CyberFair Project ID: 7752

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: uKnight Career Planning
Category: 3. Business and Community Organizations

School: Farmington Middle School
    Farmington, MO, USA

12 students, ages 12-14 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 7, 2014. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2014

Classes and Teachers: Kate Dillon; Project for Academic Growth and Enrichment Studies

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Farmington is small town, established in 1822 about 70 miles south of St. Louis, with a population of approximately 17,000 and is full of rich heritage. Farmington is located in St. Francois County, Missouri, in the United States. It is a rural town with a motto of “Tradition and Progress.” Although the town is rooted in farming and agricultural interests, it also is quite modern for a small town with both quaint antique shopping and modern department stores, coffee houses, fine dining, and a community center. The public school district has won the National Blue Ribbon Award as well as the Gold Star Award numerous years in the last decade, therefore providing some of the best schools in the Midwest. The students of the Farmington School District are gaining many capabilities with technology learning to use Chromebooks, have personal Google accounts and are eager to find ways to further interact with technology and the community. The community is also eager to build more tech-friendly partnerships as wireless internet becomes more and more available to the public for free in many locations in this small community and members of the community begin to embrace the uses of online and technological resources.

2. Summary of Our Project

This project is a community-wide collaborative effort focusing on creating a website that students and community members can access to read and research the careers of local people through videos, pictures and interviews of local places in our town. We called our website “uKnight” like the word “unite” because our school mascot is the Knights and we are uniting the community through technology. Please read more about our project in our project narrative here:

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:more than 6

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

For our computer access we used Chromebooks as our main source for research and for the editing and creating of our website. The Chromebooks were a huge tool in us communicating with St. Paul to work on the collaborative database. We used an additional site called Schoology to create a database that is where the public and students will be able to access the information and interviews about careers in the community. For the planning of the project, we used Google drive so we had the ability to collaborate in setting goals, creating and editing text.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

One of the problems we faced and had to overcome was scheduling the field trips to gather interviews around school commitments for both FMS P.A.G.E.S. and St. Paul and also around the weather. Even though many of our field trips were delayed due to other school activities and the weather we were able to make to all of our destinations. Another challenge was learning how to use new technology such as the website creation tools and video editing software. There were many times we just had to try something and see if it worked, testing out Google sites to find the right way to format our website. But, thanks to our clever web manager we were able to learn how to upload things, format, and create our webpage efficiently.

Another thing we had to problem solve was how to get the community interested in our project. We wanted our project to impact the community in practical and meaningful ways. One way we did that was by calling up local businesses to survey how many would be interested in being interviewed. It was a little scary to call up businesses and ask them to help us. We were nervous to talk to people, but once we got up the nerve to talk, we were so surprised how many really wanted us to tell their stories. We got fourteen interviews and could have had more had bad winter weather not set in. We even got a special note sent by our school district superintendent, a newspaper article written about us in the local paper, and a radio interview.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our participation in International CyberFair has meant more than anything connecting people. Community members and students from multiple schools now have something to share together and “uKnight” through our Career Planning website.

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

he ISTE NETS addressed in the project include: 1a; 1b; 2a; 2b; 2d; 3a-d; 4b; 4c; 5a-d; 6a-d. This relates to the Common Core standards in our school district as the Writing, Speaking and Listening standards in grades 7-8 incorporate the use and application of multimedia and research tools. We learned new skills especially related to ISTE 3 (Research and Information Fluency) as students learned to synthesize information in ways that would be concise and still expressive on their website, and ISTE 6 (Technology Operations and Concepts) as students learned to use entirely new platforms including Google Sites, Pixlr, Google Forms/Docs/Presentation, and Schoology. We had a hierarchy that allowed us ownership of the project. The teacher acted as a facilitator when needed, but otherwise students made all decisions regarding project goals, implementation and products on the website. Each group member had a role as web manager, reporter, project organizer, transcriber, or public relations. In this class students were able to jump on board with these roles and take initiative. Because it is a Project-Based Learning class of gifted students, they appreciated the opportunity to take ownership and explore questions, problem-solve and work self-guided. By using technology to drive this project, we've found it easier to instantly share products we make, collaborate and improve project products and to keep things organized. Teaching through use of the internet allows so many more tools at our fingertips. Researching careers, contacting businesses and promoting our project was simple. We connected to a lot more people than we ever would had we tried to put these career interviews into a book or other format not using the internet. Please see our website for more information:

