These past two weeks we students have been mostly doing our individual work for the project. Several of my classmates have been working together towards finishing up an updated outreach letter. Other students have sought out important people and organizations and have gotten their contact information. Today, with these contacts, the group sent out the new outreach letter to those individuals and organizations. In the letter, they briefly explain our project, why we are doing it, what we have learned, and also specifically what we are seeking: 96 iPads so that every 8th grade student here at Renaissance would be exposed to an iPad and therefore, a new and improved education.
So far the letter has been sent to the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, Alum Rock Education Foundation, Apple, Applied Materials, Mercury News, and ARUSD District Personal. In the letter, we ask for either direct support or further contacts that may be of help to us. Through sending this letter, we hope to gain some kind of connection and support. Along with the outreach letter, an invitation was sent to those organizations and individuals. We have invited them to attend a small presentation we will be doing as an update of our project for our community. This will take place at our school on Tuesday, April 5 following a performance by the district jazz band at 6 PM. It will be a brief presentation about the overview of our project, our goals, accomplishments, next steps, and of ways in which others can help support us.
Our group has sent out letters before, and the majority of our responses have been impressively quick. Our luck seems to have continued. Manny Barbara, Vice President of Advocacy &Thought Leadership, from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation responded to Karina V. just hours after she sent the letter and invitation. Unfortunately, he will not be able to attend on April 5, but asked if there was another time when he could visit our class and learn more about the project. Trustee Esau Herrera, who is part of the Alum Rock Board of Trustees, responded extremely quickly also. He already is informed about our project and is not certain if he will be available to attend the presentation, but would be more than happy to if he is available. Our teacher, Ms. Ibrahim, also received a phone call from Applied Materials. Not being able to answer at that time, she plans on calling the representative back tomorrow.
It truly is amazing how strong students’ voices can be. It’s very exciting that we are getting responses so quickly, and people actually want to be involved and support us. I really believe that most of us thought that being the young students that we are, it would be harder to contact organizations and others. But I think we’ve learned that people are inspired and astonished at the work we have done and the commitment we have made. For this reason, people will take us seriously, listen to what we have to say, and help us achieve our goal in any way they can. And that’s what we want.
To view the outreach letter, go to the Renaissance Academy homepage and look under the “news” tab for “Student Advocacy Project”.
Posted by Emily S. at 2:00 AM
iPods in the Education: Ernesto and Alex
The Video of their Presentation
Here, Ernesto L. and Alex J. are presenting their board and research as if they were presenting at Exhibition Night. They are extremely convincing in presenting on why we should invest in these iPods! In their presentation, they went over features of the iPod Touch, how we would use it in the classroom, and most importantly, why we need them and how they would benefit our learning.
This is an interview done by Jasmine M. with Alex J. and Ernesto L., two students who have researched the iPod touch and why we should consider advocating for them. They were interviewed about their perspective on the advocacy project and their individual project.
Posted by Emily S. at 1:15 AM
So much work has been done, so much work is being done, and so much work needs to be done. That’s where most of us are. I know, lots of work. But every time one of us crosses our fingers and toes that it won’t take the whole period to turn on a computer, every time someone can’t do what their supposed to do because of unavailable or just unusable technology, and every time someone needs to take a video but the only available cameras are thirty years old with horrible sound quality, we are reminded why we are working so hard.
We’ve been in our new groups for a couple of weeks now, and work have we done. The Implementation of Technology group has been creating homework and project rubrics that could be used if we had iPads and other technology. One was a Language Arts assignment on poetry and it used a very impressive poetry application on the iPad. There were also things like creating keynotes and podcasts…things we can’t do with our technology but things that could better our education. The Digital Storytelling group has been brainstorming ideas for their videos or presentations on their topic of choice. They are looking at effective ways to make a video, and ways to incorporate technology into their presentations to show how we could use it. As for our group, the Outreach and Public Relations group, some of us have worked on an outreach letter, while others have found those to reach out to. Some of us have completed videos of interviews (which you can find here on the blog). Right now, we are creating storylines for other videos that will help illustrate both our project and why we are bothering with it. One group is brainstorming ideas about a video involving how we would use an iPad in a science classroom. Another is brainstorming ideas on a video that will show how ‘down-to-date’ our current technology is. All of this is to help get our voices heard and to show that this matters.
Documenting this project through this blog as well as the videos is really important to our project. We are trying to reach out to companies, businesses, and important people outside of Renaissance, and when we do that, the blog and videos are a way in which they can then learn more about what’s going on here. I want to thank all of my classmates and others who have left comments. I read them, and they are very helpful acts of encouragement not only to me, but also to all of us. We have those who doubt us, but we believe in ourselves and know how much hard work can pay off. I just wanted to thank all of those who have been following this blog, and therefore our project, and especially those who have left a comment. You may not realize it, but the sentence or two that you’ve left has played a role in helping our advocacy project grow.
Posted by Emily S. at 12:00 PM
iPads in Education: Kathy and Violet
Students present the benefits of using iPads in the classroom.
Filmed and edited by Jasmine M.
Posted by Emily S. at 3:00 PM
Interview with Dr. Krovetz
Filmed and edited by Jasmine M.
We wanted to get the perspectives of those outside our Renaissance community, and because Dr. Marty Krovetz was one who helped promote and start our school and has also been much help to our project already, we asked him if he’d be willing to be a part of a video interview. In this interview, he gives his perspective on the project, exhibition night, and also on what we need to work on and do in the future. Thank you Dr. Krovetz!
Posted by Emily S. at 9:00 PM
Emily's Perspective on the Blog
Edited By: Jasmine M.
Interviewers: Tyiteyana J. and Luvia S.
Posted by Emily S. at 8:30 PM
Thanks to Nazaret, Seema, Michelle, and Ruby, we were able to get some student perspectives in a video! Since all the school cameras are extremely old, we have been using student cameras. This group had originally tried using a school camera, but it required a cassette which we did not have. Unfortunately, the student camera they used had poor sound quality, as you may have noticed. It really is a bummer, but also stresses why we need better technology. Despite the poor quality, it still is worth watching!
Nazaret, Seema, and Michelle
Filmed and Edited by Ruby M.
Posted by Emily S. at 3:00 PM
An Impressive Start
It definitely has been a little while since I have last posted because we didn’t meet with our new groups until Monday. So don’t worry, it’s definitely not that we’re giving up this project. In fact, in just these two days our group has gotten soo much work done. It’s practically unbelievable that we are so focused and determined even after the break we had.
Like I explained before, after exhibition we decided to continue the project with a phase two. We also decided to change up the groups and their objectives a bit. On Monday, we separated into these three groups: the Implementation of Technology, the Outreach and Public Relations, and the Digital Storytelling groups. I am a part of the Outreach and Public Relations group, which is like the advocacy group from phase one. During these next few weeks, it is going to be extremely important for us to work hard and get as much work done as we can. Ms. Ibrahim, our advisor, split us up into a few different groups. One is the group in charge of documenting our work. Everyone (including myself) are excited because we will be incorporating videos into this blog and our website. That is what the documenting group will be in charge of. And in just two days, this group has brainstormed video ideas, come up with proposals, and have scheduled interview’s with teachers, students, and community members. Another group is working on connecting with allies. They have already retrieved contact information and have contacted an Apple Representative and others.
The whole group has done so much, and it’s only been two days. This really shows that we are incredibly devoted to this project and our determined to achieve results. We moved so far forward and achieved much in the first part of this advocacy project. But now, everyone is willing and determined to keep moving and really get this thing going once again.
Posted by Emily S. at 9:00 PM