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.