The Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) involves preparation, action, and completion. The guidelines also require that students reflect on the experience when they complete their projects. Elements of this reflection are the "Teaming and Communication Assessments," which the students incorporate as part of their final project websites.
Below are excerpts from reflective passages elementary school students wrote about teaming and communication.
It's really annoying when team members are slacking off while the others are doing their ratio of the work. The main problem we had is we tend to goof off because we're friends.
Our technical advisor was very helpful. He gave us ideas and asked questions to make us think of them on our own. Our most difficult challenge so far has been organizing the research for the website.
Our teacher has always been there leading us in the right direction. She helped us by keeping us focused. Sometimes it was really hard trying to research but our teacher encouraged us to keep looking and to change the wording on the search site until we finally found it. We found what we were looking for thanks to her being part of our team.
The way we got our project done was by meeting every Sunday for two months. We would usually meet from 2:00PM to 4:00PM; a total of two hours working on the project per week.
Communication with technical advisors started out through email. Our main technical advisor had a lot more contact with us. He actually came to our class about once a week. He took us on a field trip, we phoned him and emailed him. It was helpful that we had all this contact with him. This had a big effect on our project.
Our teacher and technical advisors helped us by making sure that we were doing everything that the guidelines told us to do. They constantly kept us focused. We communicated with our technical advisors by e-mail and he came to our school to talk to us. Our technical advisors also helped us by giving us advice when we needed it the most.
Below are excerpts from reflective passages middle school students wrote about teaming and communication.
Our teaming was horrible at the beginning of the project. Our team argued about everything. We couldn't decide who would do what. As we progressed through the project, our teaming got better, we could actually work together in the same room.
It took hard work and focus to meet the time limits and standards, but with encouragement from each other, we accomplished our goal. It was not only educational, but we enjoyed ourselves in each task of research, writing the components, and designing the final website product. Once again, we thank thank the technical advisors, teacher, and director of the Internet Science and Technology Fair for providing us with the opportunity to take part in such a great experience.
Teamwork is required to complete this type of project. This project is divided into many parts that have to be completed and consists of many responses that have to be made as a team. This project would not have been successful if our team did not cooperate. "Teamwork makes the dream work."
Our team has been able to communicate pretty well. As a group, we cooperated with each other to finish all the components on time. We always helped each other come up with ideas to improve our components. Our communication with our technical advisor was good once we got one. We had trouble getting a technical advisor at first, but eventually, we succeeded. I think that once we became focused and learned what we had to do, our project started to come together. One thing that we could have improved was our focus; sometimes we would get carried away with details.
At times our team was very much involved in group discussions regarding our ISTF product and its technical aspects. However, too often we worked in isolation, only to report our individual progresses to the group occasionally. If we had understood that constant conversation between the members would have kept the topic alive and on focus, our team would have been more productive.
Communication is also a necessity. Because this is a project that requires the team members to work independently, we need to communicate to determine who has completed what, who needs help, etc. Without communication, it is not possible to complete a project of this type without chaos. Communication also helped us because our Technical Advisor was able to give constructive criticism on our progress and completed work. This allowed us to go back and make changes. Communication is another reason why this project was successful.
Below are excerpts from reflective passages high school students wrote about teaming and communication.
We believe that we could have worked more as a team rather than a group of individuals. At the beginning, we delegated the work out and then told that person when to turn it in. We think that this happened because no one was willing to get together because people either had a baseball or a football game or had a family problem. We probably should have gotten together a lot more than we did but we did not and now we must pay the price by finishing this project at the very last minute.
Our team believed in delegation of work. We had two people assigned to gather research and compile it into easily used format. Also, they assembled rough drafts and outlines for the components. We had one technical person who actually constructed the website. One of us functioned as a team leader working as a taskmaster, researcher and editor for the component drafts. This person also received information from teachers and attempted contact with a technical advisor. Besides individual jobs we helped each other out when necessary and met often to make progress checks and assemble different parts together.
Our team met many times in order to complete this project. We learned to take time from out busy schedules so we could do the project as a group. Our teacher introduced this project to us, and we are grateful he gave us the opportunity to do the ISTF project. He answered our questions along the way and helped us whenever he could. We sent many e-mails out for advisors and only received replies. All of the replies either gave us new e-mail addresses to try or said flat out no. Some also told us of other places on the web to look for information. The ISTF project gave us the opportunity to communicate with scientists and helped us develop team skills that will be helpful later in life.
Communication, in various areas of our project, both failed and succeeded well. Transfer of information within our group worked out well. When something was needed or needed to be transferred, when plans failed and a backup was required, our group managed to organize and pull through well by combining all our resources through the Internet. Communication with our teacher went as needed. There wasn't any problems or disrupts, and all our deadlines were successfully met as a result of proper communication. Our technical advisor, on the other hand, never contacted us. Then again, we didn't have one, so that would be a fair explanation of why we were never contacted.
The communication between our team members was consistent. We would get together on a regular basis, and discuss the requirements of the ISTF project. Plus, we are in many classes together, and live close-by, making it easier to discuss our topic. Whenever our team had problems with a part of the project, we would e-mail our teacher, who would either respond quickly, or help us before or after class. Overall, I think we communicated mostly with our technical adviser, through e-mail. Our team was always open to suggestions from our technical advisor, and she would always gladly give advice to us.
We found, in the course of this project, that communication is the greatest factor in the overall effectiveness of a group project. In order to properly work together as a group, the lines of communication must be kept open; to exchange opinions, ideas, and constructive criticisms. We discovered that it is always helpful to have other people around, in order to “bounce” ideas off of them, to have a sounding board for something you might think of. One person can never think of everything that needs to be considered. When we couldn’t get together to work, either in school or out, we were able to talk to each other on the phone, or through instant messaging. This communication was very helpful in the completion of this project.