- Oba Ambassadors
- Weyerhauser Science
- Media Smart Day
- Liberia Renaissance School
New York Technology Literacy Assessment (NYTLA)
Generation YES is pleased to introduce a new technology based literacy assessment system that we have been contracted to develop for use in New York State, This system, called the New York Technology Literacy Assessment (NYTLA) is a first in the nation project-based technology literacy assessment tool. It supports project alignment to Common Core and technology literacy standards and gives teachers and students access to an easy-to-use online support system for authentic project-based, standards-aligned learning and assessment.
In the 2011/12 school year, NYTLA was in the pilot phase, with 36 New York middle schools participating. The students and teachers at these schools are testing the hosted, secure system and offering feedback to evolve and expand the capabilities.
The advanced features of NYTLA will support hands-on project-based learning in all academic areas:
- Common Core standards alignment
- Project management tools, including student e-portfolios, teacher management, and collaborative messaging
- Technology literacy assessment and certification based on ISTE NETs standards for students
- Online student and teacher resources, including guides, curriculum, and planning tools
- Administrative tools and reports
- Peer mentoring and assessment tools
Generation YES is designing NYTLA to be the online assessment tool for the future of learning. It helps teachers create authentic learning opportunities aligned with the Common Core standards, technology literacy standards, and provides a showcase of best practices statewide. This teacher-friendly system is part of the continuing efforts of educators across New York State to lead the nation in advances in teaching and learning in the 21st century. Ongoing support and enhancements of the NYTLA system will be lead by the Eastern Suffolk BOCES in cooperation with a consortium of other partners from New York districts and BOCES.
Generation YES has more than a decade of experience creating online tools that support project-based, technology infused schools, and NYTLA is the culmination of all that experience. It's simple, easy to use, and supports authentic assessment the way authentic assessment is really done. We are proud to partner with the New York State Education Department to create this innovative system.
As with all Generation YES projects, students are at the heart of the matter. The NYTLA system supports the whole process of project-based learning, including reflection by the student themselves, the role of a student peer mentor to assist with project completion and assessment, and finally the teacher themselves.
Research shows that project-based learning (PBL) creates in-depth, engaging, and relevant learning, but schools need to use authentic assessment strategies to complete the PBL process. Unfortunately most schools use 19th century factory models of education that can make project-based learning difficult to implement. By creating the NYTLA system, New York will be the first state in the nation to offer a comprehensive tool that supports teachers and students as they transition to high-tech projects in every subject area.
New York State Student Technology Leaders (NYSSTL)
The New York State Student Technology Leaders (NYSSTL) prepares New York students to become technology leaders and mentors in their own schools. NYSSTL is a project of the HFM BOCES, WSWHE BOCES, and Generation YES, funded by a federal grant from the New York State Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program.
- Ensure all 8th grade students are technology literate
- Provide quality onsite support for teachers integrating 21st century technologies into their lessons
- Empower students to become future leaders
- These goals are met by leveraging the talent and enthusiasm of students to become partners and leaders in a 21st century learning revolution.
Students in NYSSTL schools show their technology literacy through projects assisted by specially trained peer mentors in their own schools. These Student Technology Leaders (STLs) work with peers and teachers to improve the use of technology in every classroom and subject area in their schools. NYSSTL schools use both the TechYES and GenYES programs from Generation YES to support the student teams and on-site teachers.
The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery (HFM) BOCES and the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES in New York were awarded a two-year EETT grant in 2007 to establish a pilot for a statewide New York State Student Technology Leaders (NYSSTL) program for all New York elementary and secondary schools. HFM and WSWHE BOCES partnered with the Generation YES to complete the project with all middle schools in 25 districts covering eight New York counties. In 2009, NYSSTL was awarded an expansion grant to extend the model to additional New York districts. Over 5 years, NYSSTL served 52 districts, 72 schools, and more than 40,000 students throughout New York schools in rural, suburban and urban settings.
