1. Description of Our Team
Irvine High School’s Doors to Diplomacy Team consists of four bright and inquisitive Juniors: Namgiao (16), Hufsa (16), Josephine (17) and Anna (16). While searching for scholarships, Namgiao came across the Doors to Diplomacy Cyberfair competition and formed a team with three friends who were also highly interested in the challenge.
To successfully and comprehensively complete this website project, the Irvine team couldn’t have done it without computer-whiz Hufsa, who worked diligently on the structure of the website and edited most of the research compiled by Josephine, Anna and Namgiao. Exhausting the local library of related books and encyclopedias, Josephine, Anna and Namgiao also sifted through online sources to gather enough information for writing the website. Social Science teachers Jim Antenore and John Eisloeffel were the coaches of this team, guiding the students and offering their much-needed expertise and support.
2. Summary of Our Project
History is an intricate collection of people, places, occurrences, ideas, and so much more. Most of all, it is fundamental to our understanding of the present. It is the basis to this site, Promoting Understanding. We aim to explore the past to better understand the present--mainly, the situation and conflict between China and Tibet – as well as offer our speculations on a just resolution.
We thought it best to enter in the Doors to Diplomacy 2005 website competition because of its publicity and emphasis on peaceful foreign relations. The topic of Tibet and China had often sprung up in our conversations, and we decided that participation in the Doors to Diplomacy competition would be an excellent opportunity not only to expand our awareness but also to convey this issue to a wide audience.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:not sure
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Most of the research on this project was done either at the students' homes or the library. All of the site was created on one student's home computer.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Because the topic we chose involved two countries which none of us had any close contact to, research was one of our biggest problems. It was difficult to find reliable information since the Tibetan conflict is relatively unknown, and much of it is from the past. Another obstacle we faced was how to present the conflict without being biased towards either China or Tibet. We solved this problem by deciding to present the conflict from both points of view. However, this proved to be rather difficult when we attempted to write China's side, since few countries or groups are adamant supporters of Chinese actions.
As a result, we had numerous sources--such as the Free Tibet Campaign and Friends of Tibet--for the Tibetan side and only the official Chinese response for the Chinese side. Since we began our research late, we also had to deal with a short schedule, which forced us to rush in our research and our summaries. Time also affected our ability to complete the collaborative parts of the project, such as the project narrative and project purpose. We eventually solved these problems by dividing the workload, so that our completed project bears contributions from every member.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Our participation in Doors to Diplomacy has captivated, cultivated and broadened our interest in international relations and affairs, especially towards the situation regarding China and Tibet. The promotion of our webpage and its special interaction features will undoubtedly spur much discussion, debate and awareness of the history of relations of China and Tibet in our school, community, and the world.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Especially in Mr. Antenore's Honors World Studies class, students are compelled to explore the effect of bias in various historical references. The freshmen in his class learn to detect and analyze bias, a fundamental skill in comprenhending conflicts and deriving solutions, especially in the world today. In this project, we students decided to utilize these skills attained during our freshmen year. Noticing bias during our research, we thought the best way to deal with these was to present them on the site, then convey our analyses, ultimately portraying a wider perspective on the conflict and offering a lesson on analyzing bias to viewers as well.
Most of all, we learned the vitality of exploring both sides to a conflict. Without such exploration, it would be impossible to attain an adequate understanding of the situation or derive a possible solution. Indubitably, we will all pay more attention to other sides' perspectives in the future--whether it be in our school or in the world.