Our Individualized Contributions
It is worth reiterating that this site was a collaborative effort that required full participation to achieve. However, as other ThinkQuest teams can surely attest to, division of labor becomes particularly important early in the process. We were fortunate to have efficient mechanisms of communication, but we still depended on individual assignments to bring this site into fruition. Here are our personal reflections and contributions:
As the leader of this ThinkQuest team, it’s exciting for me to look back on this website and see what we have created. It’s an honor to submit our site to the ThinkQuest competition and a joy to know that we have completed our goal successfully. At times, I had my doubts, but in the end, I am only proud of what we have done.
As team leader, I know better than anyone that we were in fact a team. I am indebted greatly to my fellow team members. They made my job easy. Matt went into depth on the topic of blogs. Anjit worked well in defining interactivity and outlining its emergence online. Lawrence channeled his inner debater and wrote about the pros and the cons of our changing internet and what it meant for all of us. Coulter worked with me personally for hours on end, proving to be a webmaster extraordinaire, a talented researcher and writer, and an always-available sounding board for my ideas. I thank them all for forgiving my late-night emails and tight deadlines.
In addition to my role as team leader, which involved coordinating communication, assigning tasks, and making sure we were on schedule, I felt it best to be heavily involved in researching, writing, and coding myself. I drew on my experiences with dynamic web technologies and supplemented them with many excellent web and print sources. I planned and wrote the technology section, though I was helped along by the presence of teammates willing to review, proofread, and comment on my work. It’s better because of you guys. Thanks. Having teammates who didn’t have the background I did made me make sure that I always stayed grounded and non-technical so that it was easy for readers to understand. I know there’s nothing worse than reading a confusing, technical text that sails above one’s head. I hope I avoided giving others this fate. I also designed our interactive section and was in charge of creating the crossword and quizzes with which users can test their knowledge.
We faced challenges in this project. As it was almost entirely student-run, we had to set almost everything up ourselves. We had full responsibility for topic choice, scheduling meetings, assigning tasks, creating a schedule and setting up reliable communication. Our eventual solution, relying mostly on electronic communication even those we all live in the same metro area, is a testament to the powerful tools of interactivity that are available online today.
Participating in ThinkQuest has been an educational experience, for reasons not only limited to the technical. In the past months, I’ve been a manager, researcher, programmer, writer, and designer. My teammates have each performed similar roles. We believe in hands-on learning, as we show with our case studies. I haven’t done anything that’s more hands-on than ThinkQuest, and, not surprisingly, I haven’t done anything that’s taught me more. I believe our work will enhance learning and understanding of an important global trend online and perhaps inspire some to jump right in to the exciting world of interactive technologies. I am proud of our site and I am deeply grateful to those at on the team, at school, and around the world, who made it possible.
ThinkQuest was a terrific experience for me. I had worked with Ben last year on a project devoted to explaining personal security in an easily digestable way; this web site arose from our mutual goal of explaining another rather complex technological development in a way that is accessible to a wide audience.
This ThinkQuest project was personally beneficial in numerous ways. First, I was responsible for web design and integrating our content into the layout. Thus, the project helped me to develop greater proficiency in HTML and CSS. Additionally, I was heavily involved in producing content for the site. I wrote pages on how to define online interactivity; the history of this development; social news; social bookmarking; music sharing; photo sharing; video sharing; and mobile networking. I also wrote case studies on many of the sites associated with these phenomena. I consider myself fortunate to have been involved in both the technical and written components of our site. Finally, I had an opportunity to take on a greater leadership role than I had in past projects.
The ThinkQuest competition illustrated the importance of communication, teamwork, and thoughtful planning. From the beginning, we attempted to set and meet deadlines for various components of the site to avoid a last minute rush. We planned out the entire site in advance (although we ended up making a few late additions) because we realized how cumbersome it would be to add or remove pages once the site was largely established. In this way, the project taught us to think far ahead and to manage our time wisely. Additionally, although we attend the same school and live in roughly the same area, communication was a challenge. We all have very busy schedules, so we relied mostly on group e-mails to facilitate planning. Ben and I had many interrelated responsibilities, so we also used instant messaging extensively to collaborate on ideas for the site and suggest edits to each other's content. Finally, we were fortunate enough to receive server space from another student we had worked with on a project in the past. Having server space early in the process allowed us to upload written content, preliminary site layouts, and other information to a common area.
Hello, my name is Lawrence and I am one of the members of this team. My job for the competition was to write the content for the page on Web 2.0’s and emerging interactivity advantages and disadvantages. Much of our website is dedicated to the discussion of Web 2.0 and interactivity as a concept, case studies of sites, the characteristics that define them, and even directions on pursuing interactivity in your own site. I ended up writing about the practical application of the technology: what advantages it has brought to connectivity and community. I also looked at the disadvantages of the technology, realizing that it has its downfalls and limitations, as I thought it was important to consider both sides of the issue. I would say the hardest part of the project for me was finding concrete examples of where interactivity is failing—generally, there are more examples of it doing well. The broad idea of increased in interactivity is a good one, in my opinion, and most sites often have such good platforms that it is hard to find large flaws. I solved this problem by researching complaints and problems that some commentators have with Web 2.0 and increased interactivity. I then presented their side of the issue to better inform our audience. I learned multiple things through this project, both about web design, interactivity, and teamwork. First, I learned that web design is not just coding or page layout. It requires a lot of content and, especially when the undertaking is a substantial as ours, a great deal of team effort. Secondly, I learned about the great potential and ability of interactivity and I became more aware of where and how it exists online. Finally, I learned that Web 2.0 does have its limitations and drawbacks; as a result, I see the issue of interactivity with more depth and I am better web user.
My name is Anjit. I am interested in computers. That is why I decided to try out for the ThinkQuest website competition. In the end, it was a good decision. I wrote and researched about the importance and features of interactivity and presented a working definition for the rest of the team. I did not really know much about Web 2.0 and interactivity prior to this project, so I had to start from scratch. It was also difficult to research because I did not really know where to research that kind of information. To overcome that, I looked what I needed up on news and technology sites and read the perspective of different authors. I then took the information that coincided from many websites and used it to highlight the features of interactivity online. Along the way, my writing and researching skills improved.
I thought that it was very interesting and enjoyable working on the ThinkQuest project. It helped me get a new view on how the internet worked and made me appreciate the nuances of the internet more. I also learned many new things from my research and I have a much deeper understanding of interactivity, why it’s important, and how it’s created. Working on this project with my teammates deepened my interest in computers and the web.