CyberFair Project ID: 5151

Close this Window

NOTE: Due to URL changes, some links may no longer be valid.

International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Community For Hire
Category: 3. Business and Community Organizations

School: Discovery Charter School
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

350 students, ages 9-13 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 19, 2008. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 1st year

Classes and Teachers: Mr. Fields, Ms. Bell, Ms. Hairston, Ms. Johnakin, Ms. Trofa, Ms. Batchleor, Mrs. Portee, Mr. Rothmiller, Ms. White, Ms. Curtis, Ms. Holmes, Mrs. Jackson, Ms. LeVere, and Ms. Stephens

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Philadelphia is a vast city with numerous neighborhoods and communities. This diversity makes Philadelphia a special place to sight-see, shop and live. DCS is located in the West Park section of West Philadelphia, adjacent to Fairmount Park. West Park had always been a vital community with a diverse representation of businesses. In recent years, due to the economic downturn experienced by the city, West Park lost a number of businesses. However, the recent influx of investors has brought growth back to the community. The most recent construction/redevelopment project is taking place in the lot adjacent to the Philadelphia Business and Technology Center. This reintroduction of businesses will assist in reigniting the economic growth not only in the West Park neighborhood but also in the Greater West Philadelphia community.

2. Summary of Our Project

In the community surrounding DCS, there are over forty businesses and organizations, which provide a service directly to the public. The purpose of this project is to explore the importance of how each entity provides their services to the community as a catalyst for future changes within the community.

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):

Discovery Charter School has 2 to 4 Pc’s in each classroom and a multi-media lab with 30 PC workstations. The PC’s in the school are directly connected to a server. The multi-media lab also houses the mobile Mac-lab, which is equipped with 30 I-Mac laptops. The laptops can be used in any classroom, creating the opportunity for each classroom to become a virtual classroom.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The research began in mid November, and was concluded in February. Each class consisted of 7 to 8 student groups. The total preparation time for each group was two 45-minute class periods. Time is the dependent variable in the equation. Each class is seen for only one 45 min period per week. The data generated from each class was tabulated and recorded at the beginning of each class session. This data then facilitated the generation of the interviews and survey questions. Conducting the interviews and surveys were the hardest tasks to accomplish because of conflicting schedules. There were three parties to consider when attempting to schedule the interviews: the students’ availability, the businesses availability and the availability of the faculty advisor. The faculty advisor's presence was required at each interview.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

The students conducted research on the websites of the businesses in the Philadelphia Technology Center. The research helped the students gain background knowledge of each business and the importance of that business in providing a service provider, in the community.

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

Prior to giving the students assignments or touring the various businesses, the importance of businesses and organizations serving the community was discussed with each class. The discussions revolved around the advantages and disadvantages of the length of time that a business has been in existence. The conclusion arrived at by the students was that if a business can last for twenty years of service, then the service or product produced, is seen - by the community - a necessity. Consequently, the students were exposed to more thought provoking ideas on how businesses and organizations survive in the world by relying on the community to help them. The points discussed and instructed in the lesson and many others covered a handful of the national educational technology standards. Next, the students toured the outside of the school where all of the new businesses were being built. Each class was filmed talking to workers standards of who were willing to give students an idea of what was being built, along with the importance of an education.

Project Elements

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

1. Internet- To research information on the attributes, advantages and disadvantages of a business or organization providing a service to the community 2. Digital Still Camera – To photograph the tour and the interviews 3. Digital Video Camera – to video the tour and the interviews 4. Video Capture Card – To transfer the video data from the digital video camera to the computer to edit 5. Printer – To print assignments, Interview and survey questions 6. E-mail – To contact the businesses 7. Telephone – To contact businesses 8. Copier –To duplicate assignments, Interview and survey questions 9. Computer Software – Ulead Video Studio 10, Photoshop, Microsoft Office Suite

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

The students were able to sit with the business representatives during the interviews and survey sessions. These included the owner, the manager or an employee representative. The students were able to answer questions about the school and the CyberFair project. This exchange of information enabled the businesses the opportunity to find out more about Discovery Charter School and its mission. Along with the interview, each business or organization took a survey given by the students. More than fifty percent of the businesses or organizations surveyed believed that the student involvement enabled a closer working relationship between the school and their organization or business. There was equal excitement experienced by both parties - the students and the businesses. The students were excited initially about the CyberFair project and then with the opportunity to visit businesses and organizations located in the same building as DCS. The businesses excitement stemmed from the opportunity to share what service they provide to the community with the students. The opportunity for the businesses to learn more about Discovery Charter School have always been present, it was a lack of initiative on the businesses part that lead to the lack of understanding. Consequently, the tours and interviews aided our students in two ways. The first was that they were able to participate in the entire experience of the CyberFair and second they became liaisons for the school to the businesses and organizations that they interviewed.

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

Besides the project bridging the gap of the students learning past the four walls of the school, the businesses and organizations have become knowledgeable of how they are similar to the other businesses. The website will showcase each business and organization that the students interviewed and surveyed. This information included how the businesses and organizations Impacted the community. A majority of the businesses or organizations expressed their opinion of how exciting it would be to see the video and the photographs taken during the interviews and tours on the website. This comment gave the students another way of making the website interesting for each business to build a stronger relationship between their fellow business and organizations in and around the Philadelphia Business and Technology Center. On the day our site is revealed, all participating businesses and organizations will be invited to the second press conference. The press will show our school as we display, on our website, the major changes that have been taking place in the Philadelphia Business and Technology Center. “Businesses in the business of helping the local community.”

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

First, all the students would like to thank the Chief Administrative Officer, Mrs. Kelley, for having the vision of creating Discovery Charter School, which is in the business of helping grow the youth in our community. Secondly, Ms. Marjorie and Mr. Parker, the founders of the Philadelphia Business and Technology Center, assisted in the logistics of the students moving through the building and providing a tour of the entire complex. Third, to the teachers, for their flexibility in allowing the students to be dismissed during a test, quiz or instruction to tour, interview and survey the business and organizations. Fourth, to the DCS video club, for always being prepared to take photos or video. And finally, to the businesses and organizations that were willing to give a minute or two to the students.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Being new to the CyberFair, the primary goal was to create an environment for the students that would be engaging and exciting. Here are just a few activities to what was presented in and out of the classroom. 1. Toured the outside of the new business development in the community. 2. Organized each class into groups. The students picked fancy names for their group and a leader. 3. Viewed all business and organizations in the Philadelphia Business and Technology Center on the Internet. 4. Students created over 400 interview and survey questions to be narrowed down to eight questions for the interview form and eleven survey questions. 5. Toured with the local news radio station around the entire Philadelphia Business and Technology Center 6. Interview and survey each participating business and organization in the Philadelphia Business and Technology Center.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 5151)

Close this Window