1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
My students used:
1)a class set of computers (28)
2)telephones from home and school
3)T.V. to watch tapes of news stories about Central Florida's drought
4)digital cameras to take pictures of our own lake, and the Wekiva River
5)scanners to save documents and pictures in digital form
6)computer software such as MSOffice, and Adobe Photoshop
7)newspapers to read about St. John's river and other stories concerning the watershed and water conditions
8)classroom visits by engineers and environmental scientists
9)Camcorders to tape their skits for their video
10) digital editing equipement to edit the video
My students had a wonderful time making a video from skits they had written themselves about collecting socks. I know I will never forget the laughter as they acted in front of the camera.
The students used the computers and internet the most for everything from researching their information, to sharing this information with others.
The most helpful and valuable tools were the volunteers from the St. John's River Water Management District. After they came and spoke to the classes, there was a change that only personal contact can achieve. The students loved watching the model of the watershed, and the students could grasp what was really meant by watershed, and see how all the water sources are actually connected and influenced by man.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
My students acted as ambassadors to the entire county for this project. The students reached out to every school in the district asking for contributions of socks for their project. The students also went out into the community asking for donations of boxes. When asked why the boxes were needed, the students explained about their project, and the stores gave more boxes than the students had originally asked for and vowed to save boxes for the project. The S.O.C.K.S. site has a class email that all the students can access, so they can take turns answering questions about S.O.C.K.S., and so they can analyze the information from their survey. The students also had epals from around the world for other projects, and the students were so pleased by their projects, they started writing their epals about S.O.C.K.S. and now the students are asking to make an international contest.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
By teaching the importance of protecting our watersheds, we can encourage long term thinking and planning. What better way of raising someone's belief in their self-worth, than by preserving our future? Our students will be able to tell their children about their role in the preservation of the St. John's River and its watershed. This project has brought together people of disparate backgrounds to work for a common goal that will benefit all of our community. This project shows the value of contributing to ones community, and how everyone, the old and young, the rich and poor, can benefit by working together to preserve our wetlands.
At our school, we have made such an impact that other teachers and departments are becoming involved. Other teachers and staff members are now in the process of trying to get materials and kits for conducting tests on our own lake and lakes next to nearby schools. It's wonderful for the schools to reach a helping hand out to others in our community.
The web design classes are begging for more projects to do for the St. John's River Water Management District. The students were so impressed with the commitment of the volunteers, and the lesson they taught that the students want to do more, give more and participate more.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
There have been so many helping hands in this project that is hard to know how to begin thanking those wonderful people. People like Valena Harsh, a computer teacher at Millennium Middle whose love of the St. John's River brought us to this project to begin with. Andrew Shaw, whose belief and committment to the computer program at Millennium, made any project possible for our students. Gabrielle Milch, from the St. John's River Water Management District, who gave us the focus we needed. Laura Dickey, who put time, effort and her love of the environment into the hands-on activities she did with the students. Vasili Nosov, the teacher from Simallae, Estonia, who supported any project we threw at him, and has allowed our students to correspond with others, and gain international insights into problems. To the parents of our students, who bring in boxes, and socks, and bring the students in hours early to school to work on projects, and pick them up hours after school has let out, so the projects can be completed. We not only thank all these people and more, we give them the future, for their help, is allowing us to help others.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
I learned that my students have wings to fly, and as long as I am close to them, I can learn how to use my imagination to make the world a better place, also. When we began this project, it was to be a simple way to give a little back to our community. Before it was over, it was a project that we shall always look back on as a high water mark in our lives. I think we have learned that from little ideas, great possibilities are realized.