Newfoundland students team up with Netherlands for Web competition

By Lori O'Keefe
Roncalli Central High
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

It happens more and more everyday -- students get together to create Web pages for school projects or competitions. With today's modern information technology, this doesn't seem like a big deal to many people.


But what if three students are from Canada, the other three from the Netherlands, and all six were working together to design one Web site? Unthinkable, some people may say. However, this is exactly what is happening between schools in Newfoundland and the Netherlands.

Three students from Roncalli High in Port Saunders have entered into the Twin Site 2000 Competition. More than 50 teams are participating, with teams entered from every continent in the world except Antartica. (In addition to Roncalli, a number of Canadian schools are taking part in the competition, including teams from St. John's, Toronto, and Brandon and Winkler, both in Manitoba.)

The Virije University in Amsterdam is working with Deloitte and Touche to encourage students to creatively use modern information technology, while at the same time develop contacts with pupils in other countries.

A Twin Team is a combination of two school teams, one of which must be Dutch. Each team must have at least two students and a coach, who is also the contact person but can only give directions and information. The cooperation between the two school teams must be clearly visible -- communication is an important aspect of the competition.

"It is really exciting to be involved in this project," says Marc Mochon, one of the students on the Newfoundland team. "I've worked on web pages before but not with students who are from another country and speak a different language."

Mochon hopes to improve his skills and is confident that he and his foreign teammates will do a great job.

Dr. Vincent Cerf, one of the pioneers in the development of the Internet, will be the chairman of the jury for choosing the best Twin Site. Besides a jury of experts, a jury of lay people will be formed, consisting of friends and parents of the contestants. The evaluation of the site will take many things into account such as the originality in relation to the theme, the way in which the cooperation has led to the contribution of equal effort by both teams , the application of local information, and the application of the Internet.

The judging will be complete sometime after February 1, 2000. The winning team will be awarded 10,000 guilders (app. $6000 Canadian), which will be presented on April 1, 2000.

As we enter into the year 2000, information technology is advancing quickly and rapidly. But for these students, being part of the Twin Site 2000 competition will allow them the chance to stay a step ahead.