CyberFair Project ID: 4562

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Glory of Miaoli Traditional Kilns
Category: 8. Local Music and Art Forms

School: Jaw Nan Elementary School
    Miaoli County, Taiwan, Taiwan(R.O.C)

16 students, ages 8-11 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 8, 2006. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2003,2004,2005

Classes and Teachers: 3

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our hometown, Mao-Li County, is situated in middle northern Taiwan, surrounded by mountainous areas and faced with Taiwan Strait, abundant in resources and beautiful scenery. Mao-Li, due to numerous mountains, is called “the city of mount.” A landscape of surrounding mountains and crooked creeks in this county presents its beauty. A great number of attraction sites are countless to name, for example, the Lion's Head Mountain in Nan-juang, Ming Te Reservoir in Tou-wu, Tai-an hot springs, Long-teng Bridge in Shan-Yi and so on. Mao-Li is also a county with agricultural sights; each township has its own unique agricultural products, such as the winter pears in San-wan, strawberry in Da-hu, grapes in Jhuo-lan and so forth. Mao-Li County is our hometown with its spectacular natural views, diligent and hardworking villagers and an atmosphere of hospitability.

2. Summary of Our Project

Dated back to the ancient days, our hometown, Mao-Li County, owned a name of “Home of Ceramics”. Besides Yingge, it was second-to-none when it comes to ceramics. The kilns bloomed along the provincial highway. However, as times changes, the industry migrates and the ceramics industry begins to wane. In recent years, a craze of tourism has brought the kiln industry back to life again. The kilns connect the bridge between mankind and Mother Nature. The purpose of the project is to take every one of you to explore traditional kiln plants.

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:1

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):

In our school, there are 2 computer rooms each with 40 sets of personal computers. We can access the Internet through the TANET, by Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) with 1536K uploading speed and 384K downloading speed. Our members use computers to access networks by either 56 dial-up modem link through various network providers or wide band services (ADSL) at home.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Problems that we came across: (1)It was difficult to assign the work since ages of members range from 7 to 12 years old. (2)Some kilns plants are desolated in the wilderness. Our advisers were all female, and it was worrying to take a group of students on a journey of adventure. (3)Sometimes we had to visit kiln plants in the school time or night time. Not all members could make it there. (4)For most members, they made webpages for the first time. They were unfamiliar with web design and structure, and it was hard for them. (5)Computers at school broke down so easily and the network speed was so sluggish that it was inconvenient to search for data or upload reports. On the other hand, software that the school provided to make webpages was English version Dreamweaver 3.0. It was another tough task for us to master it. Ways to overcome difficulities: (1)In terms of age, experience and ability, older members are responsible for harder tasks and also need to assist the younger. (2)If possible, members are encouraged to have their parents along in the visit for the sake of safety. (3)One gathering meeting must be held on the next day of the visit. Therefore, absent members have change of understanding what others learned and also have to complete the task of worksheets. (4)Each member has to keep notes of one or two techniques that teachers have taught and has to practice at home. If they have questions, they have to ask other members for help. (5)When computers at school break down and homework can’t be done, members can use private network at home. And Chinese version software is downloaded from the Internet so that members have no problem of languages.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Afterthought Teachers were really toiled away each time we made a visit to the kiln factory. We are grateful to our teacher for sacrificing they own time, giving us pieces of advice on the project, teaching us how to make web pages. We have gained a great deal of knowledge and also many thanks to each owner of kilns. They are enthusiastic to give us a thorough explanation on details so that we have more impressive understanding on the kiln industry in our hometown.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

The topic of the project is about local crafts, so we select “Praise to Mao-Li Traditional Kiln” as our project under considerations of local features and traffic. Three teachers and one voluntary worker are responsible for this project, taking us to know the surroundings where we grow up and further to learn more about our homeland cultural industry. The courses, inclusive of seminars and computer-aided lessons, are well designed under scenarios and resources of school. With a combination of the school, families and community, everyone endeavors to promote information and homeland education. Visiting in person and researching are ways to undertake the project. Our teachers, no matter how painstaking it might seem to be, take us to visit plenty of kiln plants, design learning worksheets, illustrate us how to make a formal interview and how to summarize data and information we’ve received. Through the learning procedure, we are acquainted with expertise and skills. Members from different backgrounds during this period of time go for a visit together, learn together and discuss together. We are getting to know one another from strangers to friends. Not only do we strengthen our friendship but as well manage to develop our spirits of teamwork. As for information technology, the Internet and computers, we have learned to process data and save manpower. The reports are presented in the format of webpages. Teachers also give us much help in how to manage images and to make web pages. Our abilities of computers are enhanced with time. The theme of the Grade 1-9 Curriculum is focusing on ten basic abilities of students. During multidimensional processes of research and learning, we make growing progress in aspects of communication and sharing, respect and teamwork, cultural learning, planning and organization, technology and information exercise, and spontaneous exploration and research.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

