Category Archives: City2Classroom


Orbit Media Field Experience

May 4, 2012, by

We went to Orbit Media Studios today.  Orbit Media is a web design company in Chicago located at 4043 N Ravenswood Ave.  We went there for our HTML course Catalyst.  This field experience gave me the opportunity to consider if developing was a path I really wanted to follow, and after this experience I believe it is.  After talking with Sam, a web developer from Orbit I am taking more interest in web design and plan on following up on it as a profession.

While we were there we talked to four employes of Orbit.  Todd who is the CEO of Orbit is in charge of talking with clients to insure their happiness.  Below him are the developers and designers,  Sam and Mary Fran are two of the web designers we talked to.  Sam is a developer whose job is to write the code for websites.  Mary Fran is a designer and her goal is to design the layout of the website then hand it off to a developer to make functional.  We also talked with Amanda who is head of marketing and also manages what clients needs and puts teams together to make that website.

We had an amazing conversation while we talked about what they do, what we do and everything in between.  We learned about the world of web design as a profession and how much of a demand there really is for the job.  We also learned about other languages that professional web designers use to code websites which are php and javascript.

Field Experiene at Vosges

May 3, 2012, by

Our Student Enterprise class went to Vosges Haut Chocolat. We investigated their marketing and sales strategy. Vosges is a unique competitor in the chocolate industry because they have created an innovative chocolate experience for people. The mission of Vosges is to “travel the world through chocolate”. They have a positive outlook for the next two years because their income has an expected growth in millions of dollars.

Part of Vosges appeal is that they accommodate many dietary restrictions: there is a vegetarian, organic, and kosher line. Through that method, Vosges’ target market can include many people. When the founder, Katrina, started, she had a particular customer in mind: Sophie. She would be an open-minded girl who was eager to try new things. Having this type of customer in mind led Vosges to create diverse products. Their products are primarily chocolate deserts. Katrina has taken her experiences from around the world to include the flavors she has tried into the chocolates. The chocolates are made with surprising combinations of ingredients (such as curry, grains of paradise, and olive oil) and have a consistent quality of delicacy. This type of innovation invites many people who want a new experience with their deserts.

The greatest demand for Vosges chocolates comes in their last quarter, the holiday season. People demand chocolate much more during Christmas-time. Vosges is very considerate of their employees with this situation. Not as many employees are necessary to meet demand in the other quarters. The change of pace determines how many people Vosges will have working. Therefore, Vosges hires people as temporary workers to avoid the process of firing and re-hiring people. Ninety-percent of the people that are hired as temporary workers accept the invitation to come back to Vosges. The model of employment is a thoughtful strategy to benefit both employer and employee.

Vosges works under special circumstances when it comes to their channels of distribution. They do not put preservatives in their chocolate, so it is necessary to sell what they produce. Vosges carefully plans out their production and promotion to keep the chocolates from expiring. Vosges has settled down and plans on keeping their base in Chicago, Illinois. Therefore, they also know their environment well. They have two shops located within the O’Hare airport. It is a strategic location because people see the high-end shop and are attracted to buying a small desert gift for themselves or whomever they plan on seeing. At the moment, they are particularly trying to meet the demand for the Japanese market. Vosges is in a tricky position to meet this demand because their products have a short expiration time frame.

Part of Vosges promotion is their presentation of the products. The boxing and decoration is given particular care. As a brand, Vosges has an instantly recognizable look: it is bohemian and delicate at the same time. The look reflects Katrina’s personality and thoughtfulness to appeal to the senses and spirituality of people.

Vosges has become a well-known company with a reputation for quality and a clear healthy message. It was a positive educational experience for our Student Enterprise class to learn about marketing and sales strategy. 

UIC Biological Science Dept.

April 27, 2012, by

For our global health cure course, we went to UIC to better understand how cures are found.  We saw four amazing scientists by the names of Dr. Tien Wang, Dr. Pete Okkema, Dr. David Stone, and Dr. Brian Kay.

While visiting Dr. Tien Wang’s mouse lab, I asked him the question why do you dissect mice and how does it relate to your studies.  He responded that both the mice and the human have a very similar heart. They test on mice to help find treatments for humans.

While visiting Dr. Pete Okkema in the worm lab, I asked the question what major discoveries have come from the research of worms?  He responded that he discovered gene transcription factors that are very similar to humans.  This research can help cure cancer.

