1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
We basically used the following tools: desktop computers, laptops, laser printers, fax machines, digital camera, telephones, cellular phones, tape recorders, scanner, computer softwares, Bluetooth device, libraries, books, newspapers, and interviews.
The school has an internet laboratory with broadband connection and area network lines but most of the team members utilized their home PC’s and internet cafes because their free time to do the project was only after school hours.
The most valuable tools we utilized were the computers, wireless laptops and removable disks to conduct researches, organize data and exchange information with the team members and webpage designer, and also the reference materials provided by Mayor Eduardo B. Dimacuha of Batangas City, Philippines. Cellular phones as well proved to be very essential devices in terms of mobility in communication.
Among the computer softwares we used on Windows XP platform, with Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers, were: FTP, Microsoft Office 2007, MSN & Yahoo Messengers, Netmeeting & ICQ webconferencing, 1stManager.com Task Organizer, Chikka, Gmail webmail and G-talk, MS Digital Image Pro 9, ACD See 9 Photo Manager, Paint, Adobe Photoshop and FaxTalk Communicator.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
As a project proponent, Sheanna Marie D. Herrera, who served as “ambassador” to accomplish the youth portal, talked to different people in the community in person, through letters and phone calls, and through emails.
It was difficult at the start because not everyone could understand the concept easily, without showing them what it was all about on screen, person-to-person. It was made more difficult because while explaining about the project, the development was still in progress so basically we were talking about everything on the air, virtually.
Little by little as the project developed, people who understood the concept finally got impressed on how we were able to come up with future thinker’s idea.
We attracted a UAE-based project sponsor who subscribed to our project. “Success!” was the word that first came to our mind, even if it was not yet completely finished. Another India-based company offered a free chatroom to be built-in soon for e-Mentor’s classroom in exchange for a banner space.
Sheanna with the group members who shared the same passion and excitement, simply announced to the studentry, “Log in to www.youthshine.com and don’t forget to register.”
The amazing once-in-a-lifetime experiences increased their confidence and self-esteem. They also gained friendships with other people, young and adult, whom they contacted in the locality. As more challenges popped out along the way, they got better, broader, more enlightened perspective of the digital world that helped them appreciate the privilege of being behind the youth portal.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
The youth portal, www.youthshine.com, will serve as a development gateway and will move the local youth to be responsible leaders and caring citizens of the world.
The site has been up and running for less than a month only, but somehow our involvement in the project strengthened the relationship between the school and the local community. This serves as an initiative to connect them.
People in our community will know about the local government’s accomplishment report on children welfare promotion last year, and through this site, from now on. This report was not seen in any local website nor published in any local newspaper.
There are sections in our portal wherein viewers will not only remain as readers but they may participate actively by interacting online.
In the future, as we approach representatives from different industry categories to post their announcements (say, employers requiring part-time students), we are certain that new working relationships with people in our community will be established.
We dream to make this portal big, not only as an entry to Cyberfair competition, but to be adopted as youth portal pattern of other youth groups, with theme and templates customized according to their needs and objectives. The objective is to connect the database we have on hand, make this grow, and come up with a huge databank.
Information is very saleable in the Information Age. With the contents planning we have at the moment, we are sure that many people will benefit from this site without leaving their homes, by using today’s technology.
Those who have seen www.youthshine.com were impressed and optimistic on how we can make a significant positive impact in the local communities and people in other parts of the world. They said that our portal can move them to live beyond today and here.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
This youth portal was conceived by Sheanna Marie D. Herrera, in collaboration with the mother (this Cyberfair registrant), the coach and webpage development consultant—Marissa Doctor Herrera—content writer, webpage designer and HR consultancy services firm manager.
Across the miles, the daughter and mother tandem came up with the idea of coming up and running a youth website which is not static, but dynamic, that will show there is life in it.
Discussing the idea with a UAE-based B2B portal (www.tradedubai.biz) owner, paved the way for the initial step of financing the project. Philippine-based IT team, Philweb Services, erased the hosting fees in the package costs, making it net of US$1,300+. An India-based company expressed intent to put chat facility for free, and e-mentor’s classroom model. These were all for exchange banner deals. Luck was with us that www.logomaker.com was in its promotional period when we designed the YouthShine logo at US$9, saving us US$59 offered by the webpage designer. We used UnionBank CyberEon debit card account to purchase the logo online.
There were exchange of communications by overseas calls between the coach and the principal’s office of Batangas State University, Pres. Nora Magnaye, Sheanna’s adviser Ms. Myla Untalan, Batangas City Mayor Eddie Dimacuha, Batangas City Philippine Information Office Chief Letty Chua, and Cebu-based Philweb Services CEO Von Rod Limpot. They provided moral support, suggestions, promotional tools like streamers, back-up groups to spread the words, and for Philweb, technical support.
The classmates contributed in the research while Sheanna’s siblings (Von and Mara) in getting substantial materials, logistics, scanning and transmittal of scanned/encoded copies to the contents editor, then to webpage designer, back to coach.
Janette Toral, owner of www.digitalfilipino.com, emailed us regularly about Cyberfair reminders and on rich resources online that significantly helped us to be on the right track.