Technology Showcase for Kids

Dottie Black, coordinator of the PepsiCo K-12 Technology Mentor Program, was seeing the results of a year’s work as she looked around the auditorium of Durham’s School of the Arts on 11 March. Students and teachers from the seven Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership schools Black supports were on hand to demonstrate an array of projects they have initiated and completed in their classes.

Two Lakewood students polish their interviewing skills. Photo courtesy of Libby MontagneWhile the purposes and contents of the projects vary, each incorporates one or more technological application. At the Lakewood Elementary School, 4th and 5th graders, divided into groups, have undertaken related activities focused on preventing the closing of a popular local branch of the YMCA. Teacher Libby Montagne says, “The idea is to work on specific academic goals in a meaningful context as well as develop community organizing and leadership skills.”

The Lakewood students have used iPods to record their interviews with community residents, and all the groups contributing to the project are now using a wiki to share information. Montagne says, “The challenge for us as teachers at this point is facilitating communication between the different groups. The wiki has really been the answer to that. I think Dottie knew it would be, but she just subtly suggested I check into it. She was patient with me. She knew that the idea would resonate with me when I was ready. It did.”