1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?
We have used numerous tools and I.T. to complete this project. These are listed below: - Adobe Dream Weaver Software - Website coding help from online communities - Laptops - Books from various Libraries - Information & Images from the Internet - Newspaper Articles - Videos from YouTube.com - Our School's Economic Notes - Interviews of leading diplomat in Singapore These information tools and technologies have helped us a great deal, without which we would not have been able to complete our website so easily and successfully. They provided us invaluable information and sources, and also softwares that help us reduce time and energy in creating our own website packages. The tools are mostly located at the Internet, such as softwares, which are downloaded from the Internet. There are other instances such as books, which are located not at the Internet, but rather at public libraries. We made us of commonly available tools to assist in building a lesson package for all. The most valuable, but also “invaluable” tool, is undoubtedly the Internet! It has a vast or rather an unceasing collection of various kinds of information, by just typing in the keyword of our search in Google.com or Yahoo.com, various kinds of information that we desired immediately popped up in front of our eyes, we can even spend days browsing through the heaps of information. Sometime, we even found information that we did not knew exist or that are essential to our project which we had missed out. Thus, it is true to say no modern man can live on happily with his life without his Internet. The most helpful technology we used is probably the Adobe Dream Weaver Software, which arguably helps us the most, there is never an easier or faster way to create a website, which is the main component of this competition. Interviews with leading diplomats also helped, providing us with a different perspective to embark on the project.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.
We while on the Internet, would spread the message through various social media platforms like FACEBOOK, MSN, etc., and also encourage friends and relatives to visit our site to learn more about our project. With the creation of the website, spreading the massage came to a whole new level, thanks to the advancing technology; people can easily view our website package and benefit from them. However, we do not just sit and wait for people to approach our website, we also take the initiative to advertise our website through “word of mouth”, Facebook, and by publicising it on our school's message board. In actual person, we can provide alternative view points about Trade and Aid to those around us. As ambassadors, it is our duty to inform the masses on the importance of trade and aid. We feel that even though conveying the message through the Internet is a convenient and easy way, telling the public the actual story face-to-face can serve a lot of purpose. First of all, it is the fact that when you tell them in person rather through the Internet, the personal touch is present, and they would probably remember what you said and do them due to influential reasons in the speech. Secondly, it is the accuracy of conveying the massage, spreading the message personally can be more accurate than saying it on the Internet, people tend to understand further and will take in more of what you said in person than on the Internet. We have also set up an online forum, to get people engaged in deep discussion and critical thinking. People will have their freedom of speech, they can provide suggestions or state their queries, and this will also help raise awareness among the public as an ambassador in diplomacy.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Our project has helped to start people thinking, and encouraged them to express their views on the controversial topic of foreign trade and aid. This project makes a difference as it ignites a discussion over a topic that is prominent, but always ambiguous and taken for granted.
Students are able to benefit as they are able to formulate new views on these current affairs issues, and obtain a more dynamic and global perspective.
People in the Singapore community, or more importantly students, have learnt much on the economics and policies that run the world through our website. They are able to use our website to gain an extensive and detailed analysis of Singapore’s trade and economics, as well as learn and explore the differences between foreign trade and aid. In a sense, people in the community are able to broaden their minds and develop critical thinking skills as they think and discuss on major global issues, instilling a sense of awareness in the local community. While our website has not reached out to the entire global community, we have successfully interviewed prominent global leaders in this field, one of them being Professor Tommy Koh.
Students aside, we have also received strong participation from working adults. Teachers and parents, have been engaged by our website. They too are able to learn and gain new insight into this global issue, and actively raise suggestions to complement our website’s relevance. Being older and more experienced, they are able to offer a different perspective compared to students, a view more of experience, which provides a diverse and rich contrast to those provided by students.
Our website has received feedback that though it is factual and visually attractive. We intend to improve it furthur by introducing more interactive games and videos gradually.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
Our schoolmates, friends (virtual and life) have been the main volunteers and helpers for our project. Our friends have sincerely and selflessly dedicated themselves to helps us advertise and promote our project website. Some send e-mails to their friends and relative promoting our website package and encouraging them to visit our project website, while others tried through the “word of mouth” to convey our project aim and objective, and also encouraged others to view our website. Their selfless help and effort goes a long way, as many had send feedbacks to our e-mail about our website and commenting that it was an excellent job well done and how helpful and productive it was to them and the community, some even encouraged us to go on and continue to strive for greater heights. Most sent their best regards and wished us good luck in winning the competition. This was a significant emotional and mental boost for our project group, as we are deeply encouraged and touched by their efforts. Additionally, some even engaged in heated discussions on our facebook forums, letting known our presence to a wider audience. So in conclusion, our students had both physically and mentally supported and helped us in our project.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
Throughout this fruitful competition project journey, we have gained a lot of experiences and knowledge, not to mention surprises all along. We have learned and understood more about trade and aid, and are able to look at it from different perspective.This shows that this project not only benefit others, but mostly benefit ourselves as learning students. Before this project,we were ignorant about how economics had a role in diplomacy. We thought that diplomacy was a responsibility reserved only for global leaders. However, through this project, we learnt that diplomacy is actually everyone's responsibility and students like us can play an important role too. Hence, we made this Internet resource to feature our findings, especially applying to the context of Singapore, our small but proud country. Trade VS Aid has always been a subject that aroused debates, and yet unclear among common citizens like us, and we find it unexplainable and hard to believe why governments are engaging in such activities, at times disadvantageous to some. Thus it was a breakthrough for us to understand the in-depth reason of the operation of world economics and aid, and this project has brought us unfound knowledge in the past. Therefore, we are very glad to have this project chance and experience. We definitely appreciated this invaluable opportunity and tried our best in it.