CyberFair Project ID: 4750

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Beauty Within Three Cities
Category: 5. Local Attractions (Natural and Man-Made)

School: University of the Philippines High School in Cebu
    Cebu, Cebu, Philippines

68 students, ages 15-17 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: Ms. Hazel Avergonzado, Mr. Elmer Montejo, and fourth-year students

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

The title 'Queen City of the South' best suits Cebu. Just like a queen, this place in the Visayas region of the Philippines continues to sit on her throne amidst technological advancement and economic development. Cebuanos have religiously conserved and preserved their province's historical sites, natural attractions, and artificial constructions, all of which make the place remarkable and attractive to local and foreign tourists.

Cebu Province--including its component cities of Danao, Mandaue, Lapu-lapu, Cebu, Talisay, and Toledo--has been gifted with beautiful natural attractions as well as a community of creative individuals who produce beautifully designed structures and artificial attractions showcasing the Cebuano community's rich culture and history.

Throughout its history, Cebu has proven its strength and grandeur. Yet, the real strength of Cebu lies not in its natural or human-made structures but in the Cebuanos themselves who, as did Magellan's taunts fail to daunt the brave Lapu-lapu, courageously move onwards culturally, economically, and politically. The Cebuanos' natural inclination for advancement is even reflected in the dance steps of the Sinulog, which consists of two forward steps and one backward step, signifying a deeply ingrained passion for progress.

2. Summary of Our Project

This year's Cyberfair project was essentially a field research project with an extra dose of fun.

We sent out our students to explore the natural and artificial attractions in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-lapu. The students are familiar with some of the sites, most of which have either historical or cultural significance. Their visits to the various sites would have them bring back not just deeper knowledge about the history of the places but also insights regarding the significance of the sites to the human communities in which the sites are located.

One of the project's main aims was to expose the students to the history and present situation of the sites, such that through the exposure, they may be led to the empowering realization that the sites, besides being beautiful, are also inspiring and even life-changing.

With that aim in mind, the students and teachers listed the different local attractions which they consider to be significant to the community. The entire group formed twenty teams of three to four students each. Each group was assigned sites to visit during the month of November. They were also oriented on proper behavior while doing their visits, as well as the data-gathering tasks that they had to perform while visiting the sites. Some groups were assigned to gather information on two closely related sites instead of just one.

The students wrote articles about their assigned sites. They submitted their articles to their teachers who promptly gave feedback about the content and organization of the articles. The students underwent a series of writing and rewriting activities for their articles. Sometimes, for lack of supporting material, students were encouraged to return to their assigned sites and conduct further research.

As the write-ups reached a more comfortable level of refinement, the students began their last task: to design web pages for their sites. The deadline for the web pages coincided with the school's Science and Technology Week celebration in February during which the best web page designed was put on exhibit.

The team with the best webpage design and another team that wrote the best-written articles were chosen to help in the final output website for the CyberFair project. Guided by the teachers, both teams synthesized the creative ideas from the other teams and prepared a draft website for the project.

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: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

Time constraints, money problems, lack of human relations skills, lack of access to technology, and the development of the project website itself were the main problems which the students had to overcome.

Students and teachers alike experienced difficulty in balancing academics and co-curricular activities. The ineffective scheduling of the school year, as well as the reshuffling of some scheduled school activites, contributed to the students' and teachers' difficulty with time. Another time-related difficulty involved the unavailability of resource persons for interview at a time when the students had free time to conduct the interviews. The time difficulty was lessened by improving coordination among the teachers and students, improving the system for relaying information (especially those pertaining to schedule changes), and using compensatory strategies (e.g., students had to work extra hours; some class sessions were given up so that students could work on their tasks).

Difficulty with money is one problem that cannot be easily overcome, since students in our school come from the lowest income bracket. Different students tried different techniques to achieve the results they desired without requiring much money. Some students asked for help from generous sponsors (e.g., parents, friends, relatives). Other students were more creative: they sought ways of accomplishing the same tasks without spending too much (e.g., instead of renting a computer in a cafe, some students went to their classmates' house and use the connection there).

Human relations skills were important in gathering data for the articles, since the students had to interview people to make their projects much more convincing. The bottomline of their struggle was their bashfulness, which they tried to overcome. Thereafter, many of them were able to make personal connections and conduct interviews easily.

Limited access to technologies was another stumbling block. The school does have resources--albeit limited--to get the tasks done. Some of these technological resources were donated by private companies and alumni.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

History has something to do with the present as well as the future... keeping up with the ongoing development means keeping track with things about the past that may help.

'Experience is the best teacher.'

The stories behind the successes of different attractions in Cebu are helpful guides for execution of plans in the present.

These stories, aside from being inspirations, are great road maps to success!

