CyberFair Project ID: 3245

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Outside My Window - See Today, Touch Tomorrow
Category: 8. Local Music and Art Forms
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Evergreen Valley High School
    San Jose, California, United States

5 students, ages 14-15 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 1, 2004. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): N/A (first year)

Classes and Teachers: Mark Gross (coach), Jessica, Millie, Ela, Kathie, and Daniel

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Our Outside My Window Executive Team is composed of five students, who are all ages 14-15. Four of these students were elected by their peers based on personality and potential for leadership, and one was selected by our coach for his technical prowess and get-it-done attitude. The OMW Exec. Team has four departments. The head of Marketing is Jessica, who is responsible for leading the promotional and financial aspects of the organization. In Web Design and Development, Millie coordinates and upkeeps the website. Ela is in charge of our Affiliates department, which establishes and maintains our relationships. Kathie is our Director of Caused-Based Action, and she makes sure we are fulfilling our goal. Daniel is our chief programmer. All five students are constantly motivated to do well in their academic performance and participate in numerous extracurricular activities, such as this one. Our founder and coach is Mark Gross, who is also our school's International Relations teacher. His guidance and supervision is critical to our project's progress.

2. Summary of Our Project

Outside My Window is devoted to creating an international network by connecting people all over the world through pictures taken outside through their windows. By seeing the world through each other's windows, we hope to establish a bigger picture of understanding the similarities we have despite our different locations.

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:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

E) The OMW Exec.Team all have easy Internet access at home and our own e-mail addresses. At school, most of the classrooms are equipped with a class set of IBM laptops with T1 Internet connection.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Our biggest obstacle was getting the project off the ground. We had trouble establishing devoted affiliates and seeking financial support in order to promote our organization. Since we had numerous locations where Internet access was available, none of us had much technical difficulty. Being full-time high school freshmen, we were also busy with finals and beginning our high school careers.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Outside My Window - 'See Today, Touch Tomorrow' When Mr. Gross challenged us to change the world, we never thought we’d end up with an exciting web project that has attracted almost 3,000 visit and over 100 participants worldwide. This project is growing daily, and we hope in some small way we’ve helped people reach out and move the world toward a peaceful future. Our project connects people through real photographs, and soon, live forums. We are sharing our different cultures and environments around the world through these methods of communication. Through albums of photographs, we hope the community will establish the bigger picture: that although on the outside we may have different appearances, we're not so different from one another after all.

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

Through Outside My Window, we learned new skills and even fulfilled some curriculum standards while we were at it. We fulfilled the NCSS Thematic Standard IX: Global Connections in our process of establishing local and international affiliates for our project. We learned how to build web pages, recruit people to participate in a project, and about the cultures and countries of the people involved. Since we’re in an International Relations class, this project perfectly fits the curriculum requirements. Through our hard work, we learned more than just cooperation, teamwork, and communication. We learned how to create and manage our resources (i.e. money budgeting, website software) and all of the processes needed when running a small, non-profit organization. Our newly-acquired skills include time management, coordinating fundraisers, creating and meeting deadlines, and the correct way to delegate. After all, as our coach says, 'Delegate, delegate, DELEGATE!'

Project Elements

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

For our project, technology was the key component.

Computer and Internet Access - We used the computer and the web in many ways. We had to use e-mail to maintain our relationships with various affiliates and create new ones. We needed the Internet to search for grants and services to start and fund our organization. It was also a means of 'advertising' since we created a project website to get the word out.

Cameras and Scanners - We needed digital cameras and scanners in order to acquire pictures for our Outside My Window theme. Digital pictures were preferred because you can easily access them via the computer, but if that was not possible, scanners were handy to put them onto the computer.

Website Software - We used a templated package as the basic framework for our site, and customized it to our needs. We used other free tools, like web forums, to expand the services we offer (and maybe some software such as Paint Shop Pro 8 and SmartFTP).

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

In order to make Outside My Window a success, we had to repeatedly talk to numerous people about our project. We acted as ambassadors by spreading awareness of our cause in description verbally and in e-mail. Once, our participation efforts led a grant worker from the PacBell network to our classroom. We acted as ambassadors by giving informational briefs about our project. She was impressed by our will and constant involvement. Another instance was the time we tried to hook affiliates by posting our project on the IEARN network (a network linking projects from all around the globe) at We received many replies from participants and leaders. Each of us took on different replies and we had to introduce ourselves and represent our organization. We had to keep in mind the location and culture gap between our readers in order to avoid any misunderstanding.

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

We want the community to look through our photo albums and mentally analyze the differences between the views through the windows. They will see that the views are not very different, and that as people we live in almost similar environments and are not very different from each other. Photographs are an effective and interesting method of capturing people's attention and helping them to understand the world. We hope to act as a resource to connect people internationally.

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

To construct the album for Outside My Window, we needed people to take pictures and send them in. Through e-mail, we hooked many participants locally and internationally. Our current album reflects the diverse audience we have attracted. Some participants include citizens from Egypt, Nigeria, Canada, England, and France. We have attracted participants mainly by word, e-mail, and our website, Please take a picture and participate!

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Although heading and starting an organization can be a pretty boring, grueling, and straightforward process, we managed to have a few interesting situations in the course of our emergence. During our first fundraiser, we decided to sell candy and snacks at school to make money. Little did we know that we needed to get an OK from our school's ICC (Inter Club Council) to sign up for a fundraising week. We weren't an official school club, just an emerging, low-key organization. After only two days of selling, one of our members from leadership told us that the ICC and Leadership Classes were onto us; we were 'illegally' selling candy. Our principal, Ms. Edwards, called our founder/president/teacher Mr. Gross we apologized for our misunderstanding. Despite our 'rule-breaking' incident, we managed to make over $100 for Outside My Window to use on promoting, professional website upkeep/design, and other things.

We learned how hard it is to delegate, how powerful the Internet is as a networking tool, how much time it takes to get things going, and how exciting it can be to be involved at the start of a great idea.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3245)

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