Phoenix Academy is an alternative school for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district. It serves 35-45 students between 9th and 12th grades. Its proximity to UNC proves beneficial when students, Maite Ghazaleh, JohnMichael Chelminski, Maurice Carrier, and Jame Allen incorporate Phoenix Academy into a class project. The ENGL149 (Digital Literacy and Multimodal Composition) class' final project required students to imagine they are seeking a position in a field where they must prove their expertise with social media, networking, and multimodal composition. Below is Maite's reflection of an alternative idea the group decided on to fulfill the project's requirements.
"It is one accomplishment to have expertise in an area and a whole other to be able to share that expertise with others. Our group chose to give a presentation on social media at Phoenix Academy to prove our digital literacy for our final unit project. After proposing the idea to the CTE teacher at Phoenix Academy, we were given 30min of her largest class for presentation and discussion.
We set up a Google Doc as our thinking space where everyone added examples how social media is used. Examples included articles, videos, online profiles, infographics, and pictures. As we listed our links, we formulated themes. The following three ideas we thought were worth communicating to the students: 1) Online persona created through social media, 2) Social media as an equalizer, providing the opportunity for an individual to reach many individuals, 3) Forces and effective use of social media. Underneath each theme we added 4-7 links. Our diverse examples allowed us to adjust our presentation to the input we received from the students.
We arrived at Phoenix Academy to find that other classes would be joining us for the presentation and discussion. We then proceeded to go through our GoogleDoc showing examples, encouraging participation and sharing our experiences. Even the staff participated and contributed relevant examples. Our presentation ended up truly a discussion with us as mediators. Students participated well with legitimate questions and concerns. For example, one student questioned how much access colleges have to content on your Facebook. Some students shared experiences with fake identities and there were some "aha!" moments when students realized they should change certain habits.
I believe we opened the students' eyes to the scope social media is taking - personally, professionally, financially, educationally and more. I hope we gave them new perspective and meaning to something they may consider simply entertainment. JohnMichael, Maurice, James and I left Phoenix feeling accomplished. Not only did we accomplish a pretty innovative alternative product of our project, but we participated in an activity where we shared our knowledge, experience, and example to make a positive difference in the lives of Phoenix Academy students."