1. Description of Our Community
The geographic location of our community is Tai-Chiang. This refers to Tainan (a historic city in the southern Taiwan) which covers the An-Nan District located in the North of Tainan City. It also includes the town of Chi-Ku in Tainan County.
In Chi-Ku, you can see women who are busy harvesting the oysters. When you are speaking of the Tsengwen River (the River that goes through the An-Nan District and the Chi-Ku area), the animal you can not ignore is a very precious bird called the Black-faced Spoonbill.
In the Szu-Tsao Wetland (incorporated in the An-Nan District), the Mangrove is one of its special features. Under the lush mangroves you can find many kinds of crabs crawling on the mud-bank. The National Taiwan Government classified this area as a “Mangrove Reserve” in 1988.
Our community was silted up by sand from the ancient Tai-Chiang inland seas. The big tidal land has only salt-pan and fish farms, and it’s abundant in salt makes it unsuitable for agricultural development. Because of rain’s cleaning and irrigation action we have rice paddies and have hope that the Tai-Chiang area will gradually become an agricultural region.
Tai-Chiang is a beautiful place and people are moving in to the area constantly. New buildings are set up like a shot and when the Tainan Science Park is completed it will accelerate the further development of Tai-Chiang. We believe that Tai-Chiang will achieve its full potential and will be a shining star in the future. The downside of this is that when science and technology are more developed, the ecosystem will gradually be destroyed. There is no real winner in this situation and we need to make sure that there is a clear balance that will not endanger the future of this area and its inhabitants.
2. Summary of Our Project
Our CyberFair 2005 entry, Tai-Chiang Beauty, was established to enrich the curriculum of our local community of Tai-Chiang. There is very little English data written about our local community. Due to that fact, it becomes our goal to generate information that could be utilized by other educational systems within the Tai-Chiang area and to also share its beauty with the world. Sixteen students in total completed this project that focuses on our community. We began our project with excitement and confidence and started off discussing how we would develop the website. Two student groups were formed, Computer and English groups, based on their specialty. 9 students made the web page, organising photos with texts, designing logo while 7 students focused on information searching, the language translation, writing, and editing the texts. Ms. Yang, one of the teachers, arranged for us to go on several excursions to Tai-Chiang and also to interview with Mr. Happy who is an expert in the Black-faced Spoonbill. Students listened and asked questions immediately after his elaborate answers gaining first-hand and authentic information. Allen, the student leader, and his father spent one weekend taking photos concerning the topics of oysters, salt-pan and the “Black-faced Spoonbill.” We also asked for permission from the photographers, Mr. Chen Tin-Lin and Mr. Cheng-Chi Wang, to contribute their vivid pictures of wetland ecology, coastal landscape, and Black-faced Spoonbill to this website which resulted in a wonderful combination of beauty. The CyberFair Project allowed us to present this beautiful collection while fulfilling a need for written information about our community.
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:more than 6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
There are four computer classrooms in our school. We usually learn and work in the computer room with the best equipment. We always use the LAN network to access the Internet. Our linking tool is Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) with 10MB in fiber optics. Our members use computers to access networks by wide band services (ADSL) at school or home.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
The most pressure with our project came with figuring out how we should schedule our time. Students had to strike a balance between their schoolwork and the making of the website. Students need time to preview, and review, their studies in order not to fall behind their classmates whereas building the website would take plenty of time as well. We had to squeeze time searching for information, interviews, field-trips, and web-making after school.
Secondly, due to a lack of high proficiency in English we had to work a little harder. Topic-specific contents require specialized English, and biological and natural knowledge backgrounds along with their English expressions were required to explain our local specialties as clearly as possible.
Lastly, the idea of having to digest extensive academic data about Tai-Chiang, and then to restate it into their own words was of somewhat difficulty for these Taiwanese high school students.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Most students wrote in their feedback that working on this website left them with memories that they would never ever forget. One day, we felt we that we probably wouldn’t be able to submit all of our project on time. We asked fellow students, “Do you feel like going on” and they all replied quickly with “I want to continue finishing this work”. Allen:“Making the website was really really really fun hard work!” Linda and Tara:“We felt very excited as their geography teacher mentioned the Black-faced Spoonbills in class.” The school staff:“The students’ level of website design was comparable to any professional’s.”
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Our Tai-Chiang Beauty’s Learning Program requires that all high school students develop geographic and environmental knowledge of their local community of Tai-Chiang. The CyberFair Project provides a motivating and inspiring way to address the existing required coursework in Science and Technology, Social Studies, English Language, and Arts. The Project extended well beyond the curriculum standards. It contributes to developing communication skills (in panel discussion), designing animated graphics, organizing ideas into written texts, editing, writing, computer skills (in the website establishment), research skills (in data collection) and self-evaluation (in peer review).
The project facilitates fulfilment of the educational goals. Students practice, and master, a variety of skills and then present their hard-working outcome. There is a famous saying that goes, “Learning by doing.”
Another rewarding aspect of this project was the learning experience, which is not always pleasant, but students learned about “cooperation” and teamwork, how to handle pressure between coursework and website establishment, and further broaden their life experience and views in this international cyber project.