1. Description of Our Community
Shanguang Community is located north of Houli Li of Shijr Township and Chang Shu Elementary School is right next to the community. Because majority of the residents in the community relocated from Guangfu Township or Fenglin Township of Hualien County, Shanguang Community represents an urbanized Amis culture. Throughout the history of urbanization, this community not only has experienced a variety of ethnic influence, banishment, and damages but also marginalized and isolated by mainstream communities. As a result, it has become a high priority to bridge the cultural gap between generations in order to carry on our rich heritages. The Chang Shu Elementary School Choir is mostly made up by aboriginal students with a mission to promote Amis traditional music and dance in the community and to remind urban Amis of traditions and prides.
2. Summary of Our Project
We are a group of Amis children whose grandparents moved away from their root and settled down in the modern communities for making their livings. Since we are the third generation, native music and compelling dance seemed so distant. Hopefully, the founding of the school choir is a starting point to get urban Amis excited about their history and traditions. Because of the special topic project “Heavenly Melody, Innocence, and Root”, we had an opportunity to discover the beauty of traditional Amis arts and lifestyle and learned the legend of our ancestors as well as the original Amis nursery rhymes. Through the series of discoveries, the mystery of Amis Tribe is unveiled by our project.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:less than 20
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Our school has two computer labs, each equipped with 40 computers. A total of 80 computers are networked together and connected to Internet through academic networking resources. Because of financial conditions, majority of students often were accessible to Internet only through school’s computers. Therefore, most students value their time spent online through school’s computer in order to learn cutting edgy technology and information.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Uneven Skill Levels
Because our team was made up with students from various grades and classrooms, it has been challenging in task sharing. For example, graphic design and editing was over the head for students in lower grades and the overall progress sometimes negatively impacted our delivery schedules.
As soon as we recognized a behind on the progress of our project, our teacher was notified. As a result, we were often grouped in teams to discuss issues and our teacher recommended a more specialized approach in task dividing in which lower-grade students were responsible for data integration and project overview while upper-grade students took charge of document and graphic editing. In addition, students with proficient computer skills were often nominated for web page making.
Once we have narrowed the topic of our project to Amis arts and culture, the information we gathered during the initial phase was trifling and lack of integrity due to multiple versions of information found on Internet. As soon as this issue was raised, our team realized that it was necessary to go all the way to our root to find accurate representations of Amis culture.
After we presented the idea of a field trip to Hualien to our teacher, our team held a meeting with faculty to discuss the core concept of our project. Fortunately, the trip was approved and supported by the principal and other supporting agencies and a root-searching journey to Hualien had commenced!
During the interviews in our field trip, we discovered that it was necessary for the third generation Amis to get familiar with authentic Amis dialect. Evidently, urbanized Amis like our parents or us are still having hard time communicate with elderly Amis or our fellow Amis in Hualien.
Ms. Hui-mei Lin, one of our teachers, was born and raised in a traditional Amis family and her Amis language is very fluent. Because of her dedications in translation and guidance, we were able to complete our interviews successfully.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
One of the lessons we learned from this special topic project was the profound meaning of native Amis music and dance. Although Amis is a spoken language, it is extraordinary to carry on Amis culture through music, dance and verbal conversations. Therefore, the native Amis arts shall never be forgotten.
During the root-searching trip, we were determined to unveil the true meaning of Amis songs, representations of Amis traditions and culture. After absorbing the newfound understandings of Amis songs, the performance of Chang Shu Elementary School Choir has new meanings, by which Amis culture is beautifully expressed. From this project, we recognized our missions by which the spirit of Amis culture and traditions will be carried on.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Cyberfair Project has become a new trend in teaching with focuses on improving independent thinking and problem solving skills.
1. Strong supports from our school
Since Chang Shu Elementary School is located in Shuanguan Community, a Shijr Aboriginal community, it is beneficial for the community to develop a curriculum specialized in promoting native languages and cultures of Taiwanese aboriginals. To push forward aboriginal culture learning, our school features an aboriginal choir committed to carry on aboriginal traditions. In addition, a special course for traditional aboriginal arts and crafts has been in place to maintain the rich heritages of the fading aboriginal culture.
2. Students’ dedications
Majority of Amis Legend Team are members of Chang Shu Elementary School Choir, ranging from grade 3 to grade 6. Because most members have basic understandings of Amis culture and arts, questions were constantly been raised regarding to traditions and controversial subjects. Powered by this project, we were able to further explore issues and controversy about aboriginal traditions through a series of interviews and research activities. Particularly, while we were learning more about raising issues, designing research strategy, interviews as well as documentation and data integration, we were also being trained for independent thinking, problem solving, organizational skill, and social skills. We are confident that the fruits of our labor not only will benefit each team member in cultural appreciation but also serve as a great example for our peers.
3. Grade 1-9 Curriculum Integration
Our topic “Heavenly Melody, Innocence, and Root” covers the major subjects of native education curriculum designed for Taiwanese Aboriginals. The culture-focused efforts are designed to motivate students in exploring Amis’ traditions and culture.