Magazine article Technology & Learning

Tech Literacy with a Conscience: How Teach Real-World Life Lessons and Develop Web-Based Skills

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Tech Literacy with a Conscience: How Teach Real-World Life Lessons and Develop Web-Based Skills

Article excerpt

There is nothing ambiguous about Carole Colburn's mission at Highlander Way Middle School in Howell, Michigan. She wants her students to learn--and to be empowered to help others--by working on projects that immerse them in their community. Technology is simply a conduit to make that happen.

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One such undertaking is PROJECT: HOUSE (Helping Out Underprivileged Students Everywhere). Developed by Colburn and district colleague Chris Eldred, the project marshaled students from various classes to raise awareness about Habitat for Humanity. Colburn's Technology Literacy students analyzed the Livingston County Habitat for Humanity Web site and created PowerPoint slide shows designed to compel viewers to volunteer or to donate money. Communications Arts students wrote and produced skits about what it might be like to need a Habitat home. Applied Technology and Art students from nearby Three Fires Middle School designed dollhouses and miniature furniture to reflect the look and feel of a typical Habitat home. At the end of the project, students raffled off the dollhouses and donated $800 in proceeds to the Livingston County Habitat for Humanity.

"I wanted to make connections between students and community members and also instill a sense of civic responsibility in the students by having them work with a charitable organization," says Colburn, who runs the nine-week elective at HWMS.

According to Howell Public Schools superintendent W. Charles Breiner, Colburn is a "dynamic force in our teaching faculty," adding that she is "conscientious, articulate, knowledgeable, precise, highly effective, studious, innovative, and forward-thinking in her pedagogy."

Colburn's other classroom projects follow a similar template as PROJECT: HOUSE. There's PROJECT: SKILL (Student Knowledge Inspiring Lifelong Learning), which had students teaching technology skills to local senior citizens. …

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