|How the team worked together|
In February 2008 our school received an E-Mail with regard to the competition of Thinkquest. We decided to take part and we informed the students of our school. Many students expressed an interest and we had a draw to select the six members of the team. 5 students from grade 9 and 1 from grade 8 were selected. Thus, the team which we named "The greek team", members' were Anastasios, Anatoli, Dimitri, Evdoxia, Thomas K. and Thomas C. Our time was limited and we quickly coordinated the team in order to it begin working.
The group members originally met and debated on what topic their web site should cover. The team had no difficulty in deciding on forest fires since this topic is so important to this area and to this country. Greece had one of the worst forest fires in world history in the summer of 2007 and there was a small forest fire close to the Junior High School which personally affected our students.
The team made a list of what was needed in developing their site. The members debated what should be included in the web page and what was not necessary. All members felt that the page should definitely include guidelines in fire prevention. They worked very well together and made a list of tasks to be done with no intervention from the coaches.
The first challenge for the team was dividing the tasks among the members - they could not decide who would do what on the list. To overcome this hump the coaches decided that a "lottery" should be held. Each topic on the list was dropped into a hat twice and each member had to pick out of the hat two topics. This meant that each member had to work with two other members on two different topics. This promoted cooperation and group involvement among the members. Also some topics held common themes and hence cooperation with more members was necessary (e.g. the results of the survey with interviews).
How the tasks were divided:
- Development of Web design and Statistics: Thomas K. and Dimitris
- Development of Web design and Surveys: Dimitris and Anatoli
- Translations and Early prevention of forest fires: Anatoli and Anastasios
- Games and Prevention: Anastasios and Evdoksia
- Interviews and Consequences of forest fires: Evdoksia and Thomas C.
- Our home town forest fire and safety guidelines: Thomas K. and Thomas C.
The group re-organized themselves to begin creating the web site after all members had completed their tasks.
Thoughts expressed by members:
Anastasios: Found some difficulties in translating. He also expressed how much he enjoyed creating games for the web page since he loves to play computer games.
Anatoli: Expressed that the translation was not as difficult as collecting and organizing the results of the survey. She also was annoyed with how the students approached the survey. She explained that the students felt that the survey might be a "test" of some type and that their marks in school would be affected by the results.
Dimitris: Dimitris agreed with Anatoly about the problems with the survey. He added that the results might not be accurate for this reason. Dimitris at first found it difficult to find information on how to create a web site but with some guidance from the coaches and Thomas K.'s patience he realized it wasn't that difficult after all and rather enjoyed it.
Evdoksia: Evdoksia's task was to interview the mayor of our town. She found it frustrating to get an appointment with him because of his busy schedule. She also found it difficult to create the quiz using Adobe Flash since she was unfamiliar with the program. However, she expressed how much fun it was working with Anastasios in creating the game and quiz for the site.
Thomas C: Thomas found no difficulties in his tasks and felt that there was still more information that he could "discover" from the World Wide Web if given more time. Also, Thomas was the contributor of the home video of the forest fire in Eleftheroupoli (our home town) and took the pictures showing the damage of the forest fire in Eleftheroupoli in the summer of 2007.
Thomas K: Thomas felt that the safety guidelines are elementary and that everyone already knows them and was surprised at the results of the survey. He felt that technology should be used more in the early detection of forest fires and that not enough has been done in developing new technology.
Overall, the team worked very well together. We, the coaches, were very pleased on how well the team organized themselves, overcame difficulties and carried out their tasks. The overall experience for both students and coaches was very enriching and enlightening.
There are 400 students attending our school. The students either live in the town of Eleftheroupoli or in the neighboring villages. Students come from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
The team members represent this diversity. The members' parents are farmers, civil engineer, teacher, retail business, driver, salesperson, plumber, general worker and unemployed. One member was not born in Greece, and all members live in different villages.
This diversity did neither help nor hinder the development of the site. The fact that not all students had immediate access to a computer and the internet did not pose a problem since most did the work at the school's computer lab. This was the only place that the students could meet together since they do not live in the same towns.
The students at our school and more specifically the team work well together. Cultural or economic issues are not a problem here. We are lucky that students do not care about economic and cultural backgrounds of their friends.