What has Happened Since the Teen Think Tank?
In September, their report was published. Many thanks to Mr. Peeks and Mr. Marsh for doing much of the editing and compilation.
In October, the Alabama Attorney General's office heard about the their work. The students have been invited to present their work at a regional conference on school violence to be held in Birmingham next Fall.
The State Board of Education requested copies of their report to be used an input to the State Task Force on School Violence which was organized last Summer.
In December, the students visited Alabama Governor Fob James. They spent 30 minutes with the Governor, gave him a presentation about their work and gave him a copy of the report. Governor James gave each student a Governor's Commendation recognizing their work.
Also in December, the students met with Representative Perry Hooper of Montgomery and made a presentation to him about their work. He has invited some of the students to appear before a Legislative Committee on School Violence. Mr. Hooper gave the students copies of a Legislative Resolution which commends them for their work.
The students appeared on a local radio talk show in Birmingham and talked about the Teen Think Tank.
County Superintendent of Education, Dr. Bruce Wright, discussed the report at a county-side principals meeting.
Mr. Marsh will present the Teen Think Tank at an International Conference on Collaborative Thinking in Hawaii in January, 1999.
Later in January, Mr. Marsh will present the Teen Think Tank at a National Conference of Facilitators in Williamsburg, VA.
The students prepared video and audio tapes which was edited and merged with video from the actual Teen Think Tank sessions to create a short film for the conferences mentioned above.
The students proved without a doubt that teenagers can effectively use the EMS technology. In November, a citizen's committee in Huntsville and Madison, Alabama organized a Teen Think Tank with over 100 students participating. Those students held 4 separate sessions at Space Camp. Each session lasted about 2 hours and dealt with issues facing teens in Huntsville, Madison and Madison County. Their report will be made public after local public officials have had time to review the report and prepare a response to the report.
One observer at the Teen Think Tank was Mr. Randy Bounds, a member of the Huntsville School Board. The following Monday, he met with State School Superintendent, Dr. Ed Richardson, and arranged for a meeting of the State Task Force on Math and Technology to meet in Huntsville and conduct an EMS session.
In November, Mr. Marsh led an EMS session in Montgomery for the Attorney General's office and the State Board of Education. In February, an EMS session is scheduled in south Alabama to show the technology to teachers and officials from around the southern part of the state.
Mr. Marsh has had requests from several groups, including one from as far away as New Orleans, to hold Teen Think Tanks.
Mr. Marsh has been asked to lead an EMS session in early Spring for the Attorney General's State Sentencing Board. This board is made up of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement personel dealing with sentencing guidelines and recommendations. The Attorney General is also interested in using the technology for the preparation of the legislative agenda for the Attorney General.
So, it appears that a group of teenagers having fun on summer vacation, have precipitated a far-ranging interest in the use of collaborative computer techniques throughout their state. The interest goes beyond school violence and community issues to preparing legislation, long-range planning for the state school board, and planning the sentencing of criminals in Alabama.
None of this would have been possible without the Teen Think Tank. Well done!