Preparing
During
Completing


At this point, you and your team members are more than likely enrolled in the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) Program, may or may not have located a technical advisor and are spending significant time researching Internet information sources in response to the ISTF Content Guidelines.  The following are important considerations as you continue to work on your projects. The ISTF Staff has prepared this based on feedback from students just like yourself.  We recommend you take time to read this material and refer to it during the competition cycle.


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Working as a team
Delegating Responsibility
By now you realize working as a team can sometimes be difficult. Almost half of the students in last year's program said they had a difficult time deciding who did what.
Most teams function best when one individual is made the team leader. The individual may change during the competition, but one individual is responsible for scheduling meetings, creating deadlines and following up to make sure each person completes their work.
One of the more successful team models we have seen is where one or more students works on research, one or more students analyze and write what is found (according to the Content Guidelines) and one or more students develop the final project website using the Format Guidelines.
It is also recommended that one student be designated to communicate with your technical advisor and report back to the team on a regular basis.
Staying Focused
Each year, students indicate they had a problem agreeing on the project focus.
It is very important for the team as a whole to decide on a problem you wish to explore and agree on a technical solution that is related to a National Critical Technology (NCT) application. Some student teams were changing their minds well into the month of January. This gave them very little time to do their research, locate a technical advisor and develop a final project website.
Your technical solution may change during the course of the competition. It may be changed when agreed on by the team and approved by your teacher. If it does vary, the teacher should amend it by using the "My ISTF" link.
Finding useful information
Each year, many students have a difficult time locating useful information on the Internet. However, some students indicate they had few problems finding what they were looking for.
It would be very useful for your team to discuss different search engines each member uses and share techniques you have used to improve the outcome of your searches.
Managing information you find
Students should develop a plan for how they will share information they find and communications they receive.
Some students were in charge of certain components and maintained the information the group located.
The sharing of information was evenly split between teams who printed information and gave copies to team members and those who e-mailed information found to team members.
Finding time to work on the project
In past years, over half of the students have experienced difficulty managing their time to work on their ISTF project.
It is especially important that students schedule their time carefully, taking into consideration other school and personal obligations.
Remember, the success of the team is dependent on the ability of each member to meet his/her commitment to the ISTF project.
Communicating as a team
Talking to your team members
Communication is vital to succeeding in the ISTF Program.
Establish a schedule for when the team can meet to work on the project, even if it is only once per week.
Communicate with your team members via e-mail or using the phone between when you meet in person.
Communicating with your teacher
Your teacher is ultimately responsible for your team's involvement in the ISTF Program. Any decision he/she makes about your participation is final.
If you are working on the ISTF as an extra-curricular activity, be sure to develop a schedule to meet with your teacher regularly.
He/she needs to be aware of your progress and any problems you are having.
E-mailing your technical advisor
In previous competitions, over half of the technical advisors have felt students did not communicate with the technical advisors on a regular basis.
Your team needs to communicate with your technical advisor at least once per week.
Read your technical advisor's e-mail responses carefully and if you do not understand what he/she wrote, ask them to explain it again.
Ask for his/her help when you have problems locating useful information and when you do not understand technical information you find.
Keep your technical advisor up to date on how your project is progressing, even if you let him/her know that no progress has been made.
Finally, include your technical advisor throughout the construction of your final project website. His/her input will be very helpful as you respond to each of the tasks in the Content Guidelines.
Completing required reports
Progress Report due in January (Please see the Schedule for the current year's deadline.)
Your ISTF team (to include your teacher, technical advisor and teammates) must complete the Progress Report that can be accessed through the "My ISTF" link.
Your teacher will input his/her responses and those of your team.
Your technical advisor will input his/her responses using the "My ISTF" link.

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