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.