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Technology, diversity implemented during class assignment

03 March 2014

Many teachers on Pratt Community College’s campus implement technology and diversity during their lectures and assignments.

Rhonda Westerhaus found a unique way incorporate both in her Children’s Literature class.
The class is watching the movie ‘Freedom Writers’ and then writing a blog about it and commenting on other students entries.

The second part of the activity will be breaking the two classes up in teams with students in their own class and students from a class in Germany. Each group will have a different project to work on with their group through Skype and email.

The projects include: creating and posting a survey and its results in how each school system addresses the topic of the Holocaust; formatting and publishing a poster of the do’s and don’ts of Facebook etiquette; writing and submitting an editorial to promote change around a local issue and lastly brainstorming and posting a job description to replace the “hero” teacher of the book and movie, Freedom Writers.

Daniela Paul, who stayed with Westerhaus for five weeks in February of 2011, is leading the project on her side of the Atlantic in Dachau, Germany. Paul is an English teacher there.

Westerhaus said they picked that movie because both teachers were familiar with it and it has a lot of power with writing and language.

“I think it is important for students to have contact with students around the world through literature or interaction,” she said. “Technology allows for that to easily happen.”

The classes will be using a site called Kid blog, which is a secure site for classroom use.

Paul and Westerhaus will be presenting this assignment at a The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Conferences in the fall. They are also hoping to get the story published in an International Reading magazine.

“This curriculum gives me energy,” Westerhaus said. “After teaching so many years, I like to be able to change it up.”