1. Description of Our Community
Our country Singapore is a small city at the southern tip of Peninsula Malaysia, in South East Asia. We are a multi-racial society with a population of around 4 million. Our first definition of Local community, as stated in the guidelines of the review, would be the people whom we directly interacted with. In other words, it would be the staff of the Jurong Bird Park and the tourists whom we interviewed. Our next definition of Local community would be our target audience, the Internet surfers around the world who would be visiting our website. This would include people who intended to actually look for information regarding the Bird Park, or others who had happened to encounter our website by chance. Therefore, the term Local community would encompass the online Internet community. Our last definition of this Local community would include the population of Singapore. Since the Jurong Bird Park is a local attraction of Singapore, logically we would want to use this website to promote the Jurong Bird Park as an interesting and enjoyable place of interest for Singaporeans to travel to during their free time.
2. Summary of Our Project
Cyberfair entry for 2003 showcases the Jurong BirdPark; Singapore’s one and only premier BirdPark. This 20.2 hectares park is one of the largest of its kind in the Asian Pacific and is arguably one of the finest bird parks in existence. The park boasts of a unique variety of more than 8,000 birds from 600 species all over the world, a collection that is one of the largest in the world. The Jurong BirdPark is renown for its specialties in birds from Southeast Asia and the more exotic and colourful tropical birds, as well as its unique "open-concept" approach. This means that the BirdPark’s exhibits and aviaries are specially designed to closely resemble the natural habitats of the birds themselves. Lakes and paddocks have been specially constructed for free-roaming waterbirds and other large flightless birds such as ostriches, rheas, emus and cassowaries. The BirdPark has numerous open spaces of lustrous landscaped littered with exotic flowering plants to create a soothing and picturesque environment for the BirdPark.
The Park is also home to the world’s largest walk-in aviary with the tallest man-made waterfall. There, visitors can relax around a scenic landscaped with free-flying birds from Africa and South America living as they would in their natural tropical habitats. Another premier aviary is the Southeast Asian Bird Aviary, which features some of the regions most exotic and most beautiful endangered species of birds. The Park also holds Bird Shows staged daily at the amphitheatre and the Falconry Arena. Visitors all around the world have marveled at the sight of a hawk swooping onto its prey or the interesting exploits of ‘talking’ cockatoos.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:2-3
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Our Computers: In school, we use Pentium III computers, while at home; most of us either have AMD XP or Pentium IV computers. Our Internet access: In school, all computers are connected via a Local Area Network (LAN), which is on a dedicated line. At home, most of us use some form of broadband connection.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Arriving at the BirdPark, we were shocked that a complete list of the bird at the Park would not be available to us as it is highly 'classified' material. As a result, we had to explore every nook and cranny of the Park, taking down the names of every bird on display. It took a while before it finally dawned on us the sheer amount of information we needed to research we had to collect. There was only one way through it: Hard Work. But we were driven by sheer motivation of wanting to complete this project in full.
During the Work Exposure Program, only a few of us got to interact with the birds due to the lack of help needed, so most of us ended up doing office work which was extremely tedious. We had to fold papers and slot them into envelopes which we had to seal. Sounds easy right? Wrong, because we had to repeat this process over 3000 times.
In the process of research we accounted many problems. For example, information of some of the birds could not be found, not on the Internet or in any of the encyclopedias in our school library. We even resorted to visiting the National Library of Singapore. However, some information of certain species of Birds remains to be found.
Unfortunately for us, our school also installed a PC safety card in all its computers. Its purpose was to inhibit the unauthorise installation of illegal software. Unfortunately, this also meant that we would not be able to save our project files on the computers to. It almost looked as if we would have to save our projects on hundreds of floppy disks. Fortunately, one of our members hit upon the idea of using our only Mac G4 to set up an FTP server which meant we could all upload and store our files there.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
"An experience which not only took us out of what was familiar but also one which forged a team." - Shane
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Our project aimed to promote one of Singapore's Local Attractions, the Jurong BirdPark. THe Jurong BirdPark has been actively involved with the conservation of endangered species of Birds. This ties in nicely with some of topics on Ecology and conservation we study in subjects like Biology and Geography.
Also this project does fit in with our school's requirement for all students to actively participate in various community involvement projects. Some of us did participate in some work attachment at the BirdPark.
In the process of completing the project, we learnt that the hardest part of group work in such a project is making sure that everyone has something to do. If just one individual is off-schedule, the entire project could be held back.
We have also discovered that our education system in Singapore has very strict guidelines which do not allow for students to explore other interesting aspects of the subjects but rather confine them to the rigid standards of the Cambridge 'O'Level Exams.
Because of this, we have decided that the use of Internet is not all that feasible as a replacement mode of teaching in Singapore.