1. Description of Our Community
The school where members of the Magic Corps study is located in Lujou City, Taipei County, just across the Tamsui River from Taipei City. This natural river course is the principal basis for delineating the division between the two cities, but it does not necessarily equal a boundary line between two communities. For example, when Typhoon Nari struck northern Taiwan, Luchou City experienced massive flooding, just as Taipei City did. In addition, our research has revealed that some of the stone materials used for the Old City Wall of Taipei that was built at the end of the Qing dynasty came from Taipei County! Our group's school, located in Lujou, crosses boundaries to engage in research on the old city of Taipei, in the hope of being able to spur everyone to think afresh, to expand the scope of local communities beyond the limits of administrative zones, and allow Taipei City and the counties and cities surrounding it to cooperate together, share resources, and create the greatest benefit for all the people of the greater Taipei metropolitan area.
2. Summary of Our Project
In the first year of the Guangxu reign during the Qing Dynasty (1875), Shen Pao-chen recommended to the Qing court that it establish Taipei City as a seat of government, because of the importance of its economic and strategic position, and build a city wall around Taipei, to ensure the security of northern Taiwan and protect against the acquisitive intrusion of Western imperialism. Through the cooperation of Taiwanese officials and local civilians, the Taipei City wall was completed in 1884. But its days were short-lived. After Taiwan was ceded to Japan, the Japanese, fearing nothing more than that these Chinese-style walls, gates and towers would easily stir up sentiments toward China in the hearts of the Taiwanese, gradually dismantled the structures of the wall. The Old Taipei Wall only existed in a complete state for a mere 15 years. Its rise and fall are a reflection in miniature of the recent history of Taiwan, and it is worthwhile for everyone to make the effort to understand and reflect upon it. In addition, our special research plan has the further aim of exploring the definition of an historic site, as well as the value, meaning and methodology of preserving historic sites. We also plan to undertake a public opinion survey by telephone, to gain an understanding of the degree to which Taipei City residents are concerned about the old city walls, to serve as a reference for future preservation efforts of historic sites by the Taipei City government.
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
1)Collection of Source Material Our collection of material consisted of primary and secondary materials. We were able to find a great deal of valuable information about the Old Taipei City at the Taipei Archives Commission, which was a considerable help. However, in the collection of primary source materials, such as arranging interviews and telephone surveys, our lack of experience presented significant challenges. In addition, we conceived and held the Internet’s first on-line debate, allowing team members to apply the knowledge they learned about historical site preservation in a debate on the topic “Should the Old Taipei City Wall be Reconstructed on the Original Site?” Finally, based on the results of our research, we put together a five-part proposal about how to preserve the Old Taipei City Wall to Taipei City Government.
2)Web Site Production As none of our team members had any previous experience in creating Web pages, we arranged for three members to learn such software programs as Photo Impact and Front Page. However, while we discovered that the software was easy to learn and apply, compiling an electronic book is quite difficult. With our instructor’s admonishment to “avoid fancy designs; content is paramount,” and use “clear function buttons” in mind, after nearly three weeks designing the basic format of our Web site we succeeded in completing our site.
3)Team Spirit The first hurdle we encountered was the lack of cohesion of our group at first. With our teacher’s guidance we selected our team officers, arranging our schedule and assigning tasks in a total of 15 meetings. Alternating meeting chairpersons and recording secretaries, we learned how to cooperate and actively support one another, establishing an excellent team rapport. We also took a vote to decide a motto by which we would attempt to abide, agreeing on “Implementation from Start to Finish, Willingness to Assist Others, Proactive Attitude.”
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Chinese Culture University Professor, Li Qian-Lang, calls historical landmarks “three-dimensional books” that record the scholarship of the past… they bear witness to history and our past, telling us how we got to where we are today. We cannot allow the past to be destroyed; we must link the past, present and future together in a continuum.
Mr. Xie Ying-Cong of the Taipei City Bureau of Cultural Affairs said historical landmarks represent the cultural traces of history and serve history’s memory. Knowing history can give us an appreciation for a place and foster love and feelings for it.
The Magic Corps believes that the value of historical landmark preservation is debatable, related policies and approaches can be adjusted and bettered, and that education on the promotion of historical landmark preservation is essential.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
We feel that the CyberFair research activities complement our school curriculum for the following reasons:
1)The major difference between the reports we normally write for school and this research project is that this project required us to thoroughly consider its objectives and conclusions. This was both a test and revelation for us, as we were pleased to discover that research can bear fruits, and that these fruits can be used for the benefit of society. 2)Such a large project cannot possibly be completed alone. Over the course of the project we learned that the keys to success are team spirit and accountability, and during the final stage of completion we learned that commitment from start to finish is indeed difficult to achieve. 3)In the future we plan to bring together the individual strengths of each member of our class to produce a class Web page. For instance, a classmate that tutors others in English could oversee a virtual English classroom. Of course, we could also teach people how to play basketball over the Internet!