Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam- All the World is But One
Category: 5. Local Attractions (Natural and Man-Made)
School: Ryan International School
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
4 students, ages 17, 16, 13, 17 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 14, 2005.
They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2005
Classes and Teachers: Mrs.Madhuri Parti, Rahul Mukherjee, Alisha, Rewan, Smriti, Wishal
Our School's Web Site:
1. Description of Our Team
Some men see things and ask “why?” I dream things that never were and ask “why not?” said George Bernard Shaw; and we asked ourselves,'WHY NOT?' WHY NOT unite and face threats to peace and security? WHY NOT be the ripple that sets currents of change rolling? And so, ‘we’ joined hands; diverse in our attitudes, yet united in our vision. MRS. MADHURI PARTI- an educationist par excellence believes “stead fastness is quality of the soul, it is something which we unfold; never mind the failures, rise with fresh vigor and everything is conquered by the giant force of will'. RAHUL MUKHERJEE- the intrepid artist and logician, espouses an unconventional yet pragmatic approach towards all he does. ALISHA (17yrs), the perfectionist, analyzes and conjures uncommon facets of common perspectives. REWAN (16 yrs), the go- getter, doesn’t tread a beaten path but believes in leaving behind a blazing trail. SMRITI (13 yrs) the optimist feels, if you have hope you can see the invisible, feel the intangible and achieve the impossible. WISHAL (17yrs) the visionary, isn’t afraid to take a big step, for he says 'you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps' We shared the responsibility of developing concepts, conducting research and building our web-site and community in a manner as would ensure an optimum learning experience. Smriti role-played our English teacher with élan, framing reading schedules for each of us. Wishal had a tough time organizing meetings and ensuring that we kept pace with our deadlines. Alisha almost had her eyes turn red as she edited and re-edited the web-site content. There was all but envy for Rewan as he made certain each link worked correctly. While Rahul helped us set-up the community, it was our Principal, Mrs. Parti who guided and motivated us incessantly. There were challenges to meet and hurdles to overcome, yet what motivated us was the fact that ‘our cause’ was greater than ‘any differences’. ‘Doors to Diplomacy’ has provided us a platform to explore and express our innate abilities. We have sowed the dream of a glorious future and it is our faith that ‘it would’ crystallize into a reality. We have dared to dream… and why not?
2. Summary of Our Project
ALL THE WORLD IS BUT ONE yet how divided we stand today! And this division is our greatest weakness, threatening not only International Security but also the sustainability of our planet. The web of devastation goes on enlarging from violence, aggression and insurgency to terrorism and conventional wars. Ironically through, we often forget to look at the demons within….violence and aggression have become a part of our lives. There is a terrorist within each of us and while we think of external measures to fight the threats to International Security, we forget that “the most important of life’s battles is the one we fight in the silent chambers of the soul”. So let us learn to be at peace with ourselves; so that we can live in peaceful coexistence with each other. In our analysis of International Security we have adopted a twin-approach of ‘insight’ and ‘foresight’ –an insight into human aspirations, global realities and the roots of global security threats; the foresight of a world with enduring peace, security and stability; a world where mutual cooperation underlies diplomacy. This multi-dimensional approach assisted us in overcoming our prejudiced opinions on various issues; we were prompted to see the past as an inspiration and not for imitation, for continuity but not repetition. It instilled in us the hope of a tomorrow that ignites new life into every breath. We discovered how we as individuals can contribute to global peace and discovered novel ways to involve our community in this vision for a secure world. It is our firm belief that we can overcome all strife, meet all challenges and be the creators of our destiny...when our EFFORTS UNITE!