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

Research and computer education have always been part of the University of the Philippines Cebu College high school curriculum. The thing about CyberFair is that it has given students the chance to apply outside the school what they learned inside the school.

The project has been a great delight for the students because they got the chance to try new programming software, practice their artistic skills using MS Paint, develop their social manners through their interaction with different kinds of people, write about their experiences, keep track of the development in different places in the province, and most especially, communicate with different prestigious establishments and well-known personalities.

The exposure improved the students' computer skills (especially in word processing, computer-assisted research, webpage designing, and email), social skills, and oral and written communication skills.

Students were able to learn more, since the set-up was informal compared to the more conventional classroom scene. Learning was not just confined to the four walls of the classroom, making it a delightful experience for the students.

During the data-gathering stage, they were able to open up to each other about their needs and aims for the project. The students were able to practice cooperation, patience, teamwork, and leadership, all of which enabled them to accomplish their tasks more smoothly.

Project Elements

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

UP High School in Cebu serves underprivileged students and does not collect tuition. For its operating expenses, UP High School relies solely on donations from parents, alumni, and personal and corporate benefactors.

The 10 computer units in the computer laboratory, which greatly aided the completion of this project, were donated by the Ayala Foundation Youth-Tech Project in 2001.

The laboratory has a broadband internet connection, the bill of which is paid for with funds collected from the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA).

Other things like the digital and still cameras and scanners were provided by the students who owned such gadgets. These students lent such gadgets to other teams so that those teams could finish the project.

Since the students needed to contact the managers of the sites, they made use of the available telephones in school. Through the availability of telephones, the students were able to let their fingers do the walking for them on certain occasions. The telephone greatly assisted the students in data-gathering.

Books, magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals available in the school library were also used as sources of information. Maps also helped the students in locating the different sites.

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

At the data-gathering stage, the students had to inform (especially when asking for permission to go out) their families and friends regarding the CyberFair and the topic of their CyberFair project. That was one occasion for students to speak positively about the CyberFair project and act as 'ambassadors.'

Another occasion in which the students acted as 'ambassadors' was in persuading other people to participate in the interviews--whether personal or phoned-in--that the students conducted. In such circumstances, the students needed to explain to complete strangers, as was usually the case, their school, the CyberFair project, and the purposes for which the information gathered would be used. Such occasions enabled the students to establish friendly working relationships with managers, owners, and/or operators of the various sites that they studied.

Another way that these 'ambassadors' could speak on behalf of the CyberFair project and their school would be through their project website. The wide coverage of the Internet would enable the students to broadcast to a wider audience their CyberFair project, and, in so doing, serve two different purposes: to demonstrate the skills that the students have acquired throughout their stay in UP High School and to promote tourism in Cebu.

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

The working relationships that the students had developed with other people during the data-gathering stage is a good picture of how the project affected the community. On the one hand, what at first was an intimidating scenario for the students (because they had to talk to 'big' people) had become a fun experience that had boosted their self-confidence. On the other hand, the 'big' people had grown more cooperative and participative, especially during students' return visits to their respective sites because the 'big' people had already gained more understanding of the CyberFair project.

Other people originally uninvolved in the project did try to throw in their cents worth after it became apparent to them that the students were working on a significant project. Sometimes the help would come in the form of helpful feedback; at other times it would be in the form of accommodation, financial assistance, or even technical expertise. Parents, too, were very cooperative and supportive; their indirect involvement in the project had been much helpful to the students.

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

In all the stages that led to the completion of the project, many people were involved. The parents, teachers, and alumni were of great help all throughout the project preparation. The parents extended financial and moral support (and were extra patient and more tolerant); teachers gave advice and critiqued the project output at different stages of completion; and the alumni gave tips on how the data should be gathered and how they should be presented online.

The people that the students met at the sites they visited gave practical tips on how to go about gathering the data in the most efficient and effective manner. Those people also advised the students on whom to approach.

The final output was made possible with help from the alumni, as well. Worth mentioning here is the great help offered by Christian Saavedra, a student of fine arts in the University of the Philippines Cebu College and alumnus of UP High School, who assisted the students with the graphics design and digital photo editing. Also, worthy of special mention is the technical assistance extended by in the setting up of the project website and in offering generous webspace.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Attractions in Cebu lie about everywhere and are very accessible to everyone. These attractions are also appreciated by Cebuanos and tourists, either because the sites are really beautiful or they serve some purpose in people's daily lives. Although these places have always been there, the stories behind them have been taken for granted. The students have realized that those stories are worth telling, too, because they could possibly give the general public another angle from which to view the familiar sights and places that they see as they go about their daily business in Cebu.

Perhaps the most surprising thing of all was that the people who were strangers at first (the managers, owners, and guides) have become friends of the students. The students realized that those people are much easier to approach now than when the students first sought their help.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4750)

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