1. Description of Our Team
Nearly finished with our project, all our team members agree that this has been one joy ride for all of us. It was an immensely enjoyable educational experience. We learned a lot and hope at the end can pass on to others more than what we learned through the course of this project.
We were a diversified team and our team leader Hamza U (16) specifically chose each one of us for the tasks we eventually got down to. The greatest credit undoubtedly goes to him for pulling us together, making sure we met our deadlines (his rather!) and was always willing to let us into his house whenever we needed to work after hours, when his room was transformed into mission control with laptops and wires all over the place. He also made the final check on the website, checking the content and design and providing us with some of the best ideas portrayed in this website. Hamza M, the other Hamza on the team was responsible for making sure our team never met deadlines with his delaying tactics and incessant fooling around. Nevertheless, he wrote the political impact page and designed the forum page for the website, following his own procrastinated timetable! Pavel Q (17) single-handedly designed our website and is responsible for uploading it and working out the glitches. Aunn R (16) was our economics specialist (a world distinction holder in Economics; you have to read through his credentials, on our website!) Aunn conducted most of the research and interviews. Without his presence, the project would have been an empty web page. We are also indebted to our Coach, Mr. Aamir Akhlaque for being an invaluable source of information and guide to other reliable sources, especially on the Internet. He constantly helped us out whenever we hit a stumbling block during our work and remained a constant source of strength, and more importantly discipline. [Please visit the ‘Our Team’ page on our project website, for a more detailed description of the team members.]
2. Summary of Our Project
We realized that to make this project unique learning experience both for ourselves and for the future viewers of our website, we had to venture into doing something unique and creative. We chose economics as our project discipline because we felt its importance was underestimated by many people as a sphere of knowledge.
We felt that our project learning objectives broadly required us to illustrate the importance of economics and how its applications can affect our individual lives, as well as, international politics. Specifically the category we chose required us to help foster an understanding that would explain how trade and international investment would lead to world development. We believe we were hopefully successful in covering all the learning objectives comprehensively, because in addition to the issues mentioned, we went into technical details of the specific area of study that we chose, namely the economics of the SAARC region. We also mentioned the political and social aspects of this region, and did so in a local context.
Specifically speaking, we tried to raise awareness regarding the South Asian region, about which international awareness, in general, is not very high. We tried to develop appreciation about the economic changes the world is going through under the leadership of the WTO; the trend towards free trade, and specifically how these changes would affect relatively poor countries in the world like those belonging to SAARC. We tried to show the various possibilities for these countries to counter the changes due to the changing world scenario; such as having a common currency ‘Rupa’, and compared them with existing models like the European Union. With a blend of history, future predictions and by presenting various shades of opinion regarding all issues, we tried to help the general viewer to think and form an individual opinion, rather than simply forming the opinion for them.
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:2-3
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dial-up modem
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
We remained ambivalent over which category to build our project on. We initially decided on Science and Technology and decided to make a project on technological progress in Pakistan. This was later changed to Business, Trade and Economics and we decided to pursue a more pressing issue: SAARC and its future prospects to encourage economic cooperation in South Asia.
We also realized there was a dearth of material to work on as the specific issue we chose to address is not one that provides many practical examples, especially that of a common currency. Working best with what we had and getting the starting material from the Internet and some textbooks, we came up with the content for this website.
Living in a country like Pakistan, has, unfortunately, certain drawbacks although we are still proud of it. We have limited access to technology beyond the normal PC or what was present at school and that is what we improvised with.
To add to all this we had certain setbacks. Two of our team members, Hamza M and Pavel Q got major roles in the school play and were kept busy with that for two weeks. Aunn R left for a trip to England sponsored by the British Council Pakistan for his performance in the GCE O Levels, to return only three days before the deadline! Basically we had our work cut out for us with so many delays, not to mention the fact that being the good friends we are, we sort of lost out on the seriousness aspect of such an endeavor.
The most important thing that needs to be mentioned is that we lost a bulk of the work that we had done(nearly 5000 words), because the file got corrupted due to the ‘genius’ Aunn’s superb handling of the computer. And this happened just two days before the deadline! On that occasion, the thought of abandoning the project also crossed our minds; but we made up for that by working 48 hours in a stretch. For pulling us together and making us work nights in the last few days, we ‘thank’ Hamza U and our coach Mr. Aamir Akhlaque.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
To our fellow students it has provided an invaluable insight to an issue they will have to grow up to deal with. Such analytical skills developed from reviewing our website will invariably prove beneficial in the future for these students.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
At Aitchison College, we follow the Cambridge University curriculum for GCE O and A Levels. All four team members are currently in their first year of A Levels and three of them are studying economics at this level.
Therefore, not only did choosing this particular category because it appealed to our sense of academic enrichment and progress, but also because it helped us in our regular class studies. It added to what we are already being taught in class, in the sense that it gave us incentive to put our analytical and other skills to the test. There were skills that we improved on, such as analysis. And there were skills that we acquired, like the procedure for conducting surveys and developing preliminary economic feasibility studies.
All of us gained considerable knowledge well beyond the classroom level knowledge of international trade, its relevant economics, its workings and how to develop arguments, both for and against any issue. Working as a team helped us realize the benefits of pooling together various special talents. Integrating those talents to form the website that we have, is, for us, a remarkable achievement. We grew on each other’s experiences and learned from our mistakes along the way.
On the whole, this being, an educational website will help pass on this knowledge to our community’s students who will find it an enriching addition and supplement to their regular coursework. Not only that, it provides a welcome break from standard textbook study; and the navigable design and lucid content of the website will encourage learning. For the same reason, we believe Internet implements like our website should be an integral part of regular coursework as they add interest to the subject matter. However, they can, in no way, in the present form, supplant traditional teaching methods.