Back in school, these NYSSTL Student Technology Leaders (STLs) led technology literacy mentoring sessions and workshops for their peers. STLs collaborate with an on-site technology teacher to work with an entire grade level of students - usually 6th or 7th grade. STLs assist these students as they work to complete technology-infused projects and achieve the TechYES student technology literacy certification.
- Providing tech support
- Creating technology infused projects for teachers
- Mentoring peers in technology
- By providing this wide range of support for school technology, STLs greatly increase quality technology integration at a school site in all classrooms and subjects.
In NYSSTL middle schools, Student Technology Leaders help their classmates prove that they are technology literate. To meet the No Child Left Behind requirement that all students are technology literate by the end of middle school, all 6th or 7th graders in NYSSTL schools create two original, creative technology projects that demonstrate technology skills. Each student receives a TechYES Student Guide, which takes them through the nationally recognized TechYES process of building real-world projects that meet national standards for technology literacy. Online tools and curriculum support this process and assist with project evaluation and scoring. Proficiency scores for each project can be tracked for individual students or districts, with customizable reports easily available directly from the NYSSTL portal.
At the end of the year, each student who has successfully completed two projects receives a TechYES Certificate as proof of their technology literacy skills -- critical building blocks for success in school and life in the 21st century.
NYSSTL schools also take part in GenYES, the federally rated "exemplary" technology integration program that trains students to take the lead in bringing technology into the nation’s classrooms. In GenYES, teachers request student help with Technology Assistance Projects (TAPs) using the provided online help desk tools and management system. The Student Technology Leaders learn technology skills, plus collaboration and communication skills for working with teachers. The STLs come up with fun, educational ways to help teachers teach using technology.
Oba Ambassadors - Students Lead the Way to Online Learning
Oba Ambassadors are students who lead and support technology efforts in schools with ObaWorld - a new global cloud-based online learning and collaboration platform. To teach these Oba Amabassadors, Generation YES created a new curriculum to teach students how to lead online learning at their own school.
The partnership between Generation YES and Oba will provide this curriculum free to Oba and Genration YES member schools. The currciulum includes interactive project-based online tools to train Student Technology Leaders (STLs) from grades 4-12 to lead and support technology efforts in their schools.
Dr. Dennis Harper, founder and CEO of Generation YES, believes in empowering students through technology and creating opportunities for kids to be responsible. "Technology and online learning are essential in today's school environment," Harper says. "Yet teachers often don't have time to learn how to use new tools and integrate them to improve student learning. Our proven model guides students through a structured program that teaches them not just how online learning works, but how to help teachers and peers get onboard."
ObaWorld has been developed by the University of Oregon under the direction of Dr. Yong Zhao, the University of Oregon's first Presidential Chair for Academic Extension and an internationally known scholar, author, and speaker. Dr. Zhao believes that "education should always start from the child. When children are willing to take risks and responsibility to manage their learning and their lives as their own enterprises and develop a global perspective, they will live a fulfilling and happy life."
Zhao is Oba's founder and visionary; he and his staff have developed ObaWorld to be an engaging and secure, social platform in the cloud in which global learners are encouraged to innovate, collaborate, and build community by sharing their ideas and talents.
Generation YES and Oba's partnership provides Generation YES member schools with access to ObaWorld at no cost, and vice versa, for up to 30 users per school. Generation YES provides the training curriculum and support resources for student Oba Ambassadors, and online project tools for the school. ObaWorld serves as the platform on which Student Technology Leaders create and showcase their projects as well as collaborate with their peers.
This partnership will serve as a model of how online and blended learning can be supported by student leaders in their own school, thereby increasing ownership among student stakeholders and also providing extra support for teachers transitioning to online learning.
Free Offer for Generation YES Schools
If you are a Generation YES school, download this flyer for more information on getting a full year of ObaWorld for free or contact us and we'd be happy to answer any questions.
