1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
We used e-mails, cell phones, MSN & Yahoo messengers, teleconferencing software to reach each other in school or at home. They helped raise efficiency. We could exchange ideas any time we wanted by opening a group discussion online. That saved much time. Also, digital cameras and DVs helped us record interviews and field trips. Sometimes when we couldn't write down everything, they helped us record the missed part, so that later on when we were writing about the interview, we wouldn't miss anything or mistake anything. Personal interviews were fun too. We get to practice interview skills. The interviewees were so kind in answering every question in detail and offering more help and advice.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
In order to be a qualified spokesman or an ambassador, we as a team made personal contact with the specialists in this area so that we could tell viewers the true story about bamboo charcoal. The pictures and video recordings that we took, the interviews, and the notes helped us know the industry better. Then we tried to present their efforts thoroughly and precisely. So the focus is not only on the scientific but also on the social aspect. We are introducing bamboo charcoal along with the Taiwanese spirit , most importantly, the awareness of environmental protection.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Our project does bring the bamboo charcoal industry closer to the consumers. Before, bamboo charcoal only appeared in TV commercials and stores, and nobody cared to ask if it had the functions it claimed. But now we could prove they are true by presenting our project and experiment results. People could know deeper about why bamboo charcoal is good for environment. People who have viewed our web pages said our project is well-organized and detailed. They could know the whole story about bamboo charcoal, from its past to its future. We are glad to receive help from the industry. The companies and organizations that we visited welcome us with presentations and souvenirs and demonstrations. It is a valuable experience.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
There are so many people to thank. Our project advisor Ms. Li Sing Jhao has always been there for us. She gave us the direction and she also taught us the techniques needed for making a website. The student teachers, Ms. Chen and Mr. Li, also helped us a lot. The employees in every company and research institute helped us a lot too. Mr. Chen Wen Chi from IRTI helped us the most. He organized the two field trips, including the accommodation and transportation. He provided us a thorough introduction to bamboo charcoal. Many parents gave up their weekends driving us around to the stores and interviews. Many friends and relatives volunteered to help us test the products. Our fellow students and teachers also kindly filled out the survey questionnaire for us. There are just too many to thank. Hope we won’t let them down.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
Discovery: We found many records about Taiwanese bamboos, including how many kinds there are, what they can do… There are 18 kinds of them, and they can be further divided into 58 kinds. Among them, 18 kinds are native to Taiwan. After the 9-21 earthquake, forestry regained its spot. They have become more technology-oriented rather than material-supplying. We are moved by such transformation. Lesson learned: Due to the massive amount of professional knowledge needed for this project, we planned field trips including IRTI, BAIHO GROUP, Bamboo Culture Park, and etc. We made a huge amount of notes and recordings, so it took time to organize and filter the information. We needed to delete the redundant parts and the incoherent parts. Our first interview did not go very smooth. We didn’t prepare enough, and we didn’t do much homework. So the questions were out of focus. Luckily, we found out where the problems were and decided to do better. During the following visits, we were better-prepared with questions and notes. We also learned to express ourselves better to the interviewees. Our manners improved a lot too. Practice and preparation make perfect! Surprises: The experiments were really amazing! It was surprising to see the blue color being filtered by the bamboo charcoal. We knew this function long before we visited IRTI, but seeing is believing! The far-infrared radiation experiment was also unforgettable. We could see our own blood vessels in big screen and our circulation get faster with a charcoal cloth on top of the arm. The tester said he did feel warmth from the cloth! Now we believe in learning by doing. Through the experiments the theories could become more persuasive. We were so lucky to witness the black diamond charcoal shine in this industry.