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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Web-Design Competition Sparks Collaboration

Students ages 9-19 from around the globe work in teams and communicate via Web 2.0 technologies to build educational Web sites for the ThinkQuest contest.
Transcript

Web-Design Competition Sparks Collaboration (Transcript)

Voice Over: ThinkQuest is a global website building competition for kids nine to nineteen, sponsored by the Oracle Education Foundation. The contest has a few simple rules. Students recruit a coach and form teams of three to six members, either with fellow classmates or with peers from other towns, regions or countries. Each team has up to seven months to create an educational website on any topic of their choice. One team focused on the inequities of digital access, know as the e-divide.

Gerben: The e-divide, I think is an important issue, because there is still parts of the world where people don't have access to computers and internet, and they don't get an equal opportunity.

Voice Over: The team separated the e-divide into four categories, physical barriers.

Ammu: Just the common, people have computers or they don't.

Voice Over: Digital barriers.

Ammu: Whether they have access to the internet and educational software.

Voice Over: Human barriers.

Ammu: Whether they have access to teachers who can effectively use technology in their curricula.

Voice Over: And socioeconomic barriers.

Ammu: And also whether there is enough funding and cultural recognition of how important technology is.

Voice Over: Young people today have an unprecedented opportunity to understand and interact with the world around them, in large part because of twenty four seven access to information.

Deborah O'Connor: It's making the kids think about more social issues, more global issues, and think beyond what's happening in their day to day lives, and think about their future.

Gerben: Things that would eliminate or reduce the e-divide is awareness, make people aware that it is an issue, and that the resources are available to solve the problem.

Voice Over: The team was able to use its diversity to deliver a global perspective on the issues.

Ammu: There were six of us all together. I wrote a lot of the content for the site. There was Ngoc from Australia. We did this survey of students in the US and in Vietnam, and she did the statistical analysis for that, 'cause she's amazing with statistics. Viet Anh from Viet Nam did a lot of the flash animations. Jasmine from India and Gerben from the Netherlands did the web design. And Loeh from Egypt did the French translation.

Ngoc: It's just the idea that we can have friends all over the world, on the five different continents, and we can meet online without meeting each other, but we can talk to each other and get to know each other so well.

Man 1: I think it's the best one, but I think it's still a very strong one.

Voice Over: All ThinkQuest entries are judged by an independent panel of educators who, in 2006, awarded first prize in the nineteen and under category to the e-divide team at the annual ThinkQuest live celebration in San Francisco. Since ThinkQuest's inception, over ten thousand students have participated in the competition. All of their websites are published on ThinkQuest dot com, a protected online community for students and teachers from around the world, to collaborate on learning projects, share experiences and build knowledge together.

Safra Katz: Using technology and being able to communicate, these are skills that last forever. These kids really have the drive to be great and once you give them the tools in their hands, it's really no- no borders for them.

Gerben: It's absolutely an experience I will never forget.

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Credits

Video Credits

Produced and Written by

  • Carl Bidleman

Coordinating Producer

  • Lauren Rosenfeld

Editor

  • Steve Jensen

Production Support

  • Amy Erin Borovoy

Production Assistant

  • Doug Keely

Narrator

  • Michael Pritchard

Senior Video Editor

  • Karen Sutherland

Footage Courtesy of

  • Oracle Education Foundation

Executive Producer

  • Ken Ellis

Discussion Questions

1. How does the ThinkQuest competition benefit students of the Digital Generation?

2. What did you think of the solutions that the team came up with for the eDivide project?

3. How does ThinkQuest facilitate communication and collaboration skills? How can you provide similar experiences for your kids?



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