CyberFair Project ID: 1826

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Carpinterians Care About Their Environment!
Category: 7. Environmental Awareness
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Main Elementary
    Carpinteria, California, United States

50 students, ages from 7 to 11 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 31, 2002. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 1999, 2000, 2001

Classes and Teachers: Mr. Riley, Mrs. White, Mrs. Cole, Mrs. Takaya, Mrs. Nakasone, Mrs. Leffew

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Main Elementary School is located in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County, California, in the United States. Our school serves 375 second through fifth grade students. It is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains of Los Padres National Forest. Carpinteria is a small, ocean-side, rural community located about 80 miles North of Los Angeles in Santa Barbara County. Avocado and other fruit trees cover the hillsides. Sandy beaches stretch for miles. The main industries are tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and service occupations. Research and development in high technology fields are developing and becoming an important part of Carpinteria's growing economy. Our valley is home to approximately 15,000 residents and covers 11.6 square miles. Carpinteria prides itself as home of the "World's Safest Beach!"

2. Summary of Our Project

Our project involves students exploring environmental issues which impact our community. The local business owners of our community along with other service organizations were interviewed. The students volunteered their time outside of class to contact, interview and photograph local areas of concern. The students engaged in "hands on" authentic learning opportunities. Many community members volunteered their time by coming to our school to make themselves accessible to the students. Our students shared information on the Internet with the local and global community. They created a friendship and appreciation for the many people that make up our community as well as a better understanding of our environmental challenges.

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:2-3

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3

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

Our Internet access is through the Santa Barbara County of Education Office. We have been upgraded from a fractional T1 line to a full T1 line, which is on a wide area network. Our web project is served through a Linux web server of a Main School parent, John Callender. It is hosted by his Internet Service Provider-Greg Domeno at Cyberverse Inc. Greg volunteered to host our site and provides our domain name John donates his time as our Web Administrator. Our computer lab recently moved from a small area with 25 computers housed within our school library, to a very large portable classroom with 33 student stations. Our computer lab was closed for over two weeks during the move. The Internet connection was up and running smoothly after the initial move. The network programs and the network file server are still not functioning properly.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The biggest problem we had was working on the site while relocating our computer lab. Our school lab was down for two weeks. We had to make sure that all our data was saved and stored safely. Although our Internet connections were up and running within two weeks, we still had networking problems within the lab. Next, we had issues scanning all of our pictures. The scanner wasn’t working properly in the new lab location, so we ended up buying a new scanner. Our parent group donated the money to pay for the new scanner. Then there was the task of scanning over 150 pictures. These added up to over 300 images with resizing. Our site includes information gathered from a couple of field trips. The largest trip, to Sacramento, took a lot of work to coordinate. We had to reserve lodging, our tour of the Capitol, and potential interviews with our local legislators. Many students were eligible to go to Sacramento, yet we could only take five.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

We are excited to share what we have learned about our environment and how it affects our community. We hope our site motivates you to learn about your community and its environmental issues too!

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

At Main School, there is an emphasis in integrating the community and its history into our Social Studies and Science curriculum. We followed the guidelines of the California State Frameworks. Our CyberFair project helped us incorporate the many skills students are learning at Main School - civic awareness, writing, history, environmental concerns and technology. These are major elements of the grades 2-5 curriculum strands. Main School's curriculum focuses on the writing process as a whole. Students learned how to craft meaningful and relevant interview questions and incorporate the information into their writing. Next, this information was organized, edited, reedited, and finally published. In order to accomplish this, the students used MS word, Notepad (for HTML pages), digital camera, 35mm and panoramic cameras, Adobe Photoshop, e-mail, scanners, tape recorders, and Internet. The students were able to see that the project worked only because it was a group effort. They enjoyed collaborating, and all agreed that they had fun!

Project Elements

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

Our lab has 25-networked IBM Pentium compatible computers (later it became 33 stations), a scanner, a digital camera, Zip drive, T1 line for Internet access, two telephone lines, and a laser printer. The computer teacher Julie Cole had the on-going task of teaching the hardware and software skills to the students. In addition to learning these skills the students had the incredible task of file management so that all files could remain in a central location and all students could access their files each week. The video projector was a huge help so everyone could see the project and demonstrations. Students learned the "ins and outs" of these tools and then used them to build their project. The telephone, email and fax made getting accurate information quick and easy. Our digital camera and scanner were extremely valuable to the project. These pictures were transferred to the computer and students could import them into Adobe PhotoShop and edit them. The students relied on the network to transfer information from the scanner to their projects, which allowed for larger pictures to be transferred. This was a very slow process and took a long time. The students held an art contest for the homepage and content pages. The Internet access in the computer lab provided students email access for contacting local organizations, and the ability to search for facts about Carpinteria. Finally, students gathered the greatest amount of information from oral interviews with our local civic leaders and our local Senator and Assemblywomen.

