|A: PROBLEMS WITH TIME MANAGEMENT|
|As all the members have heavy commitments in other activities eg. extracurricular acitivities, it is almost impossible to arrange meetings after school.||Solutions:
|The server in school will be shut down once the technicians leave.||Solution:
|B: TECHNICAL PROBLEMS|
|Our site became corrupted and was destroyed due to the malfunctioning of the Laptop.||Solution:
|C: PROBLEMS WITH CONTENT OF SITE|
|Some of the organisations did not reply our letters seeking approval for featuring them in our site.||Solutions:
|Some community organisations did not have any pictures in their web sites or pamphlets. Some had pictures of low quality.||Solutions:
|D: GROUP SPIRIT|
|Sometimes when we met with failure after failure or with difficulties, we felt really helpless and frustrated.||Solutions:
|The entire group was very stressed out while trying to cope with the project, studies and family.||Solutions:
This section explains how your project addressed the project elements found in the CyberFair Assignment to Schools.
1) How did your activities and research for this International School CyberFair project support your required coursework and curriculum requirements?
When we first embarked on
this project, we thought it would be a matter of collating
information via the resources in the libraries, and interviewing
some personnel for their views. We soon realised that it was not
as straightforward because of the thrust of the topic we have
Amongst the five of us, three were practically new to any website programmes. With a 3-hr crash-course from our teacher-in-charge, and peer-teaching, all are now quite competent. It was fun to learn new programmes and assess the effectiveness of each one, the relative advantage one has over the other.
As we are a full-day school, there are many lessons that stretch up till five. The fact that all of us are not taking the same subject combination means that we could hardly find a common afternoon to work together. Then there is our extra-curricular activities commitments which have to be met and the enrichment programmes of the school. Homework , projects and tests flow unmitigatingly and we were under constant pressure.
Thankfully, we have a common working-place, the Career Guidance room of the school, and a common lunch-break. Our daily ritual is a hurried sandwich over this short 40 minutes to liase and co-ordinate the never-ending tasks to be completed. E-mail was also an effective mode of communication for all of us.
We learn to focus on the end-objective, which is the completion of this web-site, and weaved round difficulties including friction due to different working style!
Despite being in the educational system for nearly 10 years , we were surprised that there is such an integrated structure with clearly defined objectives at each stage. Neither were we aware that so many organisations work together to ensure that the education training meets the manpower needs. This intricate network confuses us and for quite a long time, we had to re-organise our framework of presentation to ensure a flow that corresponds to our theme.
Internet teaching is already widely in use in our school community. We certainly hope that our website would serve the schools in Singapore well and that other students may like us , realise the immense work behind the education scene. Because this is a topic close to the heart of many people, we think the project is very relevant to our local community.
2) What information tools and technologies did you use to complete your CyberFair project?
Throughout the project creation period, we made use of many information tools and technologies. This includes:-
1. Computer Softwares
Net Objects Fusion was our primary web publishing program. It was sponsored by Lotus and we found it very user-friendly. As we were all trained in Microsoft FrontPage, it acted as our secondary web publishing program. We would always fall back on our knowledge of Microsoft FrontPage whenever we encountered a problem with Net Objects Fusion. Basic word processing programs like Notepad and Microsoft Word were used to type HTML too.
Graphic Editing programs like Ulead PhotoImpact, Macromedia Fireworks and Paint Shop Pro had different features and functions. For some graphics, we made use of all three programs to do 'touching up'. Therefore, we had to remember which program had which function, in order to bring out the best in each picture. As we had many graphics to work with, we made use of ACDSee32 for quick browsing of graphic files. Animations were created using Microsoft GIF Animator and JASC Animation Shop. Additional clipart images were obtained from Nova WebExplosion and ClickArt.
Chat programs like Mirabilis ICQ helped us greatly as it allowed many users to conference at the same time. With the same phone line, we could then speak to more people, even to those miles across the internet !
2. Cameras, Scanners
At first, we made use of normal cameras to take clearer photographs. After some time, we realised that the whole process of developing and scanning took too long. Therefore, we used the school's SONY Digital Mavica cameras. They allowed us to use the photographs straight from the diskette, thus improving our efficiency.
The scanners were used very frequently as we had to scan in pictures from books and brochures. We also scanned in decorative quotes which one of our members drew.
We visited our school library and National Libraries to research on our project. The Career Guidance room in our school made it a lot easier for us to learn about our topic as it housed a neat collection of career guidance materials.
4. Telephones, Fax Machines, Tape Recorders
As all our members were from different classes, we had less contact with each other. Hence, we kept in touch through the telephone. Messages and instructions were relayed in this manner. When we needed a group discussion, we would all log on to the internet using our modems and phone lines. The leader would then start a chat session using Mirabilis ICQ. For quick communication with organisations for information, we made use of the fax machine and e-mail. Tape Recorders helped by allowing us to transcribe oral interviews only after we returned to school.
Our e-mail programs include Outlook Express, Internet Mail and Eudora Light. We also used several online e-mail accounts to improve accessibility.(e.g. Hotmail, Burlee Mail and Excite Mail). Our web browsers include Internet Explorer (Ver. 3 & 4) and Netscape Navigator (Ver. 3 & 4.5). All uploading of files was done through FTP connections using WS FTP.
3) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
Contacts made with
organisations were mostly through letters via the fax and
electronic mail. Phone calls had to be made frequently to follow
up, although we did have difficulty here, as we were bound in
school most of the time, and the people we wish to contact were
often "not at their desk", and we are left with a
voice-mail, which does not suit us, since we could not leave a
telephone number for contact as we cannot be found at a static
place at any one time!
Most organisations were too busy to take too much notice of us, although the lack of an 'official authorised' document to give information about the organisers of the competition cause some to be skeptical. As to whether any had been impressed, we have to confess that we hit the deadline on the dot and not many had seen our website. We have no doubt however that the information we have gathered and structured would be of much interest to parents, students and organisations alike.
Most helpful to us is the Deputy Director of the Pastoral Care and Career Counselling Division of the Ministry of Education, who not only acceded to our request for a personal interview readily, but gave us nearly 3 hours of his time to explain the programme launched in school. A man of vision and passion, he was inspiring, and though due for retirement very soon, his vigour and commitment to education was not abated one wee bit.
4) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Our website brings out the
well-organised education system which is supported by business
organisations. Local visitors to the site will be surprised at
how great a role community organisations and other co-ordinating
organisations play in our society. We believe that visitors from
all over the world will benefit from our web site too, especially
those intending to study, work or even settle in Singapore.
As a means of improving our project, we have invited people of all ages to view our site ie. Students, teachers, friends and family. As we gain more knowledge about business and community organisations through interaction with them, the "relationship" between our school and the local community has been reinforced.
5) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
We were constantly in need of technical support and instruction. Fortunately, both our International Ambassador for Singapore (Mr. Goh Beng Yeow) and his assistant (Mr. Pang Keep Ying) were very helpful and IT-savvy. They put in lots of time and effort whenever we had problems. The greatest difficulty in our content as we have mentioned is how to link up all our information into a coherent whole. Then we must admit that we worry that our subject matter would appear dry and not appeal to those who prefer a lighter topic. We did our best to liven up with a mini-quiz. Our teachers, school-mates, friends, relatives and families were patient and supportive throughout this period.
6) Discoveries, Lessons
It has been an enriching experience. The fact that we can in a moment reach out to viewers throughtout the world via the website and tell them so much about the education system of our country gives us a great sense of accomplishment. We would wish we have done better and hope for feedback to improve. In the meanwhile, explore our site and be our kind critics. Thank you.