1. Description of Our Team
Matthew (17) is a dedicated, hard working individual who has acted as commander n' chief of this project, and as Chief Project Coordinator for this and all other entries at Whitney High School. He was the one in charge of outreach to the community, because of his excellent qualifications. In other projects, he serves as the Executive Director of the International League of Students, an international organization dedicated to representing the voice of the international youth, and is running for Governor of the Junior Statesmen of America
Jeewon (16) brings her own unique pespective to the project, and was Assistant Project Coordinator for the duration of this project. She is creative, dilligent, and helped immensely in bringing this project to fruition. She worked to create the Research Links database, as well as creating the Topic Analyses and War Criminals Sections under "Selected Essays and Works" page. Without her hard work, it is doubtful that Matthew could have finished the project and brought it to a high quality. With her superior drawing skills, she was asked to design the logo, and she did an admirable job.
Janice (17) is our last and final student member for Project Team 2843. She answered the discussion questions, and created the section "The Situation Today" and everything inside of it.
Coaches: Ms. Jennifer Shellhamer and Mr. Steve Rosenberg provided moral support and guidance on the website.
The How and Why: The Students of Whitney High School have always been extremely interested in aiding their local and global community in all that they do. So after obtaining information from the website on this project, the students were only all too eager to participate. The jobs were distributed according ability and past experience, the post of Chief Project Coordinator an exception, being an elected position.
2. Summary of Our Project
The website is one that encourages cooperation between students of all backgrounds, all nations, showcasing the works of several as well as input from our community. We have sought to use the medium of the internet to the utmost for the spread of information, and we believe that this site will be the basepoint for future expansion. Through this site, and organizations such as the International League of Students, which have taken a keen interest in this site, we intend to raise awareness of issues in the modern world that compromise international peace and security, and discuss how the people of the world may combat these issues together.
The Doors to Diplomacy Project was used as a focal point for our school and local community, with input being given from all members of the school. We held various essay contests and competitions to aid in the development of the website content, which were then evaluated by an impartial committee of students and teachers alike. SImply speaking, our project was more than just a drive to create an excellent website. It was an effort to educate and promote awareness of the issues of the world today.
More than simply being the work of a few, the project was a collaborative effort by many, a new venture for cooperation and innovation, whose flame was taken up by others in our school. This was the project that started it all at Whitney, it is the first project of its kind that whitney has done, and it is in the spirit and tradition of this project, in which all others follow.
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:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
All of our team members had internet access at home, however, only one of the three students were skilled in website creation, and he was also the one in charge of all other aspects of the project at whitney. The other two were not as proficent as he, but they used the internet and computer abilities to the best of their abilities to fashion this website from raw, untempered ideas.
As for our school, Whitney High School has been chosen as one of two schools in the nation to showcase the future of technology. Internet access is available in every classroom, and there is at least one computer (with Smartboard) in every room. There is also the high-powered media lab available at whitney, and this has helped the development of the media on the website.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Some of the problems that we had to face were: 1) lack of technical expertise, 2)lack of time, 3)an overabundance of information, and 4)Overcoming Student and community Apathy. While computer access is prevalent at our school, many of the students simply do not have technical skills beyond knowing how to use the computer. This is, in part, due to their busy lifestyles as students of Whitney high. All of the students are involved in many extra-cirriculars, including sports, Junior State of America, Model United Nations, and many other projects and competitions. Also, all of the students are juniors in high school, and it has been a very stressful year for them.
Because of the nature of our topic and the way in which we acquired community and school input, we had an overwhelming overabundance of information, and were forced to painstakingly sift through the innumerable entries for the valuable kernels of knowledge among the chaff. To overcome this and spread out the work more evenly, the Project Coordinators established impartial committees using a double-blind grading system to review the material streaming forth from the student population. The best examples were placed onto the website.
As for Community and School Apathy, our team, in conjunction with JSA, held a mini-convention where people could debate about the topic of international safety and security, and find out more about how it could affect them. We held essay and poetry contests about the topic and offered awards to the best entries. Finally, we were able to convince other students to begin other Doors to Diplomacy Projects, and our Chief Project Coordinator instructed us all in Website Design, and made sure that everything was alright before final submission.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Participation in the Doors to Diplomacy has taught our students that they can make a difference in their community, if they are willing to speak out and be not afraid of what may come to pass, helping them to seize all available opportunities that may come their way. As for our school and community, it has opened our eyes to the vast frontier of International Affairs and Diplomacy, helping us to understand more about terrorism as a concrete reality (rather than an abstract topic), and helping us all to learn about the power of one voice in the countless sea of sound that is our world.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Our Doors Project addressed National USA Standards of Education, as well as ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) NETS Standards. It fit into our school curriculum guidelines as an option for a required semester project in the classes of AP US History, AP World History, and Model United Nations.
In the course of this project, the team learned more time-management skills, rhetorical skills, technological skills, and leadership skills (perhaps the most important of all). They learned to take initiative in what mattered to them, and they were able to apply what they had learned from their history classes to this project, adopting an executive command structure, electing Chief and Assistant Coordinators, who would then appoint departmental(specific project) leaders. This, the application of knowledge, was definitely was a step towards greater comprehension of what was learned, and through this, the students furthered their exploration of the power of the voice of the student.
Unfortunately, we discovered that our school's administration was not too pleased with our entry in to the Doors to Diplomacy Project and our work with the International League of Students. They wanted us to cease our attempts to better our community, being selfish and wanting glory only for the high school, but the team took things into their own hands. They began a petition among the students, teachers, and others in their community for the continuation of project. Learning of this, the administration backed down.