Malaysian Student Technology Leaders (MySTL)
The Malaysian Student Technology Leaders (MySTL) Catalyst Schools program is a student-centered approach to teaching ICT in Malaysia's secondary schools. The MySTL Catalyst Schools program is unique in its comprehensive plan to affect ICT info-culture in schools through its bottom-up approach of using students as ICT drivers. The MySTL Catalyst schools program reflects a smart partnership between Generation YES, LABTECH International, MDeC, BTP, and UTHM to provide Malaysian schools with the most innovative solutions found in the world.
It is a challenge for schools to keep up with the unpredictable nature of technology while still meeting the mandate of providing the 3 R's to their students. All schools in the world are facing this problem everyday. ICT teachers are challenged with deciding what applications are important for their students to know (which often results in merely teaching the standard applications). Other subject area teachers face the challenge of effectively integrating ICT into their classes or risk their students missing out on valuable learning opportunities. These are daunting tasks, yet no one denies that ICT is crucial to students' education in the 21st century.
The MySTL program provides a three-component, comprehensive solution to these challenges.
- Technology Literacy Certification for students who meet the required standards (TechYES)
- Student-Centered technology support to maintain infrastructure and support teachers' ICT integration in the classroom (GenYES)
- English language development as a component of technology literacy
MySTL recognizes the diversity in infrastructure and ICT proficiency amongst schools. To adapt to these differences, the program is customizable to the needs of any school and seamlessly integrates into already existing school activities. Once the program's structure and ground work have been decided upon, the program sustains itself because of its student-centric approach. The teacher becomes a facilitator while the students learn ICT skills on their own and through Peer-to-Peer interaction.
MySTL recognizes the diversity in infrastructure and ICT proficiency amongst schools. To adapt to these differences, the program is customizable to the needs of any school and seamlessly integrates into already existing school activities. Once the program's structure and ground work have been decided upon, the program sustains itself because of its student-centric approach. The teacher becomes a facilitator while the students facilitator while the students learn ICT skills on their own and through Peer-to-Peer interaction.
Once the program's structure and ground work have been decided upon, the program sustains itself because of its student-centric approach. The teacher becomes a facilitator while the students facilitator while the students learn ICT skills on their own and through Peer-to-Peer interaction.
Weyerhauser Student Science Leaders Program (WSSL)
Through a grant from the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation, Generation YES is partnering with Mill Creek Middle School in Kent, Washington to establish the Weyerhaeuser Student Science Leaders (WSSL) program, helping Mill Creek students become tech literate while exploring the fields of science, math, and technology.
The Weyerhaeuser Student Science Leaders use the TechYES Science model to ensure that all Mill Creek seventh graders meet the ISTE NETS standards for technology literacy by creating two high-tech science projects, one exploring a science career and one demonstrating their knowledge of a topic in science.
- Increase the ability of teachers to develop project-based learning experiences that integrate and apply ICT concepts, skills applications, and research-based pedagogies in science, so they can help students acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to participate productively in the STEM workforce.
- Increase student interest and engagement in science coursework through the use of technology- infused science projects, leading to increased student academic success in middle school science.
- Increase student awareness of and interest in STEM-intensive careers.
- Ensure students are meeting state and nationally mandated requirements for technology literacy.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the WSSL model and disseminate findings to enrich the knowledge base about strategies for improving the STEM/ICT workforce.
The first chapter of the Weyerhaeuser Student Science Leaders was established in Mill Creek Middle School in 2009.
Selected students in 7th and 8th grade attended special workshops to be peer mentors and leaders. These Student Science Leaders (SSLs) learn about mentoring, science, and how to help other students with technology projects. The Student Science Leaders meet as a club, while science teachers participated in professional development with Generation YES. Together, students and teachers learn how to benefit from new equipment to help engage all students in authentic 21st century science.
On June 15, 2009, the first group of WSSL students presented their projects to Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation Board members in a special event at the school. Each student received a TechYES technology literacy certificate and recognition for their achievements.
