CyberFair Project ID: 1887

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Community Service-We CAN make a difference!
Category: 2. Community Groups and Special Populations
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: St. Joseph's Episcopal School
    Boynton Beach, Florida, United States

14 students, ages from 11 to 14 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 30, 2002. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2001,2002

Classes and Teachers: St. Joseph's 6th Grade class

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

The term 'community' actually has a dual meaning for this project. The first is our school family; the students, families and staff that make up St. Joseph's Episcopal School. We are a small private school with a very strong sense of family and connectedness. We support each other in times of pain as well as joy. The spiritual aspect of our school guides us in our interactions with each other as well with all whom we reach out to in sharing. The other part of 'community' is definitely the geographical community of Boynton Beach. This is a small coastal town which has maintained its own identity even while being amongst a line of coastal cities along South Florida. Boynton Beach still retains a small town atmosphere with a strong sense of history and togetherness. We have the advantage of small town friendliness combined with the cultural connections of the larger metropolitan area.

2. Summary of Our Project

St. Joseph's Community Service is a project designed to tell the story of students working together to connect with others. While the original intent was simply that: to tell the story; however, as the students became more involved there was a growing sense of pride as we realized the scope of what "Community Service" really means. We became much more aware of personal responsibility, sharing, and caring. Each student realized just how much each of us really does and how much it matters to the community as well as to ourselves. We have a new appreciation of the phrase “One person CAN make a difference”. Community Service has been a part of St. Joseph’s School for a very long time; we appreciate the opportunity to bring it all together and to proudly share it with others; both the local community and the world through the internet.

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:2-3

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

Technology at St. Joseph’s School has been growing at breakneck speeds. We are moving from being technologically literate to being a leader in the field. Our Board committed to putting our school on the cutting edge in order to have students capable of being leaders in the workplace in technology. Just a year ago we returned from Break to find our internet provider had gone out of business. This caused some frantic scurrying and jumped the learning curve of our Technology Team in order to truly understand what was needed. Eight months later, we were back on line with a reputable firm, we then became a fully networked campus. We have a newly remodeled lab with 22 stations. We also have at least one computer with network access in each classroom, pre-K through 8th grade. Every department utilizes the facilities for major projects as well as daily classroom activities.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Our initial challenge was in deciding and agreeing upon our topic. Our brainstorming session brought up LOTS of cool ideas that we wanted to pursue. Once we made that decision we had to decide how to approach the topic and present it in an interesting manner. The prospect of interviewing teachers, then others in the community was a bit daunting to some of us. We worked together to come up with questions and went out armed with our notes. Once we started talking with others it became really exciting. Then came the task of compiling the information and writing it in a way to make it fun for others to read. We created everything on storyboards before we went to the computers in order to make best use of our limited time. Actually, limited time was truly our biggest challenge. The deadline came at the end of our Spring Break and we all felt the pressure of pulling it together in time.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our participation in Cyberfair has been an exciting experience for all of us. We strengthened our ability to work together to complete a project, we increased our sense of pride in our school and, most importantly, now truly understand that each of us can and does make a difference in our world

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

Our Board made a commitment this school year to bring our Science/Technology Departments to a higher standard. We adopted the International Technology Education Association’s Standards for Technological Literacy. The Cyberfair project helps us meet a large number of those standards: Understanding core concepts of technology, Understanding connections between technology and other fields of study, Understanding of cultural and social effects of technology, Understanding of the attributes of design, Ability to apply the design process, Ability to use and maintain technological products and systems, Abilities to assess the impact of products and systems, Understanding of and ability to select and use information and communication technologies. We developed and increased our skills in the interview process, and writing skills, We also practiced a number of technology skills-research, scanning, project writing. In our work with our groups, we learned to utilize each person’s special talents and skills to improve our project.

Project Elements

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

We are fortunate at St. Joseph’s to have internet access on all the computers in the lab as well as in each classroom. We were able to do our research independently then bring the information together when we worked in our groups. We learned how to use a scanner and digital cameras. On the computers we used Google for our research; we used PowerPoint to get the information in a logical format. We used NetObjects Fusion to create the actual web page. We really had to learn techniques for oral interviews and we didn’t realize we would have to do that. We thought that would be the easy part; we love to talk! There’s a big difference in talking and asking questions in a way to get usable information. A new skill we learned. We also figured out that you interview in a different way depending on who you are interviewing; children, teachers, workers, nursing home residents.

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

We served as “Ambassadors” for our school and our project first by being a part of our school’s community service program. Through the program we learned how to interact with students at our school, then with others in the community. We learned how to relate to others in a caring manner. With that as a foundation we then had to develop techniques for interviewing others. The interview process included learning how to tell people about our project. It seems that the more we talked about our project the more excited we became about it! The enthusiasm really spread throughout our campus and our local community.

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

While the website about Community Service is new – our school’s involvement in Community Service has been around for 8 years and has truly impacted our community. Everyone we talked with shared how important it is that we are involved in our community in this manner. Students and former students interviewed all had wonderful memories to share about their experiences. Employees at the nursing home, school and child care center all mentioned how excited the residents and students get when the students come to visit. Now, with a website to tell our story we feel we can really let the world know what we are doing. We are excited about being able to share what we learned about ourselves with others. Our community can learn more about who we are and how special our school really is. We also feel that other schools will be able to see what we have done and set up a Community Service program of their own. We can become a model, not just for our community but for schools around the world-through the Web.

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

We truly appreciate how helpful and encouraging everyone has been as we worked on this labor of love. Our parents have been really SUPER! Always willing to drive when we need to do a site visit or need something to complete our project. Mostly the enthusiasm and encouragement from them was just what we needed to keep us going. Our teachers were also enthusiastic as we shared our efforts with them. They were willing to assist in many ways. Our special angel came in the form of Mr. Pete Flecha, our technical and web writing expert. Pete has been one of our technical advisors for the school. When we shared our project dreams with him he was eager to help us with the creation of the web site. We suspect the project become more involved than he anticipated but he kept his excitement and enthusiasm right through to the end. It would not have happened without Pete’s guidance and support. We truly love and appreciate you, Pete. We are blessed to have you

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

“The discovery I made was why we are really doing this. I’ve learned the whole importance of it.” Michael. “Our impact is to make a community outreach project that tells how the people of our community help their community. We’ve found out how all of us can help” Billy. “It’s important to help in our community” Ellen. “My discovery is that it is hard to make a website that is both informative and interesting.” Jeffery. “My lesson and discovery is that I learned that I should help out with the community more, and I realized just how much our school really does for the outreach program” Molly. And our most important discovery, “One person really can make a difference in our world!” St. Joseph’s 6th grade class.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1887)

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