1. Description of Our Team
Dr. Jacqueline Dansby, the directory of Upward Bound Pre-College Program at St. Mary’s University, received an email one day from Ambassador Garza who is the former U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua. He inquired as to whether any of her students would be interested in participating in the Doors to Diplomacy contest. She was determined to make this opportunity available to all her students and had Lucinda Simon, her assistant, give us a presentation.
This project was presented to us one Saturday during our normal weekend class periods. Lucinda gave us some background information and basic requirements. Most people join projects because of certain incentives but we joined together as a team to do this project because we were the only ones to participate. After selecting a category picking our topic was simple. From then on we were hooked.
Our Doors to Diplomacy team consists of four people: Ruth, Cindy, Trina and Idali. Our ages range from 15 -17. Although we attend the different schools, we did manage to meet; even if our schools are rivals. We decided to divide the jobs by what interests each of us the most. Ruth was in charge of pros and cons. Cindy contributed to the construction and fun side of the web site making it user friendly. Idali handled the interviewing and located pictures to better explain the issue. Trina, the team leader, was in charge of collecting all of the information and as a group developed the web site content and design.
Our coaches, Lucinda and David Simon, were there to guide us through the process by explaining the requirements, answering questions, keeping us focused and giving technical help on building web pages. However, we knew that we were responsible for the content and building our website with only eight weeks to do it.
2. Summary of Our Project
Today we, as people, do not take the time to wonder about where our clothes come from. For all we know our clothes may be made by the designers themselves but not likely. So, who actually makes the clothes, where are they being made and at whose cost? These questions are being asked more often and have become an issue especially in America. An answer to these questions usually point towards sweat shops.
Many of today’s retail businesses are thriving partly because of cheap labor found in sweatshops. In our website the spotlight is on the sweat shops. Within our site you will learn what a sweatshop is, where diplomacy fits-in to deal with sweatshops internationally, the pros and cons of sweatshops plus some interviews expressing some personal points of view. (You need to include your group’s solution to sweatshops or at least your opinion).
After viewing the website our object is to have presented the material in such a way to leave the viewer well informed. Keep in mind that we are not here to bash the retail business but to simply inform you of the advantages and disadvantages. We leave it up to the individual to make their own opinions as to whether sweatshops are good or bad.
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
There were three major obstacles that were faced during this project. One of the obstacles were the time constraints. We were notified this past January about the Door to Diplomacy project leaving us with nine weeks to complete the project.
Another obstacle was scheduling. Upward Bound is a government funded organization which gives students that come from low income families an opportunity to build their college future. These students in turn have limited resources (computers, money, etc.) Many of these students participate have other activities they are involved in. To cope with this, there was a large effort made to bring the team members together in order to finish each task required.
A third barrier included the learning curve that came along with this project. Since none of the group participants had any former experience with creating web pages or using the applications needed to construct a web site, we spent many Saturdays teaching the students how to make use of these tools.
Although we had to overcome these obstacles, the students found a way to complete each task successfully and on time. As coaches, we are very proud of what they have accomplished.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Our students have stated that the Doors to Diplomacy project has made them feel more involved in our community because they have had a chance to express their views on how diplomacy plays a role in the issue of sweatshops.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Our activities in this project allowed us to build skills needed to work as a team. As a team we learned how to gather our thoughts as a group, narrow the scope of the project, delegate individual assignments and build research skills. Although this project was not part of our school curriculum the skills that we have learned will take us confidently into our college and professional years.