THE CHALLENGE: Katie Morrow is an educator and a mom of three. She’s also a technophile who works to help teachers and students at O’Neill Public Schools integrate technology into their studies in a way that makes learning more relevant and engaging. Katie saw a need to help elementary school girls build self esteem, learn how to be more collaborative and how to think and learn for themselves. But what type of program would keep girls interested and coming back for more? The answer was Digital Divas, an afterschool program in which young girls use technology to try to make a difference in their world.
THE RESULTS: In their third year, the Digital Divas took on the issue of tolerance. The girls came up with myriad solutions to helping their peers and fellow O’Neill residents embrace a more tolerant way of life. They created podcasts about bullying and famous heroes of tolerance, and produced a series of 20 public service announcements that aired on their local radio station. The girls them published their
findings and solutions to their web site and shared it with other students around the country.
THE HOW-TO: The Digital Divas follow the Challenge Based Learning model, using six steps:
- Define the big idea and ask an essential question. For example, “how do we develop tolerance in the hearts of children all over the world?”
- Establish a challenge. For the Digital Divas the challenge was to inspire students to be tolerant of each other and other cultures.
- Brainstorm and share ideas.
- Research and learn more about the issue using various sources, from magazines to video chats with other schools.
- Identify potential solutions to the issue and implement them.
- Publish these solutions and share with others, whether online or through presentations to schoolmates.