All of us are seniors at Mongtomery Blair High School in the United States. But yet with such similarities, we are still a very diverse team. We all come from different cultural backgrounds. Alex, who was born in Canada, is Chinese. Keisha, born in Guyana (in South America), is Guyanese. Mark, born in the US, is Korean. Will, who is Malaysian, was also born in the US. We also had varying interests and responsibilities outside of school, which allowed us to inject more of our own unique voices and personalities into the page.
All of us also have different strengths. Keisha was the best at HTML, and she taught us CSS before we started on our project. Mark and Will were very technologically savvy, so they quickly picked up Flash and had fun with it. Alex was average at everything but very creative, so he was perfect for putting his efforts towards making images and doing research.
Because of our diversity, we were able to focus on our areas of expertise. But because we all had knowledge about everything, we were able to help one another and support one another.
Our sources were also very diverse. Even though we used numerous Internet sources, we also had our own experiences to fall back on. We have all encountered scams on TV, our email, and virtually everywhere. We have read about them in the news and seen (and thoroughly enjoyed) them on TV and in the movies. Because of that, we were able to give our own views on the topic and comment about our experiences, as well as show other people’s views and opinions.
Keisha, who wants to major in biomedical engineering, was the "HTML guru" and was the one who gave life to many of our ideas. She brings a high level of experience to the team, having done web design since the seventh grade. With some input from the rest of the team, she created the template for the site and did much of the html. It was quite difficult task because all the others asked her to do a lot, but she pulled through. She is also the HTML and CSS teacher in her school's web design club.
Mark, who also wants to major in biomedical engineering, was our "jack-of-all trades" as well as the self-appointed team leader. He made the flash animation on the splash page as well as some other animations, and did work on the types of scams and protection pages.
Alex, who wants to be a business major, was the leader of site design. Even though everyone on the team got together, discussed, and contributed to the design, he likes to take credit for it anyways. Even though he was the self proclaimed “weakest with computers”, he mustered up all his skill for this project. With help from his teammates, he created the site logo. He also did research and wrote parts of the extras and protection sections of the website as well as created some of the images.
William, who wants to major in computer science, was our other "jack-of-all trades." Even though he was somewhat soft-spoken, he worked very hard to create many of the flash animations on the site and worked with Mark on the "types of scams" page. He also did much of the "carnival scams page." He started getting involved in software and webpage design in ninth grade, where he attended a mathematics and science education program. He is fluent in Java programming and has taken several programming classes in computer graphics.
Mrs. Collins was our coach. She did a lot to guide us through the entire project. She gave us direction and assisted us in choosing our topic, provided us with the hardware and software we needed, and gave us a lot of creative freedom.
Possibly one of the biggest challenge we faced was picking a topic. All of us had numerous ideas, but we just couldn ’t agree on one. So, our coach advised us to pick democratically. We were to vote between ideas we had already thought of: competitive eating, scams, and origami. In the end, we chose scams, and it was a great decision.
Alex at first had his doubts though. But after some research, he realized that it was a very interesting subject, and whole-heartedly dove into the project.
The second problem was to determine what about scams we would research. The world of scams is a huge topic, and it would obviously take more than a few months to include all of it. But after sitting down around a table and talking it out, we came to a consensus on what to research.
Another problem we all had was the fact that we were high school seniors. The time we spent working on the site clashed with many of our extracurricular activities and especially our college applications. Those who have yet to experience doing a college application will soon find out that writing essays takes more than a few weeks. It ’s a very time consuming and stressful process.
But the things that really helped us be a successful team were communication and openness. Everyone was willing to consider every single idea and do whatever was necessary. And when there was problem that needed solving, we knew we had to sit down and sort through them before moving on. We all knew that this was a group effort, and we always tried to keep that at the front of our minds.
So our most important piece of advice to those out there is to communicate. Without communication, people get confused, tempers start to flare, and things won’t get done. Communication makes the process much easier, more enjoyable, and everyone will live.
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