CyberFair Project ID: 3392

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Spreading Democracy Around the Globe
Category: 2. Community Groups and Special Populations
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Florida Virtual School
    Orlando , Florida, USA

5 students, ages 16-18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 20, 2004. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2003, 2004

Classes and Teachers: Mrs. Debbie Adams, Mrs. Ashley Carbone, Chelsey, Jose, Michael, Steffie, and Tiffany

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

We have a very interesting team for our Doors to Diplomacy project. Since we are a virtual high school, all of our team members meet over the internet! We got involved in this project through an offer that our teacher, Mrs. Adams, made to the class members. She allowed 10 students (we formed two teams) to sign up for the project. Little did we realize at the time what an amazing project we were getting ourselves into! So, once we formed our team and chose our topic, we started working together over the many miles to create our project. We held chats at regular times during the week to discuss our progress, and collaborate on certain elements of the project. Chelsey (age 16) was the captain of our team, and she organized most of the meetings and the basic structure of our project. She also helped with the human rights research, and organized the survey. Jose (age 18) was our website designer, who made the coolest pages for our project. He also did all of the research for judicial reform, and typed up the citations. Michael (age 18) had some great ideas for our fair elections research, so we put him in charge of that. Steffie (age 17) and Tiffany (age 16) were our troopers, who took up the slack in all of the areas where we needed help. They did research in fair elections and most of the research in human rights, as well as obtaining the pictures for our site. Kudos to them for their wonderful work! Our teacher was Mrs. Debbie Adams. She was a critical part of our team, because she guided us through our project, and helped us through the tough parts. She also helped us get our survey out to our classmates. Everyone played such an important role in our project, and we made such a great team!

2. Summary of Our Project

Our Doors to Diplomacy project is about how democracy is implemented in our country and around the world. We felt that democracy is the driving force behind all human rights, because when the people can govern themselves, they have ultimate freedom and rights.

In our website, we search far and wide for situations around the world that illustrate human rights (or lack of them) in action. We discuss how people might be disenfranchised, discriminated against, or denied basic human rights, among other things. We wanted to learn how people deal with these injustices, and what is being done to help them. We also wanted to discover the people who are being allowed more human rights, and how this newfound freedom is enabling them to persevere.

The purpose of our project is to educate people about the situations regarding democracy and freedom in nations around the world. We feel that many students are not aware of the plight of some people, and that this is a situation affecting everyone--something that those students should know about. Through our project, we also wanted to teach people that freedom and democracy does not consist entirely of rights such as the freedom of religion, speech, etc. It also entails having fair elections, which ensure that the people’s will is done, and judicial reform, which makes sure that a country’s laws are fair. We wanted to show people things about the world and our country that they might have never thought about before. It was awe-inspiring for us to learn about the people who dedicated their lives to human rights, and the organizations committed to helping those in need, and all of the information about peace and democracy, and we wanted to share those things with the world.

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

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Without a doubt, the biggest barrier that we had to overcome during this project was not being able to work face to face. If we were in a traditional school setting, we could have simply held meetings after school. But interacting solely on the internet was sometimes tedious, because it was hard to set up a meeting time where everyone could come, and work on particular elements of the project together. We solved this problem by planning the meetings several days in advance, and having team members e-mail their questions or research if they were unable to attend. We also sent out recaps of everything that we discussed to our absent members, and so they were able to participate in much the same way as if they had attended the meeting. In the end, we were able to overcome this obstacle, and it did not impede the progress of our project as much as we thought that it would.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our participation in Doors to Diplomacy has shown us that the internet is a wonderful learning tool that helps students from all areas of a state (or the world, for that matter) cooperate to accomplish a project. It was amazing to see our project come together, being designed by students who were hundreds of miles away from each other!

