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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Digital Youth Portrait: Luis

This 18-year-old son of immigrants believes that digital technology is meant to be shared with his family and community. More to this story.

Luis: My name is Luis.

I'm eighteen years old. I live in Cornelius, Oregon.

I really enjoy technology, because it's a better way to connect with families, connect with friends, better way to help me improve my studies, better way to find out information and use that information for the community, not just for myself.

In the morning, I wake up around five thirty.

I usually turn on the computer, check email just really quick, go downstairs, have breakfast. Wake up my brother, make sure he gets ready for school. We would go out the door maybe around seven twenty in the morning. I drop him off at school and then I go to school. I'm taking the four AP classes, advanced placement classes, in one day.

Teacher: -- shows, it's all over the bar, the more frequent it happened.

Luis: Basically, when I get home, right away I'm checking my Gmail and this is the one I use for friends.

So then after this, it's social networking, so I go to Facebook, check what my friends are doing. My friend Ellie, she's become a fan of Cheez-Its, apparently. If a friend's online, I can start chatting with them. If you're just instant messaging. You could be writing a paper here and then chatting with your friends at the same time. So that's definitely good for connecting with people and not just through like old fashioned ways like letters or telephone.

Go to CNET dot com. The [inaudible] two videos and this is where I learn a lot about computers and installing different operating systems.

I also spend a lotta time on YouTube.

This video, we made it for fun and my little brother and I would just like, whenever we had really nothing to do, I'm like, "[Inaudible], why don't you start dancing like a robot and see how that looks?"

It's pretty funny.

Luis: [speaking Spanish].

Mom: Okay.

Luis: Both my mom and my dad are from a state in Mexico by the name of Michoacan.

They both came here as just rural immigrants,

looking for jobs, looking for a place to work.

Lucy Aguilar: Luis, he's kinda quiet guy, reserved, but you can tell he's thinking a lot. He's a good son. And when I saw that he picks up his brother, his mom and does-- helps her out with all these things, you know, I as a mother think, "Wow,

I would like that as a son."

Luis: My parents, they said the only time they ever used technology was the ATM.

Luis: [speaking Spanish].

Mom: [speaking Spanish].

Luis: [speaking Spanish].

>>[Spanish video playing].

Luis: And then after that, them my mom asked me to put like the soap operas on, on YouTube.

Mom: Oh, yes.

Teacher: This is a story that goes right in the middle of all of your stories. So if you have--

Luis: On a Monday or on a Thursday, I usually stay after school to do extra work. And on Wednesdays is when I have the Tech Wizards program.

Lisa Conroy: The Intel Four Tech Wizards is an after school tiered mentoring program that introduces under represented youth to education pathways and careers, in science, technology, engineering and math.

Cecilia Giron: -- the interview, it's right there. And then what kind of shots you're gonna be doing, close up, medium, long shot.

The majority of the students know about technology nowadays. They use iPads, they use cell phones, they use video cameras. They use their computers.

So we use those tools kind of like the hook for the program.

Luis: Five, four...

Student 1: [speaking Spanish].

Luis: We divide into groups and each group did their own project.

And it could either be related to something fun like a music video, or something more in depth, like a community project, like filming the local flea market, which is what we did.

Lisa Conroy: In the beginning, what we try to do is motivate. And then if all things come together as they should, pretty soon, we're just trying to get outta the way.

Student on video: [speaking Spanish].

Lisa Conroy: Because you have started something.

Luis: The Tech Wizards, they decided to do a project on the street trees, and we do it with a partnership with the [inaudible] Hillsboro, that's called Street Tree Inventory Project which is evaluating the conditions of the trees and then reporting to the city. The information we collected included the species of the tree. We collected its height, its width, the canopy size, the conditions.

Lisa Conroy: He was selected to go do a presentation in Santiago, Chile. Where he's gonna be doing a world class presentation, literally. I always ask the kids, "What was the best part?" and I assume that they might say, "Oh, travel," or something like that. No. The best part was doing the presentation and realizing that he had the capability now to do something like this.

