Pennsylvania School Board Meetings To Be Streamed in Student Initiative

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A student effort in Pennsylvania is aiming to bring transparency and accountability to a Milford school board through the use of Web 2.0 tools and social networking.

School Board 2.0, expected to launch in May, will live stream school board meetings and important work sessions or committee meetings in Delaware Valley School District in Milford. The service will also provide a live chat feature to enable viewers to participate in the meeting. Students will operate the platform from the meeting and provide a live blog and polls, tracking relevant topics. The platform will host documents that are passed out at the meetings, scan them, and allow them to be viewed in digital form. After meetings, the video footage and documents, in addition to the live blog text, will be archived on the site to allow community members and students to go back and review it.

School Board 2.0 was developed by four students who have attended schools in the district and now participate in the Pike County Youth Coalition, a non-profit organization at Delaware Valley Regional High School that serves as a resource for young people in the area. The effort is being funded with a $6,000 grant from Mobilize.org.

"School Board 2.0 is a Web-based initiative designed not only to provide greater transparency in local government, but also to educate and engage more young people in civic participation," said Alex Lotorto, one of the participants who now attends Muhlenberg College in Allentown. Although the platform will be targeted to young people, Lotorto said access to the site will be public.

School Board 2.0 is scheduled to continue for about a year or until the board adopts a substantial amount of the same practices itself, the group said. Upon this project's completion, the Pike County Youth Coalition will publish a report detailing the project's successes and areas for improvement for future use and replication.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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