George Lucas Educational Foundation

Israel and Palestine: Students connect to form own opinion (and I need your help)

Israel and Palestine: Students connect to form own opinion (and I need your help)

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The Noblesville High School Innovation classes are off and running! While we are just in our first week, we have already started to lay down the ground work. As I have written about earlier, it is important to discuss (and set the tone for) the class culture.  That being said, the classes wanted to dive right in.

Normally the students pair up (or in groups of three) to find their own projects, but because they are learning the process of learning how to brainstorm, collaborate and communicate in a project based environment, I have decided to start with a class activity.

As we were discussing the “connecting and collecting” mantra, the topics turned to current events. The topic of media bias and coverage of the Isreal/ Palestine conflict came to light. Some news sources seem to be very Pro-Israel, while others seem to be biased toward the Palestinian side.

The students decided to put our innovation practices to the test and turn to a professional learning community (PLN) to get unbiased sources on the inside to decipher what is going on without the filter of US media bias. In short, we want a dialogue with real people from each side.

Some of my students are breaking into “teams” to tackle this class project. Some are starting to research basic information, and collect data of which sources of news seem to be slanted. Other students are taking to social media to gather perspectives and potential collaborators. We are hoping to Skype or Google Hangout with people (preferably students) and conduct interviews. We feel that this honest dialogue will be the best learning experience.

Some other students are starting to put together our blog site so we have a “landing site” for people to go. We are a very transparent class, and feel that our work should reflect the mission of the class: to learn by doing. By being transparent and open to the world, I feel like we (the teacher and the students) will try that much harder and be more open to communication. It will also demonstrate that trial-and-error learning IS learning. We are going to have some bumps along the way, be these errors will serve as an example that mistakes are tolerated in this class.

*Every student will be researching what Common Core standard they are mastering through this project.

Lastly, we are also going to have a YouTube channel giving updates on all the projects we tackle this year. I would be honored if you would subscribe and follow along our Innovation Journey! We have some lofty goals and a big audience is what we are looking for! The more people see what students can accomplish the better! We should have some videos up later this week, but if you subscribe now, you’ll get notifications as we upload. Please check us out:

As always, thanks for reading! If you would like to give us feedback, please fill out comments below (please subscribe), or simply email me at:  If you follow me on Twitter @donwettrick, please find my “Student Entrepreneur’s” Twitter list of current Innovation Class students! We always appreciate willing collaborators!

-Opportunities Are Everywhere

Don Wettrick

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Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Design/Broadcast Media teacher

This is fantastic! What valuable work they will be doing, and what practical skills they will learn. I'm looking forward to reading about their work. Will the class blog be public?


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