Luis: Okay, that motor's right here. It controls the steering.

Cecilia Giron: Lego robotics is another project where the students learn how to use math, science and engineering.

Luis: What would you like for it? Like you want it to be the fastest, the strongest?

Cecilia Giron: Each student works with an elementary student, and they teach them how to program their robots.

Luis: And then let's see how it looks, and then you can start like building the catapult.

They're not just learning about the technology of how to build robots, but they're learning about working together. I think that's the most important part. And those are like skills that I believe should be learned at an early age.

Like automatic everything. You have to program it. So that's like one of the key things. You just can like move it with the remote control and make it go forward and then go back. You have to like think out in advance.

We teach them how to build, how to program and how to compete in a tournament that takes place every year.

My parents always ask me like, "Why are you staying all the time after school? Like, why don't you ever come home?" I'm like,

"I'm trying to help other people. I'm trying to help the community."

[speaking Spanish].

And once they actually came and saw what I was doing, they said, "All right, yeah."

Mom: [speaking Spanish].

Luis: Being the first person in my family to go to college, or planning to go to college definitely like excites me.

All these opportunities I've gotten, I realize that it's because of others that I have them. Just didn't stumble upon them. Others presented them to me, and I took advantage of them.

The first time I remember using computers, maybe in kindergarten. After that, I went through a lot of like older computers, I bought like a thrift stores and garage sales, and I opened them up and see what were inside. But when I bought my own computer, which was maybe about four years ago, it took that long. I was like, I kept nagging my parents for years to buy me a computer, but once they bought it, you know, I started like trying to do everything.

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  • Produced and Directed by: Carl Bidleman
  • Coordinating Producer: Lauren Rosenfeld
  • Editor: Steve Jensen
  • Camera Crew: Lyle Morgan, Jesse Nordhausen, Ted Cutler
  • Production Support: Amy Erin Borovoy
  • Production Assistant: Doug Keely
  • Original Music: Ed Bogas
  • Senior Video Editor: Karen Sutherland
  • Executive Producer: Ken Ellis

This 2009 work by The George Lucas Educational Foundation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons License


Lego Robotics: A line of Lego kits used to explore robotics, mechanical systems, electronics, and programming.

Geographic information system (GIS): A system that integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, GIS.com


Discussion Questions

1. Is Luis typical of kids in your community? Why, or why not?

2. Luis has a demanding academic schedule but still spends a lot of time online and with community service. Do these activities complement each other? Or do you think he is overextending himself?

3. How is Luis using technology to improve the lives of his family members?

4. How does the Tech Wizards program empower students?

5. How do you think the Lego Robotics program benefits Luis and the kids he works with?




Comments (2)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Perfecto's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This was a great video and 4-H it seems, is just doing what they have always done, and that it to help expand the education of our youth. I participated in 4-H when I very young and at the time it's focus was agricultural. It was only natural that 4-H would jump into the high speed communication age and good for them. I am sure that many children like Luis will benefit and thanks for targeting the Hispanic youth.
Answer to question 1. Yes Luis is typical of the children in my community but the families lack the resources to purchase a computer. 2. I feel that they compliment each other and helps to teach him how to multitask. 3. Luis's mother who only speaks spanish has Luis there to help guide her through the process of paying bills and doing one of her's and what many more Hispanic mothers love to do, and that is to watch Novelas. 4. Tech Wizard helps students like Luis by expanding their knowledge and opportunities to higher education. 5. The Lego Robotics helps the children become creative and work out ideas as well as see the possibilities.

Catharine Reznicek's picture
Catharine Reznicek
Eudcational Technology Specialist VCOE

Is Luis typical of kids in your community? Why, or why not?

What is typical anymore?? Isn't Luis, as a possible "atypical" kid the kind of kid we are striving to empower?

Well done Luis and all the people around him who provide inspiration, support and opportunities to be all that he already is.

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