1. Description of Our Community
Macquarie Island is quite small, in comparison to the ocean that surrounds it. The Southern Ocean. The location of Macquarie Island is in the cross section of Tasmania, New Zealand and Antrctica at a latitude of 54 degrees 37 minutes S and longitude 158 degrees 54 minutes E. The Macquarie Island community was made up of Sealers and Sailors, with Scientist being the more recent arrivals on the island.
Macquarie Island was isolated and largely unvisited until the 19th century, when the Sealers and Sailors visited the island and exploit the large population of seals and penguins for their oil. Sealers of the Island included people such as Joseph Hatch and Allan Villiers. Joseph Hatch was a chemist, businessman, politician and brilliant public speaker. Joseph Hatch quite literally sank a small fortune in the Macquarie Island oiling industries. He made many enemies along the way, including Sir Douglas Mawson.
Allan Villiers was a writer and whaler who visited Macquarie Island with a Norwegian whaling fleet, and later wrote a comic description of the islands' 'little Charlie Chaplins' - the penguins.
The above went to make up the Macquarie Island community.
2. Summary of Our Project
We, Susan and Fflur, at Fahan School in Sandy Bay, Tasmania have been researching and gathering information from a community of writers and scientists associated with the study of Macquarie Island.
Our Cyberfair web page on 'Community Groups and Special Populations', gave us a chance to interview a number of people with specialist knowledge of Antarctica and the sub Antarctic islands sout of Hobart.
We also had a chance to work with Antarctic researchers from the Antarctic Division in Tasmania. and were encouraged in our work by Ms Paula Wreidt the Tasmanian Minister for Education.
We learnt a lot about Macquarie Island and the Sealers, Sailors and Scientists and hope that our web site will contribute towards educating people interested in the Sub Antarctic islands
This is expected to be through an informative education tool and also to other communities elsewhere in the world, and for tourists who may wish to visit the island 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:2-3
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Fahan School is connected to the Internet via a 64K ISDN line. Fahan has a LAN connecting computers througout the Senior and Junior schools.
We have a computer per student ratio of 1:5 for a population of approximately 360 students.
We are required to upload our site to an external ISP in Hobart Tasmania to provide access to our site.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
During our project there were a number of practical problems that we needed to consider;
Image compression - was one of the major problems we came across in the creation of our web page. Because of the many photographs we received from people who had been to the island, and from Ann Morgan an educational writer, we were faced with a dilemma over whether to use all the images we had in our possession. If we did try to use all the photographs in their original format the pages would be slow to ddownload and as such we would risk people leaving before viewing the site. We learnt to use compression software for images and chose our material for the pages carefullly.
Audio Compression - was also another problem we faced. The introductory sea shanty on our index page was a large sound file. We had to choose the best way to put the song on our page without sacrificing quality while keeping the file small enough for the web.
In the end we used Quicktime 4.0 to stream the music so as notime would be wasted when downloading the opening music file.
We had to deal with a great deal of Information that was provided to us for use on our the web site. This information came from various sources and had to be summarised so as to create an informative and entertaining web site.
Working with professiohal writers and discussing various obstacle, assisted us in coming to an agreement about the necessary content.
Making information appealing - was another hurdle we had to overcome. We had so much information and we needed to make this informative information appealing, including young children in primary classes.
We overcame this problem by creating several games and interactive challenges such as assisting an Albatross Land and a series of interactive quizzes. These games were created using Macromedia Flash 4.0.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Our participation in the Cyberfair has provided us with a focus on the Sub-Antarctic Islands that lie south of Hobart.
The two students involved in the project learnt a lot about teh importance of team work and sourcing material from a variety of specialists.
Their research has alerted us all to the history of the area and the everyday battles of the explorers to the Southern Ocean
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
The study of the Sub Antarctic Island of Macquarie Island has addressed a number of standards at our school. The project involved working as part of a small team coordinating a wealth of information from many volunteers with expertise in the study of the Southern Ocean
Both students involved in the creation of the Sailors Sealers and Shipwrecks web site were studying how to apply the Internet as a teaching and Learning tool. This was part of a Vocational Education and Training course studied at Fahan.
As part of their project they represented their school community acting as ambassadors working with the community of scientists, artists and writers to create an educational web site for the use of students and teachers not only within their own school but the general educational community.
The collaborative manner in which the students were able to engage the many volunteers who assisted them in providing content for the web site made it possible for the students to put together an informative and accurate project.
The students received many messages of support from their teachers and peers as well as from the Minister for Education in Tasmania, Ms Paula Wreidt, who offered encouragement during the development of the Sealers, Sailors and Shipwrecks project.
On two occasions they appeared in the local newspaper to promote the history of Macquarie Island and the work of the scientists who are involved in caring for the fragile environment of Macquarie Island.