CyberFair Project ID: 4730

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Delaware Community Leaders
Category: 1. Local Leaders

School: Newark Charter School
    Newark, DE, USA

29 students, ages 12-14 years old worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 15, 2007. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): First time

Classes and Teachers: Mrs. Susan Cornett

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

When the students were asked to describe their community, they wrote phrases, such as “small, comfortable little town”, “loving and caring community where every individual cares for another”, “quiet community, filled with kids” and “friendly town where people help each other” yet they also mentioned it is the home of the University of Delaware.

To an outsider, there are two distinct communities within Newark: the “university community” and the “family community” whose kids play soccer together, who know each other in the local grocery store, and who see each other at the public library. The middle school students are very aware of the impact of the university community, on traffic, in stores, on the economy and in the events available.

In addition to discussions about our physical community, we have also talked about virtual communities, such as our online communities and communities formed by our personalities, interests, abilities and “tastes” such as genre of music or books.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our project is about influential people who have lived in Delaware and made a difference, Some are famous, and have used that fame in positive ways. Others have quietly contributed to the community’s well being, yet their impact on our community will be felt, long after their names are forgotten.

Through our contacts with these leaders, we noticed a distinct difference in they way they responded to us. Nationally known people were hard to reach, and weren’t able to give us the individual time to interview them, yet the “unsung heroes” were often humbled to be a part of our project.

Looking at the impact of their leadership, we realized that in many cases, the “unsung heroes” often had made greater impacts on our lives than the more famous personalities.

We concluded that fame is not necessary to make a lasting difference for our community and beyond.

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:4-6

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

Our school uses Linux operating system and open source software. We took videos of some of our interviews but we weren’t able to edit them as we would have liked.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The biggest obstacle was time. Our class meets for only one semester, so we only had about 1 marking period to work on this in class. Additionally our class only meets 3 times a week. A lot of the work had to occur outside of class, after the change of the semester.

Contacting and getting responses from prominent figures was a huge problem. Some groups had to start over, focusing on a local leader, while others continued to try to have contact with their prominent figure.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Meeting our local leaders inspired us to be more active in our community. We learned a lot about giving back to the community and we were glad for a chance to honor some well-deserved citizens.

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

The skills we learned during this project fit with several curriculum areas.

From the Social Studies curriculum we learned about being a contributing member of our communities.

We learned about leadership skills and how to conduct ourselves in an interview, which is part of what we have been doing right now in Group Guidance. We also practiced group interaction skills.

In terms of technology, we learned to use a video camera and the guidelines for creating a web page. We also utilized our research skills and our writing skills that we have learned in English and our Research class.

Project Elements

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

We used 29 networked thin-clients, which run the Linux operating system. We use StarOffice 8 for word processing and Firefox for browsing the web. Photo manipulation was completed in Gimp, Adobe Photoshop Elements and Graphic Converter. The web page was created using Nvu, but was transferred to Dreamweaver for the uploading process.

We used telephones, email and the US Postal service to contact the various leaders.

We used digital cameras and a digital video camera to tape our oral interviews.

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

Some of the leaders we interviewed came to our school. This was a great opportunity to showcase our school and the students. None of the leaders were familiar with the CyberFair so we were able to introduce them to the project.

While it is too soon to tell if any of the leaders where helped by our website, many of them said they felt honored to be included.

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

Delaware has several charter schools but there are folks who are opposed to them. Having a chance to make positive connections with people outside our school community is great.

The site hasn’t been up long enough to know what impact it will have on the world outside of our school or our community. We can only hope it makes a difference and encourage others to step out and help others.

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

We are grateful to Mr. Mark Deshon who presented information to us about web Page layout and design.

We are also appreciative of those who let us interview them. Without their interviews, we wouldn’t have been able to do the project.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We were surprised and somewhat saddened by the responses of some of the more “well known” leaders.

A few Olympic ice-skaters train at rinks in Newark, but we were unable to get interviews or make contact with them, so we had to choose other people to learn about and interview.

We also spoke to various assistants of one of our elected politicians. In spite of repeated promises that “someone will call you back” we never heard back from anyone in that leader’s organization.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4730)

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