Students Use Technology to Make a Difference

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, tech startups who are part of The New York Tech Meetup’s network of 28,000 tech professionals have offered their services to help New Yorkers affected by network outages and other technical issues, including schools that need to get back online.

In the spirit of volunteering, we wanted to share a story Bill Ferriter posted to SmartBlog on Education about students using digital tools to make a difference. Here are the six examples he shared on students engaging in social media and other websites to effect change in their own small but important ways:

  1. Salem Middle School Kiva Club – At the school where he teaches sixth grade, Ferriter is the moderator of a club who uses the microlending service Kiva to help 350 entrepreneurs in developing countries start their own businesses to help end poverty in third world countries.
  2. The Ryan’s Well Foundation- Since he was in first grade in 1999, Ryan Hreljac has worked in his spare time to deliver access to safe water to
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    villages in the developing world. So far, he’s helped bring 713 wells to villages who needed them.

  3. 25 Days to Make a Difference Blog – When Laura Stockman lost her grandpa to brain cancer as a fourth grader, she decided to honor him by trying to make a difference every day for 25 days She then record the efforts on her blog, and challenged her readers to do the same She has since been surprised and thrilled by the generosity of others.
  4. Be Straw Free Campaign – When nine-year-old Milo Cress learned that we use over 500 million straws a day across the world (enough trash to fill over 46,400 school buses a year), he founded a project to work with restaurants, schools, environmental groups, and other business to reduce the use and waste of disposable plastic straws.
  5. Kindness Counts – Middle school student Mary Krieger decided that she wanted to use the money that would have been spent on her birthday gifts and cake to build an organization called Kindness Counts, which provides teachers with prizes and gift certificates to award to students who perform acts of kindness.
  6. @OsseoNiceThings – Osseo High School senior Kevin Curwick was tired of the hateful messages his peers were posting to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. So instead, he created a Twitter account called @OsseoNiceThings, dedicated to posting positive comments about students at his school. A recent tweet about Simon of Osseo High: “Loves to make people smile and he does it often. He’s brave, fun, and the go-to guy.”

Are you a student who’s making a difference? Or perhaps you know a student who’s working to change the world in his or her own small way? Share your story with me at cdoyle@technapex.com.

Caity Doyle

Caity is a former English teacher and the editor of Technapex. Caity is extremely passionate about education and is TriplePoint PR's resident edtech expert. When not researching education policy and edtech, she enjoys running along the Bay Trail while blaring the Boss through her headphones, watching the Giants beat the Dodgers, and meeting fellow Italians in North Beach.

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About Caity Doyle

Caity is a former English teacher and the editor of Technapex. Caity is extremely passionate about education and is TriplePoint PR's resident edtech expert. When not researching education policy and edtech, she enjoys running along the Bay Trail while blaring the Boss through her headphones, watching the Giants beat the Dodgers, and meeting fellow Italians in North Beach.