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Summary of Six OneVille Project Efforts

The OneVille Project divided up into six smaller projects exploring tools and strategies to help people communicate. Each has paired local researchers, youth, parents, educators, technologists, and community organizers. These six diverse working groups of innovators of all ages have been testing and designing communication tools and strategies to help diverse supporters attend closely to the development of each young person (1, 2, 3), and to help people share information, ideas, and resources across schools (4) and the community (5, 6).

All of the tech used is free/low-cost and for the most part, open source (meaning that anyone can have the software and adapt it). We’ve built new tools (our dashboards and hotline) only when we found no free tool available to test.

Here’s what we’ve all accomplished together:

1. Teacher, parents, and administrators at the K-8 Healey School have been working with local technologists to design open source data dashboards, to support educators, families, tutors, and service providers to communicate about students’ progress toward standardized benchmarks. We've made an administrator data view, a teacher classroom view, and, an individual view supporting “teams” of teachers, families, and afterschool providers to discuss student progress. Our plan for fall 2011 was to pilot the dashboards with the principal, teacher (who also was the dashboard views' co-designer), some of his parents, and an afterschool provider and consider how to develop the views to support users’ everyday discussions. Due to an undesired lag in final technological development, planned pilots of the “admin view” and “teacher view” were delayed, but code has been created that pulls data out of Somerville’s Student Information System for quick viewing and can be put to use in any such “dashboard” project.
2. Teachers and students at Somerville High School have been innovating Eportfolios using free software, to support youth, teachers, and mentors to communicate about individual students’ full range of skills, learning interests, and learning experiences. In the eportfolio project, we all supported work SHS was already interested in doing -- transitioning paper portfolios to online portfolios that could show multiple viewers students' skills across the curriculum. SHS teachers and students took the lead, and eportfolio use is now expanding schoolwide. The [Somerville High School eportfolio website], designed by SHS teachers, continues to share great hints for teachers and students considering eportfolios.
3. Teachers and students at Full Circle/Next Wave, Somerville's alternative high and middle school, have been testing how one-to-one texting can support students, teachers, and mentors to communicate rapidly about students’ personal and academic needs. In 2011-12, more students and teachers have been trying one-to-one texting and also testing how a group texting tool might support rapid communication among “teams” of students’ chosen supporters.
4. Parents and staff at the K-8 Healey School in Somerville kept emphasizing the need for schoolwide information efforts to unite parents across their diverse, multilingual community. We worked on parent dialogue strategies (multilingual coffee hours, Reading Nights, and parent issue dialogues) and supported a parent to innovate an initial wiki for school reform notes. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, parents focused on designing a Parent connector network, where bilingual parent "Connectors" use phones, a hotline, and in-person meetings to connect to their more recent immigrant parent peers, and to help communicate information to and input from immigrant and low-income families. The hotline was developed by friend Leo Burd at the Center for Civic Media at MIT.
5. We networked and brainstormed with city residents and other local researchers interested in citywide information-sharing, and supported some Somervillians to produce multilingual tools (public videos) enabling more youth/families to hear about community resources and events.
6. We also supported a SHS grad working on low-cost improvements to Somerville's computer infrastructure (refurbishing computers, teaching multi-age classes in a housing project) so that more children and parents could access basic technology and gain basic technology skills to make such communications even possible. She did this in collaboration with Somerville's Haitian Coalition, in the Clarendon Hill housing development.