CyberFair Project ID: 3720

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Space - The World We Live In
Category: 4. Local Specialties

School: Costache Negruzzi College
    Iasi, Iasi, Romania

3 students, ages 18, 16, 18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 18, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): (none)

Classes and Teachers: Miron Lucia, Lucian, Lucian, Stefan

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

When we started this project, we knew the other members of our current team from numerous projects that each of us took part in, but in different teams. Although we had previous discussions about us working together in a project, we were waiting for the right opportunity. The 'Doors to Diplomacy' project offered us the perfect chance, as we are all interested in broadening our knowledge horizons, and we have a common passion for science. Despite the fact that each of us was an experienced individual in a certain field, we did not exactly know how we would behave as a team. Fortunately, we discovered that our previous experiences in other teams were very helpful, giving us a great flexibility in accepting new ideas, as well as providing us with the right 'tools' for sharing our own ideas and opinions with the other team members.

Lucian, 18: Having a rich experience in website design as well as in building database web applications, he participated in numerous website creation projects. He is also the high-school’s webmaster, and built a dynamic content administration system for our high-school's site. Despite this, his interests spread from philosophy to physics and computer sciences. His main role in the project was designing and building the site.

Stefan, 18: Being oriented towards computer programming, his experience in managing large projects and systematically organizing data proved priceless. His main role in the project was information research and organizing for an easier understanding of the presented ideas and concepts. He is also a member of the administration team for the high-school's site.

Lucian,16: Having previously taken part in projects related to space (his team won The NASA International Space Station Contest, last year), an thus being able to use his experience and in-depth knowledge in the field, his main role in the project was the creation of content, sharing with us educated guesses about what could happen next in space exploration.

Adult coach: Lucia Miron (computer science teacher): Our coach has guided us through the stages of the project's development, sharing her experience in pupil education, helping us to accomplish the educational purposes of the project (reaching out to pupils and individuals all over the world). We also thank her for the moral support she offered to us when we needed it most.

2. Summary of Our Project

Space has always fascinated the human mind and therefore its exploration is one of the few domains in which different nations work together for achieving common goals. We would like to present through this project what has been done so far in this field, what were the problems and what could be expected from the future. It is important to make the people (and especially the young generations) realize that a better understanding of the world we live in cannot be the goal of a single country, and not even the purpose of a group of countries, but the goal of humanity as a whole. We think there is a valuable lesson to be learned form here: despite the fact that we are different individuals, we share a common background and the need to find out who we are is present no matter the sex, race, nationality or religion. In addition, we offer a possible solution to help educating people in the spirit of this idea. Our answer is simple: communication. This is why we have integrated in our project's site a forum: freely expressing our opinions, and reading other people’s comments in the same time helps us formulate an image about the world around that is dominated by ideas like collaboration and understanding.

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:1

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

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):

Despite the fact that we only have one workstation in our classroom, we had full access to our high-school's computer science laboratory, with more than 50 workstations, with internet access. This allowed us to work better as a team, freely communicating with the other team members, from remote locations.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Although we did not know each other for a long time, our extended experience in working in different teams helped us to reduce the time needed for getting to work as a whole. Despite this, we always find accommodating in a new team challenging, and every challenge implies that at times you must find ways to overcome the different problems that appear, also considering the strict deadlines that the project enforces. We passed through numerous ups and downs: there were periods of time when the project almost built itself, but there were also times when we were almost stuck, or couldn't find enough free time to work on it. We generally overcame all the problems by having long meetings in which the main goal was establishing our priorities and selecting the content. We realized that through brainstorming sessions that allowed us to easily share our own thoughts and views with our teammates. The moral support offered by our adult coach was also very helpful. However, the problems did not come only from within the team. In fact, the most difficulties we encountered came from 'outside'. Getting all the permissions needed to publish different copyrighted materials that are present on our site (images, descriptions) was truly difficult. Finally, we managed, but a considerable amount of time and effort was necessary. In conclusion, a tremendous amount of work was needed to bring this project to its completion, and finalizing it in time, considering our busy school schedule.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

A collective work in understanding what human kind has done in such a short period of time and the sacrifices it imposed, realizing the long and troublesome road ahead of us in the conquering of Space.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Although the project content has little to do with the school coursework and curriculum, there were some issues we discussed about with our adult coach and our classmates, reaching the conclusion that space should be studied at a higher lever and from early age in order to better understand its marvelous aspects it implies and what could be done to overcome difficulties in discovering the mysteries it holds.

By building this project we realized that both Physics and English Language classes were very helpful in understanding the nature of Space and its phenomenon and explaining it to others in an elegant form. We also used the social skills learnt at school in order to overcome the difficulties within the team mentioned before, by always thinking one step ahead, acting as mature people with common interests. Communication within our team was crucial, discussing about all the aspects of the project, following the saying: every opinion matters in the same amount.

The Internet played a huge role in this project: the material we have gathered from sites scattered all across the world would have been impossible in a such short amount of time using traditional methods, mainly because the small interest shown towards Space discovery in our country. We also use the Internet to e-mail people for advices, opinions and asking for permission to use material (images, data and ideas) included within our site.