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

The students worked together to organize the project and divide tasks. They then decided which sections they would like to help create and which civic organizations to interview. The students photographed and interviewed local civic leaders for the information they needed. Some of the students gave a demonstration to the Carpinteria School District Board. The members of the board expressed their support and enthusiasm for the project. This same group of students presented to the Region 8 California Technology Assistance Project (CTAP) committee. Main School was selected as the Region 8 representatives at the Technology Showcase 2002 in Sacramento, California. This gave five students the opportunity to meet with and interview their local legislators about environmental issues.

Parents and the community were able to read about the project in an article, written by a CyberFair participant, in the school newspaper, which was distributed throughout the Main School community. The article included photos from the project's home page and a web address to visit the site. The CyberFair home page is linked to the Main School home page. We have received lots of positive feedback from the local community supporting our project. Two local newspapers, the Santa Barbara News Press and Coastal View, are preparing feature stories about our students and their website. Our local news station will televise interviews of participating students in a feature story of the week after the project is submitted. We have had numerous emails thanking us for caring and informing others globally about our community. Students were both happy and proud that their web project was a wonderful showcase for environmental awareness. Imagine the joy as several students received free gifts- flowers, Constitutional booklets, legislative placemats, a free trip to and VIP tour of the Capitol building, from the individuals they interviewed.

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

This year's web site is motivated in part by our participation in a Service Learning project. Service Learning incorporates learning about community issues and providing a service to the community. Our site, "Carpinterian's Care About Their Environment" provides a service as a source of learned information that can be accessed regarding environmental issues. This web site further cements our school's positive relationship with its community. Past sites have highlighted local leaders, local businesses and local specialties. This year's site on environmental issues reveals our commitment to serving our community with interesting and informative contents. As our community is small (population about 15,000) readers will notice that community members interviewed for this project will have links to past projects. This further reinforces a local civic interest by many of our community members in several civic areas. The content of this project has been reviewed by community members, CTAP committee members, school site staff, and students. We have received the following feedback:

"I just visited your site and it is interesting and kid friendly! It shows how much young Carpinterians care about their community" Mrs. Joan Weiss, Placerville, California

"Wow! What a wonderful site! Being an Environmental Scientist it sure is refreshing to see an interest in thinking smartly about our natural resources begin at such a young age! Way to go! Keep up the good "thinking"!" Bernadette Roth, Pasadena, California "It is wonderful to see our current government leaders taking the time to show our future government leaders the positive impact that democratic participation can have on making our world a better, happier, healthier place to live." Sam Kochel, Oxnard California

Our site is still new, and we are looking forward to providing a valuable resource to our local and global community.

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

This project is all about members of the community. One cannot discuss environmental issues without involving its people who live there. Carpinterians care deeply about their environment, and this site shows that. We have all the civic leaders, parents, and friends to thank for offering information and support for our project. The students would like to send a big "thank you" to John Callender, Mr. Riley, Mrs. White, and Mrs. Cole. They provided valuable information, taught new software and managed the diverse information. They provided moral support, supervision, and encouragement to the students. Thank you all. A special thank you goes to Jan Marholin (Technology Coordinator CUSD) for organizing our trip to Sacramento, arranging our legislative interviews and tour of the State Capitol, editing our site, and setting up interviews with our local civic leaders. Thank you to Dr. Jimmy Campos, our principal, for his support! And thank you to our “Principal for a Day,” Mr. Brad Proffitt. A big thank you to our ISP host Cyberverse Inc. for donating the domain name and server space for our site. Thank you to all the interviewees for their time, effort and support! A special thank you to our helpful staff: Julie Soto, Mary Foley, Sara Leffew, Elisa Takaya, Lisa Nakasone, Leslie Gravitz. Thanks to the parent volunteers – Dennis Huang, Linda Callender, and Lori Pearce. Thank you to Mr. Riley (5th grade teacher) and Mrs. Cole, our technology teacher, for all their time, support and dedication in getting the project up and running and seeing it through to the end and Mr. Cole and Mrs. Riley for waiting patiently for it to get completed.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

The students discovered a deeper interest and love for their local and global environment. Through meeting local legislatures students were able to understand a greater picture of the environmental impacts on the world. Through this years theme of “Care and Unite” of our service learning project, Our Principal for a Day” Mr. Proffitt said it best “With knowledge students learn and thus care more about their environment.” Carpinteria’s community is better served through this site.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1826)

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