Category Archives: clients

A renaissance of the Renaissance

It feels like September has come and gone in a flash! The Boston Renaissance School has opened its brand new doors in Hyde Park successfully! I have been VERY busy getting the brand new technology in place in the classrooms and labs, including the Audio/Visual equipment, laptops, and wireless. I am excited about my Instructional Technology team and the opportunities that our teachers and students will have with our support! It is time now to focus on professional development and curriculum.

Additionally, I have been redesigning the school’s web site (finally!). I am excited to launch it this week! I spent the last two months adapting a wordpress theme (Atahualpa 3) into the site by carefully selecting the right plug-ins and widgets, and converted the old content into the new structure. I included a blip.tv channel to showcase our students’ video projects, a Google Calendar to keep school-wide events communicated to parents, and set up a news blog that, combined with twitter and tagging, features a “hot topics” and “announcements” section on the home page that syncs with our Facebook profile. With the school Google account, I also set up a Picassa web album to maintain the web site’s images – it has made embedding photos into posts very easy! I also used wordpress blogs to maintain the Kids’ sections of study tools and make the interface more “kid-friendly.” Any day now…check back here!

kickoff

I just signed on to update the Teen Voices web site on a monthly basis. I am excited to be partnered again with this great organization. I am NOT excited to have to pick up where years of a variety of “webmasters” left off…with no site map…or comments in the code…or templates…Sometimes the most difficult web design jobs are the ones like these! It sounds like a simple job when you are asked to update a site’s content, but when the code is messy (its not exactly w3c compliant!), the folder hierarchy is not mapped, and the workflow is not optimal, it can in fact be far more arduous! I also have to be careful of my hours, and resist the urge to spend time “cleaning house”, when I am being paid by a non-profit with limited funds. It is an online magazine, too, so I am wondering why it isn’t syndicated?! RSS to the rescue!! That’ll have to be “phase 2.” Happy to be on board ( and get some extra spending money/Christmas cash )!

PS :
I realize that I never posted about the 2 sites I made (from scratch) this summer :

http://drsarahsarkis.com/

and

http://blackandwhiteball2007.org/ 

DLP Screening and Q&A

DLP Screening and Q&A

Originally uploaded by msradden

The Facing History and Ourselves office in Brookline were shown the four student-produced films from the DLP summer pilot program for the first time! WOW! I was soooo impressed all over again! And super proud to have been a part of it. As I watched the films I relived the suggestions I made for the storyline, or the edits I contributed to the narrative, and the “how do I…?” teaching moments with Premiere. I recalled the jokes, the A-HA! moments, the shared personal stories, and the “how did you DO that?” moments when I sat down and they taught ME a thing or two in Premiere! It was a truly collaborative teaching and learning experience that I will never forget! And tonight, seeing some of “the cornbread crew” again and the final pieces after so long, I think I was just as proud as the students were to see my own name in the credits! ( You can read more about the program in the blog )

Afterwards, Arva, Sophia, Jessica and Sevon fielded questions from the audience. They ranged from “what was the most challenging part of the project?” to which a collective groan was given about logging and the lack of A/C, to the “heavy” question of whether after all of this any of them wanted to be an activist. Arva explained the “cornbread” theory in her reply. Mel King never thought of himself as an “activist” in the sense that he was more important than anyone else during the civil rights movement in Boston. He said the woman who baked the cornbread for the meeting each week was just as important to the movement as the one who lead the meeting. As a result of this anecdote and the humility of the interviewees across the board when asked a similar question about their leadership, none of the students felt they could plainly say that they wanted to be an “activist.” Yet as Jessica pointed out, “I know how to be a leader, but I am not afraid of being a follower either. Being a follower is just as important as being a leader.”

The audience gained a perspective of the amount of work and literal sweat (it WAS hot in there!) that was put into this pilot program by the planning team, the teaching crew, the DLP staff, and the students. And what was clearly apparent was the pride and accomplishment each student felt about not only their piece, but the process they went through to produce it. And in fact their films will be used, for the first time ever, as actual curriculum assets within the 10th grade History of Civil Rights curriculum for Facing History and the Boston Public Schools. WOW!!

Sometimes teaching is so tiring and discouraging and you can feel like you are not making an impact because you just can’t reach them ALL that day. But then you have days like this, when you realize that you DO make an impact, one kid at a time, in small and big ways.

Kinda like making the cornbread…