Project Elements

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

We used all of the new Google products (Google Sites/Docs/Presentation/Forms/Mail)on the ten Chromebooks available to us on a daily basis. Our Chromebooks were newly provided to us by our district this year and were by far our most valuable tools. We also used 2 iPads to take video and pictures during our field trip interviews. The iPads were great for portability and easy upload of video and pictures to the Internet. Students also used telephones to survey and reach out to businesses as well as cell phones to take pictures and collaborate between one another on the project. Students did radio interviews for local station KREI/KTJJ and interviewed with local newspaper reporters for an article in the Farmington Press. Students used online photo editing software to create their logo and graphic design using Pixlr. Students used the library resources and online resources available at our state department to gain research in our Career Action Planning standards. We conducted over a dozen oral interviews with local business people. What was most unique about our project was the ability to collaborate with another school using technology and internet sources. Each school used the Schoology platform to both upload interviews, ask questions, discuss competing CyberFair projects and to create our own unique stories.

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

To be ambassadors for our project, we did local interviews with one of our local radio stations KREI to inform the community of our project. We also have an article in the Farmington Press (link available on website) where we discuss the projects and our views on the idea of a local database with job opportunities. What was most fun about being an ambassador was that the adults we interviewed really liked to speak with us kids. We got free things because of this! This was one thing students liked best. When we asked the owner of Pasta House to come speak about her career as a Restaurant owner she brought us lots of free things to eat from the restaurant. She was really generous. Another good story was when we went to the St. Francois County courthouse, we got to interview the Prosecuting Attorney for the county, Jerrod Mahurin. He was really intimidating at first, but then we learned that he'd been a gifted student when he was a kid and he answered as many questions as we had, talking to us for over an hour, then on the spot taking us up to see a real courtroom and pulled a favor to get a circuit court judge to give us an impromptu interview. People seem interested in what we're doing because we're kids out learning and asking questions about the town. Community members want to reach out to schools, but sometimes don't know how. So we've been ambassadors to help unite Farmington.

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

Well, because of our project we were able to let many students have the opportunity to explore the paths that they might like to take when choosing their careers. They also get the chance to actually see what it is like to have that career. My community will get to see the ups and the downs and what they might have to go through (school wise) to get to that goal. Because of our project we were able to let many students have the opportunity to explore the paths that they might like to take when choosing their careers. They also get the chance to actually see what it is like to have that career from people in the community in which they live. Students will get to see the ups and the downs and what they might have to go through (school-wise) to get to that goal or attain that job. The local business members were quick to tell us the amount of hard work and dedication their jobs require. Our website is being opened up to people anywhere in the world to visit. We like that people anywhere in the country or even overseas could see what it's like to live and be a businessman or woman in Farmington, Missouri. The feedback has been so positive to this project. Especially gaining recognition from the local newspaper. We had a reporter who wanted to tag long on one of our walking field trips through downtown. She stayed with us for several hours talking with us, interviewing us and taking pictures.

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

Others in the community helped with our project by volunteering to do interviews and to come in during our class to be guest speakers. One member of the community, Joy Boyer, from Liberty Farms, donated to money to pay for a bus so we would be able to come to their place of business for an interview and tour. Our CyberFair team relied a lot on St. Paul School to provide guidance. They are pros at competing for CyberFair and wanted to bring us in to take an idea they had last year, elaborate on it, make it our own and expand it further to include a greater community out-reach. These helpers collaborated with us through email, in person for some peer review meetings, and through the Schoology platform as we both created a single database together over the internet. We thoroughly appreciate their knowledge, know-how and constructive criticism. Next, it was great to get email addresses from all of the businesses we interviewed. This way we could create and send them Google forms to follow-up or interviews in case they thought of anything later they wanted to add as well as share pictures.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We were really surprised how many business owners didn't go to college for what job they had now. As we begin to go through the stressful process of creating high school schedules, and planning for college, it was good to know that even though we can plan, plan, plan, that there is still room to change our minds later on. We also were impressed with the characters we interviewed. People we interviewed had interesting personalities. Joy Boyer made muffins for us from blueberries she grew on her farm and even paid for a bus for us to get to the farm because we didn't have enough money to get one. Nancy Silvey of Pasta House also gave us free samples when she came to our school for an interview. Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod Mahurin persuaded a judge to give us an interview on the spot the day we went to the County Courthouse, and Sweetheart's Chocolate we also got free samples. Also Detective Stacy was interviewed in a room where the lighting was a little dark, almost like an interrogation, which made him seem very business-like and a good police detective. It was also surprising how many people wanted to share the daily activities of their occupations. We got to see how passionate Maria of Bauhaus Kaffee is about making espresso and coffee. People in our community are proud of what they've been able to accomplish in their careers and it's good to get to share that with the community and students of Farmington.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 7752)

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