EDIM 514 Cell Phone Interview

The project I found to write about was the brainchild of another Philly-based teacher named Diana Laufenberg. Last year was her first year working for the Philadelphia School District and she didn’t realize that students don’t attend school on Election Day. Since her students had been avidly following the 2008 Presidential Election, she wanted them to be able to document it. Her assignment was for the students to go to various polling places and rallies throughput the city and to use their cell phones to interview people and capture the day. She actually collaborated with another school in Texas, and the students from the two schools compared the election process in both Pennsylvania and Texas. They created a wiki in order to do this and to share their work. The students uploaded the videos, photos and podcasts they created. They also blogged about the experience.  It seemed like a fantastic way to get students involved on so many levels. This is how she described the project on the wiki:

SLA students ventured out into their communities and local polling places in Philly to document the urban voting picture, and publish the story by midnight on November 4th.  This was not an exercise in polished digital video, this was about on the street reporting.”

Diana has agreed to an interview and I am waiting for her email responses but I seriously doubt that there were any administrative or parental concerns about this particular use of cell phones. For one thing, she works at a magnet school called the Science Leadership Academy. It is a new school in the district and its curriculum is entirely based on project-based, constructivist learning. They have a 1:1 student – laptop ratio and I don’t think they ever use text books. Because of the distinct nature of their program, integrating technology is expected. The students were also off campus while they video and voice-recorded the day. Here’s the link to the project and the students’ great work. I’ll update this post when I hear back from the teacher.

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