Moving Beyond Access in K-12 Education
Saturday, May 1, 1999


Afternoon Workshops and Demo Sessions

[These are edited summaries, not complete transcripts.]

Beyond Black Boxes: The Build-It-Yourself Workshop

Mitchel Resnick moderated this session which featured John Galinato who is the creator of an imaginative project called the Build It Yourself Workshop that encourages children aged 8-16 to become "constructive builders and inventors of the future" by creating toys, games and electronic contraptions using recycled items and LEGO materials.

Claudia Urrea also elaborated about her experience of working with an eleven year old girl named Katie who used the construction of a bird feeder as a way to use technology to answer some of the questions she had about birds. Katie used a tiny computer called a "cricket" that can control motors and get information from sensors to create an instrument to take a picture each time a bird took a peanut rather than another type of food, which she hoped would tell her how many birds liked peanuts.


Star Festival and JP-Net

Shigeru Miyagawa elaborated about how the Star Festival project started out six years ago as a small project about language teaching rather than culture. After the video was shot in his home town in Japan, it turned out to be so compelling that instead of a small scale language project, it turned into a much larger scale project about culture and cultural learning. Instead of taking the originally six months that was expected, the project is now in the sixth year, and it is finally ready to try in schools. During this past year, beta tests were conducted at the Boston Public Schools by Mary Rudder, a Kindergarten teacher, and Maria D'Itria, a 5th Grade teacher, at the Harvard Kent School. Miyagawa's long term goal is to have it into up to 10,000 schools in a few years, and he feels he can only do that if it is commercialized.

Berliner sehen: A Hypermedia Learning Environment

Ellen W. Crocker and Kurt Fendt demonstrated Berliner sehen, a hypermedia project for the study of German language and culture that relies on an extensive collection of shared archives and the Internet to form a collaborative learning environment for beginning to advanced-level students. Focusing on Berlin, this documentary features live-recorded video and authentic historical documents that depict the cultural, social, and political life of the city. The hypermedia format of Berliner sehen encourages students to investigate material in context from interchangeable perspectives, to create their own hypermedia mini-documentaries, and to collaborate with other students on the expansion of the archives.



Adriana Gutierrez-Gonzalez demonstrated Paradoja, an interactive video project that - using the particular case of a beauty contest set in Perú in the 1980s - explores the problems and obstacles women face in Latin America. It aims to show how the history and the culture of the region have influenced and shaped women's lives and social roles by presenting the contradiction between an idealized image of women and the realities of their daily lives. The materials include televised reports of the 1982 Miss Universe Contest in Perú and interviews with the organizers, contestants, journalists and representatives of women's groups. This primary material has been adapted for student use with a full annotated transcript, a bilingual dictionary that allows students to search any word in the text, and an information menu from which students can access additional resources.

Avid Cinema

Lynn Moore-Benson, a Technology Specialist at the Wellesley Public Schools, gave a multimedia presentation on Avid Cinema, which she explained was so easy to use that it allowed the movies to be made in three hours during regular class periods. Moore-Bensen then displayed examples of films that were made by students and teachers in grades K-12 at her school to document field trips, capture student's reflections on what they have learned during a project, play a role in portfolio assessment, teach reading strategies, interpret plays and texts studied in class, make a film about the school to give to a visiting evaluation committee, create advertisements and enhance original poetry.


The Computer Clubhouse

Mitchel Resnick, co-founder of The Computer Clubhouse, was joined by Randal D. Pinkett for a presentation about this innovative program which hosts over 4500 visits a year from young people from Boston's under-served communities. Clubhouse members do not have to sign up for time; they can "drop in" whenever the it is open. The Computer Clubhouse is a vibrant environment that contains ingredients of an artist's studio, biology laboratory, television newsroom, architect's office, robotics workshop, and music studio. In this rich, multi-disciplinary environment, participants become designers and creators -- not just consumers -- of computer-based products.

The Long Bow China Archive

Peter Perdue demonstrated an on-line archive of text, still photos, songs and sounds and video about Chinese history and culture. The project is a three way collaboration between Perdue, the Long Bow Group who are documentary film makers that do a lot of work about China, and the MIT Center for Educational Computing Initiatives (CECI) who provided technical support. The total amount of film footage that the film makers have collected is 300 hundred hours or more, and not only includes many outtakes from their films, but also a lot of original historical footage collected from sources inside and outside of China. The first component of the archive is set up so a teacher or student can find information related to a particular topic. The second component is a tour construction area that can be used to put together a multimedia lecture. Perdue's demonstration of this function featured constructed tours or "multimedia essays" about Tiananmen Square and Long Bow Village that he put together, and he also described how he used them in his classes.


The Virtual Screening Room

Henry Jenkins demonstrated a fully interactive multimedia "textbook" for use in teaching film analysis both at MIT and at other institutions. As an electronic textbook, it will impart a better understanding of film genres and conventions, of the history and cultural context of film, and of the complex theories of the aesthetics of film, than can be conveyed through conventional film analysis textbooks which involve the translation of a kinetic medium -- cinema -- into a static medium -- the printed page.

Using Digital Media to Teach Writing

Leslie Perelman gave a presentation describing the Web-based version of The Mayfield Handbook of Scientific and Technical Writing which is the result of more than ten years of collaborative development at MIT. It is the first hypertextual reference work designed specifically for technical and scientific writing. MIT authors Leslie Perelman, James Paradis, and Edward Barrett offer information and advice on grammar and usage, strategies for planning and producing documents, and common document formats and citation styles.


Video Poetry

Bill Mead, a Media Specialist at the Pollard Middle School in Needham, presented demonstrated how he uses video in the classroom as a way to encourage middle school students to express themselves. He encourages students to work through abstract images and language, rather than conventional narrative. This is intended to encourage students to see the potentials of the technology and find their own means of expression. Mead presented some of the projects that his students have completed and gave an overview of the type of curriculum and instruction he uses to encourage creative and artistic exploration through the video medium.


Compiled by Mary Hopper

wiring the classroom   ABSTRACT | AGENDA | SPEAKERS | SUMMARIES