Using the Internet for teaching and learning has been far more effective than traditional methods, because the students feel freer to learn things at their own pace, and many websites are interactive and fun, unlike some teachers who will bore students to sleep. It has been far more interesting to teach from, as well, for I can now get much more feedback.
1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
Our project was quite rooted in a vast array of technology and information tools, contributed to us by both the school, and the International League of Students. We had over 20 computers for image editing, website creation, essay composition, troubleshooting, and other such. Scanners and computer software were used to easily input the essays and speeches created for the various contests, and the internet was a prime source of information.
For research, we had a number of ways to acquire information. One of these methods was the old system of visits to libraries and museums, looking at the books, newspapers and exhibits found there. Of the old fashioned research techniques, perhaps none exceeded the quality of oral interviews, in the proud tradition of the father of history.
Of course, our most helpful and valuable experiment with research by technology were the videoconferencing sessions that we held with the International Directorate of the International League of Students, all of whom would be in contact with various members of their chapters via telephone, or would have a guest present, once a person who had surrived an act of terrorism, once an Israeli/Palestinian pair. They also would stream video to us of interviews they had conducted with other people around the world, and refer us to virtual museums online, so including a myriad of different sources in one.
It is ironic to note that without Matthew, we may not have had access to the resources of the International League of Students, for he was their founder and executive director. He was able to convince his constituents to work to help us in this project to enlighten the world, and never tired of teaching others on the team how to use each tool to the limits of its abilities.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
Our students were very active in local, online, and international community in promoting awareness about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy. To accomplish this goal, they became involved in Junior States of America, Model United Nations, and the International League of Students. Now...a little bit about the individual students:
Matthew, as Chief Project Coordinator, was the most out-spoken orator and passionate participant this project had, taking his ideas to various discussion boards online, working them into essay and speech contests, and using them as part of his platform in his run for JSA Governor of Southern California, reaching many people in the course of his campaign. In additon, he mobilized the resources of the International League of Students to aid us in this venture. He was able to gain many supporters for our project, and many were impressed by his ideas and our project. For his efforts in spreading awareness of international affairs and diplomacy, Matthew has been honored by the American Legion, the ABC School Board, the California State Senate, and the United States Senate.
Jeewon and Janice have helped to rally more support inside our local community, key in gaining in supporters from within the school itself. Though not always in the limelight, they were very active, and continue to be, using the internet to an extent that they had never used it before.
People have been impressed by our project, and that is evident through the awards that we have already garnered, and we have had people pay us the ultimate compliment of going to our website and using it for research for their papers and such, even this early in its life. We fully intend to continue our efforts at spreading awareness of our topic, and continuing to expand our horizons through organizations like JSA.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Our Project has made a difference in helping to dispel the apathy that once was an integral part of the people in our community. For many people, it has changed terrorism from an abstract concept to a frighteningly concrete reality, and enlightened them as to the power of the youth in the local and international community. As for our international community, they have learned about the power of just a few voices to create great change, and the viewpoints of those not from their environment.
Our team has built new relationships with members of the American Legion, the Lions Club, the Optimist Club, the ABC School Board, and members of youth organizations such as JSA and the International League of Students...all of which have viewed, or will be viewing our Web Pages in the coming days.
Because of our site's orientation to those who may not have the latest in technology (minimal graphics), we have received mixed reviews. On one hand, our content has been praised as excellent, but some have suggested that we add more visual content to the site.
Our school and home life has also been affected by this, as because of our efforts, more and more people have become interested in these kinds of projects, and in JSA/ILS. This was the first activity of its kind at Whitney, and it pioneered new enthusiasm and creativity among the youth. At home, the parents of the participants began to discuss international affairs, something that was almost unheard of until now, when our website is educating many about the dangers of terrorism and what people may to today to have their voices heard. Our design team is seen as the pioneers of a new society, who will continue to dispel apathy and bring about a new awareness of society.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
In order to bring this project to fruition, we have needed many helpers in every stage of website construction, ranging from the beginning with information gathering, to the end with checking the website.
I'd like to give a special thanks to the International League of Students for putting forth a great deal of time and effort into helping with the information gathering and awareness promotion sections of our project, and of course, their Executive Director, Matthew, without whom we would not have the International League of Students behind us.
The team would like to thank Mr. David Bohannon for his efforts as part of the review committee, and Mr. Michael Mustillo, the Technology Program Director at Whitney High School, who gave us access to all the resources that we needed, and reviewed our website when it was completed.
Grace Wang, Michael Woods, Angela Chang, and Michael Figge were all student contributors and participants in the contests, and for that, I thank them for helping to make this project a success.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
We have learned about each other's stress personalities, which can be quite the opposite of the normal personality, and which manifests itself when one is deprived of sleep. We all also learned the value of time-management, and delegation of labor, so that a project may be done in a much shorter amount of time than by an individual, and we were surprised by the fire inside us when we truly wished to do something. It is that zealotry, that enthusiasm, that has paved that way for us to inspire others to these goals, for often it takes a pioneer to convince another to join him or her.
As for other awards or recognitions, as has been mentioned before, our students have been recognized by their community for their efforts in spreading awareness of international affairs and diplomacy, and some of our members have used the skills that they learned during the course of this project to excel in other projects and win for themselves many honors, as did the Project Coordinators, both running for office within a community.
View our CyberFair Project
(Project ID: 2843)