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III. ACTION PLAN:    A. Technology Access    B. ICT Literacy    C. Professional Development    D. Community Involvement     [Data]

ICT Literacy Toolkit
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1. Standards
2. Research
3. Case Studies
4. ePortfolio Support
5. Presentations
6. More Resources

Effective Projects Case Study


What is outside your window? at Oyster River Coop School District


This is a story about a project that started 3/1/2007.

For more information, please contact: Celeste Best at


This project is based on the use of technology to discover information about New Hampshire animals and ecosystems.Sophomores and fourth graders work together to create an animal information book and a video using Moviemaker and Audacity.The book is created collaboratively using a blog and wiki as a way to communicate on a daily basis.Students also participate in a Geocaching activity using GPS units to discover and explore habitats of the animals studied during the unit.


Funding: This project was supported by $5,000 from NCLB Title II-D (Educational Technology) and $200 in local funds. The project illustrates how federal funding supports Access - Enhancing existing technology and acquiring new technology to support education reforms and improve student achievement (includes servers, desktops, laptops, peripherals). The project addressed the following grades and content areas:

Gr3-5 Gr9-12 Science


The Setting: This project is set in a suburban/rural area of Durham Lee and Madbury, NH. The program is rich with technology but due to the large numbers of participants (120+ students), there is barely enough to go around. The students have access to video cameras, computers and GPS units as well as a 200 acre protected natural area at the elementary school where most of the exploring takes place.


The plot: The biggest planning challenge was coordination and trying to organize meeting times between the high school and elementary school. It was also difficult to find the money to transport the kids to the elementary school on a weekly basis since each bus ride cost $30.The most compelling part of the project was watching the kids learn about their environment from other students and the relationship that was created between the 10th and 4th graders. The catalyst for change was to create a partnership between high school and elementary school students and introduce them to the environment and technology that can be used to explore and enjoy the environment. The biggest implementation challenge was finding time to collaborate with all teachers and organize field trips back and forth to the elementary school.Getting access to enough computers and video cameras during the movie phase was also quite a challenge.


The teachers: 5 teachers were directly involved. I was the director of the project that involved my two biology classes. Two fourth grade teachers paired up their students with mine and did enrichment activities with their 4th graders to help them understand their animals and habitat.One technology integrator helped us with the technology part and trying to get all of the equipment.One gym teacher was involved in the Geochaching phase of the project because of her knowledge of the land we were using


The students: Over 120 students were involved from the planning of the books and videos to the itinerary for the field trips.The kids had an opportunity to develop partnerships, work collaboratively on two different projects, and be immersed in environmental and wildlife content through out the month long project.


The data: Evaluations were done at the end of the project that was in the form of a survey as to what students thought about the project.The overwhelming result of the survey was that this project should continue for many years and that there should be more time for face to face interaction between the two age groups.


The difference: There were tremendous student gains especially among students who had been struggling in the biology class.This gave all students a chance to participate in a very hands-on unit that involved mentoring and many students came out of their shells when they were involved with the younger children and vice versa.The books and videos were assessed using rubrics that the students helped to create and during the unit checklists were provided to ensure that deadlines could be met. This unit was amazing for all that participated. It create relationships that continue a year later, a number of parents were involved during the field trips and it was a truly enriching experience to see students teaching other students about things they see very day. It also taught students about responsibility when others are relying on you which is a crucial lesson for teenagers.This project also gave several teachers the opportunity to work together in a interdisciplinary project which allowed us to have great conversations about science and other disciplines.


Essential conditions: Money for the technology is a must, support from administrators at the buildings and SAU are critical and help from parents to coordinate all of the work is very important.Teachers also need to have the time to plan and implant this project and the planning stages can be labor intensive.


Changes for the future: This year, instead of using a blog for communication between student team members we are going to use a wiki so that content information can be added at any time and by anyone participating in the project.The discussion forum of a wiki will also be used for team members to ask each other questions as well as daily check ins. Include more of an emphasis on the relationship that is being formed between student groups and provide more time to complete the content driven components.Perhaps have the students do first and final drafts for evaluation feedback.Also, I will use survey monkey for the surveys so that parents and administrators can be involved.This year we are also including a presentation from the Squam Lake Science Center on Kestrels and then putting up two kestrel nesting boxes.The hope is that the following year we will put web cams in the nest boxes.


Recommendations: Plan for at least one month for the project, fundraise or seek help from school groups to raise money for bus and field trip costs and pay for substitutes


Telling our story: Unit outcomes and events were shared with school board and during the district leadership team meeting as well as having the videos posted on the Web page.


Documents to share: none at this time