The project is continuing through the 2010/2011 school year and beyond thanks to a sustainability grant from Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation.
Media Smart Day
Cable in the Classroom and Generation YES entered into a partnership in early 2007 to develop and pilot an innovative national media literacy program called Media Smart Day. Seven schools from across the country participated in the Media Smart Day Pilot Program starting in Fall 2007.
Each school was asked to bring a team of students together with a Media Smart Day teacher advisor. These students planned unique Media Smart Day activities for their school with the help of resources and online tools provided by Generation YES.
At each school, Media Smart Day took on a different form, driven by the students. As the students worked with their advisor, administrators, and local cable operators, the upcoming Media Smart Day became a significant event for the whole school and community.
Media Smart Days at these schools occurred in December 2007 and January 2008.
- Student and teacher-run workshops on media and technology topics
- Single period "teach-ins" where students went from classroom to classroom leading media literacy lessons.
- Teachers incorporating media literacy topics in all content areas.
- Media Fairs
- Student-run workshops for teachers and students on technology and software
- Student-created websites, multimedia projects, posters and short film productions to promote media literacy
These pilot schools were successful in planning and implementing their Media Smart Days. There was a wide variety of outcomes and activities customized for each school, which we view as a major strength of this approach. All schools felt that the event was worth doing, and would be repeated. As more schools participate in Media Smart Day, we expect that the library of resources and examples available to schools will grow. A more formal evaluation report is currently being prepared.
The success of the Media Smart Day pilots shows the power of student ownership in their education. Giving students responsibility and a voice in creating educational opportunities for all is at the heart of the Generation YES mission. At this time, however, the plans to roll out Media Smart Day to a wider audience are on hold.
Liberia Renaissance Education Complex
For three years, Generation YES worked with Liberian educators and President Ellen Sirleaf to fund, design, and build the Liberia Renaissance Education Complex, the first new school built in Liberia in decades. Generation YES raised more than $1.1 million and donated in excess of 5,000 hours to ensure Liberian children receive the 21st century education necessary to achieve a peaceful future.
The first phase of construction is complete and the school is now open for Liberian children. Generation YES has now turned over day-to-day tasks to the Swiss-based Liberia Renaissance Foundation. Further developments can be found at Our-School-Liberia.com.
Generation YES Executive Director Dr. Dennis Harper taught in Liberia during the 1970s.
Over thirty years ago, my wife and I accepted teaching positions in the West African country of Liberia. We arrived with our six-week-old son and spent two wonderful years working with the remarkable students of this country. Our time there ended when a bloody civil war broke out and we were forced to flee the country.
Unfortunately for the past 25 years, Liberia has exploded with violence and death - with many of my former students among the 275,000 children who perished. The nation was destroyed, and a generation has been lost to unimaginable tragedy and displacement. Finally, in 2003 U.N. and U.S. peace keepers and Liberian peace activists, many of them women, began to stabilize the country.
My involvement in the Liberian Renaissance Educational Complex came by way of some of my former students who planned to establish a world-class school in Liberia -- perhaps the poorest country in the world. It was further energized when in 2005, a friend and remarkable woman, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President, the first woman president in Liberia and first woman head of state in all of Africa.
This "high tech - high touch" model school for Africa is a much-needed symbol of hope in rebuilding Liberia. The students in this school will learn that they can make a difference in their community, their nation, and the world.
At the opening ceremony In 2007, President Ellen Sirleaf presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the Liberia Renaissance Education Complex. President Sirleaf gave an eloquent speech about the importance of the education complex to the future of Liberia. The President stated, "One can think beyond the ordinary, think beyond the conventional, that one can start a process that produces changes in attitudes, in arrangements, in methods, in applications and that's what LREC is all about." She went on to say "We look forward to seeing right here on this spot, children in Liberia coming from this new vision with a new way of doing things, with new talents, new skills, new approaches, new contributions."