Cyberfair Project ID: 1534

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Carnival Festival of Trinidad and Tobago
Category: 8. Local Music and Art Forms
URL: http://curepe-pres.edu.tt/cyberfair/
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: curepe presbyterian school
    curepe, wi, Trinidad and Tobago

100 students, ages from 8 to 11 worked together to complete this Cyberfair project on March 14, 2001. They have participated in Cyberfair in the following year(s): 2001

Classes and Teachers: Teachers: Basdeo Sooknanan, Emeline Dhanoolal, Juliana Sam, Vinod Bridgelalsingh

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site: http://curepe-pres.edu.tt

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

" “Our community” is the twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago, located at the southernmost end of the Caribbean archipelago. Trinidad and Tobago is a Republic State which has gone through a rich cultural evolution from Amerindians tribal warfare and lifestyle, to rediscovery by the Spaniards, a British colony, slavery, Independence, and today a Republic State. The cosmopolitan population of our community has resulted in a rich blend of cultures. People of various races and origin coexists as a blend of cultural and social harmony. From a plantation economy Trinidad and Tobago is now and emerging upper third world country with a petroleum and a natural gas based economy. Manufacturing and foreign investments sectors are also increasing. Carnival has been part of our community since the days of slavery and the French planters. It has evolved today as a National Festival where the celebrations are taken to the streets on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.( 26th and 27 th February) after months of preparations and follow up activities. Our school Curepe Presbyterian School has been celebrating Carnival for many years at a school level. Also as part of the Social Studies syllabus we organise inter-school Calypso and Parade of Bands competition.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our Project highlights the events, music artistic moods and culture of the Carnival Festival of Trinidad and Tobago. Our country has just come out of the festive moods of Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Our school had internal celebrations of Parade of Bands and Calypso Competition. This involved the preparations of costumes and the composing of calypsos and hours of rehearsing and practicing. These were already in place as part of our school activities when we received information information about Cyberfair in late April. Registration took place on April 27 th, even as our school and the nation participated in Carnival festivities and events for that week in question. Actual work in pulling the project started on Monday 5th March. The short time available, it was decided that we would showcase the work and writings and activities of the kids as they prepared the project, and to provide the URL links to sites that offers more in-depth information on the event of Carnival. Our project attempts to highlight Carnival and some of it aspects to the local and international community as being researched and documented from perspective and abilities of a primary school child.. It highlights the capability of doing online projects that kids really enjoy and in which they show deep interest. Finally it opens an area which encourages future learning and skills development.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dial-up modem

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:1

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

): One of our major hurdles was that we had no internet connection. Although we have a newly built and equipped PC lab, we were not able to have the children use research and explore online in the classroom. Those who had the facilities, did so at home. When we did organise internet access , the connection was so slow at times, at a pace slower than a crawl! It was almost impossible to update the project narrative with regular internet “ time out”.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

(1) Late invitation to participate ((2) Lack of internet access in the classroom . After frantic efforts to secure such the Project Coordinator eventually used his account to allow project participation. (3) Registration was on February 27 th (4) Actually started putting project on March 5th, leaving 10 days to pull together and finish project (5) Extremely slow,crawling internet connection. At times it was impossible to send out even email. As a result we were barely able to update our Project Narrative as we would have like to. (5) We had to input information online after 12 pm at night due to slow connection. (6) Interruptions from eager parents calling on teachers at all hours of the night to get information. (7) The time span of ten days was indeed not sufficient to design and link information on the web pages as effectively as we would have liked. (8) We know that the project web design was not up to the standards we expected and could have achieved. (9) Although we had the opportunity to learn and use other web design software, the time was too short. We settled to use Power Point which was already in use to make classroom presentations.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

The Cyberfair has opened up a new world of online researching, linking and ultimate learning that was not part of our previous experience. All involved are now richer in experience and knowledge and full of motivation to continue and share the process.

