1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
We used 24 IBM computers in the school’s lab to complete the project. Computer software installed in our school computers such as Macromedia Flash, Dreamweaver, Microsoft Frontpage, Adobe Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Ulead PhotoImpact, Notepad, Editpad, and Ws Ftp LE were used to aid us in building and uploading our website. Other programs such as MSN Messenger and ICQ helped us greatly as they allowed the team members to conference at the same time. Using these programs, we could communicate and discuss in the comfort of our homes and yet get important things done. Many of us made trips to our own school library as well as the National Library and other Community Libraries to do research and source out information on relevant topics. There, we searched for books and newspapers and used the Internet to surf for relevant websites. Telephones were also useful in making appointments for the interviews and tape recorders for recording it down. We interviewed the various personnel involved the activities of the schools and organisations to ensure that our information was doubly accurate and glean more information on the organisations through the acquirement of yearly reports, newsletters and suchlike from the interviewees, as these were up-to-date and often relevant information for our website.
For the taking of pictures, digital cameras as well as conventional ones were used. We felt that using the digital camera saved a lot of time and trouble compared to a conventional camera as we did not have to develop film and could directly upload the graphics onto the computer. After developing our pictures, the scanner came in handy to scan the photographs into the computer.
Throughout the project, we found that the Internet was the most useful tool of all as it helped greatly in speeding up the process of sourcing for information as well as communicating.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
Often, we had to make appointments for interviews with various important people via the telephone and email. We frequently had to contact different administrative staff to fix an appointment date. Once this was done, preparing for our interview came next. We had to make sure that we were well-prepared. We even role-played an interview to give ourselves more practice and to develop our interviewing skills. Going for the interviews were indeed enriching especially as the interviewees were often forthcoming and generous with their knowledge on the various matters, despite the fact that many of us were rather nervous, this being the first time many of us were required to do a formal interview. It was also satisfying to do the interviews as most of us found out much more about the organisations when we visited them in person and spoke to the personnel there instead of merely surfing the internet for the information.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Our Cyberfair project, ‘Singapore – A Caring Community”, caters to both Singaporeans as well as those abroad who take an interest in all aspects of Singapore. We chose this particular topic to show how the people of Singapore, regardless of race, language or religion, unite together to care for other less fortunate Singaporeans, providing details and information to the public and the people around the globe on the way Singapore preserves its racial and religious harmony. With this, our aim was to encourage all people, including those from other countries, to give more thought for the care and understanding of those around them, especially of people of other races, in view of the high tensions between the different racial and religious groups after the September 11th tragedy. Many of our classmates heard that we were working on this project and acted as out critiques as they went through the website and provided valuable and priceless comments on how we should ensure the site was user-friendly. They also benefited from the information we provided as they learnt many new things from surfing through the site and were prompted on the importance of racial and religious harmony as well as caring for the community around them. Not only did we gain support from the school community, the interviewees we met externally were also very cooperative as well. Many of them listed in the credits and acknowledgements went further than just answering our ready-made questions and gave us additional materials from the organisation that we were extremely happy to receive. Through this project, we thus were able to influence many of our peers with our site and give them a different outlook to Singapore’s multi-racial and religious society, as well as how they would care for others.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
In the midst of the project, we encountered a lot of problems and we had to seek advice from various people. Take for example, at the very start, we could not decide our topic. The teachers were invaluable in helping us to think through the problem. We also often faced problems in picking out the important information from the sea of books and documents we acquired, and once again, our teachers advised us on the books and materials to read and highlight. The help we got from the teachers was thus invaluable and we could not have completed the project without their constant help and support both morally as well as in the field of research. Our schoolmates, Long Keyun Natalie and Yeo Yi Hua, helped us with the web layout, while Kasita Dewi Wonowidjojo and Seah Li Wen Constance helped us to gather some information for the project.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
Working on the project was indeed an enlightening experience as we were able to strengthen our various skills, more significantly our skills of time management, responsibility, research, leadership, cooperation, teamwork, and critical thinking. However, these skills are not just a long list of achievements we name here for us to gloat about. Many of us actually had to learn these lessons the hard way and emerged better and more matured than before. Take for example the skills of teamwork and cooperation. The senior girls learnt that losing our temper doesn't get anything done and that we should put our bias aside in dealing with others. Remaining calm even in critical and unnerving situations was also essential as panic would not have solved the problems. The junior girls, on the other hand, learnt very much that they should keep focussed on the subject and work their best at it to ensure the project runs smoothly. All of us also learnt to cope with arguments and disagreements amongst ourselves and learnt to take criticism in positive light. Our interpersonal skills were thus very much strengthened and we learnt to have effective communication one with another in such a way that everybody stays motivated and determined to complete the project. The most important lesson we learnt throughout the entire project was that if we work together, we would eventually overcome our problems. Nothing is impossible if we put our minds together and support each other to achieve the best we can all the way.