1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?
We used a great variety of software and informational tools to help create our site. We all have a Dell PC at home and communicate with each other via email, Facebook messaging, and during breaks at school. Social Networking services such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook were especially useful in attracting all kinds of visitors to our site. An iPhone 3GS was used to take the individual and group photos for the use in our team web page and a popular iPhone app, Talking Tom, was incorporated to make the introduction video more interesting. Our website was created with Adobe Flash Player 10, Wix website builder, and Macromedia Flash 8. These software programs helped us add animation and special effects to our website. Online databases and libraries helped us collect research for our project. Incorporating technology into our website was crucial to making our site as lively and user friendly as possible.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.
We have acted as ambassadors by inviting all our friends to visit our website and make comments about their impression of our site and describe their involvement in the community. They are also free to invite their own friends to visit our site. Our website is very user friendly and brings a warm welcome to visitors. With soothing background music and a colorful display, the visitors quickly become excited for the cause and want to give something back in return to the community. They have contacted us with any questions they may have through our contact form, which sends an instant message to our team members via email. To encourage and promote discussion between fellow community members, we have created comment forum and discussion boards on Facebook and Twitter. So far, more than two hundred people have visited our site (using a statistic web counter). Many people are very supportive of what we are doing, and the enthusiasm of our visitors can be seen from their comments on our site. A comment from one of our visitors, Emily Jacoby, (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) says: 'I am thoroughly impressed by this site! It's nice to see that you guys are trying to have such a positive impact on our community- you're totally right when you say that we are so fortunate to be where we are right now, with money and food and great school and the like. It's great to see that us teenagers care, I don’t think enough of our peers realized that we are just so better off than a lot of people right now. Keep up the great work! :)'.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Our website informs visitors the concept of charity, introduces internationally known charity organizations, describes how we can easily help other people, organizations or communities. In our school, our team has explained how each student can help the world by providing donations or volunteering services. Our project has really made a difference after it was made public. On Friday, March 11th, Japan was hit by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. The magnitude-8.9 quake spawned a deadly tsunami that slammed into the nation's east coast, leaving a huge swath of devastation in its wake. Hundreds of people are dead and many more are still missing or injured. We immediately updated our webpage and added a special 'Help Japan' button and helped direct people where to send their donations according to the charities information we've provided. There have been quick responses from people in our community, saying our project is really important and timely. Miss Alexa Kniley from Australia also wrote to tell us via internet that we did a good job.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
We know there is an outstanding Boy Scouts leader in our community who has been generous in volunteering his services for quite a number of years although he is only 15 years old now. We asked him to write his stories and publish it with his permission on our web page under the heading of Community Involvement. He says he likes our project and recommended it to his Facebook friends.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
The lesson we've learned is that you should never be intimidated by a seemingly gigantic project. If you believe you are doing the right thing, you can achieve it with a strong will and through perseverance despite all kinds of obstacles you might have to surmount. We were surprised that we have received so much support from our school, our community, and around the world. Specifically, we learned a great deal about the importance of charity and how to call on people to make contributions. To reach out to people-in-need really helps open the doors to diplomacy.