Help for a humanitarian anti-racism web project.

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by humanitarian, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. humanitarian macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    #1
    I am an educator (with a linguistics and computer in education background) trying to design an educational website, but I have limited programming (as in, "none") skills.

    Basically, students would be answering questions (on aspects of their culture) on the web > the answers would be sent to a database > then graphically represented like the cia example on http://www.corda.com/examples/go/ to allow drilling down analyses. From there, other activities would take place (as in discussions and projects about comparing answers to questions from people of different cultures). There would be an adult side to the site, as well, where adults would essentially do the same thing. Communication between kids (and between adults) of different countries would be another nice feature, although there are websites that specializes with that aspect and could be linked to. Other activities designed to allow reflection would be designed as well.

    Since I do not want to make any profits with this, but not lose my shirt either, I would like to know if there is an easier way or less expensive way to do this. The website (corda) gives me a $2500 cost associated with the price of their software. Do other database programs (like filemaker,...) have the capability of doing this? Or, can it be built around these programs?

    This would be an educational, humanitarian project designed to change the minds of kids/schools/adults around the world (that can afford a computer ... [the program can accommodate a one computer classroom situation too]). Language would be an issue. I am envisaging 6 main language portals (arabic, hebrew, spanish, hindi, mandarin, french, english). Of course the communication between students/adults whose languages would be different poses a challenge. I suppose well-educated adults would be English peakers. But, the intent is to reach the non-English speakers and that could be a challenge. Automatic translation services might be helpful (even though --obviously--imperfect). Penpal collaboration could be be used in that a kid --say-- writing in Hindi could ask a East-Indian kid of another country to translate the question,... serving as a go-between.

    In view of the racial and religious wars around the world, I think this project would be valuable.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. khaos34 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    #2
    There are many questions still to be answered to determine costs, man-hours, etc.
    Who's hosting this site? Are you the only person maintaining all of this? How big is your initially anticipated audience?

    One thing I'll tell you though is that since this is non-profit, it is really going to be hard to get cheap work done for what you want to do. From what I gather, these are some of the preliminary requirements for this project:

    - Question/answer application that keeps track of answers to compare against an international audience.
    - Detailed analyses based on answers from questions.
    - Adult side? Does this mean discussion forums or some other commmunication dedicated to international adult discussion?
    - Communication of kids of different countries? What kind of communication? Comments of result rankings, e-mail accounts, and forums are are valid types of communication.

    In the case of FileMaker, it is just a tool on the way to creating something. The reason why the cost associated with this project is $2500 is because of all the factors involved with all of this. I would recommend writing a grant or getting some kind of sponsor to help you out with the costs - the subject matter and its intentions seem feasible enough for many people to write a grant - however, I would recommend hiring an agency or someone very, very skilled to get this done for you. My girlfriend is also an educator and we're currently discussing grant writing and other options to help fund technology-related educational tools like you, so good luck and I hope you can easily accomplish your goal without losing your shirt!
     
  3. humanitarian thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    #3
    re:clarifications

    Thanks for the nice message!

    I've improved my original posting following your very good questions. Thank you.

    And thank you for the idea of asking for a grant to do this. Good idea!

    BTW, good luck with your grant application.

    Cheers.

    Pierre
     
  4. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Cheaper would be to get the kids and adults to organize themselves and help out with the website as well. If they see each other as peers helping towards a common goal it might help the "community" feel as well. Though it might get a bit geeky and should be optional.

    Should help with the translation thing if there were designated translators as well.
     
  5. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #5
    What is included in that $2500 package that you quote? Does it include just the underlying software (database+deployment environment) or everything (the underlying software, the database design, the business logic and the front end design+implementation).

    Of course, all this could be done without having the underlying software cost anything at all, but the development cost/time for the design and logic might rise because of it.
     
  6. humanitarian thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    #6
    Thanks gekko

    Thanks for the message/question.

    The $2500 is only the price for the software. What is your thought? Do you think the software is essential? Do you think that there are ways around this software? Maybe there are other softwares that could do the trick? Or maybe a programmer could do it for less than that? What is your thought?

    BTW, I have started the website, but my website skills have improved since I started the project than I am in the process of editing it. It's mostly a cosmetic issue around colours, fonts, and some of the wording. The additional student activities could use flash (which I am not yet proficient in) because it could look a bit cooler (and students need that to be interested). aaalso, the pedagogy behind the activities needs more thoughts. Mmm! Maybe there is a bit more work that I thought. I would say 50% is done. That's in one language,... of course!

    I've used MS frontpage (which is not the best, I hear), but was the easiest for me to get to learn web design. Now, I have a much better understanding of tables, html, can use java into my webs and custom the themes by adding my own graphics and changing parameters.
     
  7. humanitarian thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    #7
    thanks after g ...

    involving students and adults is a great idea ...

    I would need to make the pitch for the idea, I suppose! I am in the process to see if it is sociologically sound.

    Good thinking!

    Thanks!
     
  8. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #8
    When did you start this project? If you're already 50% done, you've come very far. Be careful, though, it's easy to underestimate the time it takes to make the final adjustments.

    I think it's too much to pay $2500 for software on a relatively small scale project, when to me seems like it could quite easily be replaced by free database software like MySQL or PostgreSQL coupled with a free solution for the server logic (PHP or JSP/Tomcat).

    If the project turns out to grow very large, you may have benefited from paying the $2500, if what you pay for gives easier scalability, failover, backup and things like that.

    On the other hand, if the project turns out to grow very large, you'll probably have no problem finding sponsors to help you out moving the project to a platform that can handle larger loads.

    I think that the main problem with using MS Frontpage is that the web pages you create won't necessarily work properly in anything except Internet Explorer, which is very bad for a site like this. Now MS Frontpage may have improved since I had much to do with it, but it used to be terrible at following web standards.
     

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