My students at Westwood Schools are speaking out in the following ways:
Shelby blogged publicly blogged on her youth voices about what she and her friends are doing. Other students were going to blog it and link to Shelby's post.
We had two students call the White House using information from Oprah Winfrey's Darfur website.
We unblocked facebook and myspace today and students joined the facebook group and myspace group (sorry I don't have that link) that they felt best represents the action that needs to be taken. They are asking all of their friends to join in as well.
Several students created videos that they sent to major news outlets like CNN and Fox News to create awareness for this project and ask that the news stations consider updating the public about what is happening.
The students are blogging, creating videos, networking with facebook and myspace, calling the White House, and even plan to start a petition to send to our representatives. You can download the petition here.
Whether or not we can change things, we can speak out. Youth voices do count and it is time to speak out for the injustices. We cannot be everywhere but we can speak out somewhere and our students feel that their place is the Internet.
A note on the WHY!
It is about the starfish. This video puts it beautifully:
But some of you don't have the video availability so here is the story of the starfish originally written by Loren Eisley (this is an adaptation):
I awoke early, as I often did, just before sunrise to walk by the ocean's edge and greet the new day. As I moved through the misty dawn, I focused on a faint, far away motion. I saw a youth, bending and reaching and flailing arms, dancing on the beach, no doubt in celebration of the perfect day soon to begin.
As I approached, I sadly realized that the youth was not dancing to the bay, but rather bending to sift through the debris left by the night's tide, stopping now and then to pick up a starfish and then standing, to heave it back into the sea. I asked the youth the purpose of the effort. “The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach and they cannot return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun rises, they will die, unless I throw them back to the sea.”
As the youth explained, I surveyed the vast expanse of beach, strectching in both directions beyond my sight. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. The hopelessness of the youth's plan became clear to me and I countered, “But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference.”
The youth paused briefly to consider my words, bent to pick up a starfish and threw it as far as possible. Turning to me he simply said, “I made a difference to that one.”
I left the boy and went home, deep in thought of what the boy had said. I returned to the beach and spent the rest of the day helping the boy throw starfish in to the sea.”
We can't do everything. We're not omnipotent. We're not everywhere. But you know what?
I don't teach these kids about technology just to let it be something they'll use one day, they should use it to make the world better NOW! Speak out NOW! Do something NOW!
It is not just about technology for me… it is so much more. It is a mindset that a person in small town Camilla or small town anywhere doesn't have to have a small mind.
And that a big mind in a small town can change the world through a broadband internet connection.
I push them to be big minded… understanding that when a starfish comes our way as this two day chance to speak out has… it is our turn to pick it up and do our part. We cannot do much.. but we can add our voices.
Please share this project — I would like to see the participating teachers page grow (just ask to join the space) — even if you can't get it in until next week — speak out, leave your comments on their blog, make a video, and add your voice and even more importantly, the voices of your students. They will remember this one day when another starfish comes their way!
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