We hope that our web site will extend the curriculum on which our educational system is based, reaching out to all students around the world who would like to know more about Space, explained in a way that is easy even for younger users to understand, with visual stimuli and easily accessible menus and links for further documentation.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

Being constructed as a web page, the result of our project makes use of many tools and technologies that allowed us to build the web page. Anyway, the main focus of our project was not just building a web site. We also have a great interest in the content that was published, and hope that it will have a great impact on our visitors. As a consequence, we made use of numerous books, newspapers and website articles that we could find. A detailed list of those articles may be found in our biography section, but we could also mention the NASA space magazine as a source that helped us in forming an overall image about the possible future of the space exploration.

Technical Details:

The building of our project was done on numerous workstations connected to the internet, at home and at school, so we choused to place all our work on a local server, and use the CVS version control system, that allowed us to work in the same time on different parts of the project, without being afraid that we would change what someone else just did, and that everyone has access to the latest version of the project. Although we place great emphasis on direct communication, we also had about 4 teleconferencing sessions, at times when a 'real' meeting was not possible. So, we made sure that we stay in touch at all times, taking all decisions with everybody’s' agreement. Each one of us has at home a computer connected to internet, and we also used two laptops with webcams. For some of our project's media elements we made use of a digital handy cam, as well as two scanners (for printed images). As for computer software, we used the trial versions of the professional tools from Macromedia and Adobe (Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, and Photoshop), with which we were familiar from other projects. Anyway, we also used advanced freely available technologies for delivering our user database-oriented elements (the dictionary search): php, mysql, and the apache web server. Various instant messaging and teleconferencing software was used to meet our communication needs over the internet.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Although we had very little time to promote our site in our community and worldwide, the feedback we got from our colleagues, as well as from various visitors, was highly positive, and encouraged us to think that we could make a difference in helping people realize that we can find things (and space exploration is one of them) that can bring us together, and that those are more important than the differences that separate us. By doing this, we fully assumed an ambassador role, promoting new ideas, contributing to the education process, or differently said, rising the peoples awareness to the world around them. Besides the actual data and information the project includes, an important part of it is the forum on which each visitor can express his/hers opinions, or share their own knowledge to the community. This is the way we understand to keep this site actual, and continue to bring people together, creating a place for them to develop as members of the community.

We are very enthusiastic about us being able to help others in all ways that is possible. Future plans include developing a monthly electronic newsletter, where people that write articles on the forum may publish them beside articles from professionals in the field, and make them available to all our visitors. Of course, we remain opened to new ideas and we will try to apply the ones that we find best.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

It was a really great sensation when the first users visited our site and wrote their opinions about both our web site design and its content. Their thoughts helped us in realizing that we had achieved our goal of bringing Space closer to its inhabitants, thus making its discovery and understanding more straightforwardly. We had the opportunity of showing our web site and the ideas it holds to our teachers in a short presentation at school. Although most of them were doubtful about the presentation, they were awed by it, asking questions and promising to later on talk about it in their classes.

Our families were probably the project’s biggest fans, always trying to help us, mostly giving us moral advices (because they are not keen on technology as we are). Although it is little in comparison with their help, we would like to thank them for their support and understanding.

We want our site to become a benchmark both by its content and by its design, providing up-to-date information for those who wish to learn more about this issue. Our web site includes a forum open for everyone who wishes to express itself about Space issues (like colonization, space travel and thoughts about the past and the future of space).

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Many people shared with us their knowledge to make this project reach its current form. We would like to warmly thank them for all their pieces of advice. Despite the fact that some of our team members have experience in building and designing complex websites, (and therefore did not require much help in building the web pages), we found very useful the ideas of our coach, Ms. Lucia Miron (computer science teacher), as well as her continuous moral support. We would like to thank her very much, and we would also like to thank our physics teacher for the scientific guidance she offered (with our content we also extend the physics school curriculum).

A big thanks goes to people at NASA for allowing us to use some images from their huge image database along with detailed descriptions. This is also true for, who accepted us to use some of their images. However, the list does not end here! We should not forget that our aim is creating a community oriented towards mutual acceptance. Therefore, we also thank everybody that submitted entries on the forum or suggested us how we could make the site better. They are the ones that could really set things in motion.

Finally, we would also like to thank our families for the great support they offered us in completing this project. Without them we don't think we could have managed.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

As I have said before, probably the most exciting and interesting discovery we made was the great impact and feedback we got from the ones who visited the web site, from our families to the most severe critics, our teachers and people who don’t have any interest in this subject. This contest has also provided us with the opportunity of expressing our thoughts on this wonderful and vast subject to others across the world, being able to receive answers and thoughts that can solve some of our questions.

We also found a great deal of information about space on the web sites mentioned in the biography page, and mainly and This shows the great power of the Internet, and its impact on all communities around the world.

We hope that our web site will stay online as long as possible to provide additional information for people interested in space discovery and the future of space, hoping that these ideas will be of use for future generations to come.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3720)

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