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Cornell Power: Speak Out! Stand Up! Do Something!

Cornell Power: Speak Out! Stand Up! Do Something!

Cornell Library and High School, Cornell School District

Program Summary

Cornell Power: Speak Out, Stand Up, Do Something!

Cornell Power is a summer program that engages and empowers students in grades 8-12 through technology and literature. Based on known student interests, and inspired by Pakistani teen Malala, students will become informed about issues, challenges, and successes in education at home and abroad. Students will read books and news articles about education. They will use Cornell’s technology lab and their knowledge to inform other teens through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr and creating easy to understand infographics and blogs. Additionally, students will create a badge system to help them track their commitment to this project in the summer and throughout the school year. All of this will be gathered on one webpage, Cornell Power.

The program will consist of a one week Boot-Camp Blitz that will familiarize students with software, apps, and social media outlets available to them. Students will learn how to safely use the technology available in school and on the go. They will create a webpage where they can take charge and advocate for their own education, and for the education of others around the world. After the weeklong blitz, students will take what they’ve learned, and continue to explore the issues that matter to them at their own pace. We will meet up once per week until the school year starts to spend time sharing, and using the technology at school. We will also partner with community members for at least one field trip, centered on the student interest. We are looking for local teens who are interested in their own education, the education of others, and using technology and social media for good!


This program would consist of multiple events.

Boot Camp (July 15-19, Monday-Friday 10am-noon) : The initial event would be a “boot camp blitz” where the students learn from teachers and each other about safe Internet usage. Students would spend the first 45 minutes learning about the technology that is available. Topics include: software usage, app usage, privacy settings, photo releases, working collaboratively, developing a badge system, and using the Internet to further social causes. Students would take a 15 minute break and then begin researching and learning about their topics. They would read books (like The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba) and articles about education. When students are ready, they will spend the remaining time adding to and updating their social network sites.

Weekly Meetings (4 weeks, 1 meeting/week 10am-noon): The next events would be held weekly. The students have the option of updating their sites from home, but can use the technology at the school or library if that is not an option. Students will move at their own pace, choosing topics that interest them, and creating videos, blogs, and social media bytes to inform other students of the importance of education. Students will also share their creations, inspirations, and challenges with each other.

Field Trip: Community partners like the Coraopolis Youth Network, Coraopolis Library, Sewickley YMCA, and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh (WAC) have been an integral part of Cornell education in the past. We will work with these partners to craft at least one meaningful field trip, taking students out of the school and into the community. Field trips would be guided by student interest (gauged during the first few days of the boot camp). Possibilities include working with the library to provide an educational program for younger community members, or visiting with a WAC guest speaker to learn about international issues.

Maintenance: The skills and tools that we will provide students with will support learning, sharing, and connecting beyond the summer program. Students will be able to maintain their projects throughout the school year, and share them with other students, parents, community members, and more. Additionally, the webpage will serve as a space to streamline all of the important social-good projects that students work on throughout the year.

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