning Center (TELC) One-to-One notebook initiative. Each student has a notebook computer with wireless internet access in the classroom. About 66% of students have Internet access at home. Many take their notebooks home to access the Internet.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

There were many obstacles we had to overcome. Some of them include intermittent Internet connection problems. The district's Websense filter prohibited students from accessing many of the websites needed for research. Another problem was deleted or removed web addresses. In addition to these we had other barriers such as driving to different locations to interview local citizens of the area.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Hurricane Rita: Our Loss, Our Gain tells the story of how a community of hard-working, courageous people came together to rebuild lives after a devastating natural disaster.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

The content standards we addressed were the 6th grade Writing Standards 2 and 3 from the Louisiana Department of Education. The project fit into the technology component of the TELC curriculum in that technoloyg is to be utilized in all instructional practices. Students learned research, Internet, word processing, web publishing, interviewing, and listening skills.

Teacher's note: CyberFair utilizes a constructivist learning approach in that students use group work and social interaction to build or construct individual learning.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

In the TELC classroom each student has a notebook computer with wireless Internet access. The notebooks are networked to the two teacher workstations. There is also an Activboard for group project work and discussion. Students used online newspaper archives, the video archives of the local television station, books, and calendars.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Students visited the Mayor of Lake Charles and news anchors from the local NBC affiliates. They also conducted interviews with other community members, business leaders, and fellow students whose lives were affected by the storm. They have discussed the project in other classrooms throughout the school and enlisted the help of technology resource people in the school and community.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

People have seemed to be genuinely impressed by the work we are doing. Parents have become involved by sharing their stories and gathering information. The Mayor and the Executive Director of the Port of Lake Charles visited the TELC center for presentations and question and answer sessions with the kids. The Port Director's marketing department put together a photo album of damage to the port which was given to us on a jump drive that we could keep.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

The impact of this project on the community will be a centralized resource about the hurricane and a place where people can share there stories. After the competition we plan to continue to add other hurricane stories to the website as part of the healing process and community building.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

One of the most surprising discoveries was the 'big picture'. We learned many things that went on behind the scenes to get our community back up and running. Most of us were so focused on the damage to our homes, that we didn't stop to think about what went on in the hospitals, nursing homes, media, and local government. For example, we did not know that huge machines were brought in to filter out all the debris and dead animals from local waterways. The most important lesson we learned is that we are survivors and can work together to overcome any obstacle.


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