TylerSOUTH DECATUR JR-SR HIGH SCH, IN, United States
EmerySOUTH DECATUR JR-SR HIGH SCH, IN, United States
PaulSOUTH DECATUR JR-SR HIGH SCH, IN, United States
ShaneSOUTH DECATUR JR-SR HIGH SCH, IN, United States
TaylorSOUTH DECATUR JR-SR HIGH SCH, IN, United States
CasandraSOUTH DECATUR JR-SR HIGH SCH, IN, United States
19 & under
Kelly FoxSOUTH DECATUR JR-SR HIGH SCH, IN, United States
Computers & the Internet
Ages 12 and up
Online Activity / Game
Science / Lab Experiment
Teacher Resources (Lesson Plans, Worksheets)
Video / Sound
The web design team was scheduled together 1 hour a day. We selected our topic based upon the idea of the first semester class to build a computer. Since some of us were scheduled for both semesters, we thought this project would allow us to work with not only our group, but also work with other school and community groups to compete in the ThinkQuest web competition. We got online and contacted various suppliers to obtain prices and professional guidance. Tyler worked as the team leader. He headed the grant writing process. Once the grant was approved, we ordered our kit, tools and accessories. We contacted Ben, our intern and asked for his help in the project and he was eager to assist us.
While putting together the computer, we decided which of us would video tape, take notes, and assist with the build process. We allowed students who were not going to be in the class for the 2nd semester to assist in the build process. Taylor and Paul were the video experts, Lynn the secretary, and Shane, Tyler, and Emery assisted in the building process. Once the computer was built, Emery and Shane installed most of the software while Lynn, Paul and Taylor documented the process on film and on paper. Lynn and Emery spent a considerable amount of time working with our technician Bill getting the DVD software installed and operational.
To begin building our website, we divided into groups of two; Group1: Taylor and Shane, Group 2: Casandra and Paul, and Group 3: Emery and Tyler. We agreed which tasks we would be in charge of based on our software knowledge and creativity, and then divided the tasks. We thought the final completion of the pages should be done as a group. Group1: Create and edit all graphics not animated. Group2: Video editing and placement of flash videos. They created titles from online sources. Group3: Test your knowledge activities and animated graphics.
As a class, we delivered the computer and set it up for the students ages 4-8 to use. Lynn, Paul, and Shane took pictures and video of the event.
Our Internet connection is often slow and student access is limited, so we decided to do most of our work offline locally, and then load the entire site to the ThinkQuest server under our coach's login. Our spry tabbed panels and horizontal menu bar did not work correctly, so we removed them and created a simpler text version. Paul and Emery helped redo and re-upload the pages with those elements so that our site would display correctly from the ThinkQuest server.
South Decatur is a rural school located in an economically depressed farming area. Much of the small industry in the area centers on automotive suppliers which have also been in an economic slump this past year. Only a couple of the students are fortunate enough to have a high speed Internet connection at their home. The ThinkQuest project was developed to teach students vocational, English, and teamwork skills, as well as enforce community philanthropic relations. The students on the team were all members of the same course, but were not close friends or members of the same grade or social network.
Outside of the classroom, students did not share similar lives. We had one “jock”, one honor student getting ready to head to college and major in engineering, one student with a grandma-mother who passed away from cancer during the competition, one student with attendance issues, and another still looking to “find herself” as she also lived with grandma and works 30+ hours a week at a part-time job. Despite all of this, the project offered a safe learning environment that the students were excited about participating in and looked forward to working on. They came down to the computer lab for extra work on the project and stayed after school to try and figure out why something was not working properly. The adult contacts they made were crucial to the final completion of the project and meeting our grant requirements. Ben was a young and energetic college student who was eager to assist us. Since he was a former student, current team members could easily relate to him. He not only shared his knowledge of computers, but the importance of furthering your education and that a student from SDHS could succeed in the college world in the area of technology. Bill, who is twenty years older than Ben, offered the students a more structured strategy of problem solving and tried to get students to “think” why and “how” they could use the applications at home. The students and adult resources were very professional and worked together as a team as displayed in all of the videos on the web site.
After delivery of the completed computer to the not for profit agency, the students were treated to ice-cream as a reward for a job well done!