1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
The Internet Cybercity Teamconsists of nine student members, three advisors, and many other volunteers. We communicated by emails and used public telephones and mobile phones to discuss interview issues. Because the research process was so lengthy, we applied for one common email account so that we could retrieve information or articles, any time and any place. This saved a lot of communication expenses, especially when we did the interviews in Tai Zhong, Nantou, and Kaoshiung. The Internet Expo and the bulletin board were our progress report. Regarding the interviews with Microsoft and HP, many high-tech companies use emails for communication. This mode of communication can be even more efficient then using a telephone.
During the production of the special report web pages, Mrs. Wang Mei Lan, an elementary school teacher, offered her house for the Internet Cybercity Team and the Music Girls Team as a workshop for the project. The facilities offered computers, scanners, laser printers, digital cameras, and audio recorders for our use. We c broadband connections to the Internet. Participating in this project allowed us to witness first-hand just how the efficiency of the "Digital village" concept helps non-profit organization provide improved services to minorities.
Microsoft 's "Technology Empowers Love" program donated products and money to 82 non-profit organizations. We were able to search the Internet and find a host of real life cases where technology really did empower love and caring in our society. If we didn't have the Internet as a research tool, we couldn't have finished this project even if we had one or two years to spend on it.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
We were really like the spokesmen for Microsoft's charity efforts in Taiwan. We were able to discover the groups that needed help most and make that help available. We not only facilitated Microsoft's public service efforts, but also made suggestions to the company directly. We also coordinated efforts between the Taipei City Government, Microsoft, and HP.
The head librarian of the Kaoshiung, Chianjen district put so much energy, day and night, into teaching people to use computers at the e-Learning camps, it even eventually negatively affected her health. It was nothing too serious; nevertheless, her selflessness moved us all.
The founder of the "Schoolnet of Taiwan", Ms. Hsing Yu Chien, invited educators and students to the Taipei Radio Station to share experience their experiences in these special studies. She also visited our workshop and offered up advice based on her own experience and thoughts on the international Cyber Fair. Her input was invaluable.
When the IT specialist at United Way R.O.C., Chen Yixun, heard of our "Digital Village for Public Welfare" from a manager at HP Taiwan, Liu Lu Xia, she thought it was a special study group consisting of college students. When she realized we were only 7th graders, she couldn't believe it possible.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
During this research, we discovered that even though Microsoft and HP donated a lot of IT equipment, the lack of IT expertise at the recipient non-profit organizations meant that the equipment wasn't being used as well as it could have been. Thus, we proscribed two main themes for this special research project- The strengths and weakness of "Technology Empowers Love" and "e-Learning camps", and suggesting an idea of "Digital Village for Public Welfare." After providing introductions and explanations of our ideas, we received valuable feedback from the Taipei City Government, Microsoft Taiwan, HP, Institute for Information Industry、The United Way, etc. It may be that some of our regular school work was effected because of this three to four month project. Nevertheless, we can see the results of our efforts in Taipei and we strongly believe that the "Digital Village for Public Welfare" will continue to benefit more non-profit organizations and underrepresented minorities throughout Taiwan in the future. These are all important steps towards narrowing the "technology gap" that exists between different groups in Taiwan.
During the interviews, we put our IT power to work in the e-Learning camps in Taipei, Tai Zhong, Nantou, and Kaoshiung. We helped the elderly and children to operate their computers and fixed connection problems for them. When we interviewed for the year-end donation event at Microsoft, we also donated NT$3,000 to support the activity.
Our teachers, relatives, and friends have all said that after helping these charities and promoting the "Digital Village for Public Welfare" project, we all look more healthy and beautiful - in other words, it made our 'inner beauty' shine through!
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
There were three advisors, Music Girls Team, and many volunteers to guide and assist us in conducting this special research. They spent three or four months with us. We appreciate the social resources provided by Mrs. Wang Mei Lan and her husband even after we graduated. This project was truly the best learning experience any of us could have hoped for. We all pulled together, working all day and all night, to overcome all obstacles and produce the best for this special research.
We used our recess time at noon during the school year to work on the project. Our three advisors were always with us, by our sides guiding us and leading us through their advice. They shared with us all the best time-saving techniques so that our project could move ahead at the fastest pace possible.
During the web design stage of the project Mrs. Wang from Hsin Ya elementary school offered up her house to serve as a workshop, and provided a variety of essential equipment to Music Girls Team and Cybercity Team so that we could work together and exchange ideas. This helped both teams a lot and we learned a host of methods and techniques for designing web pages.
We received application software from Microsoft and Ulead System through Mrs. Wang and her husband's relationship with them. This meant that we could use legally licensed software to finish this special study. Atomic Energy Council's supervisor Mr. Yeh Chin Hsun heard of our special research from Mrs. Wang's husband and provided transportation and accommodation during the interviews in Kaoshiung. This generosity made a big contribution to keeping us within budget.
We really appreciate the assistance for the web page design provided by Mr. Chen Kuanling for the International Cyber Fair.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
Just after graduating from elementary school, the vice group leader, Gao Min Shuo, and three other classmates participated in the Internet expo. They created a miracle by beating high school students in the expo competition. This time around, the same group of people united again after entering junior high school to complete this miraculous research project.
Without the more than NT$ 100 million in charity support from Microsoft and other computer companies, and without Mrs. Wang's relentless devotion and sacrifices, we could not have completed this project. Last but not least, we would like to conclude this special research with the title of this web page, "With Love From Microsoft; We Add Our Appreciation."