Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 1550

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: I Have a Dream: Bridging Diversity, Building Peace
Category: 2. Promotion of Peace and Democracy: Social Issues
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: St. Elizabeth Catholic School
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

90 s students, ages from 9 to 11 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 14, 2001. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000

Classes and Teachers: Dalia Naujokaitis and participating teachers worldwide

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our community includes students, teachers and members of the general public who are interested in promoting peaceful and positive action in helping to find solutions to real-world problems and issues.This community is both global and local.

2. Summary of Our Project

I Have a Dream: Bridging Diversity and Building Peace - 2001 is a cyberevent built around the global themes of tolerance, peace and celebration of cultural diversity. Using the words of Martin Luther King Jr. , "I have a dream" as a starting point for reflection, students around the world are invited to share their vision of peace for the new millennium by creating a Web of Peace on the Internet, to build a website to encourage tolerance, understanding and respect of others regardless of their race, gender, colour or religion, to celebrate diversity as a bridge for peace-building and peace-making.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%

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):

We have access once a week to a Pentium computer lab.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Our greatest obstacles in completing the project were the constraints of time and e-mail systems problems. The students involved in the project locally attend an enrichment program that meets for one day per week at St. Elizabeth School. This demands very tight planning and organization so that enough time was available for all aspects of the project. There has been great juggling of schedules and activities to make sure that the project was finished on time. Internationally we learned what time zones are all about and that schools in the southern hemispheres had very different school years from us. Also our project relied heavily on e-mail as we had to receive submissions from around the world. This frequently gave us trouble. Sometimes the information received was grabled, or the mailer-daemon kept on returning undelivered mail even though the e-mail worked the day before.We have over 400 e-mails that went back and forth between us and participants. Keeping track of that was a challenge!!

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Children all over the world have the same hopes and dreams. We are the future. Working together we can make a difference! Let's create a culture of peace by respecting all life, rejecting violence, sharing with others, listening to understand and preserving the planet!

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

One of the mandated requirements of the Ontario Curriculum is the integration of computer and information technology across all subjects areas. Our project in particular helped to develop and apply students' skills in information technology, research and writing, through the medium of Internet communications and publishing on a contemporary, real-world topic: peace and our future in the 21st century.

Throughout the project we learned and applied many skills. Since our research was being published for a "real audience", revisions and constructive criticism were accepted more willingly. We learned what teamwork was all about. Since this was a group project, we all had to rely on each other and everyone was expected to pull their own weight. We learned to work collaboratively and effectively with others on a common task. We helped to build a real international community virtually of course. Working with other children around the world helped us look at issues from many perspectives. Creating the web pages was a very demanding learning experience not only because we had to learn HTML and new graphic programs, but also because of the decisions we had to make as a group as to the design, structure and layout of the site. We believe that the resulting web pages created, written and illustrated by students for students will prove to be a resource that will educate both students and adults all over the world. We became not just the consumers of knowledge but also the creators.

Project Elements

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

We put the site together using a variety of resources. Whatever technology we had we feel we used it to the fullest. Telecommunications: students were introduced to the conventions of netiquette, e-mail, downloading/uploading of files (Netscape, Explorer). Internet Search Tools: students used the World Wide Web to find links and evaluate resources.

HTML students were introduced to web page design and construction. A simple HTML editor was used so that students could see the source file and change it appropriately. Many of them became quite expert in using HTML tags. We also learned some Java through online tutorials.

Graphics Utilities: students were introduced to Corel Photo Paint,GIF Construction Kit (animated gifs) and PhotoImpact for illustrating web pages and converting files.

Scanners and Digital camera: most of the photos on the website were taken by the students either using a digital camera or by scanning photos or drawings.

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

"I Have a Dream" has been instrumental in connecting students world-wide who are concerned with making the world a better place. The project has not only made us ambassadors of peace but also all of the children around the world who have participated in project. As the mission of the web site states: "We are the future.Working together we can make a difference!Let's create a culture of peace and non-violence!" We are all ambassadors through the power of the Internet.

The project has become part of I*EARN and Canada's SchoolNet GrassRoots Program and is a commended project of The Cable and Wireless Childnet Awards 2001. The project has been promoted through Education World Online and through Microsoft Grassroots Project of the Month.

We will be making a CD of the website and distributing it to leaders across the world. Locally the project will be presented in April at the NortelNetworks Young Entrepreneurs Showcase. Our work has just begun as the next step is to expand our website to record the "good things" children around the world are doing to make a difference.

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

One sentence can summarize the impact that this project had on the students and on our community both locally and internationally :

"We can make a difference!"

Besides allowing for the integration of information technology into the writing, research and publishing processes within the curriculum, the project gave students the opportunity to connect with other students world-wide who have the same concerns, the same dreams and the same hopes for the new millennium. Our website has become a vibrant center where children have voiced their hopes. Our next step is looking at ways how each of us in our local communities can promote this culture of peace through action and really create a better world.

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

Our project was an excellent example of the success of collaboration and team work. It is a true testimonial to the power of the Internet and the power of people.

The students and teachers around the world who participated in the project made this website possible.

The technical staff at our school board supported us by making sure the network was up and running and holding our hand when the technology wasn't cooperating and FTP just didn't function. Thank you for fixing all those "bugs" and making technolgy just a bit easier to manage.

Thank you to Ms. Naujokaitis, our teacher, for her enthusiasm, dedication and sense of humour. There were times when we thought the project won't be finished on time. Her invaluable support with HTML tags and other techie stuff saved us many times.

Thank you to Canada's SchoolNet team for providing moral support and to their GrassRoots team for having confidence in our ability to undertake such a task.

Thank you to all the Internet community especially the folks at Mindworks Alchemy, Netscape who helped by providing excellent documentation for gif graphics construction and html issues.

A hugh thank you to all the folks that helped us with Java script and allowed us to "cut and paste" code to make our site more enjoyable:

to Eric Harshbarger whose applets were easy to use and made our Interactive activities really move!


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