Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 5820

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Barack Obama:The Life, the Journey, and the Diplomatic Ideals of the 44th President of the U.S.
Category: 1. Leadership Traits

School: Jefferson County Middle School
    Madras, Oregon, United States

3 students, ages 13,13,13 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 21, 2009. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2009

Classes and Teachers: Mrs. Lupton, Mrs. Taylor, Jamie, Dustin, Jordan

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Our project was created by our team, which consists of Jamie, Dustin, and Jordan, all age 13. Our coaches were Mrs. Lupton and Mrs. Taylor. We divided the jobs up as follows – Jamie made the comparison between Lincoln and Obama, Dustin created the biography, and Jordan analyzed the prominent leadership traits of President Obama. We have known each other for many years, and we know that we can work well together. Since we all supported Mr. Obama’s campaign for president and have all been interested in leadership it was a naturally intriguing topic. Mrs. Lupton has been supportive of our education and enrichment activities for four years, and has always been there to advise and assist us with numerous aspects of our project. Mrs. Taylor introduced and oriented us to the web site creator,, and provided essential help with the technical components of our project.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our project, “Barack Obama: The Life, the Journey, and the Diplomatic Ideals of the 44th President of the United States”, contains a biography of the President’s life, an analysis of the prominent leadership traits that he possesses, and a detailed comparison of Mr. Obama’s leadership style to that of another exemplary leader in America’s history, Abraham Lincoln.

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:4-6

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

There were only two challenges that we faced during our Doors to Diplomacy project. First, we were under an extreme time crunch, in which we only had approximately three weeks to create our website. This occurred because the decision to participate in this learning opportunity was made only a few weeks before the deadline. We dealt with this issue by using some class time to work on our project, even though this program is not compatible with our school curriculum. In addition, we decided to use a very simple website maker, Our original plan was to use a more complex, but time-consuming website builder. Weebly was a difficult program to use also because did not have the functionality necessary for us to do some detailed fine-tuning procedures that we would have liked to use.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

We predict that Doors to Diplomacy has and will mean a great deal to our school in the coming years. Our teachers were excited that we were involved in a collaborative web project, and checked in on our progress. We are among the students in the first group ever to participate in a project like this, so we are sometimes called the ‘guinea pigs’ for Doors to Diplomacy for our school district. Students from our school district will have a more enriching experience in this program in the future because of our current participation. We will try to start this program in high school next year, because we believe that this program raises awareness about international affairs and diplomacy.

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

Unfortunately, Doors to Diplomacy was not included in our classroom curriculum, so it was considered an extracurricular activity by our teachers. Almost all of the time that we invested in our project was our own personal time. A valuable skill that we gained from investing time in this project was how to operate the website creation tool, Weebly. Although it is simple, it is also highly functional, and was the only tool that our school district would approve on short notice. Hopefully our participation will help future participants in getting more advanced tools and software approved. Additionally, the act of working with our group itself required the traits that we discussed in our project, namely diplomacy. We negotiated and brainstormed, coordinated and edited each others work giving pertinent feedback. It was truly educational. Our school has participated in National History Day (NHD) for 14 years. NHD is a free-form research-based history project that was part of our classroom curriculum. Due to economic reasons, we were forced to eliminate NHD as an enrichment opportunity. Doors to Diplomacy was a wonderful substitution for NHD, with the additional advantage of being a web-based program.

Project Elements

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

Some technology that we used in the creation of our website includes personal laptop computers as well as school desktop computers. These were essential, as this is a 100% web-based program! We used computers for research, and website creation and for uploading the site. Another technology tool that was used was our cell phones, to communicate and coordinate group meetings. One radio station was also used in research, but our most-used technological tool was This web site was the sole reason we were able to create our project and was exactly the simplicity we needed to get the job done in a timely fashion

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

Because our project was just published at the time of the creation of this narrative, there is very little community awareness that this project was going on. In the future, however, we hope that students will see the importance of raising awareness about international affairs and diplomacy and want to engage the community in their projects. We will spread the word that our website is available, and hopefully members of our community will visit our site and will want to discuss the topics with us. Currently our site is linked on our school district’s website. We hope to move it to the homepage for more exposure.

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

At this point the impact of our project on the community is minimal. This is mainly due to the fact that this is our school’s first year participating in this program. This is also the case because we only have two projects currently being completed at our school. Next year there will definitely be much more community involvement due to the fact that there will likely be more participants from our school. Because of our three-week time crunch we were unable to access a large amount of involvement from our community although we have over 8 community members who were asked to review and comment on the flow and content of our website.

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

Similar to our community impact comments above, the community was not significantly involved in our project’s development. However, our school district’s tech support manager, Mrs. Taylor was able to introduce us to Weebly. She, in addition to our advisor, Mrs. Lupton and our 8 reviewers were our only volunteers throughout the duration of our project. We would hope to expand on this tremendously next year. Another factor that contributed to the minimal community involvement was, again, the time crunch. The lack of time prevented us from meeting with community members that were knowledgeable about our topic.


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 5820)

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