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

We worked together on this project, taking votes on important issues we needed to decide, such as who was going to be team captain, and more importantly, what our topic was going to be. This reflects our choice, Peace and Democracy: Social Issues, as well as the government system in place in our country. We avoided conflict by deciding everything with a vote and taking everyone into consideration when we split up the research. Our topic also ties into our American Government class, where we are learning about our country's governmental system and the rights that our Constitution guarantees. We learned how to work together as a democratic system as well as how to make connections between topics such as immigration and human rights. We also learned how historical documents paved the way for today's democratic societies. Although the internet makes it easier to access information, and for the most part gives one a wider range of sources, it also makes it harder to come up with legitimate sources. Overall we were left with a greater knowledge of human rights in other countries, which organizations are trying to secure basic human rights all over the world, fair elections, and judicial reform.

Project Elements

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

The main tool that was used throughout the project was the internet, which was helpful since technology increases rapidly. Also, a computer was needed to design a proper website. We used web-designing software, which allows us to do things in an animated way. We also used the library for research, and telephone to stay in contact with each other. We used instant messaging programs, our school chatroom, and e-mail to communicate instantly, and to share our information and exchange our thoughts to complete this project as a team. Also, without the internet we think that we would have had difficulties, since that was our primary mode of communication throughout the project. We are a virtual school and we could not see each other face to face, but through the internet we were able to build a project together.

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

The way we all worked as ambassadors was mainly through our research. If we went to the library, when we consulted the librarian, we would tell her about the site so she could visit. Another way that we acted as ambassadors was that we showed this project to our parents, to illustrate to them what we do in class. They certainly liked that in an online school you can do things like this project, and they were amazed at how well it was progressing. Also, when we would chat with others online, we would discuss the project with them, and we told them to visit the page and critique us. They were amazed that we had done this since we are an online school. In some schools, students do not get a chance to experience online communication and research, which is something that we believe every student should use. Some of our team members also were able to share this project with their youth groups, and we hope to place our project in the school newspaper as well. This project was great to teach people about diplomacy issues they may have never heard about before, and how to make the world a better place to live in.

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

We feel that if the word about this project can get out to our community, they will be able to see and understand that there are many youth today who feel very strongly about the subjects that encompass the world, both in overall scope and in depth. Along with this, we believe that when people see where we came together to make this project, they will be impressed and give more support to our online school, and help to make it more accessible to students all over the country and the world. We also want to share our project with our American Government class, and our school newspaper. With an enrollment of over 10,000 students in our online school, we can reach a lot of people through that medium.

We feel that this project will help to bring more of an understanding of diplomacy and democracy to our community. We believe that with this new outlook on the youth of the community, they will be more willing to give support to other endeavors and this will help to strengthen the bond between the school and the community that it serves. We hope that this project will also grab the attention of others around the world, particularly in countries that may have a bad opinion of this country as a whole. We know that we have already made an impact to many just by the survey that we sent to our fellow classmates.

We hope that this will help to show them that there are people here who are concerned with the state of things on a global level, and who want to make a difference and know that any contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference.

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

Amazingly, we were able to do most of this project without a lot out outside assistance. Two of the biggest helpers for our group were our teachers, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Carbone, who helped us to keep on top of what needed to be completed, and provide us with assistance. Our parents were also instrumental in keeping our project together, because they helped us critique our project and stay on track. Also, a HUGE thank you is in order for our American Government class for helping us complete our survey. We also thank the librarians and other people who helped us find the materials that we needed. We couldn't have done it without them!

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

At the beginning of our project, we had such little concept of what we were doing. As we worked harder and harder as a team, we began to see the whole picture of our project forming. During our work on this project, we were able to grasp a few discoveries and surprises along the way. We were able to discover many new aspects of our government, people around us, and even ourselves. We were very surprised to see how well we adjusted and worked as a team! Before this project, we had never even spoken to one another. Although we worked well as a team, we did have to overcome some persistent scheduling problems. When we finally had to be a team, we came together and helped each other when we needed it most, and worked as hard as possible to succeed. The outcome of this project has led us to make new friends, shown us a new way to look at our community, and even given us a vision for future generations.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3392)

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