1. Description of Our Community
Alternate Project Web Site: http://www.tges.chc.edu.tw/tges/niceen/index.htm
Our hometown, Lugang Township, is situated in Changhwa County in central Taiwan and covers about 39.4625 square kilometers and has over 80,000 residents. It is one of the three often-mentioned earliest-developed townships in Taiwan, which are Tainan, Lukang and Wanhwa.
The Community where we reside is called “Nice”, which is situated in Tounan Village of Lugang Township and a typical agricultural community. Most of its residents came from Fuchien and Guandong provinces in the Cing Dynasty. There were 114 households and 568 residents at the end of 2003.
This little district did not attract as many tourists as those coming to Lugang Township in recent years due to its outskirt location and lack of major communication lines. However, this is why visitors can still see its unspoiled rural simplicity and the hard working virtue in farmers and feel the strong bond of friendship here. In 1994 the “Nice” Community was rewarded a national honor for being the leading agricultural community and it has been actively working on the building of the community as a whole, which it has done well in recent years.
2. Summary of Our Project
The “Nice” Community, a traditional agricultural community of Lugang Township of Changhwa County, has been promoting the overall community construction in recent years. The promotion has born fruits cultivated by the Community Development Association and the townsfolk, which is implied in its English name “Nice” and it will get nicer and nicer.
Reconstructing the community has become the common vision of the residents of the “Nice” Community and an issue children should care about.
In this research through collecting documentary data on one hand and making interviews and investigations on the other, we learned to know the community, the process of building the community as a whole and the current status and needs of the community. We acted upon the plans we drew, hoping that we could give ourselves a bit to making the dreams of constructing a modern “Nice” Community come true.
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
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Our school, Tsao Gang Elementary School, used ADSL to log on internet. We regularly met at the computer lab during the lunch break everyday. The instructional teachers used ADSL to log on at home and two of our 7 teammates logged on by dial-up at 56K modems at home to do the research.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
On timing problems:
(1) Our team had 7 members from the sixth grade. The time we could use at school was only the lunch break. However, some team members were student counselors, some were band members, some were choir members, and some had to prepare for English story-telling contest. These reasons made us unable to get altogether even during the lunch break.
(2) One of the instructional teachers who helped to do the web pages for the Chinese version left the school and we faced a technical transition problem in doing the web pages for the English version when the next person took over the job.
How to solve the problems:
(1) Include Wednesday and Thursday afternoons for those without class to do the research.
(2) Take the teams as the unit and use night hours to make interviews with the community.
(3) Schedule community interviews on Saturdays and Sundays as many as possible.
(4) Learn to take up more responsibility and work extra hours to bridge the gap.
On research inexperience problems:
Of our teammates, only Yu-Ting and Cen-Rong did the research last year. But they do not live in the “Nice” Community.
How to solve the problem:
(1) Make a research plan and set a workflow. We talked about what we expected of this research in prior meetings and then made a plan so that we clearly knew where we were to go and what we were to do. Later on, we established a workflow and timetable to monitor our progress.
(2) Have a preview and psychological warm-up: Teachers advised us the skills and key points to be aware of before, during and after the interviews. We practiced them before we had to master everything to pass our test of the last program “Interview the heroes of the Community”.
(3) Use supplemental tables and oral reports: First taught by Yu-Ting and Cen-Rong who wrote the research journals for us to learn the methods to write one. Then taught by teachers, we learned how to handle the key points to write a simple digest and use oral reports to do the summary.
(4) Focus on teamwork: We got into groups discussing the job including asking questions, taking photographs, tape- and digital-pen recording before we made our actual interviews. Team work helped us to overcome our inexperience problem.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Our project makes what seems difficult possible. The community reconstruction plan would be just a talk without a sound project which recreates the community as a whole to give it a new life and outlook and a future promising for every resident as is implied in its name “Nice”.
However, the past of the community is preserved and glorified in the industries reshaped for the future. The community reconstruction plan as a whole helps to rejuvenate it not only its outlook but from its inside, the inside of the residents.
People are a key to a successful community. And the reconstruction plan moves it forward to a Shangrila dreamland reincarnated in the people, landscape, artifacts and industries it has. We took example of those unselfish townsfolk who dedicated themselves to the dreams of having a better community to live in.
In return, the endeavor and good deeds of the townsfolk boosted our project and actions in return to get everyone involved in the community and school to prepare and unite to make a goal come true.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
The new nine-year curriculum places emphasis on students as the subject of learning. Focusing on the life experience of students, teachers should equip them with the basic skills to become modern citizens.
We plan the curriculum to move towards the three dimensions for individual development, social culture and natural environment, which are integral to this research shown in the theme which bases our life in the community, understanding of the changes of the natural, social and cultural environment of the community and actual participation in the building of the community.
The project is a journal written by the heart of the community residents and us all, because we put words into actions. We started from forming a team, making a plan, collecting data, making interviews, investigating the requirements of the community and acting upon the plan.
The project was begun by the teachers and was taken over by us students because we gradually learned the skills to do the research. And through teamwork, we learned the interview methods, knew the research process, practiced the communication skills and used the e-technology equipment.
More importantly, we walked out into the community, assisted the community in its overall construction and felt how our townspeople worked with their efforts. Our performance rewarded us praise from the residents of the community and helped us to establish a sound image of our school.