Coral Crisis: Reefs in Peril was created by a team of six children from three different countries: the USA , Germany , and India. When we were discussing topics to work on, we considered a variety of topics. In addition to topics that we came up with on our own, thanks to our families and coaches, we were exposed to a few other topics. One of the topics that Alisha's and Nikhyl's dad talked to them about was the plight of the coral reefs worldwide. This topic interested all of us and we all agreed that the coral reefs needed more attention and appreciation. We decided to research and build a Website on this topic so children around the world can all do something to stop the crisis. We began research on the topic in September 2005. We continued working on the project until March 2006.
Initially, we decided to work using an online forum that Dylan's sister had setup. However, as the project progressed we found ourselves e-mailing each other for information rather than using the forum. Sometime in October 2005, we stopped using the forum and started exchanging files by e-mail. We never met in person to do any of the work, with the exception of one or two meetings between Courtney and Dylan where they discussed some concepts for the FUN aspect of the site.
We realized that it was very good to have team members from three different continents working on the Website. They all brought different perspective to the project; after-all, the problem is of a global nature, and it made sense to have team members from all parts of the globe. Benji and Sheila have never met anyone else in the team. Alisha, Nikhyl, Courtney, and Dylan have seen each other on special occasions, although they never met to work together on this project. Despite the distance that separates many of us, we have all become good friends.
Working on this project, with international team members, was a challenging, but rewarding experience. The biggest challenge was the different time zones that we were in. Sometimes, when we wrote to a team member in another country we would not hear ack until the following day. For Sheila, Internet connection was also periodically slow. Working on some games was also a challenge; we had the concept, but turning them into reality required a lot of learning. The coaches helped us in this endeavor as and when needed. Despite the challenges, we managed to keep in touch frequently enough to complete the project.
Trying to contact experts in this topic for interview was also a challenge; we wrote to several individuals. This took a lot of time and effort. The coaches and our families helped us locate these experts. We were so excited when we received a response from one of the coral reef experts, Dr. Christian Wild, who is the focal point for coral reefs at Ocean Sciences Section, IOC-UNESCO in Paris . He took our e-mail seriously and happily agreed to an e-mail interview amidst his busy schedule! This made all our efforts worthwhile!
As far as who did what: all of us researched extensively on the topic. Although we divided up the work based on our strengths and abilities, one thing we all agreed on, before the project began, was that before we went about writing or building the Website each one of us needed to have a thorough understanding of the topic. This agreement was a great idea because we could bounce ideas of each other throughout the period of the project. As part of the research, each team member also researched information specific to reefs in their region; this way, they were able to share something region-specific toward building the Website.
Sheila was the focal point for the Web design and layout; she turned most of our writing into html pages. As far as the games, everyone in the team came up with their share of concepts for interesting games. Turning the games into pages was also a shared job; everyone did a little bit. Writing the content was also a shared job; we all contributed. Courtney and Sheila were our official graphic designers although some of the artwork was from some other team members. The flash introduction was a joint effort by Alisha and Nikhyl; the artwork, slogans, animation and all! Overall, there was so much collaboration between the team members; when one of the team members had a talent we tapped into that resource and simultaneously learned something. When someone could not complete what they took on individually, there was always someone else available to help.
Lastly, the coaches and all our families extended their support throughout the course of the project. As this was an out-of-school project for all of us, our parents helped us with researching for reliable information. They also offered us technical assistance when needed. Overall, this site would not have been possible without the dedication of all the team members and the support from all our families, coaches, and our schools.
We hope you enjoy our site and learn a lot from it. Please come back again!