Moving our World One Project at a Time: Jennifer Brinson and Students

Hope Phones: Moving Our World

DEN STAR and PA DEN Leadership Council Events Chair Jennifer Brinson always adds a great dynamic to her presentations: students. This year her co-presenters are 3 seniors from her Economics class: Jackie, Lauren, and Abigail. According to Jackie:

We were doing a scarcity project in our Economics class and we wanted to select a topic more out of the box, so we chose the scarcity of technology, specifically the scarcity of communication between rural medical centers and patients in need. This lead us to the organization of Hope Phones. We then took the process of gathering old cell phones into our school and continue to collect them to this day.

A blogger’s delight, Jennifer always accommodates by providing her presentation resources in advance. Enjoy the two PSVs, the commercial, and the presentation Prezi. The PSVs and commercial took 9 days to create, edit, and upload. Work on the Prezi was complete in 2 days.

You can also find project resources (a wealth of information worth visiting) at Jennifer’s professional wiki, SHS Instructional Tools.

Changing the World

Jennifer began the presentation by noting her pride in her students who will do the entire presentation, sans her. Bravo, Jennifer for once again giving students ownership of their learning and presentation process. Also visit Twitter feed: @movingourworld and daily: moving our world. Jackie began  by explaining the process of finding a country with scarcity of technology and discovered Malawi, where nurses and doctors travel over 100 miles to provide medical need. Hope Phones, founded by Josh Nesbit, realized the communication issues affecting some countries, so he created an organization to provide mobile phones. Finding this resource through research was a core part of the project. Jackie noted that instructions and rubrics provided by their teacher guided them in creating this project, as well as her 1:2:1 instruction. The students realized and embraced the quotation from Mohatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” As part of their challenge-based learning project, they sought to make an enduring change in the world.

Then the students created a PSA about their counry of choice, Malawi, one of the poorest places, who desperately need your help (see first video). Lauren mentioned they contacted Josh Nesbit via email to further their research. Then the students created a commercial (see third video) to market their idea within the school community. Finally, they made a second PSA (see second video) guided by a more scaffolded and academically-challenging rubric. The girls stated that making this video was more intense because they needed to find a viable facilitated sustainable solution.

Filming for the Future

In the reflection piece of this CBL project, Abigail said they gained an appreciation of how fortunate they are. Asking what the future holds, the team is sending their PSAa and commercial to the middle school, respective churches and their future colleges to continue the challenge of their project: to make an enduring and sustainable change in the world. Taking everything they have learned from this project, the team is confident their futures, including post-college, will be better for what they have learned in one class that changed their world. Now they are changing others’ worlds.


  1. Asked about the second PSA challenges, Jackie said they implemented more changes using the high school’s media studio. Lauren stated that they learned how to use iMovie in class, but the school has an iManagement class that teaches the “how to.”
  2. Edmodo: Free, Paperless

    Length of time to complete the project: a semester because they continued to incorporate the project with the class’s learning. Block scheduling was implemented this year, making CBL more feasible this year.

  3. Song artist: the team wrote for permission to use the song because of copyright use issues.
  4. 1:1: students have the same laptop for the year; intend to turn in for the summer then pick up at the start of the next year.
  5. Copyright: a comment, not a question, but Jennifer was applauded for enforcing copyright. Asked how that is enforced with faculty: Jennifer said the students are now telling the teachers what is not copyright friendly.
  6. Past experience: PJAS prepped them in some ways, but this project was more extensive.
  7. Fellow classmates: in a class with mixed ages, it was harder for 9th graders than for seniors.
  8. Benefit of laptops now: easier because everything is on 1 laptop, no need to transfer files, nothing gets lost, easier to work; everyone has a laptop; good prep for college where incoming students given laptop/printer; know applications and programs; use of studying, organizing and sharing notes/information.
  9. How did district deter damage of laptops: bulletproof cases–very sturdy–and students must use their cases to carry; have an option to use their own case, but every student must carry w/a case; insurance cost w/laptops
  10. School preparation for selection: surveying and connecting with the community
  11. Do computers increase students doing homework: Jennifer said the faculty would say homework is down, but several reasons could contribute
  12. Do junior high do more homework: Lynn FH, middle school administrator, said the role of homework has changed; not much paper/pencil; Jennifer said her classroom is completely paperless because of Edmodo
  13. % of staff going paperless: approximately 10 %; many teachers use Moodle


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  1. Jennifer Brinson said:

    RJ, Once again, thank you for recognizing our work and our commitment to education. The kids were outstanding today and your blog post truly captures that! I really appreciate you taking the time to highlight our presentation in such an awesome post.

  2. Bob Gross said:

    Wow! I am very proud of everyone involved in this CBL project. Great job everyone. You make the Salisbury Township School District look good! Congrats and keep it going!
    Bob Gross

  3. RJ Stangherlin said:

    Thanks so much, Jen. Nice to be appreciated. I agree you were all fantastic. I posted the link to the district’s Facebook page.

  4. Deb Thonus said:

    Thank you Jennifer for demonstrating how technology can enhance the learning environment in a powerful way and make a difference in the world. Lives will be changed and even saved because of this project. Your students will be forever changed, even as they change the lives of people they will never meet in Malawi. Well done! Thank you RJ for writing about this wonderful CBL project!

    • RJ Stangherlin said:

      @Deb, You are so welcome. It is always a pleasure to cover my former colleague’s work since I am familiar with her cutting-edge approach to education. So appreciative of your (as well as the other) comments. I do believe this PBL is life changing for all involved.

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