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:2-3
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dial-up modem
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):
Our School has pioneered in bringing the concept of multimedia aided education to classrooms. The school maintains “JIL” packages, which comprise clippings as well as textual tidbits related to the chapters. An assortment of videos from biological to theological and archaeological, have been made available. The most remarkable output generated from this package, has been the amalgamation of technology with regular coursework and the ease of adaptability shown by students and teachers alike.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Much has been said and written about International Security. Our primary challenge lay in bringing out hitherto unrevealed aspects of the issue and contributing in our own small ways to global peace. Our ‘Foresight-Insight Approach’ and a portal-based web-site seemed ideal for this. Also, we adopted the adage ‘Think Global, Act Local’ to involve our community in our efforts. Naming of the project: Different names were suggested ranging from Urdu to Roman semantics. Conclusion was brought through extensive research and with help of our coaches. India being a nation of diverse cultures, our members were exposed to dissimilar cultural backgrounds and even polar opinions in some cases. Our members are avidly involved in extracurricular activities as well as hold offices in the Students Council. With three of them having their crucial board exams filled our calendars with deadlines. Online Search Engines and hoards of results invalidate information. Minimal use of search engines was made to find our research material directly; instead we used them as indices leading to credible organizations and libraries. Getting interview appointments took a lot of negotiation. Consolidating our informational database took as much time as our site designing. Technical: Locating a long-term secure hosting service, which we managed to solve by setting up a dedicated dual Xeon server. We lost a lot of time trying to stay connected and completing ftp transfers. Setting up the database driven community was a major challenge. Walking the last mile was the toughest! Little extras add to make a big difference; encouraged by our coaches, we made sure we put in a LOT of the little extras.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
“The willow knows what the storm does not: the power to endure harm is greater than the power to inflict it.” Hatred reigns supreme as man seems to have embarked on a journey downhill. Isn’t it time we stare adversity in its face and overturn the saga of endurance into a saga of fortitude? Violence, terrorism, wars– threaten the security and sustainability of our world; and we are the biggest stakeholders in its consequences. It is imperative to free ourselves from the shackles of slumber and embrace the future in all its glory and splendor. So let us, LIVE IN PEACE, NOT IN PIECES!
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
We completed our project in four steps as per the Gantt chart or the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. Our web site content and layout were carefully planned on the basis of inputs from our School Counselor, military experts, eminent educationist, research scientists, a technical analyst and design students. Our aim was to broaden our own spectrum of thought and develop a website that is informative as well as interactive. We decided to involve not only a particular age group or stratum but also a cross-section of society. We used the C.B.S.E (Central Board of Secondary Education) curriculum as the ‘initiation point’ and from their on conducted extensive research by visiting libraries, interviewing experts, contacting NGO’s and net browsing. The prescribed C.B.S.E curricula for Sociology, History, Psychology, Political Science (grades 11-12), Social Science (grades 8-10) along with GCE ‘A’-Levels (History) were consulted. Our knowledge of Economics and Statistics assisted us in graphical analysis and surveys; while studying Computer Science and Informatics made us techno-savvy. As we furthered the base of our research, we enhanced skills of observation, interpretation, analysis and compilation along with the 3 R’s (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic). The Internet enables access to a plethora of information; however, we were careful in trusting only credible sources. As part of our endeavor to make our research scientific and bias-free, we employed innovative learning techniques and group skills such as brainstorming and peer-learning along with the principle of Kaizen or 'continuous improvement'. Audio-visual aids were used extensively and field-trips were organized to create a novel learning experience. We have thus, attempted to integrate and advance different perspectives as well as first hand research to not only further our understanding of global issues but also develop our capabilities and contribute to society. Our curriculum is framed to spark creativity and impart training in citizenship building. With the assistance of our teachers we have extended these objectives to be able to meet the challenges of the future with panache.
1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
We had access to the internet through our 64kbps line downs at home and two internet able workstations at school. Given our limitations of Internet connectivity, our coach converted his desktop into a local server running on apache and PHP to run a prototype of the website. We referred to various online sources regarding website concepts and finally chose the three tier system which was 'Front-end content', 'back-end community' and 'tertiary database' as our site-model.
The Front-end was designed specifically in HTML, JAVA, CSS and Flash without any database connections because we learnt of the potential 'hack ability' and short term life of putting content on a database driven environment. Even though we were on a firewall and anti-virus protected server environment online we didn't want to take any chances. The front-end was designed using Macromedia Studio 2004 and Adobe Suite for both hard coded scripts and graphic designing. The drop down navigation elements were constructed using CSS style sheets which two members of the team spent an extensive amount of time on, to learn.
The backend community was to be the heart of our website. Running on one of the top, open source mySQL based forum software’s called IPB2 (Invision power board 2) we spent months learning its internal functioning and completely remodeled the free software to our own needs. Everything on the community is constructed from open source PHP scripts at www.invisionize.com. IPB 2 operates on PHP 4, HTML, mySQL, JAVA, CSS, FLASH & language packs.
