The Passing of the CenturyIntroduction
Update! ThinkQuest 1999 Awards: Our Meeting
Itís been a long and rather arduous, but at no point uninteresting, journey. Together, our team has actually trekked through a whole centuryís worth of events and discoveries, learning so much along the way that youíll just have to take our word for it...
Hi, Iím Jason, and Iím writing on behalf of my teammates Sizwe and Janine. Iím here to tell you, and show you, the long road weíve taken to completing this site and how we actually did it, step by step.
In the beginning... there was an intriguing international online project called Thinkquest, and there were a pair of intriguedhigh school students from the tropical isle of Singapore, just north of the equator, who discovered Thinkquest in the middle of 1998.
With much vim and vigor they decided to participate in the project they felt was really meaningful and worthy and finally signed up in 1999. Having decided to co-operate with one another and form a team, they set out to find a partner who would be committed to building a quality site...
All we needed was a topic to work on.
As millennium fever began to grip the globe, we noticed just how little our classmates, our parents and ourselves actually knew about the century. Sure, we had a vague idea or two as to what had kind of transpired, but we certainly knew to little. In no time at all, we had decided upon the 20th Century as our topic. We would try to provide a comprehensive site presenting most major events and themes of the century along with relevant interpretations. With that in mind, we began looking in earnest for a third partner as well as slowly shaping our nascent plans.
We were hoping to locate a technically skilled third partner as we werenít terribly good at cgi scripts and applets and that kind of thing. Like most other Thinkquest (TQ) participants, we met up with people, we talked, we went our separate ways.... until we were convinced weíd found our guy Ė Jacob. Our team, 27629, was soon finalized and we were now working on a rather ambitious site covering a hundred years of stuff.
For the next few months we held frequent discussions amongst ourselves via e-mial and icq and mirc, working out most of the details and dividing the work fairly according to strengths. I was to work mainly on the societies and great people sections while Janine was to take media and transport. Jacob, on the other hand, was to do the warfare section. The chronicle, on the other hand, was to be divided equally amongst Janine and myself. Jacob was to be in charge of all the nitty gritty bits like the search and the interactive stuff like the game and quizzes and forum. Janine was to do handle the beautification of our site (icons, graphics etc.), general html and input on design. I was delegated to design the site and think up the "concepts" (like the "feel" of the site) in general. Overall, I was also the general editor in charge of the quality of the writing.
Soon, work was underway and different versions of how our site could look appeared from Janine. Our site design ideas and format went through many complete revisions after we were unsatisfied with the way it looked. We found the going to slightly uphill (we never knew so much research would be necessary!) but we were having fun and learning lots. Know what the Boxer Revolution or Black Thursday was? Well, we do now.
However, we soon began to notice that Jacob wasnít around for meetings all that often, or didnít have the time to answer most of our mail. In time, he completely pulled out of team, just a month before the deadline. When he left the team, he had contributed next to nada, leaving us rather stranded and panicking. At this point, we began our quest to include Sizwe in our team.
To backtrack a bit, just days before we finalized our team, another team referred an art teacher from South Africa, Robin Opperman, to us. We were very moved by the letter he sent us. He was (and is) teaching at the Ningizimu School for the Severely Mentally Handicapped in Durban, South Africa. Robin was trying to find a team which was willing to partner one of his special-need students, something never done before in Thinkquest. We yearned to accept his request but were already committed to Jacob.
However, Robin was happy to enter into an informal agreement with us by providing our site with special artwork done by his students (which you will see throughout the site or at the art gallery) By the time Jacob left, the site had already been significantly enhanced by the ningizimu artwork.. We were of course eager to included Sizwe officially on our team.
But this was no easy task. Special-needs students had never participated before so letters were written both to the representatives in South Africa and Singapore who both wrote to the director of Thinkquest, who kindly allowed us to proceed. Then, more problems arose. Sizwe was uncontactable, somewhere in his township for the July holidays. In addition, numerous forms and consent letters had to be written and signed pronto. To top it all off, Sizwe speaks mainly Zulu, has not learned how to type and has no direct access to computers or the internet. E-mails from Janine and myself had to be translated into Zulu and read to him before he hand wrote a reply which was scanned by one of Robinís friendís before reaching us as a picture file. However, we were all eager to make our very special partnership work and in the end it did.
Hope you'll enjoy our site and take away somthing with you. After all, we made it just for people like you.
Jason, for Sizwe and Janine,
team 27629, Thinkquest '99
glad you took the time the time to read all this... now go explore the site some more!
PS: Want to know more about how we differ technologically? Click here