Technology Research Projects Give Students Freedom
in Honoring Black History Month
|Corbett Prep eighth grader Tyler Lawrence presents his research to fellow students using Prezi software.
Feb. 21, 2013 (TAMPA, FL)– When
Darina Glover, Corbett Prep Director of
Instructional Technology and middle
school teacher, assigns a project, the
students dig in because they have choices
that read like a menu. This month, Mrs.
Glover challenged her students to find
historical, often unknown, African-
Americans to research, to identify their
significant contributions, and to connect
the International Baccalaureate (IB)
Learner Profile attributes to these figures.
What makes this project so motivating
and engaging? The students were able to
choose their subjects based on
predetermined criteria and used creative technologies to design and share their findings with teams of their peers.
Corbett Preparatory School of IDS begins formal technology instruction in PreK4 so by the time students are in middle
school, they are well-versed in both Mac and PC platforms as well as Google Docs and up-to-date presentation formats
that include Prezi, iMovie, and GarageBand.
Hannah Starnes shares information she researched with her technology team.
Eighth graders were to choose any five African-
Americans who have made a significant and
positive mark in the world and thoroughly research
their lives. Mrs. Glover encouraged the students to
dig deep in their research as she charged them with
discovering influential people other than those who
are already well known today. Like the sixth and
seventh graders, the eighth graders connected their
subjects with one or more of the IB Learner Profile
attributes: principled, reflective, open-minded,
caring, knowledgeable, thinker, inquirer, risk taker,
balanced, and communicator. They shared their
work via the creative, moving visual format Prezi,
“a cloud-based presentation software with a
Traditional Powerpoint, Prezi and
iMovie are the choices seventh grade
students had when creating their
presentations. The seventh graders
were charged with researching five
figures and narrowing down to one as
the choice for the most deserving of
having a school in a small town
named after him or her. Students had
to convincingly and creatively
persuade other members of the class
that the contributions of their subject
were significant enough to be the
best choice for the name of a school.
For sixth grade students, the list of
choices grew even longer. They
could also create a Powerpoint, Prezi or iMovie, but they were also given the options to create a virtual collage, Venn
diagram, handbill, newsletter, crossword puzzle, and even compose a rap song using GarageBand software to share the
message of their influential African-American.
“My favorite part of technology is the designing. Creating a Powerpoint that shows how someone changed the world
makes the research easy to understand and easy to remember because we have our own options. Some people learn
best by writing, some by hearing and some by reading. When you have a choice, the project is much more interesting,”
said sixth grader Alexis Jaskiel.
Under the direction of technology teacher Mr. Matt Melnick, all Intermediate Division students in grades three, four,
and five are also using technology to celebrate famous African-Americans. They are nearing the completion of their
podcasts created in GarageBand. They experienced an “outdoor classroom” where they spread out by the lake adjacent
to campus with their MacBook Airs to record their podcasts.
“Using different technologies such as Prezi gives us more freedom and keeps the audience’s attention because no two
are the same,” added eighth grader Emily Baruch.