1. Description of Our Team
Our Doors to Diplomacy team is composed of two people - Patrick (12) and Michael (14), who are siblings. The Doors to Diplomacy contest was one that we discovered through an e-mail my parents received. At first, Michael was the only one interested - and Patrick needed further persuasion. As it was already December, time was of the essence. Michael served as project manager. As a freshman in High School, it was Michael who led the project, assigning tasks to himself and to his brother. He was also the main website designer, drawing on the skills he learned from his Web Authoring Class at school. Patrick was in charge of' research, finding information and organizing it to create a coherent case. Both Michael and Patrick helped spread awareness in the school community - though they both had to overcome their fear of asking strangers to fill out surveys and talking about the issues with them!
Four adults have helped immensely in this project. Our parents, who are both involved in international development, challenged us and provided invaluable support through thought provoking conversations with them. They also guided us to organize our ideas. Ann Whiting, Patrick's English teacher at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, served as editor and school sponsor. Kevin Starr, a medical doctor, helped us redirect our efforts to pneumonia, instead of malaria which we worked on originally.
2. Summary of Our Project
What disease do you think is the biggest global killer? Malaria? AIDS? If you guessed those, you'd be wrong. Acute Respiratory Infections - a majority of which are Pneumonia - are the cause of death for 4 million people every year, 1 million more than AIDS, and 3 million more than Malaria. Yet, 85% of people we surveyed reported that the disease they most often heard about in the media was HIV/AIDS. 60% chose HIV/AIDS as the disease they thought killed the most people each year (less than 10% thought that it was Acute Respiratory Infections).
The awareness for this global killer practically does not exist - this website aims to change that, and raise awareness for this devastating disease. What can be done to stop this silent killer of the poor?
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:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
We faced many problems which we were able to overcome, to successfully complete this project. The first obstacle had to do with time - as we only found out about the project in December, it was vital that we budget our time effectively. With several competing school commitments, at times it was hard to complete the deadlines we set for ourselves, though in the end it all worked out.
We also faced a significant change in direction, in the decision we made on what our project was to be about. You can read more about that here: http://www.thequietworld.com/ahealthyworld/index.php?page=aboutus
5. Our Project Sound Bite
The influence this project has had on our classmates is one of the most telling signs of this project's success - especially in relation to the survey we conducted, when people found out that Acute Respiratory Infections killed the most people each year (not HIV/AIDS as many suspected), they were shocked - and eager to know more.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
As the primary purpose of our website was education, we needed to ensure that our website could do just that - not just for older people, but for our age group as well, teenagers like us. In order to do this, we needed to balance both making the topic interesting and easy to understand and making sure we got our message across.
Many of the things we learned in school were applied to this website. Most readily apparent is the website - which Michael, as web designer, was able to design by himself as a result of the Web Authoring classes he took. Patrick, the one 'uneducated' in HTML, learned basic HTML so he could edit the content himself. Of course, as siblings it is our brotherly obligation to fight - however, for this project, we needed to put any differences we had aside in order to work together as a team, assigning tasks to one another and ensuring those tasks were completed.
Furthermore, in World Studies (Social Studies) class, and in after school activities such as Model United Nations (MUN), topics such as poverty reduction and health have been discussed repeatedly - this website serving as an extension of them.
The Internet has proven to be a valuable teaching tool, because it can reach both those within our community, and outside it. Word of our website was spread to dozens of people via e-mail, through forums, and through friends - which would not have been possible without the internet.