1. Description of Our Team
We are Trang and Hanh. We are both 17 years old. We joined together to do this project because we want to introduce our country to the world, especially to the United States, which our country have had special relations with since the past. It's interesting that we know your site and competition when we have been taking part in IREX's Global Connections & Exchange (GCE) Program's Online Projects in Vietnam. While building our website for this competition, we divided up all of the different jobs as follows: We first together outlined what the website would look like and what the content would be about. Hanh had to read the chosen books in Vietnamese and select necessary information about Viet nam history, and introduction of Vietnam; then, both of us translated the information into English - it's hard work for Vietnamese students! Trang worked as a story historian, but her main jobs are collecting more information on the internet, illustrative pictures and video clips, designing the web page layout, editing images and video, and extracting information and images from the CD-Rom. She has a computer at home and has basic computer skills to be able to do such things, and when she was tired she guided Hanh to do her work. We have known this competition so late, so we had only about two weeks to do everything. This is the first time we have participated in such an online competition, but with the enthusiastic support of Mr Hung, our great teacher, we have been able to do great things. He is a teacher of English and also extremely good at using computer software, which seems our advantages. We also got consultation from Mrs Hang for history and Mrs Hanh for Geography.
2. Summary of Our Project
We are young, so we may not know well about the word or term 'diplomacy', but we have bravely made this website to get more contact with the outside worlds, to exchange information and culture. Our website introduces you to Vietnam in general and the special relations with the United States, a powerful country that has great impact on the globe. Our country and the US were ever enemies, but, maybe through our website you can know, now the two countries have been friends. We, people of young generation, are extremely happy to see this, and during the process of our website design we have known better about the relations of the two nations. We may have collected and shared sensitive information, but we don't have any intention of making anyone angry and we truly do not expect such a thing to happen. Through the website, peole may learn more about Vietnam in the past and at present, so we might make more mutual understanding between Vietnam and other countries, which we consider diplomacy. The other thing we also suppose to be diplomacy is the good development in diplomatic relations of Vietnam and the United States, which has helped Vietnam a lot in recent years. Young generation of Vietnam may enjoy the aid and assistance without much looking back on the past. We do not live on it, but on the present time and look on the bright side and also look forward to a bright future. We made this website (http://www.wix.com/hunggcevn/vietnam-a-popular-destination) to compete with others', but also to introduce it to our US partners that we get acquainted when we joined the online projects of the GCE Program in Vietnam. We need mutual understanding and in our young minds, that's diplomacy.
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:1
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:not sure
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Trang has her own computer at home, but Hanh doesn't. In the school, we almost only get access to the internet when we have practice lessons of information technology. We rarely go to public internet sites because we do not have money available and also because we have to spend most of our time studying at school. We now can surf the Web more after joining the GCE Program.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
The first difficulty we had was the time for creating the website. We first knew this competition only about three weeks before the deadline after the country coordinator of the GCE Program informed us. We really do not have much free time, but in the end we decided to join it in the first week of March. As a result, we had about two weeks to complete the website. We had to ask the school for free time in the afternoons to solve this problem. Therefore, we had first necessary conditions. The second barrier was that we had to translate the selected Vietnamese information into English. It is not our regular work, but with the support of Google Translate, online dictionaries and especially with Mr Hung's support, we think we got relatively good translation. The third difficulty was that it was extremely hard to find documentation (visual, textual, or auditory) of Vietnam culture in the past years. However, happiness suddenly came up to us when Mr Hung told that he had a CD-Rom one of his US friends gave him that might have illustrating images. He found it in his pile of CDs, which made all of us glad. However, another barrier was coming. The other obstacles we faced were how to use some pieces of software to extract images from the CD-rom, to spit and join video clips, to edit images. Trang had basic computer skills and with Mr Hung's assistance, everything went smoothly. We used some useful pieces of software that he recommended to solve the problem.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
We have learnt how to prepare carefully for a project, what it means to investigate a topic, how to use some kinds of software for our specific purposes, how important the collaboration was. Doors to Diplomacy has helped the students broaden their knowledge about the world around them, know that two heads are better than one.
6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Because our website deals with Arts and Culture, it strives to present some facts about history and geography from coursebooks and reference books with content standards. We try to convey the truth to readers all over the world and we are willing to answer any questions from them, and to edit any content that may consider to be not suitable from the moderator. The project fit into required country curriculum guidelines in that it demanded 21st century competencies in informaion technology—we had to master the use of information, media and technology so that we could properly communicate with others, integrate information technology into teaching, create online or offline electric lesson plans. We have learnt more skills in outlining a website, using helpful online tools, and getting to know the use of some types of software. We learned how to work well with each other and to split up work according to our strengths. Moreover, we also came to better understand the meanings of culture and history, and the power of the Internet as a channel through which to share culture and show diplomacy. We saw that there are facts and events that are not frequently updated in our educational system, so to some extent using the Internet for teaching and learning has been more effective than traditional methods. When creating a website for teaching something specific, we can introduce the readers to so many kinds of information which are textual, visual, auditory. There is an enormous amount of useful information on the Internet which can be selected and prepared for teaching. Thanks to Doors to Diplomacy, we got more opportunities to surf the web and knew more useful websites and so we naturally learnt a lot of things without a teacher.