1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
For our project, technology was the key component.
Computer and Internet Access - We used the computer and the web in many ways. We had to use e-mail to maintain our relationships with various affiliates and create new ones. We needed the Internet to search for grants and services to start and fund our organization. It was also a means of 'advertising' since we created a project website to get the word out.
Cameras and Scanners - We needed digital cameras and scanners in order to acquire pictures for our Outside My Window theme. Digital pictures were preferred because you can easily access them via the computer, but if that was not possible, scanners were handy to put them onto the computer.
Website Software - We used a templated package as the basic framework for our site, and customized it to our needs. We used other free tools, like web forums, to expand the services we offer (and maybe some software such as Paint Shop Pro 8 and SmartFTP).
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
In order to make Outside My Window a success, we had to repeatedly talk to numerous people about our project. We acted as ambassadors by spreading awareness of our cause in description verbally and in e-mail. Once, our participation efforts led a grant worker from the PacBell network to our classroom. We acted as ambassadors by giving informational briefs about our project. She was impressed by our will and constant involvement. Another instance was the time we tried to hook affiliates by posting our project on the IEARN network (a network linking projects from all around the globe) at www.iearn.org. We received many replies from participants and leaders. Each of us took on different replies and we had to introduce ourselves and represent our organization. We had to keep in mind the location and culture gap between our readers in order to avoid any misunderstanding.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
We want the community to look through our photo albums and mentally analyze the differences between the views through the windows. They will see that the views are not very different, and that as people we live in almost similar environments and are not very different from each other. Photographs are an effective and interesting method of capturing people's attention and helping them to understand the world. We hope to act as a resource to connect people internationally.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
To construct the album for Outside My Window, we needed people to take pictures and send them in. Through e-mail, we hooked many participants locally and internationally. Our current album reflects the diverse audience we have attracted. Some participants include citizens from Egypt, Nigeria, Canada, England, and France. We have attracted participants mainly by word, e-mail, and our website, outsidemywindow.org. Please take a picture and participate!
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
Although heading and starting an organization can be a pretty boring, grueling, and straightforward process, we managed to have a few interesting situations in the course of our emergence. During our first fundraiser, we decided to sell candy and snacks at school to make money. Little did we know that we needed to get an OK from our school's ICC (Inter Club Council) to sign up for a fundraising week. We weren't an official school club, just an emerging, low-key organization. After only two days of selling, one of our members from leadership told us that the ICC and Leadership Classes were onto us; we were 'illegally' selling candy. Our principal, Ms. Edwards, called our founder/president/teacher Mr. Gross we apologized for our misunderstanding. Despite our 'rule-breaking' incident, we managed to make over $100 for Outside My Window to use on promoting, professional website upkeep/design, and other things.
We learned how hard it is to delegate, how powerful the Internet is as a networking tool, how much time it takes to get things going, and how exciting it can be to be involved at the start of a great idea.