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

Our School curriculum is in the process of being revised to include the use of computer to be integrated across all subject areas. The use of the computer does not exist in most local schools and new to some, like ours. A new curriculum guide is now being drafted by education officials. Presently not many teachers or students have the ability to experience this type of teaching / learning. Our school is ahead in piloting and using such technologies where parents and staff has worked diligently to build and equip a computer lab. Our staff, though new to the approach of using the available technologies, is ahead in the local educational community in adapting and integrating the use of the computer into the implementation of the syllabus across all subject areas. Cyberfair2001 has propelled us into that exact direction and leaves us richer in those learning and discovery experiences. The concept of project type teaching/learning is already in use, where we have planned and is carrying out our project for the year “ Seasons in the Sun”. Our topic chosen was actually a part of that effort which blended into the Cyberfair, allowing us to get the project together in ten days. The main trade off from this cyberfair is the follow up activities. The curiosity of other teachers, all students, and parents will lead to many questions to be satisfied. Everyone involved is now more aware of the possibilities. Not only from our school but from the entire population locally who choose to visit the website. The skills and experience gained by those involved will be passed on to other teachers and students, the intention is already to be better prepared to participate in next cyber competition , achieving a much higer standard that fits our effort and ability. It reflects our motto: “ Higher Still” . Overall the experience encourages a great learning experience in a direction that propels enhances our curriculum implementation and to the benefit of school and community.

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Project Elements

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

Equipment available: 10 HP 450 computers, HP digitial camera, Infocus multimedia projector, Video Recorder, Microsoft Power Point software, IRview photo software CUTEFTP software . In terms of computers we were well equipped since our school has a newly equipped PC lab.. What we lacked was online internet access. Many efforts had been made to obtain such. On deciding to enter the competition and complete the project, Mr. Basdeo Sooknanan, decided to use an extension in from the principals office and use his personal internet account to allow classroom access. It may have been possible to obtain a cooperate sponsor, but ten days was not enough to organise. The decision was taken to use Power Point as it was already in use and there was no time to experiment with other software . There were other facilities and people who would have helped create a more impressive site with the “frills” and “whistles” . Maybe next time. Just a couple days before Carnival Festival three classes had visited a panyard and a mas camp. Visits to libraries and museums specially aligned to Carnival was quickly organised . So to the getting of a couple informed persons on the topic to come in an talk to the classes. The local newspaper was informed using the template supplied by Cyberfair, On completing the project the telivision sations will be invited . . The multimedia projector is essential in projecting the images, as we surf online, on a “ big screen” for an entire class to view. The presentation will also be captured on video tapes and also be used in the classroom. The knowledge remains that present and more technologies can be used in interesting fashions and we continue to explore.

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

Students represented our school in interviewing personalities on the topic and in seeking research material. They were very effective in getting their parents excited about having the project go online. This type of project is indeed new to the schools of our nation and this will indeed be an experience that our students will have the opportunity to share and introduce to others school children across the country. Their efforts will be a guide and inspiration to others. It will increase the awareness of the public as their friends and family spread the news around. Of greater benefit is the “talk” that continues long after the project deadline has passed. Children will spread the “ good news” to their community and encourage others to view the project and incite others, and to get support and assistance for future projects. It is accurate to say that their jobs as ambassadors has really now started and leaves no boundaries or limits as to what they can achieve within their community in terms of the benefit of education.

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

This web presentation will be accessed by students of all schools across Trinidad and Tobago, Carnival being an annual event and part of the Social Studies for all classes in the primary and secondary schools. It will serve as a continuos learning resource both locally and internationally since there is the need and intention to further develop the website . The concept of students doing an online project is not so common among students, teachers, and other members of the local community of our country. This therefore opens an area to be explored and taken to greater heights by all those who will consequently be touched, encouraging the integration of newer technologies with those already present for educational purposes

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

Help was so quickly offered by interested persons. from parents to even our curriculum supervisor. The only limiting factor was how much of these we could have effectively encompass and take advantage off in just the ten days we had in pulling the project together. Help was offered in developing the webpage, to contacting persons to interview and in visiting “ mas camps” and “ panyards”. It was a pity we could not take up the offers, but we know were help for can be solicited for future projects. We were pleasantly surprised when quite accidently , contact was made with IT Administrator personnel form California who incidentally, is a past student of our school and has pledged valuable support to future events. He assisted in the registering of our domain and hosting of our site. Of special mention is the overwhelming efforts of a few regular parents in assisting this project, as they always do. One cannot forget to mention that of Mr. Vinod Bridgelalsingh, a parent, whose efforts cannot be measured in tangible terms, where personal costs, time, and technical assistance was so readily offered without a moments hesitation.

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