1. Description of Our Community
We inhabit in “Hualien”, a paradise located in the eastern area of Taiwan. The Spanish sailed past this crystal clean and picturesque area and called it “Formosa”.
Hualien is known for its breathtaking view and rustic folkway, enjoying the reputation of “Back Mountain Garden”. Our school “Jia-Li Elementary School” is located at Hsincheng Township Jiali Village that is north to Hualien County: a narrow and cozy small village that is home to about 3,000 inhabitants. It is neighboring the Pacific Ocean to the east, adjoining Hualien City to the south, sitting on the North Link Railway and Cross-island Highway that runs from the east to the north. Small in area yet strategic in position, it is the key traffic access in the eastern Taiwan.
About 180 years ago, in the Qing dynasty that was ruling Taiwan, access to the back of the mountain was banned, which prevented Han people from plowing the land of the back of the mountain: Hualien. Not until 1812, cultivation of large scale by Han people came into being, which was more than 100 years behind the west. Due to the policy of sealing the mountain, the start of the infrastructure construction of Hualien was delayed, which however, offered opportunity to let original inhabitants of Hualien area reserve their cultural custom and rich characteristics. During the summer in July, when rape flowers in Huatung Rift Valley were glistening under the sun, Harvest Festival was being initiated in the east tribes of the southern part, extending towards the north up to the Hualien Hsincheng Township at the beginning of the autumn in September. Villagers of Jiali Village held Harvest Festival after reaping what they sowed in the last whole year, on the one hand expressing their gratitude towards the care from their ancestors’ souls, and on the other consoling their brethrens and taking advantage of the festival to maintain their tribal cultural tradition and reach consensus of the whole tribe.
2. Summary of Our Project
Harvest Festival (i-li-sin in Amis) is the celebration for appreciating ancestors' protection held by Amis tribe. It is also for celebrating the harvest and maintaining their tribal cultural tradition and reach consensus of the whole tribe.The majority of villagers in our community, Jiali Village, are Amis and the Harvest Festival is held once per year at the end of the August. The festival almost mobilized every one in the Jiali Village and it is also the grandest occasion of the year in Jiali Village. As students of Jia-Li Elementary School, at early July when the summer vacation starts every year, we along with our parents practice singing and dancing at the playground of Jia-Li Elementary school, in preparation for the i-li-sin thanksgiving festival to be held at the end of August: Harvest Festival. Even so, our understanding of i-li-sin festival is limited and even our parents cannot provide clear explanation. Our Pu-Tong Amis group hopes that through this special topic research and on-site investigation and literature search, we could obtain deeper understanding about i-li-sin Harvest Festival while villagers of Jiali Village better understand the significance and the origin of Jiali Harvest Festival.
Our topics are categorized into 9 groups:
[1. Jiali Features]: exploring the historical development.
[2. Amis]: introducing Amis tribe's coverage and features.
[3. i-li-sin Harvest Festival]: studying the legend of i-li-sin Harvest Festival and historical origin.
[4. Costume]: introducing Amis's costume cultrue.
[5. Dance in the wind]: introducing Amis's dancing features.
[6. Music]: studying Amis's musical features.
[7. Jiali People]: interviewing the successors of Amis culture in Jiali Village and exploring the origin of Harvest Festival in Jiali.
[8. Promotion]: Jia-Li Elementary School's efforts to promote aboriginal culture.
[9. Footprint]: our research records and feelings.
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:2-3
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Our school is located at Hualien County. Although geographically located in the remote area in Hualien, our IT hardware can match that of western schools! Currently our school has one computer classroom in which 34 LCD PCs are equipped. Teachers and classmates also reassembled PCs that were originally outdated. Therefore we now have computers for every class and every teacher to use. Senior classes are even equipped with PCs and mono-projectors! Since 2006, our school upgraded internet from ADSL (1M) to optic fiber connection (10M), which further accelerated our connection to the outside.
At the beginning, we did not have full understanding about internet. However, with our IT teachers' efforts and upgrade of our IT infrastructure, we found that making good use of IT resource can make our life more efficient and more diversified! Apart from the upgrade of infrastructure, our school also cooperates with the IT club of Hualien University of Education to hold IT training session during winter and summer vacations. We learned from teachers of Hualien University of Education how to use software such as Swish, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver, and enriched our IT knowledge. It is worth mentioning that our school has been promoting freeware during this term and we learned from teachers about the significance of freeware: its concept and importance of sharing. We cherish every resource and study hard, hoping that one day we can also contribute to the development of the IT field.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
(1)Acquisition of knowledge about Harvest Festival Nowadays, Harvest Festival was held in the exhilarating atmosphere. During our investigation, we found that although Harvest Festival is the occasion every one in Jiali Village must attend every year, not many people really understand the significance of Harvest Festival. We attempted to draw the outline of the past Harvest Festival through the oral description of the tribal leader, teachers and parents. Visiting the Aboriginal Culture Museum, we learned much from Ms. Funork Farah, a narrator working at Civil Affairs Class in Hsincheng Township Office. With that interview and abundant data collection, we have deeper understanding about Harvest Festival .
a.Website construction: At the beginning, we took many photos with digital camera of our school. But we found the size of those photos exceeded the space provide: 30M. With the help from our teachers, we downsized those photos to make the size fit in the capacity allowed.
b.Exchange: To collect everyone’s material and work, we set up a “Harvest Festival Forum” and uploaded the material onto this site so that we all can exchange with each other and we students can also view our materials!
c.Technology application: After interviewing the Chief of Jiali Village for the first time, we found we may lose many key points with the method of taking notes. Therefore during our second interview, we borrowed a digital DV to shoot complete video. But we did not know how to output the information we obtained. With the help from our IT teacher, we converted the information into the format of video so that we can view the information on computers and network.
(3)Hope Agent Development Association Hope Agent Development Association has been providing us with help while our timeline is tight. We would also like to thank volunteer teachers from IT Club of Hualien University of Education for their continuous help. We appreciate their teaching in our IT classes during winter and summer vacations, which improved our IT skills.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
During the process of interview, we found that learning outside classroom is unexpectedly interesting and meaningful. We encounter different stories and learned that every matter has to be verified thoroughly and the best verification is literature search. In this research, we learned how to acquire and categorize information, design the interview questionnaires and even the manner we should bear in mind when conducting interview. What pleases us most is that we had deeper understanding about our own culture. However, apart from the enlightenment of the research contents, the purpose of this study further lies in promoting us to learn the significance of teamwork. Only through every one's efforts in accomplishing his/her own jobs can our group's efficiency be enhanced.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
“I-Li-Sin ~ The Harvest Festival of Jia-Li ” is our subject for this Cyberfair. We mainly study the formation and development of Harvest Festival, the legend transformation of Harvest Festival, costume of Amis, dance and song of Amis etc.; we learn from daily life and combine rural teaching with life in a natural way to exert a subtle influence, which can serve to preserve aboriginal culture. Since Jia-Li Elementary School set up “Aboriginal Dancing Team” in 2002, during the Grade 1-9 Curriculums, performance arts that fall into the categories of arts and humanities became one of the features of our school. Our school promotes “aboriginal textile culture” at the same time, making aboriginal culture the course subject. Apart from folk language teaching and practice of dancing every week, performance arts of aborigines was included in our school’s courses including “arts and humanities”,“Chinese”, “health and sports”, “general activities” etc. for implementation, in order to develop the feature courses of our school. Our school also hired several aboriginal teachers of Jiali Village to teach aboriginal language, song and dance. The purpose is to get tribe culture rooted in the campus and let us get closer to our own culture, and better understand our birthplace.