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Whitt wins excellence award from Sci-Quest

For his innovations in ‘humanizing’ technology, Daniel Whitt at James Clemens High School received the Quest for Excellence Award from Sci-Quest Hands-On Science Center.

Daniel Whitt teaches digital journalism at James Clemens High School.

Whitt teaches digital journalism and helps teachers in integrating technology into their learning environments.

Sci-Quest presents the “Q” award, as it’s called, at the Mad Scientist Ball to publicly recognize outstanding contributions of individuals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Greg Screws of WHNT presented the statuette, designed to celebrate “individualism and creativity … the two things that drive me in school and at home,” Whitt said.

Last year at Liberty Middle School, Whitt produced the acclaimed “I’m Human” and other videos with students.

Whitt and Beth Sanders from Tarrant High School wrote a grant to found a social enterprise, Youth Converts Culture. The organization helps students and teachers better understand the power, purpose and importance of modern communication technology.

This summer, their first ‘project’ in Perry County involved about 35 students and teachers who learned to become global communicators with only existing tools.

Whitt knew in advance that he had won. “Thank goodness,” he said. “I had to make a short speech. When I found out about the award, I was stunned.”

He expected the award would go to a math or science teacher, especially someone focused on engineering, “given the region that we live in.”

At James Clemens, Whitt works as “Specialist in 21st-Century Media. I never thought a liberal arts guy like myself would actually win the award … (that) recognizes advances in STEM,” he said.

Whitt values the award especially because “I feel like I’m not alone in believing that we have a real problem on our hands. I’ve been recognized, but it’s only because the panel of judges identified with the same problem I’ve been trying to solve for years — with the increase of technology, we are experiencing a significant decrease in empathy.”

Whitt and James Clemens students have been filming videos, including “Day 1” and “Football Promo.” “The world is about to be stunned by what these high school students are about to achieve,” he said. “They’re digging deep on a daily basis to find out who they are and what they want to say to the world!”

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