Monday, May 4, 2015

How We Used Twitter And Skype To Connect With A Student Featured On The CBS Evening News

This past Sunday, a friend from school messaged me on Facebook. In the message, she had sent a link to a wonderful story on the CBS Evening News (go here for the link). The feature was about 14 year old Daelyn James from Tennessee. She had invented a dryer for her nebulizer breathing apparatus while using a Mobile Makerspace 3D Printer. She used this Makerspace while she was a patient at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. While I watched the video of her interview, I was very inspired by her excitement for creating.

I decided to show the video clip during lunch in the library the very next day. Most of the fifty students that attended were very interested in this very innovative application of 3D Printing. Our students enjoy our library 3D Printer, but they haven't invented anything with it in the nine months we have had it. They have mainly created common objects or recreated models with the printer. I knew this was an opportunity to inspire them to invent something!

I suggested that it would be really interesting if we could Skype with Daelyn during a library lunch program. Several students immediately encouraged me to contact her! I found her on Twitter and shared my business card/ school website information (so her parents could contact me). I was so excited to receive an email from Daelyn's mother that very night! She said we could Skype with Daelyn on Wednesday!

The students were so surprised when I announced this during lunch in the library on Tuesday. I took the opportunity to tell them how I used social media to reach out to Daelyn, share my professional contact info, and then exchange emails with her mother to arrange the session. I am always looking for opportunities to model digital citizenship, and this was a great example!

I had the students write the questions that they wanted to ask Daelyn in the session. We had eleven students submit great questions. I sent all the questions to Daelyn's mother, so she could relay them to her daughter.

The big day rolled around, and we connected with Daelyn on Skype without issue. The students lined up and asked their questions on the webcam. Daelyn answered like a pro. Her personality came through, and you could feel the inspiration in the room. It was so great for our students to connect with a person that had just been featured on the national news just a few days before. The session lasted for about 20 minutes, and it was truly one of the highlights this school year. I hope we can stay in touch with Daelyn, so she can continue to impact our students' with her next inventions! This is a wonderful reality of the 21st century connected classroom. Anything is possible!

As an added bonus, our local paper (The Sentinel Record) ran a photo and description from the session on the front page the very next day. Thank you, Daelyn James for making a difference at the Lakeside High School Library Media Center.

Go here to read about our first Makerspace Day in the library.

Go here to read about our student led 3D Printer session in the library.

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