Project Number 17 – 1993
Cicero Elementary School
Fax: (315) firstname.lastname@example.org
All Saints Episcopal School
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
Dan Lake, Central NY Regional Information Center, Specialist in Telecommunications
Sally Koes, Library Media Specialist, Cicero Elementary School
AAA Automobile Club of Syracuse, NY
Jane Hill, Administrative Assistant, All Saints School
Donna Rogers, Computer Project Director, Cicero Elementary School
Electronic mail was used in a project which involved a simulated trip between two 3rd grade classes. One class was Cicero Elementary in Cicero, NY. The other was All Saints Episcopal School in Beaumont, Texas. Each school decided to embark on a “pretend trip” starting at their respective locations and ending at the midpoint, which proved to be Bowling Green, Kentucky. The purposes for making the trip were many and varied. A goal that was accomplished early in the trip was sharing with the students the joy of using electronic mail. A second purpose was to have an awareness of the similarities and differences between the same age group in different geographic locations. The third purpose was to enhance content and specific skills. While having fun, students got needed practice in English, writing, reading, geography, mathematics, health, and research and reporting skills. The project put zest into learning.
Various methods were used in the two schools. Maps were used to keep track of where the classes were at any given time. Cities on the route included Beaumont, TX, Baton Rouge, LA, Lafayette, LA, New Orleans, LA, Jackson, MISS, Nashville, TN, Memphis, TN, Cicero, NY, Syracuse, NY, Scranton, PA, Harrisburg, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Columbus, OH, Cincinnati, OH, Louisville, KY, and Bowling Green, KY. The students used their libraries, classroom reference books, their travel experiences, and other resources to list and describe the characteristics and tourist attractions of the cities they visited. They used mathematics to compute the miles traveled, the cost of food and lodging, and the length of time it took to travel a certain number of miles. The students typed the letters to send to the companion school. Efforts were made to see that each student was a participant in some phase of the trip.
Communication by email was used to write what specific city and sights were to be visited. Students went to the school library to use a computer program that would tell what the weather was going to be. An individual travel journal was updated daily.
One of the outcomes of this project was the students’ awareness of the location of different states, their capitols, and their industries. At Bowling Green a Corvette was “purchased” at the factory, for one of the parents. Another outcome was that students listened to news and looked at the newspaper to find articles about the states that were being visited. The Kentucky Derby was being held when the students were in Louisville. The Pittsburgh Penguins were playing when traveling through Pennsylvania.
When the students finished with the trip a research report was done on their favorite state. By doing this, a number of different resources needed to be used. Each student also wrote a letter to a student in Texas and this was sent by Snail Mail, along with a video the class made. In return, they received letters and many of them included their home address so letter writing could could continue over the summer.
This project has resulted in very positive reactions from students and their parents. Beside the familiarity with telecommunications for data and writing, this program also allowed greater student awareness of expanded electronic resources for research and pleasure.
Interaction of the Simulation and The Coalition
The strength of this project is five fold: First there is the collaboration between the individuals at each site and between the sites via the telecommunications; there is the group/team effort displayed between the regional BOCES which has supported the entire technology project at the Cicero site; thirdly, there is the changes which have occurred within the classrooms, in planning and implementing instructional strategies which are authentic and which use resources such as parent, community, school staff, and students in unique ways; there is the sustaining involvement of the library media specialist in the instructional team at Cicero who continually exemplifies the modeling of technology using Internet to access information in less-than-traditional ways; and lastly, the ease of implementation of a project which can be sustained and replicated across all grade levels in the naturalness and enthusiasm of educational travel.
When computer technologies invaded the classrooms of Cicero Elementary, changes occurred in the teaching and learning environment which were not anticipated. Add to the strength of an innovation involving modern technology enhancing student motivation, teachers have changed their traditional roles to become facilitators of the access to resources to be used for scholastic endeavors. The total team approach has been evident among the staff at Cicero Elementary, and now is “branching” to a team approach via telecommunications. To use the telecommunications as a vehicle to further this team effort from geographically diversed areas has further reduced the image of the isolationism associated with education in previous years.
We all support the concept of shared experiences as narrowing the emphasis on cultural differences. For a public school in New York State, with the help of a business-educational partnership on a State level, to access equipment purchases for modernizing an elementary school far removed from the worksorce, to utilize the regional educational support services for general population students using telecommunications, to connect with a private school miles distant, and to general instructional strategies which integrate activities within a vast variety of disciplines, and to carry out the functions over the network, cannot help but gain notice that our particular project is well within the description of outstanding. We feel its simplicity and its educational value merits it a recognition at your annual conference.
Overhead project, VCR and monitor, possibly a computer setup for telecommunications with the two elementary schools as part of the presentation q/a period, asking the students to respond to the questions asked during the session.