In January, a group of gifted middle school students in North Texas hatched a plan. They decided to send a message as far and wide as it could go on the Internet about an issue that affects them personally: their education.
“We need a new school system, one that mixes collaboration with achievement, excellence with technology,” writes Orooj on the class blog in the midst of creating the project.
Coached by their teacher, J. Fletcher, the students took on the task of creating the inspirational video above. Their final aim is to make a dramatic impact and influence public opinion. In the process, they’ve learned how to negotiate with adults, create websites, research and learn about fair use laws, as well as the many details of producing a video.
Though it’s obviously a learning experience for the students, Fletcher himself has been moved by it.
“I’ve learned a lot about teaching in the last three months,” he writes. “Educational needs aren’t the same as when I was in middle school twenty years ago. The modern educator is a facilitator, an organizer, and a guide – the modern educator is NOT a teacher. We are no longer (or should no longer be) in the business of giving information. The information is out there, easily grasped. It’s our job to present it to the students in a way that makes them want to learn themselves.”
As for the students, they’ve been riled up in the process of creating the video.
“We’re four years from the ‘real world’ and the ability to be treated like our voice is worth listening to,” they write. “We live in the problem – the best ideas for change are going to come from us. We don’t blame the teachers or the schools themselves for this outdated method – we blame the system. As a group of students stuck in public school long due for an upgrade, we demand change.”
Read the whole blog, Education Innovation, to follow their trajectory.
I, for one, am happy to help them spread their message.