Using the latest in web technology at Dearborn Public Schools, students at Haigh Elementary have embraced a fun and exciting project. The students, who are a part of an afterschool program, are acting as journalists using our district web technology to facilitate communication and publishing of their work.
The students meet 1-2 times a week after school and the teacher works with them on writing and enrichment activities. At home, the students work to write their stories and post them in the Haigh Newsroom iLearn course online. Then the other students and teacher critique and offer suggestions. Once a final draft is ready, the students copy the finished product and place it on their very own webpage. That webpage is what is linked to from the main school website. They are learning how to add photos, videos, and other forms of media. This is the first time the teacher has ever attempted to do something like this and it is fairly new for most of the students as well. It will only get better as everyone becomes more comfortable with the technology.
This type of activity and opportunity is what I have been working for when thinking about what web technology is needed in our district. We have some of the best web resources and now I can see the fruit of my labor with project like this sprouting up. This is a small beginning to what can really engage and encourage students to reach their full potential. These students are taking pride in what they are doing because they have ownership and get recognition with publishing their works.
We are using the Moodle and Mahara web applications to accomplish this project. We have Moodle and Mahara working together as one system via SSO for the students and teachers. Going from one application to the other is seamless with one login. Moodle handles the Newsroom activities and writing while Mahara allows the students to publish and display their work. This really is a great use of technology made possible by an adventurous teacher and having the systems in place to allow the teacher’s ideas and plans to become a reality.