To hold users interests in the website for discuss the topics put in the front-end, we setup a fully modular portal, an internet links directory, a download center, an image gallery, a streaming audio jukebox for listening to peace-songs composed by the team. Ability to sketch in every post a member makes allows graphical representation of ideas and a quotes display which runs off the database filled with quotes was uploaded. A full Chat room completely integrated into the IPB database with log storage.
The tertiary database is a singular mySQL database.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and so, we involved the entire community not only as observers but as active participants. For this, we developed an online community and conducted various social projects. Questionnaires were floated online to involve people of all ages in our efforts. The information of the same was given to the 85 branches of Ryan and St. Xavier’s fraternity. Online forums and discussion were encouraged. E-mails were forwarded, inviting people to visit our web-site. A peace wall was marked in the school and a message chain was formed in our city. Advocates, students, rickshaw pullers, vendors- all voiced their concern for peace. We conducted workshops for underprivileged children so that they were not left untouched by this wave of optimism. Articles were printed in the school magazine, local dailies and national magazines. Banners illustrating our effort were put up in our city, thus giving us an instant repute. Our web-site address was printed on stationary bags to get more and more people to visit our web-site. A symposium ‘Advocating Peace’ was held and parents of the students were also invited. They participated with zest in the interjection round. This was followed by a highly interactive training session for Model United Nations. In order to mark the release of the hostages of flight IC 184 the Navigator of the said flight was invited to share his experiences on 31st December 2005. We interviewed and interacted with a galaxy of people to seek their opinions and further our cause. Perhaps the best reaction came from Mr. Howard Madnick from the U.S. Embassy 'I am convinced' he said 'that India is the country that will make the West take notice of itself, in the years to come.'
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Effortsunited.com is a part of the larger endeavor to prepare a 'blueprint for the future' and unite efforts towards making it a reality. 'BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTURE': We foresee a World free from the scourge of wars and terrorism; upholding and ensuring Equality, Liberty and Fraternity. It is our firm belief that 'Peace' is a choice the present generation has to make; the contribution of each individual is important. 'A HUMBLE BEGINNING': Our greatest achievement has been forging meaningful partnerships and strengthening intra and interpersonal relationships. We have chosen to be the thread that weaves the social fabric into a beautiful tapestry. Our web site has given the opportunity to people of all ages and all walks of life to express their opinion freely and exchange their views on global issues. Local students have not only benefited from our content and presentations but have begun to discuss peace initiatives and the ways of combating terrorism in our site forums and chat sessions. This has generated a student community which has become conscious of their role and perpetuated a spark to enthuse them to re-define a new world order of peace. Our web site has given an insight and exposure to both old and young and broadened their intellectual horizons. This has generated a atmosphere of optimism and be allowed them to be equal partners in contributing towards global harmony as individuals. While we do not claim a sea-change in our community, we have tried to make a difference. And we believe, that this is just a beginning...
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
'Our triumphs, our strife... Are all the same; Yet alone we stand today. Isn't it for you, for me? To write our own destiny! Sharing love and care with all; Gathering leaves before they fall.' And so we made a conscious effort to involve members from different walk of life in our project. We sought the feedback and insight of several members of varied age groups of our local community through questionnaires both on paper and on line. Our chat session, online forums and discussions involved the local student community. These members have offered their expertise in several ways including critiquing our content and using our website as a learning tool. In an attempts to authenticate our efforts experts outside the Local community were also interviewed. These included officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, Military bigwigs, displaced Kashmiris the navigator of the hijacked flight IC 814 and Ms. Shalini Dewan of UNIC. The student fraternity of 27 local schools formed a message chain for peace and students also wrote their messages on the peace wall. Our multidimensional approach was substantiated by these individuals whose contributions gave our efforts an impetus to achieve the intended goal. We extend our gratitude to all who readily involved themselves in our efforts for global harmony.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
“In the midst of winter, I finally discovered that within me there was an invincible summer.” Introspection and thoughtful insight helped us know ourselves better. Thus, the most fruitful part of our project lay in rediscovering our innate abilities. On the negative side, we came to face the paradox of history- distorted facts! Opposing sides perceive the same issue in different lights. Above all, we discovered the power of “united efforts” to lend the world a new hue.
View our CyberFair Project
(Project ID: 3676)