While visiting Dr. David Stone in the yeast lab, I asked him the question why does yeast help combat infections?  He responded that yeast is a very easy thing to reproduce and is a great subject to study regarding bacteria.

Out last stop was visiting Dr. Brian Kay in the engineering bio lab. I asked him why he chose to study bio engineering? He responded that by studying and making life was such an amazing thing to do and it was something he is really passionate about.

Create New Curriculum Part 5: Purpose

March 10, 2012, by

Every GCE course, unit, lesson, and activity is purpose driven.  We ask teachers to clarify the essence of learning opportunities and to transparently communicate why each course is essential to learn.

What is the purpose of your course and why is it essential to learn?

Creating New Curriculum Part 4: How will you know they “get” it?

March 7, 2012, by

Student performance, beliefs, and interactions reflect who we are and what we do as educators.  At GCE, we constantly strive to see our own reflection in our students’ behavior and performance and to use the data available to improve our curriculum, instruction, and social emotional support. Ultimately, it is only through consistent and direct attention to our students that we can learn what THEY truly need in order to grow as students and citizens.

How will you know if/when your students get it?  What are you looking for, listening to, sensing?

Creating New Curriculum Part 3: Communication

March 7, 2012, by

One of the greatest challenges we face as educators is that of communication; and failure to communicate clearly through directions, questions, assessment, and informal interactions quickly leads to breakdowns in trust, motivation and performance.  On the flip-side, by varying communication strategies and accommodating the unique learning needs of each student, we can bridge gaps that increase love of learning, connection, and advocacy.

What patterns of communication will your course facilitate? How will students connect with themselves, others, and the world?

Creating New Curriculum part 2: Transformation

March 5, 2012, by

Part 2: How do you want your students to be transformed in 10 weeks?  How do you want them to be different?

Creating New Curriculum Part 1: Feel

March 5, 2012, by

Dear GCE Community:

As we prepare for spring term 2012, I have designed a workshop for our staff to help catalyze even more advanced curriculum design.  As always, this generative process will result in global, integrated, inquiry- and project-based blended learning curriculum (that lives online and in-person), and that is aligned with both the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals and the Common Core Standards.  To learn more about our curriculum design process and outcome, please view our GCE Passport.

Please note that there are several posts on this topic; this is part 1.  All feedback from staff is posted as “comments” to each post.  The process starts with reflective prompts, moves into discussion, invites public sharing on the blog, grows into curriculum, and is tested through the relationship between instruction and student learning.

PART 1: What do you want your students to “feel” each day? 

Org Systems & Models

February 28, 2012, by

Dear Students in GCE’s Org Systems  & Models course:

Please respond to the following prompt: How has learning about organizational systems & models changed your understanding of self, other, and world?

Thank you,


Robot Building Milestone 3

February 27, 2012, by

1) Describe your experiences with the NASA robot project.

My experience with the NASA robot project was great. The school worked so well together as a team. We started off as the underdogs having no idea what to do and slowly made process. In the end, we could all see the process we had made together and watched this robot form. It felt like watching a child of yours grow up and go off to college. I can’t wait to see how our robot does.

2) What did you learn? What did you learn about yourself?

While being part of this robot project, I learned a lot about my classmates as individuals. I also learned about patience and persevering through a lot of challenges. The most important thing I learned about myself was that I enjoy building things. If I hadn’t stepped outside my comfort zone, I might have not had the chance to actually build the robot which I truly enjoyed.

3) What could you have done differently?

I think I could have defiantly devoted more time to this project. While working with robots,  it took much of my time. I learned that these kinds of projects takes a lot of devotion and patience.

4) What was the greatest challenge?

The greatest challange at first was working with everyone. It was a struggle at first for my classmates. It took a few days into the project for us to all really get into. Then we had the problem of combining our individual ideas.  In the end, we all worked together and really enjoyed this project.

5) What did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed being able to work with my classmates to see how great and supportive they all are. I also enjoyed the process of starting a project from scratch and see it grow in only a few weeks.This school as a community really devoted so much time into building and it was great to see the finished product.

6) How does this experience or robot technology help find solutions to the united nations millennium development goals?

Robot technology can help find a solution for many different millennium goals we have. A millennium goal that we can use is to help produce universal education. Having a robot could help kids in other countries receive a good education. The robot could talk to the kids and teach them just like any other teacher would. By doing this we could go into dangerous countries. We also would be able to get more help instead of using volunteers, and help as many of these kids as we can. This way these kids get the education they deserve.