Subject: Guidance and Counseling
Grade Level: Twelfth grade high school seniors
Abstract: Students find excellent, up-to-date, and personalized information about their college choices by using university home pages, scholarship web sites, e-mail to college admissions counselors, and e-mail to college students. They will use this information to find a college that is a perfect fit.
Ability Level: The students are of average to above-average ability level who are expecting to go to college within one year. In the fall of their senior year, high school students, their families, and their counselors are often frantic. They are having a difficult time deciding what college the student should attend. Students can ease the pain by personalizing their own educational college and university searches by corresponding with college and university representatives across the country. By finding information on the World Wide Web, and by e-mailing questions and receiving e-mail answers, students will explore their individual questions about particular colleges and universities. They will make wise choices and find a college that matches them perfectly!
Learner Description/Environment: Twenty-five high school seniors at Carver Area High School, 13100 South Doty Avenue, Chicago, IL 60627, from one division (homeroom class) will meet on a daily basis in the guidance and counseling area of the building. The division period lasts for twenty-five minutes per day, and the students have use of three computers linked to the Internet over a ten week period. It is estimated that each child will be able to use the computers at least three times per week. DePaul University is Carver Area High School's Internet provider. All participating students have taken an Introduction of Computers class. Few students have computers in their homes. Half of the students live in the surrounding housing project, Altgeld Gardens, a complex for low income residents, and half of the students come from various parts of the Chicago south side urban area. Between 80% to 90% of Carver's students receive free lunches due to their families' incomes being at or below the poverty level.
Time Frame: Ten weeks is the time frame of this project. This corresponds with the second quarter of school, from mid October to the end of December. It is also the best time to conduct college searches, since students typically must have their college and university applications sent to schools before December 30th in order to be considered for early admissions and financial aid.
Rationale: Beyond the students' quest of the best college choice, is another aspect. The students will become engaged learners. With regards to a vision of learning, all students will set the goal of corresponding with three or more college representatives; they will develop a repertoire of the right kinds of questions to ask; they will not be dependent on rewards from others; they will be eager to find their own answers to the questions they generated. With regards to technology, the students will find a vast number of college and university web sites. They collaborate with each other and share in their findings; they will become very familiar with obtaining information on the internet.
Learner Outcomes: Students will be able to find specific information about a specific college or university by searching various web sites. Also, students will be able to develop investigative strategies to conduct their searches. As explorers, students will "push the envelope" in asking pointed questions of the admissions representatives and college students. The students will gather information and organize information a particular college; they will present their result to others in their group. They will develop new ideas about colleges by discussion and collaborating with students in their pair and with the group as a whole.They will communicate their results and conclusions by keeping a folder filled with their e-mail; they will keep a disk filled with college information that they have downloaded.
Alignment with Standards: This project demonstrates elements of the Illinois State Board of Education's Proposed Academic Standards. Particularly, it addresses 1997 Proposed State Goals in English Language Arts under goals 1,2,3,4,5, which focuses on communication skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Structure of the Learning:
Content: The purpose of this project is for students to find out specific information about colleges that are unique to their own needs. By asking specific questions to admissions counselors, they will find great information that doesn't exist in a typical college search or college catalog.
Process: The task requires collaboration with peers, college admissions counselors and representatives, the high school counselor, and college students on various campuses. By using the Internet, visiting web sites, and learning how to use e-mail as a learning tool technology will enhance and enrich learning. Students will work in pairs on three computers, and time at the end of each day will be spent discussing results. Students will talk about their investigations; they will discuss what kinds of questions to ask a college representative. "What are the college's 'cross-aps' or cross -applications?" "What is the ratio of males to females?" What is the name of the boy's tennis coach?" "What division, I,II,or III?" "What famous alumni graduated from your university?" "Is business a strong major?" "What percentage of freshmen eventually graduate?" "Is there preferential treatment given to students who attended your pre-medical program?"
Product: Each student will keep a portfolio of their research work. It will contain information of college search copied on disk, printed correspondence of e-mail between student and college representatives, and printed e-mail correspondence between students and college students.
Student Assessment: A rubric scale will asses the content, the process, and the end product of this program. The students will demonstrate their learning by discussion, questions generated, e-mail correspondence, collaborative effort of group members, variety of information gleaned and stored on their floppy disks, and finally satisfaction that their college choice is a good fit.
Project/Unit Evaluation: The effectiveness of this project will be evaluated by examining the current realities and future goals in this engaged learning practice. The teacher and the student will both evaluate the project. They will rate it on a rubric with indicators such as the vision of learning, tasks, assessment, instructional model, learning context, grouping, teacher roles, and student roles. Modifications and improvements for next time will be noted.