CyberFair Project ID: 4912

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Mass Rapid Transit :: SINGAPORE ::
Category: 3. Business and Community Organizations

School: River Valley High School
    Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

6 students, ages 15-16 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 15, 2007. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2006

Classes and Teachers: River Valley Infocomm Club

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Singapore is a small island country located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in South-East Asia. Singapore has about 4,483,900 people (as of December 2006) spread over a land area of about 699.4 square kilometres (44th smallest country in the world), making it the densest-populated country in the world after Monaco at 6,208 persons per square kilometre.

Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural country, made up of four main ethnic groups, namely the Chinese, the Malays, the Indians and the Eurasians. Everyone is able to coexist in peace and harmony, and we have stood together as one people to face challenges such as the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the 2003 SARS crisis.

Due to Singapore's small land area and large population, Singapore's skyline is dominated by many high-rise buildings to effectively make use of its scarce land. More than 90% of the population lives in high-rise housing estates constructed by the Housing Development Board (HDB).

Approximately 75% of Singapore's population take one or more forms of public transport everyday. Almost 50% or 2,000,000 people take the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to work or school. To most Singaporeans, the MRT is a safe, convenient and accessible form of public transport that is part of their daily lives.

2. Summary of Our Project

The main aim of our project is to educate visitors about the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, which is one of the modes of public transport available in Singapore. We would be providing detailed information on the past, present and future of the MRT and how it is unique to Singapore. We would also be revealing the more interesting facts of the MRT so as to let visitors have a deeper impression of it.

The MRT is not only a form of transport but it is also an advertising tool. Advertisements are pasted on the windows of trains and there are also LCD screens on MRT station platforms that broadcast advertisements.

Furthermore, the MRT provides a stage for talented artists to showcase their works. The MRT stations on the North East Line have been beautifully decorated by artworks that guide the commuters through their journey in the stations. The artworks also serve as a form of relaxation for the busy commuters.

We also interview locals about their views of the current MRT system and what they hope can be improved in the future.

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:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The process that we went through to complete the project was fraught with problems and obstacles that we had to make a huge effort to overcome.

We had to cope with many problems, due to our extremely tight schedules as students and the large amount of homework that we have. Some of us, as Secondary 4 students, also have to take an ‘O’ Level exam at the end of the year. Thus it was very stressful for us as we had to juggle between schoolwork and the requirements of the competition. Also, we had to face a sudden change in our project topic midway through our project, due to the difficulties we faced in understanding the previous topic. We also had trouble contacting the organization which was related to our previous topic and this led to a lack of time to do research for our present topic.

Our group, which includes people of different ages, had a problem communicating with each other at first as we did not know each other well. Even so, as the competition progressed, we got to know each other better, and the speed at which we were able to progress was greatly increased.

Due to other school commitments such as other competitions, our team members had trouble completing the work before the deadline. We had to work on several competitions simultaneously with the deadlines close to each other. Adding this on to the pile of schoolwork we had to complete, we faced even more difficulty in completing the work. In order to meet the deadline, we had to sacrifice our sleep as well as time for recreation.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

We have learnt many things that could not be learnt in our normal classroom setting and it has been great as we now know more about the public transport system that we take everyday. Now, we are able to recognize the different trains and be able to understand how the trains function. We also realized that teamwork and perseverance are two very important factors throughout the process of completing this project. Without teamwork we would not have been able to consolidate all our work, and without perseverance we would not have been able to continue through our work and would have given up halfway.

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

Through our activities and research for the CyberFair competition, we have gained knowledge and improved on our skills.

Completing the project on the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system has allowed our team to have an in-depth knowledge about how the system is operated, and we know and understand more about the technical structure of the trains and the stations. This project has also allowed us to see how the transport system in Singapore has improved over the years, corresponding with our Geography and History syllabus on Singapore's various modes of public transport.

Also, we have improved in various technical skills after completing the project. Our skills in taking photographs, designing webpages, and editing pictures have improved. All these Information Technology (IT) skills are essential for us as members of our school’s Infocomm Club, as we make use of it in our various projects and competitions.

The CyberFair competition has also given us the opportunity to work in a group, enhancing our ability to work together and enabling us to understand the importance of working as a team. We were gradually able understand each other better as the project progressed, and we found that we could make use of each person's strengths to help us progress faster. This has helped us gain experience in adapting to different surroundings with different people around us, which is important in our school lives as well as in the future when we work in society.

