Class Update: Innovations is Booming

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This photo is of our Innovations class Twitter page, which can be found at @FCHSInnovations.

Mr. Wettrick has requested an update on my social media education project and I’m sure those who follow my mission closely are also interested in what my future plans entail; therefore, this post will summarize my most recent breakthroughs and what I have planned for the future, primarily next semester.

As this year comes to a close, I must also reflect on the accomplishments I–and our Innovations class–have made in the past four months. I have successfully started my research on social media in the education system and what the pros and cons are when tackling such a feat. I have collaborated closely with Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in New Jersey, and John Carver, superintendent of the Howard-Winn school district in Iowa. Both of these men have provided me with a bountiful of information about social media and technology and how they utilize it in their own schools. For their willingness to help and examples they lead, I am grateful.

In addition, I have networked with Howard Rheingold, author and adjunct professor at Stanford University specialized in modern communications and technology, and even made a presentation to his class at Stanford. (As a side note, Howard, I plan on submitting my application by the January 1st deadline!) I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way since returning home from San Francisco and only have one man to thank. Thank you and happy holidays!

453343213_640Howard Rheingold and I during my interview for

Of course these men are not the only people I have connected with since beginning my journey. I have met with numerous individuals who have impacted my journey and I wish to thank each and every individual who has pushed me closer to my end goal, though I am still unsure of where my mission is taking me. I have received so many opportunities throughout this process and am looking forward to the future with fervor and hope!

More recently, I have concluded my YouTube series “The Top Ten Things Not To Do On Twitter” found here and began my latest Twitter account @DailyMediaTips. This account is updated as “daily” as possible and is tailored for anyone interested in enhancing their social media experience, not just students. I wanted to start this account as a way for me to get motivated about researching the most up-and-coming information about social media usage not only in the classroom but in the workforce. Of course, this is only one extension of my social media education mission and will continue to provide me with opportunities to expand my project.

As for my plans next semester, I am still moving forward with my DVD and hope to start filming the second week of January. This product has been postponed due to conflicts with the school; however, I believe the issue has been resolved and my latest estimate for filming should continue without delay. For me this means I have an extensive to-do list over Winter Break. Though I will try to update my blog weekly throughout the holiday season, know I am writing the script for my DVD and planning how/when it will be produced and distributed. (If any business would like to recommend, or even offer, their services to me, I would be eternally grateful!)

Due to my undefined timeline for the DVD, I do not plan on releasing any more information on my future plans, as I want to focus all of my attention on my product. However, this does not mean that I wish to conclude my social media education mission once I graduate. Of course I will continue to collaborate with influential educators and those individuals passionate about incorporating social media into the curriculum. Furthermore, I plan on continuing my adventures throughout my college career and hope to even indulge in communications and brand marketing while in school. Though none of my plans are concrete, Innovations has changed my outlook on my future and I do hope to continue this journey even out of high school.

That said, I now want to turn the attention over to my peers, as they too have overcome many barriers to uncover success in their own projects and I believe they deserve recognition.

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The first project I want to discuss is Jessica Admire’s Miracle League-esque baseball league for kids with disabilities. You must first know that Jess’ brother Joey has down syndrome, which is what inspired her to focus her time on such an intricate project. Not only does Jess face barriers within the county–such as a place to hold the event–but she must also seek out help and volunteers. She has already spoken to our mayor Mr. Joe McGuinness and plans on holding a meeting this Friday tomorrow for the children that will be participating in her event. This is a major breakthrough for Jess and she discusses this exciting time in her blog. If you are interested in more information about her project, you can follow her Twitter account @jess_admire.

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Secondly, Dan Lamm and Grace Schafstall have finally realized their book that was the focus of their time in Innovations last year. This book is a compilation of stories from students at Franklin Community Schools in a variety of grades from K-12. It is now on sale on Amazon. Both authors can be found on Twitter.

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Lastly are Kevin and Grace, whose endeavors have landed them some esteem in our community. Recently, they were blessed with Erik and Tessa, two students who reached out for help with their weight and self-esteem. Kevin and Grace, two athletic, well-liked individuals, jumped on this opportunity to reach out and touch someone’s heart. Not only are they working with each student to maintain healthy goals for weightless, but they talk to both Erik and Tessa frequently to discuss confidence, issues at home, and to encourage them to continue on their path. Their story is truly inspiring, as it is rare for students to each out to one another and offer any and all physical, emotional, and mental help they have. I am so proud of their newfound project and cannot wait to hear the plans they have for next semester! For now, more information on their story can be found on Mr. Wettrick’s blog and the podcast “Sometimes the Greatest Lessons Aren’t Part of the Lesson Plan”   on BamRadioNetwork. Also, both students can be found on Twitter at @KStahl95 for Kevin and @ggseibert for Grace. In addition, I will be posting a blog relating their project to my own soon and will tweet out the link when it is ready for release.

Unfortunately I do not know the ins and outs of everyone’s projects and cannot do them justice by explaining them myself. However, if you do want more information on what our Innovations class is doing, you can check us out on Twitter at @FCHSInnovations and watch a short video about us on EdBacker and perhaps even donate to our campaign! You can watch this video here. We appreciate all of our donors and if you buy a package, we reciprocate your donation with special perks! Moreover, anyone can email me at and I will answer any questions posed about my project or any others in the class!

When it comes to Innovations, there is no right or wrong. There is no specific timeline for when a project will conclude or begin. As in the case of Grace and Kevin, their project was thrust into their hands without any true warning. I’m beginning to believe these are the best of projects we can take on. For as Mr. Wettrick has said, “Sometimes the greatest lessons aren’t part of the lesson plan.” And as I am saying now and plan to hold myself to throughout this next semester, Sometimes the greatest opportunities come from flying off the seat of your pants. Which we tend to do a lot.


2 thoughts on “Class Update: Innovations is Booming

    • Alyssa,

      Thank you very much for the compliment. I am very honored to have been nominated and cannot wait to see the results! I looked through your blog and you have many cool ideas to share, such as the key idea! Very neat!

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