Our team members:
Pam McCormick
Tim Sadar
Pat Mesthos
Bill Bryan
Peggy Majane

The Doane Challenge:
As we began to brainstorm ideas for our project, a faculty member came to us with a need for technology assistance for a student project proposed for our seventh grade. The NAIS Challenge 20/20 Project ( http://www.nais.org/conferences/index.cfm?ItemNumber=147262&sn.ItemNumber=148035 ) brings together schools in the United States with schools across the world to identify local solutions to global problems. Teams of students from two to three schools collaborate to research a problem and develop ideas for ways that they can be part of a solution for their issue. Our students are teamed with two schools, ACS Cobham in the UK, and Buckley Country day School in Roslyn, NY. Our general topic is global warming, and the teams have selected "rising sea levels" as a specific focus. Our PLP team decided to make helping with this global initiative the center of our project. In doing this, we hope to accomplish several things. First of all, the need to help with the project will force us to experiment with the tools we are being exposed to, and to develop some expertise with these tools. Second, we will be working with two to four additional faculty members, and will begin to spread what we are learning to them. Third, involving the students will show them that we too continue to learn and that sometimes we can learn from them. Fourth, because we are such a small school, everyone will hear about what we are doing, ask questions, and hopefully be interested enough to explore the possibilities that these tools open up for us all.
To start our project, I spent some time with the students in the computer lab, investigating sources and learning how to evaluate the information available out there- looking at the authors of the various sites, deciding if we could trust the information, if we could contact the author, and generally validate the sources.
We worked with parents to obtain email accounts for those students that had not yet obtained them. Peggy started a NING for our Doane Academy teachers that were participating in the project- this was something new for all of the teachers outside of our PLP group. We generated a lot of interest in the NING concept with our lunch table conversations!
Bill started a WIKI (http://challenge-20-20.wikispaces.com )so that our students could share their research. The students LOVE the concept that they can read what others are writing, and comment on it, and get feedback on what they write. They quickly learned the value of proofreading before posting!
Pat has been investigating Google notes, movie maker, and other tools the students can use, and testing them with her classes.
We are just now beginning the collaboration with the other schools, and look forward to watching our students interact with their new "classmates" as they begin to work together on the joint WIKI (http://sealevelrise.wikispaces.com/ ). The students have all been watching a series of webcasts and sharing their reactions on a communal blog (http://challenge2020.blogspot.com/ ).
The seventh grade has been researching articles about rising sea levels, synthesizing what they find, documenting with MLA format and posting on their private wiki. The 11th grade AP English students have worked with the seventh graders and showed them how to use the Internet to generate MLA entries, using NoodleBib and other similar sites.
In the coming weeks, all three schools plan to "meet" by way of Skype.The students are very excited about this! We have had to involve several other teachers and our technology staff to assist us in this endeavor, and this has helped to spread excitement about what our students can do. Other teachers are investigating wikis and using blogs for student communication and sharing.

Where Will We Go From Here?
Summer is a great time to play with these tools and explore more possibilities. We hope to excite and encourage faculty to do just that. Our goal is to have each teacher develop one unit or lesson built around one of these applications. The lesson should be a student -driven project utilizing age-appropriate Web 2.0 tools for research and presentation. We are generating resources for the faculty to turn to for ideas and models.All faculty will be invited to join and participate in a learning community NING this summer, sharing ideas and brainstorming possibilities as we discover new ways to use these tools.During the 2009-2010 school year, we hope to have administrative support for increased access to computers for use by all classes. We plan to sign up another group of students to participate in the Challenge 20/20 Project next year. Building from what we have learned, we will designate team members and other faculty as “go-to” sources for various tools and techniques.