1.Telephone:To keep contact with people for interview and to arrange schedule. It’s also used for communication between members. 2.Digital camera system:To shoot the process of research and to pick up figures from books. 3.Computer & the Internet:For collecting or uploading data and to edit photos and written journals. 4.Computer software:Microsoft Office seriesUlead PhotoImpact 7.0 Macromedia Dreamweaver MX Macromedia Flash MX Macromedia Fireworks MX 5.Tape recorder/ cameras and DVs: For interview

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Originally, our project topic was targeting at the Chu-Nan Snake Kiln. We contacted concerned staff by telephone to set up the schedule of our visit. In two private interviews, Mr. Lin, Ruei Hua and his wife provided us sufficient data, and encouraged us to explore all types of traditional kilns. As a result, we magnified the topic of our project as Mao-Li traditional kilns. Through the search engine of WWW for our interview subjects, we contacted several experts including Miss Lee, Jing Yi in the Jin Lian Shing Brick Factory, Yuanli, Mr. Sie, Hong Da in the Da Ken Hakka Kiln, Gongguan, Mr. Cai, Jin Cyuan in the Song Sing Kiln, Houlong, Mr. Bo, Mu Jhen in the Jhen Ying Brick Factory, Tzauchiau, and Mr. Ye, Siang Jyun in the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute, and settled down the visiting schedule. During the wonderful visits, we have made a number of new friends sharing common interest. Each one of members made every effort to work on the project, and also hoped to make web pages more creative and dynamic so that people from different cultures in the world would have more understanding of our traditional kilns in Mao-Li County through webpages, and the kiln industry would have its own world.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

In spite of some ceased kilns in Mao-Li, these are our own cultural assets that we ought to treasure and be proud of. The presentation of our project is significantly meaning and valuable. We not merely make affluent records about Mao-Li kilns but also produce the best teaching materials told of our homeland. Through the research and web pages of our project, we have caught people’s attention toward Mao-Li traditional kilns and offered room for people in the community to learn more about local traditional crafts; on the other hand, people worldwide are able to return to the historic scenes of traditional kilns by visiting our website so as to have thorough and complete understanding of Hakka spirits and culture and renew their impressions on Mao-Li. Walking though each kiln plant along with building brand new relationship with the community, we were tired of demonstrations of the narrator in each kiln plant. And we did all we could to expatiate on every detail about the kiln plant. Hopefully, through the presentation of our website and reports, we could attract more people to know more about the kiln industry to revive this traditional culture industry.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

To most of members who made the research for the first time, their experiences were all first-time, for example, checking and searching for data online, interviews, writing reports, making web pages and so on. During these months, teachers at school and our parents gave us as much help as they could. Our parents thought of this opportunity as a great chance to learn, and therefore gave us support as we were in need. They also accompanied us from time to time if time permitting, for they never had been to kiln plants before. As for the school, we were encouraged to make research and provided with the computer classroom. During the visit, we actually have been to several kiln plants such as: 1. In the Chu-Nan Snake Kiln, Mr. Lin, Tian Fu, Mr. Lin, Ruei Hua and Miss Deng, Shu Huei explained to us details about the snake kiln, Deng kiln etc, provided us reference books and took us to observe kilning. 2. Miss Lee, Jin Yi illustrated the tunnel kiln for us and taught us about brick carvings in the Jin Lian Shing Brick Factory, Yuanli. 3. In the Da Ken Hakka Kiln, Gongguan, the Director General of Mao-Li Ceramics Association, Mr. Sie, Hong Da, and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Syu, Zong De introduced the Hakka kiln to us, showed us how to make wood firing, let us experience firing in person and offered materials for ceramics making. 4. Mr. Ye in the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute introduced the distribution of Mao-Li clay and some of modern ceramics tools, and took us to see exhibitions of porcelain dolls, masterpieces of experts and DIY creations. 5. Mr. Cai, Jin Cyuan in the Song Sing Kiln, Houlong took us to see the square kiln and gave us a thorough introduction. 6. Mr. Bo, Mu Jhen in the Jhen Ying Brick Factory, Tzauchiau showed us many tools for making bricks and tiles, and led us to see the bun kiln and Hoffmann chamber Kiln. We are very grateful to those people who provided as much help as they could so that we can accomplish our project with rich content. Great thanks to them all!

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

After the first visit, we were surprised to know that the Chu-Nan Snake Kiln was not really far away from our school. And the entrance to kiln plants was just in vicinity to the provincial highway, but it wasn’t obvious to notice so that we had no idea. It’s a pity that we could make it earlier to see these rich and wonderful treasures. After visiting kilns of all sorts, the snake kiln, Deng kiln, bun kiln, square kiln or tunnel kiln are all unique and worthy of visiting. Some historic kiln plants have been desolated in nowhere. When we found out a cave among piles of grass, our great surprise at discovering historical remains was beyond words. However, it’s so great a pity that a dead kiln like this is forsaken. If people can maintain these kilns in good conditions, it will be of great meaning that more and more people pay a visit here.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4562)

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