1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
Throughout the period during which the project was compiled, the following technologies were used: · Personal computers – These were used for a number of uses, e.g., word processing, scanning, image manipulation, communicating through E-mail, sending and receiving faxes, building web pages, etc. · A server and dial-up modems – These were used to provide the school with Internet access. · Telephones – the most popular communication tools used by all those involved in the project. · Digital cameras – to take photos of the temples, the students analysing the temple site and the students at work in the Library and the computer room. · Scanners -- These were used to digitise photographs, drawings, pictures, maps, postcards and examples of children's work. · Fax machines, plain paper copiers and other office equipment – these were used extensively throughout the project. The software applications that have been used include: · Microsoft Word – word processing software for typing in, editing and saving all the scripts and documents. · Microsoft Power Point – for helping the students with the presentation of their project. · Image manipulation software - to handle the graphics through all the stages of digitising. · HTML Editors - to help us build our Web Pages · FTP software - to transfer our pages to the file server · Mail software - to communicate with different people around the World. · A Web browser (Internet Explorer) - to browse through Internet resources. It is very difficult to say which tools were most important since all the above were extensively used throughout the project. However one must surely not forget the valuable information and pictures we got from libraries (especially the school library), history books, history leaflets and booklets, tourist brochures from the NTOM (National Tourism Organisation of Malta) local tourist and history magazines, and postcards.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
We had important contacts in person with our web designer who was extremely interested in our project and also learnt a great deal! The students also had contacts with the National Planning Authority of Malta in order to get Ordinance Maps and plans of the Temple sites. We also had contacts with the archaeological museum staff when the students visited the latter museum. The students had ample opportunities to ask any question they had. We also had several contact with the people taking care of the various temple sites especially when we visited the temples.
Moreover our project was mentioned in the various Maltese search engines and news web sites as well as in the school’s newsletter, magazine and web site.
The History teacher, Mr. Stephen Briffa took the students who were working on this project for an educational visit to the major megalithic temples and they had the opportunity to act as tourist guides in the temples for the day by showing around the temples all the people and tourists present as well as the students’ parents.
However, the students were really excellent “ambassadors” of our Project during our school’s Open Day, which took place on the 12th of March 2001. During this open day the students did a presentation (using Microsoft Power Point) about their CyberFair Project (what it is and how it was compiled) and later guided the parents (sitting near eleven computer stations in the ICT room) around the web site of our CyberFair Project. A rehearsal of all this was also done the day in front of all the students of our school. Both the students and the parents who came to the open day were highly motivated, interested and impressed with our Project and congratulated a lot all the students involved.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
The project has had a very positive impact on both the school and the community. This very positive feedback was especially felt during our school’s open day, which was described in the answer above. Both the other students of the school as well as all the parents were very interested and motivated with the project’s presentation. However through our project, the members of our community who came to our open day learnt much more about the Megalithic Temples of Malta especially through the 10-minute presentation, each group made to the parents.
Our Project has also had a very positive impact on all the teachers of our school as well as on the university lecturers who attended the open day. The Minister of Education who was also present for the open day was highly impressed by the project and like the other people who saw the website, he also said that the site shed light on certain aspects of Malta’s Prehistory which were not popular with the public. Moreover our project surely helped the public (especially through the various articles on the local newspapers regarding our project) appreciate and be proud of their rich ancient cultural heritage, which is unique in the world since our temples are the earliest free standing monument in the world (older than Stonehenge in Britain and the Pyramids in Egypt. The members of our community who attended the open day and saw our project were also interested to browse through the site privately at home since they continuously asked us for the Internet Address of the site!
Our community also realised the similar concepts between our present religion and our prehistoric religion; namely that both belief in life after death, both include sacrifices to the God and the temples/churches of both religions are constructed in the shape or symbol of the God adored; that is the temples have the shape of the Fat Lady and our churches have the shape of the cross symbolising Jesus, the Son of God.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
Our CyberFair Project would not have been a success without the invaluable help of the following people:
v Mr. Stephen Briffa – The Humanities Coordinator and History Teacher of San Andrea Senior School. He was the coordinator of our Cyberfair Project and all the History lessons of the first three months of this year revolved around this project.
v Mr. James Trapani – Web Developer. His input in our Cyberfair Project was fundamental since they provided us with all the technical assistance needed to build our web pages.
v Ms. Nicky Bonello – The San Andrea Senior School ICT Teacher. All her lessons of the first three months of this year revolved around our project. Through her help the students had ample access to the Internet, computers, scanners, word processors and digital cameras.
v Ms. Lina Farrugia -- our school's librarian. Ms. Farrugia collected all the information and pictures about the Megalithic Temples from the school’s library and made them accessible for the students to use during the research process as well as helping in any typing and photocopying by the students. During the library sessions with the students, she also reinforced their research skills and methods.
v The teachers of San Andrea Senior School and the parents (of the students participating in this project) – They all showed support and made the information and pictures they had in their personal libraries at home, readily available for our Project.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
The research process for this project enabled the history teacher, Mr. Stephen Briffa to guide the students through Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Skills. This is because through their group-work research and discussion the students moved from the cognitive skill of knowledge to comprehension (through the skills of translation, interpretation and extrapolation), application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Through the research process of this CyberFair Project and through the continuous eliciting of the teachers involved, the students were active participants (actively participating in creating their own information by taking initiative for their own learning) as opposed to being passive recipients. Through their group-work research, they practised peer-tutoring and so showed signs of self-directed learning. This project gave the teachers involved the opportunity to practise a problem-posing type of education since the students had to come up with their own solutions for effective learning. This research, together with the use of the Internet, provided the students with important skills for life-long learning, which is so important in today's world of great technological progress where one need to continuously update oneself. All this shows that the CyberFair project provided us with an excellent example of integrating ICT and History. It also helped the students to become aware of their country's rich history as well as with the history of other countries participating in the CyberFair. Moreover we succeeded to achieve the objectives of this category (historical landmarks), since (as already mentioned)