1. Description of Our Team
There are five 6th graders on our team. We are Lex (12), Dmitry (12), Philipp (12), Jun Sik (12) and Inn (13). Our coach is our teacher, Ms. Dietz.
We have similar interests and we like working together. Our class was originally going to make one Website for the CyberFair Competition. However, our class had two different ideas for projects. Since we created a project for last year’s CyberFair competition and we had experience researching and making Websites, Ms. Dietz said our class could create two Websites this year. So half of our class is entering CyberFair, and our team is entering Doors to Diplomacy.
Some of the jobs we shared, and some we divided up. We all conducted research and we were all interviewers. Before the interviews we met together and discuss the questions we would ask. We also all wrote information and we all helped each other edit. We wrote some pages individually and then combined our writing, and other pages we wrote with partners.
We were able to do the things we like. Inn wrote the photo descriptions for the Photo Gallery because he likes photographs. Lex and Jun Sik inserted most of the HTML tags because they love technology. Dmitry was our cartographer because he likes drawing, and he was also our audio recorder specialist. He taped the interviews. He thought “it was interesting to try to use the machine like a journalist.”
Sometimes we did certain jobs because of our skills. Lex took care of our e-mail correspondence and telephone calls because he knows English the best. Jun Sik calculated the hexadecimals because he is good at math. Dmitry translated text from Russian to English because he knows both languages. Ms. Dietz helped us work together as a team, gather and organize information, and create the Website.
2. Summary of Our Project
We explored Game Days, a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Abt Associates Central Asian Sport and Health Education Program (SHEP). The program operates in and around the Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan, which is located north of Afghanistan.
The Ferghana Valley is a developing region--healthcare is very limited. The area is primarily Muslim, especially populated, ethnically diverse and potentially discordant. Currently the borders are secure and difficult to cross. Before the republics gained their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 many of the people living in the borders areas were close neighbors.
SHEP aims to use sports as a vehicle to bring neighbors in cross-border areas together, promote healthy lifestyles and advocate against drug use by organizing Game Days. Game Days are a series of grass-roots events where communities across borders come together to enjoy watching youth teams participating in soccer and volleyball games and to share in participatory community activities such as music, exhibitions, and health education with their neighbors.
We started our project with a very special visit. We were honored to have Mr. Tamberg, USAID’s Health Advisor for Central Asia, visit our class to give us an overview of USAID and tell us about some of their programs, including the SHEP, which organizes Game Days. We visited the SHEP headquarters and met with Mr. Williams, Director, and Ms. Thiele, Assistant Director. They told us stories and provided photographs. Later, we were fortunate to have a student who attended a Game Day share her experience with us. We searched the Internet for information and continued corresponding with the people with interviewed, and finally created our Website to share our findings. Now we are answering the project narrative questions together.
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):
Electricity is unreliable in Uzbekistan, which creates difficulties creating Websites. Also, visitors are not able to access our site when there is no electricity for our school’s server.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Our biggest problems was deciding how to focus our project. We were interested in learning about USAID. However, USAID is so big it was overwhelming. After we started learning about USAID using the Internet, we sent an e-mail message to USAID’s Health Advisor for Central Asia, Mr. Tamberg. We told him about Doors to Diplomacy and invited him to visit our class. Mr. Tamberg gave us an overview of USAID and he told us about their programs and suggested we focused on Game Days, one of USAID’s projects. Game Days are implemented by Abt Associates Sports and Health Education Program (SHEP). It was a great idea because we love sports!
Our next problem was the lack of information on SHEP and Game Days. The project is so new (it started in March, 2002) that there is very little information printed on the project. USAID doesn’t even have the project described on the Internet yet, and SHEP doesn’t even have a Website. This created a great opportunity for us to help them promote the project… but it limited our resources. We relied primarily on interviews followed by e-mail messages.
Another problem was understanding English. Three of our five group members are ESOL students. They just started learning English this year. We overcame this barrier by taping all of the interviews so we could listen to them again and help them write down important information. We also borrowed Game Days photographs from SHEP and told our ESOL group members about them. Since writing was difficult for them, we helped them write and edited their work.
Understanding Russian was a problem for the two of us who do not speak Russian. Our Russian speakers translated text to English for us. Working together helped us a lot.
Finally, we had a silly problem trying to visit the SHEP headquarters. Our bus broke down so we had to call another one. We had to just wait and be patient… and be patient again when our driver couldn’t find the office.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Our Doors to Diplomacy project showed us how sports can be used to bring people together. As one community member involved in a Game Day said, “The friends you make along away are just as important as the games you play.”
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Our Doors to Diplomacy project supported our school’s values, and it taught skills in many areas of our curriculum. It complimented our Language Arts, Health/Physical Education, Social Studies and Computer curriculum especially well. Our project also provided opportunities for enrichment.
Teamwork and respect are two of the values that our school encourages. Teamwork was seen throughout this project. We worked together with our classmates, families and especially community members! Respect is demonstrated as we share an appreciation for our local culture.
In Language Arts, we used writing strategies (prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading and publishing) and writing skills (grammar, mechanics and usage, and spelling and vocabulary). We also used study and research skills (choosing sources, comparing information across sources, formulating questions, interviewing, making and using a timeline, and using a variety of resource materials).
In Health/Physical Education we learned about healthy lifestyles and benefits of sports.
In Social Studies we used reference skills (using the community as a resource, selecting and using appropriate resources and using a computer to run reference software) and map skills. We also used thinking skills (summarizing information and synthesizing information) and interpersonal skills (accepting and giving constructive feedback and developing respect for others). It is also part of our social studies curriculum to learn about Uzbekistan.
In Computers we learned how to use digital cameras, critique Websites, use HTML and design Webpages.
Our project also provided opportunities for enrichment. We learned techniques for photography, communication skills for interviewing and we were given the opportunity to collaborate with community organizations.