1. Description of Our Community
Balon, Tao-Yuan County, is located in the middle section of Northern Cross Country Highway. Balon means cedars in Tayal language. The Upper Balon in Balon area is 1,220 meters above sea level. The residents are mostly native Tayals, and they grow the peaches that are sold to the tourists for a living. Lera Mountain is located in Upper Balon. Lera means "to look far away, the most beautiful mountain". It was so called because you can see as far as the seashore in Yi-Lan County 50 kilometers away. And the superior location made the Japanese army forced to take Lera from Tayals. The Balon Fu-Shan Trail, which leads Upper Balon to Fu-Shan Village, U-Lai, was the most important access between the tribes at both ends in the old days. It was selected as one of the Ten Most Beautiful Mountain Trails in Taiwan.
2. Summary of Our Project
The Lera Mountain is gorgeous, and the Da-Kuan Nature Reserve here is famous for the Primary Red Cedar Forest in Southeast Asia, and is regarded as the "best place for green showers in northern Taiwan". The peaches here are delicious, that's why Lera is called the Homeland of Peaches.
We tell the stories of the past, the present, and the future through the interview with the elders of Tayal Tribe, the owners of the hotels and field trips, and we'd like to take this opportunity to introduce the beauty of Lera to all, and get everyone to respect the nature and the ecology systems.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:less than 20
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:4-6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
There is a classroom in the school that hosts 18 computers for students, complete with internet and T1 links to TANet. The communities here often suffer from shortage of electricity, and the linkages are often down, too. Only few students have computers at home, but none of those computers are on-line, that's why the computer classroom is opened to students and people in the community at nights. Some students would have to walk a long way to the mountain top and asked one of the teacher to open the classroom door so they can use the computers at nights.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
(1) Some of the elders speak Tayal or Japanese langues. We don't speak very good Tayal. It was lucky that Batu's father, Mr. Cheng-Hui Chen, interpreted for us in the interviews. Mr. Cheng-Hui Chen hopes that we can carry on our mother language, because the culture is preserved in its language. We will need to keep our language alive forever.
(2) We introduced the endangered animals in Lera. Such animals are few and far between and we'd never get a photo of them unless we're extremely lucky. Thanks for the Forrest Management in Hsin-Chu, Taiwan Forest Bureau let us use their photos so we can present a complete picture of Lera to the world.
(3) Sometime not everyone in the team was able to take part in the interviews. We took them with video cameras, and converted the footages into Mpeg files. Those who was unable to make it could just view the whole thing and catch up with the team.
(4) The destinations of our field trips and interviews are all far away, no to mention the rugged mountain terrain. We often needed to take a one or one-and-a-half hours of ride, and walked for two or three hours before we got there. It was very challenging. And because there were many of us, so we had a hard time getting enough transportation. The Church of Balon was kind enough to lent their van, which seated 9 persons, to us, along Mr Po-Sung Chen, the driver. We'd have all crushed if we had walked all the way to those destinations.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
(1) We'd like to thank the world for all the help. It made possible that we grew to have strong bonding with our team members.
(2) We got to meet different people in the community through the project. And we learned a lot of things that we don't learn from the school. It was fulfilling.
(3) We got to know more about our hometown through the information from internet, interviews and field trips, and we introduce our hometown the world so many more will share the beauty of it.
(4) Life depends on nature, and nature is like a mother to us. People sometimes sabotage the nature, even sever the lives of other creatures, because of meager benefits. Everything in the world, not just human beings, should be respected. It maybe idealistic, but we'd like to start from ourselves and try our best to influence others.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
(1)In this project, we tried to find out our shortcomings and correct them. We knew we're part of the community and nature, and we could do something for it. We blended many curriculum into the project, including courses of languages, mathematics, nature and technologies, arts and humanities, health and exercises, and local features. The issues of environment, recreation and information educations were also included in it.
(2)The people are the most important part of the project. It requires lots of communicating techniques to make every event, like interviews, meeting, teamwork, and job allocations, successful. And the computers and internet enhanced our efficiency.
(3)One sometimes feel that a split of second means nothing, but it was accumulations of many of them to make things great. The nature beauty lies in the different trees, magnificent contours, various plants and animals that are born out of millions of years of time. It takes infinite ages to create all these, but they could be sabotaged overnight. Is it one of the things that the Land of Lera wants us to know?
(5)We performed geology and ecology field trips, sketching, integration of courses, and the Form of Comprehensive Learning through combination of the courses of nature and popular sciences, courses of arts and humanities, and supplemental courses. The project also enhanced our capabilities in handling information technologies and concepts of conservation through the information technology courses in the school and the field trips.