Project Elements

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

The main and most valuable tool that was used throughout the entire process of our project is the desktop computer. Everything we did depended on it, for example designing our website, doing research, and digitizing the information that we collected.

Digital cameras were used to capture pictures of the beautiful artworks on the North East Line, the components of MRT trains and everything else related to the MRT.

We sourced the Internet for information regarding SMRT Corporation as well as different aspects of the MRT.

We also referred to books for information that concerned the artworks on the North East Line. We listened to broadcasts whenever we were taking the MRT to listen out for any possible ways that we could have access to more information on the MRT.

Many different kinds of computer software were used to complete our website. Some of them included Adobe Photoshop CS 2 for design, Notepad for the website and Microsoft Word for the research.

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

To act as “ambassadors” and spokespersons for our CyberFair project both on-line and in person, our group conducted interviews with various individuals.

We conducted interviews with our friends and teachers in school, our families at home, and commuters on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in Singapore. We asked them how they felt about the system and how they believed that the system represented Singapore or how it could be improved. Through the interviews, we gathered various opinions on the MRT system that was beneficial to our project.

Also, many different people expressed surprise when we interviewed them, as it was the first time that most of them heard someone doing a project on the MRT system. They were impressed with our attempt at publicizing the MRT to the world as they believed that Singapore’s MRT system was relatively unknown in the world. One of them even said “Great job!” after we interviewed him, encouraging us to move on and complete our project.

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

The main aim of our project is to educate visitors about the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, which is one of the modes of public transport available in Singapore. The MRT is a trademark of Singapore, enabling us to travel around Singapore quickly and easily.

Even so, many people, including Singaporeans, do not know much about the MRT. They see it only as a mode of public transport, failing to appreciate the work put into designing the stations and trains. Our project educates this group of people on the various designs of the North East Line stations and the interior designs of trains, so that they would know and appreciate the work involved in the designing of the entire system.

Also, our project educates people on the past, present and future of the MRT system in Singapore. It showcases the history of the MRT, the present state of the MRT and how the MRT is going to be developed in the future. People from all over the world will know more about the system, and if they do come to Singapore, they will know how to get around Singapore in our unique world-class transport system.

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

Our project involved people who had accepted our interview and the guides who helped us with getting information at the Bishan Open House. Our interviewees accepted our interview happily and provided us with the information which we needed. We had our interview with random commuters travelling on the trains. Our guides for the tour compromised with us and waited for us as we asked questions till we moved on to another place. Furthermore, one of the staff approached us and helped us with gathering the required information, even giving us the contacts of the administration staff of SMRT Corporation.

One of our graduated seniors also provided us with a lot of help which included taking the photos that would be published on our website as well as listening out for important information and asking interesting questions during the tour. We would like to thank him for his support in our project as well as for providing us with the cameras that we used in the photography.

Finally we would like to thank one of our group member’s father who provided us with information about the future of the MRT system in Singapore. The information he gave us was mainly about the future MRT lines and the architecture of the upcoming MRT stations.

Just thanking our helpers would not mean much to them since some may not even be able to view this. Thus, we would like to dedicate our website to them to express our greatest gratitude.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

At the start of this project, we were all strangers and did not know each other well. But through the process of completing this project, we interacted with each other and then knew more about each other. Through conducting the interviews and taking photos together, we were able to know more about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We also discovered more about the public transport system that we take each day and this increased our knowledge of Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.

We learnt that things should be planned before hand. This is because there was once where we wanted to take photos but later realized that most of the team members were not free thus we had to cancel it and it led us to many problems. We also learnt that every single detail is important. During the process of coding the website, there was a major problem due to a ‘/’ which was found in part of the research. It led to us not being able to view the website and this wasted quite a lot of our time trying to debug.

The most surprising thing that we learnt is that the MRT trains are actually powered by electricity and not by fuel in the engines. At first we all thought that the reason the trains had to go back to the depot everyday was because they had to ‘refill’ and get ready for the next journey. But after going to the Bishan Depot Open House, we learnt that the MRT trains are powered by the direct current in the third rail and runs on electricity.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4912)

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