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The Madison Record

Whitt takes ‘I’m Human’ message to Perry County

Liberty Middle School’s “I’m Human” video is generating spin-off work elsewhere in Alabama. Perry County students are realizing their personalities should imprint online activities.

Daniel Whitt and Beth Sanders are directing the effort for "The Perry County Project."

Whitt is working with the Youth Converts Culture group on “The Perry County Project” on July 16-20 at Judson College in Marion.

For “I’m Human,” language arts teacher Daniel Whitt led 85 Liberty students and 26 teachers/staff to share an introspective fact about themselves. “‘I’m Human’ applied real-world (or ‘non-digital’ values) to a digital setting,” Whitt said. “Our youth perceive a different value set online than we do in non-digital settings. Our agenda with ‘I’m Human’ was to show people both settings are simply variants of the same reality.”

Whitt and Beth Sanders are directing the effort. Sanders is a social studies teachers at Tarrant High School in Birmingham, technology consultant for Alabama Best Practices Center and coach for the Powerful Learning Practice Network.

Alisha Walker is local director. In recruiting, Whitt and Sanders found their best ally in Javarius Jones, a senior at Francis Marion High School.

They’re working with school families and officials for two functions:

* Converting the school and town’s culture to a 21st-century learning environment.

* Empowering students to control their own learning, by good judgment, solving problems, self-assessment, communicating, adapting and reflecting.

Whitt and his colleagues are “inspiring students to be content creators, not just audience members of the web.” Their study will culminate with a final screening of their video product that integrates new technology concepts.

With this mission, they are assisting Perry County students “in promoting a positive digital footprint,” engaging in technology to enhance curriculum and promote empathy by focusing on togetherness, community and humanity.

Their most recent tagline is “It’s not about technology. It’s about empowerment.” Whitt said technology must empower students, in using cell phones, Twitter, text messages and digital notebooks.

Working in Perry County is validating “what I’m doing is supported in Madison and around the world. It also has helped focus my idealistic mind on a concrete goal to support those ideals,” Whitt said.

Whitt has transferred to James Clemens High School.

For more information, visit areyouopen.wix.com/youthconvertsculture, youtube.com/watch?v=Q0kuXx7vR8w and Twitter #YouthConvertsCulture.

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