Carroll County High School students in Carroll County High School teacher Lisa Hurst’s class learned “old school” and new technology are not necessarily mutually exclusive. According to Hurst, this was a first-time project for the students who planned and carried out a public awareness campaign against sex trafficking.
“I wanted them to experience a project-based learning adventure. Since my classroom is a Google classroom, I wanted the students to be immersed in Google Apps for Education (GAFE), tools that the district has access to,” said Hurst. ” I am a huge advocate of technology in the classroom and I wanted my students to experience working collaboratively with a class of their counterparts in another state and time zone. They really enjoyed the experience and I believe they are whizzes at using Google tools and apps now.”
She said one of the biggest learning curves was working with students in a different time zone because they collaborated with a school in Texas. Overall, Hurst said she felt it was a great experience and is already networking with other teachers domestically and internationally for future projects.
The student-created motto for the campaign is “Souls Not Slaves” and was described to fellow classmates in a psychology class as a connecting-for-a-cause effort which grew to use new social media and old-school posters. Surprisingly for the 30 students involved, the most effective thing for them proved unique tee shirts with the motto on the back and a red “X” painted on the front.
CCHS students paired off and worked with counterparts in Texas (Hemshire-Fannett High) to produce video, a social media campaign, a web site, a poster and informational graphics. (A copyright team expanded their duties to include proof reading and editing.)
Cavaliers Mickayla Mabe, Aleah Lineberry, Meagan Phillips, Tyler Hylton and Megan Garland said the shirts got more classmates asking questions on what they were up to, which confirmed a person-to-person connection was the best. Mabe said they used a Googledoc to compose the posters with their counterparts at Hemshire-Fannett. Garland said they approached peers and teachers and asked them what they would do with $90. The group said they also had to contend with some classmates initially not taking their cause seriously.
“The tee shirts really helped,” said Hylton. “I guess it’s hard to ignore 30 people walking down a hall in them. They were more likely to come up to us and we could tell them personally. I think the shirts were a better idea.”
Phillips agreed with her classmates that the shirts’ ability gave more opportunity to explain how the sex traffic trade also happens here.
“You can go to Walmart and spend $90 on a lot of things,” said Hylton, who admitted the project made the plight of victims real for him. “There’s not a person anywhere.”
The initial question was in reaction to research confirming most victims are sold into sex trafficking for $90 and then filmed reactions upon finding this out. Both groups ultimately decided to share information and ideas and produced different posters and a collaborative video with effects and music. All agreed how well the results of the collaboration turned out surprised them.
The wisdom it takes getting a message out personally, on posters on walls and in different places on the Internet came at the price of empathy for victims and their families. Garland said she found it striking sex traffic victims are most often younger than 20. Lineberry said she found it sad families of victims never know their children’s fate and never have closure.
“When you find out. You want to do all you are capable of doing,” said Lineberry. “It’s so intense for teens and things are not getting better. It’s hard to get their attention. We all think we’re safe. Our parents shelter us.”
The group agreed parents do this with the best of intentions. The project proved to them that while they couldn’t realistically hope to stop sex trafficking, they could get the word out to someone nearby.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.