CyberFair Project ID: 3285

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Aid: Helpful or Harmful?
Category: 3. Business and Community Organizations
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Fryeburg Academy
    Fryeburg, ME, USA

3 students, ages 17,18,19 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 19, 2004. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2004

Classes and Teachers: Barbara Douglass, Naazma, Sarunas, Yen

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

It was the start of our second semester, when most seniors like us would rather take time off intensive learning and get away with slacking off. We took American Studies, which was said to be an easy class with not much work. A week in efficiently slacking off, Ms Douglass discovered the Doors to Diplomacy link that ended our senioritis. “This would be fun and very interesting. Are any of you interested in taking up the challenge?” Sure, we mumbled, ignorant to the hard work and effort needed to put this project together. We spent a week in February breezing through the winning projects on the Doors to Diplomacy website, brainstorming issues that we had some sort of handle on. Our team is diverse in both culture and areas of interest. Sarunas from Lithuania is the tech whiz who thinks economics and trade can open doors to good foreign relations. Yen is the hardworking researcher from Vietnam who leans more into science and technology as a way to bring the world closer. Naazma from India is the writer who has an interest in history and culture as a way to make countries more open-minded and understanding toward each other.

2. Summary of Our Project

On this project, we investigated the benefit and the detriment of foreign aid. Each member of our group inspected his/her own country to get the overall aspect about this. I gathered Vietnam information. Concentrating in USAID program, I have looked over all the process and the results that Vietnam got after receiving the aid and drew my opinion on the program. Having done many studies about India, Naazma thinks that foreign aid helps to improve the standard of living but doesn’t help much for her country’s economy. Sarunas tried to determine if UN and USAID are actually helpful or harmful to his country, Lithuania. After periods of working, we all sat and discussed together our attitudes about the foreign help given to less developed countries. From all these, we found general perspectives about the issue and posted these in our final webpages.

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:more than 6

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

All computers are on the school network with firewalls. The Internet access works as well as predictions of New England weather. Often we couldn’t Google or read Acrobat files that contained important information.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The members of our team are part of a boarding school community. It was difficult t get this project up and running. Having started so late, we had to have our whole schedule revolve around “Doors”. Our Internet connection was one problem because the only good one is in the library which isn’t always open. We researched using books, but it wasn’t time efficient and time has been the biggest obstacle we had to overcome. We had to fake earlier deadlines to create a stressful environment and have the pressure of reaching our deadline make us work harder. Another obstacle was the survey/interview section. We live in the middle of nowhere, Maine, and dorm students are the only diverse community in Fryeburg. We had no officials to interview. We also tried to contact our Internet sources but couldn’t reach them, or else got a form email that our request would be answered but at this time, we haven’t heard. (Naazma)

5. Our Project Sound Bite

The immensity of the project impressed me. My international peers and I have a chance to know more about our own country and the world. I was very surprised at the different opinions each of us has; the diverse opinions gave us chances to analyze information from different aspects. Working with the group, it’s tremendous when we bring our own experiences to the world table to discuss. (Yen)

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

The State of Maine has six standards under which course standards are grouped. The Doors to Diplomacy project seemed tailor made for each standard. Students are to become  Effective communicators  Self-directed learners  Problem-solvers  Responsible citizens  Collaborative workers  Informed thinkers

An important social studies content area standard that was fully met is “Develop and defend a position on a public policy issue within our democracy.” American foreign aid is a vitally important policy issue. We looked into the big picture and then looked at its application in three nations. ( )

Project Elements

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

Our project had to have the latest and most accurate information. We accomplished that by using the Internet and books in our school library. We have 20 new computers with a T1 connection so we did not have a lot of trouble getting on line. However, the dorm and classroom computers were very slow and unreliable. Our disks got erased a couple of times. We could not do any oral interviews because we are in a boarding school and the town the school is in is very small. Besides, people don’t know much about the countries that we wanted to investigate. (Sarunas)

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

Outside of the classroom, we’ve interacted mostly with the librarians. We’ve contacted social studies teachers and offered to present our project. They welcomed the idea enthusiastically. We plan to contact the middle school which is part of Maine’s laptops for schools plan and is especially interested in web based projects. The school website will have a link to our webpage in a pop-up window which highlights the latest news and activities.

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

We’ve been working to finish, and until now our project has been contained within the school. We look forward to sharing it by contacting service organizations like Rotary and Kiwanis. Our teacher will take it to the spring conference of Northern New England Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages to present an example of learning by doing, teamwork, and using technology. After March 20, we will write press releases for our local papers and for the school’s publications.

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

Because our topic is foreign aid and focused on Lithuania, India, and Vietnam, there wasn’t much other members of the community added on the research side. On the technology side, both Sarunas and Naazma are good at computers. We had a crisis when we found we couldn’t use the school’s website but Sarunas came through by contacting his sister who is letting us use her site. He has done all the web work.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Now we know we should have started sooner. Now we know we should have picked a different category, given our location. Art and culture or health and the environment have more resources. Now we know each other a lot better!


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3285)

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