1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
We used a variety of tools and software:
1.Netscape Composer 4.7 and 6.0
2.PhotoShop 5.0 to make gifs and jpegs
3.HyperStudio to make gifs and jpegs
6.Email to solicite help and information
7.ICQ to plan and communicate while at home
8.Mrs. Hoffman's Group Boards to communicate while at home
10.Imac and Dell Computers
11.AlphaSmarts for word processing
12.Office 2000 for word processing
14.Leon County Area Telephone Book
The students learned to 1) make gifs and jpegs using PhotoShop 5.0 and HyperStudio, 2) develop web sites using web authoring programs, 3) communicate effectively by writing and posting weekly reports, 4) research the Internet, newspapers and telephone books for information on specific subjects, 5) send Email to folks around the community and the world 6) chat using a group board, 7) use a scanner 8) use AlphaSmarts and 9) use digital cameras. The technical world became embedded in the curriculum and students began utilizing those technical tools as their parents used to use pencil, paper, typewriters and polaroid cameras.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
The more we probed and asked questions around the community, the more the students had to explain what CyberFair was all about. Those face to face ......or ear to ear..... conversations, certainly created an air of curiosity. Online, the students emailed everyone around the country soliciting help for their project... thus spreading the word.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
I'm not sure how our project will be received in the community at large. I do know that the folks we have contacted to get information are extremely excited about it. When they return from spring break, we will show off our CyberFair Project and these folks will be included in the guest list. I know it has had a great impact on the parents, however. They're amazed that children can develop something this impressive. They're also amazed that their children have given up so much "free" time to work on the project. Hmmm. School can be fun and motivating! I think another thing that has affected the children through this project is the knowledge that everyone has influence on their communities. The heroes don't have to be just policemen or firemen or sportsmen. The heroes are the ones you remember and try to emulate. Our artists and musicians told of stories where the classroom teacher or parent or a jazz concert artist influenced their decisions about the focus of their lives. If our project has done nothing else, it has brought new meaning and focus in their own lives and a deeper appreciation for the common man.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
Our parents were our primary source of volunteers along with support personel around the school. These parents took them to museums, concerts and other weekend events while helping them take pictures for their web sites. The support personel provided them unlimited access to the school resources. Members of the Global Community include teachers around the world who helped them with technical issues that this teacher doesn't have. For instance, we could make a sound bite on our computer, but we couldn't get it on the web page. We sent the sound bites to Janet Barnstable, Communications Resource Teacher at Percy Julian Junior High School in Chicago, Illinois. This opened a whole new perspective on virtual learning and cooperation to the children.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
Many of Mrs. Hoffman's students knew how to play games on the computer before this project began, but none were able to demonstrate the computer as a tool for learning. Now they've learned to 1) make gifs and jpegs using PhotoShop 5.0 and HyperStudio, 2) develop web sites using web authoring programs, 3) communicate effectively by writing and posting weekly reports, 4) research the Internet for information on specific subjects, 5) send Email to folks around the community and 6) chat using a group board. They learned the dynamics of collaboration and team work while trying to meet a deadline. They also learned that to get a job done, sometimes requires that you work "overtime" while giving up other, sometimes more enjoyable, activites (baseball games, lunch, TV).
This project has given them the opportunity to acquire skills, not only technical skills, but social skills, that will help them throughout their lives. As Chantal said, “I didn’t know being a leader would be so hard. I am amazed at how much I have changed my attitude during this time.” Global community, cyberclassmates, and vitual classroom aren't just vocabulary words, anymore. These children have been thrust into the new millennium. There's no turning back, now!