1. Description of Our Team
Our project was created by our team, which consists of Jamie, Dustin, and Jordan, all age 13. Our coaches were Mrs. Lupton and Mrs. Taylor. We divided the jobs up as follows – Jamie made the comparison between Lincoln and Obama, Dustin created the biography, and Jordan analyzed the prominent leadership traits of President Obama. We have known each other for many years, and we know that we can work well together. Since we all supported Mr. Obama’s campaign for president and have all been interested in leadership it was a naturally intriguing topic. Mrs. Lupton has been supportive of our education and enrichment activities for four years, and has always been there to advise and assist us with numerous aspects of our project. Mrs. Taylor introduced and oriented us to the web site creator, Weebly.com, and provided essential help with the technical components of our project.
2. Summary of Our Project
Our project, “Barack Obama: The Life, the Journey, and the Diplomatic Ideals of the 44th President of the United States”, contains a biography of the President’s life, an analysis of the prominent leadership traits that he possesses, and a detailed comparison of Mr. Obama’s leadership style to that of another exemplary leader in America’s history, Abraham Lincoln.
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:4-6
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 only two challenges that we faced during our Doors to Diplomacy project. First, we were under an extreme time crunch, in which we only had approximately three weeks to create our website. This occurred because the decision to participate in this learning opportunity was made only a few weeks before the deadline. We dealt with this issue by using some class time to work on our project, even though this program is not compatible with our school curriculum. In addition, we decided to use a very simple website maker, Weebly.com. Our original plan was to use a more complex, but time-consuming website builder. Weebly was a difficult program to use also because did not have the functionality necessary for us to do some detailed fine-tuning procedures that we would have liked to use.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
We predict that Doors to Diplomacy has and will mean a great deal to our school in the coming years. Our teachers were excited that we were involved in a collaborative web project, and checked in on our progress. We are among the students in the first group ever to participate in a project like this, so we are sometimes called the ‘guinea pigs’ for Doors to Diplomacy for our school district. Students from our school district will have a more enriching experience in this program in the future because of our current participation. We will try to start this program in high school next year, because we believe that this program raises awareness about international affairs and diplomacy.
6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Unfortunately, Doors to Diplomacy was not included in our classroom curriculum, so it was considered an extracurricular activity by our teachers. Almost all of the time that we invested in our project was our own personal time. A valuable skill that we gained from investing time in this project was how to operate the website creation tool, Weebly. Although it is simple, it is also highly functional, and was the only tool that our school district would approve on short notice. Hopefully our participation will help future participants in getting more advanced tools and software approved. Additionally, the act of working with our group itself required the traits that we discussed in our project, namely diplomacy. We negotiated and brainstormed, coordinated and edited each others work giving pertinent feedback. It was truly educational. Our school has participated in National History Day (NHD) for 14 years. NHD is a free-form research-based history project that was part of our classroom curriculum. Due to economic reasons, we were forced to eliminate NHD as an enrichment opportunity. Doors to Diplomacy was a wonderful substitution for NHD, with the additional advantage of being a web-based program.