1. Description of Our Community
Situated at the southern tip of Changhua County, Xizhou Township won this name as it is located at the submerged/emerged land where Siluo River and Siluo River (derived from Jhuoshuei River) are running through. This township boasts a historic and a natural feature, namely, Xizhou Sugar Plant and Jizaipi Canal. The former was a major sugar plant decades ago, as the ordinary people of old times depended a lot on sugar plants. In the 1980s, Taiwan Sugar Corporation (referred to as Tai Sugar) reduced its production immensely, and started to sell large pieces of land for residential buildings. In the process, many precious old trees were chopped down, while the Japanese-style dormitories and old structures such as Shicui Building had been torn down. In 1999, some of the land that possessed by Tai Sugar were imposed by the local government and rebuilt into the Township Office and a forest park. The Jizaipi Canal was constructed in the Japanese-colonized period, which was the first ever channel built by the government agency and the second largest irrigation system all over Changhua County. The Jizaipi Canal derived the water from Jhuoshuei River via Xizhou Township for irrigation over southwestern Changhua.
Xizhou Township’s communities and fields are clustered round the channel as the channel water is composed of sandy mud, which contributes to good crops. In addition, the water of Jhuoshuei River is rich in minerals and other valuable components, therefore the rice here, named as “Jhuoshuei Rice,” is best renowned across Taiwan. Jizaipi Canal is not merely a vital line for Xizhou people, but produces excellent-quality agricultural products such as Pearl guava and Malabar chestnut as well.
2. Summary of Our Project
The Pearl guava grown in Xizhou Township has stayed on top of Taiwan in the respects of plantation area, production and quality. Many of the local farmers make a living on guava plantation; hence Pearl guava is as precious as green pearl in the eyes of these local farmers. In short, Pearl guava is economically vital for the locals and a glory for Xizhou Township. In this Cyberfair project, we will give a succinct introduction on the local features of Xizhou, while exploring the topics as follows: 1. Guava Family: an introduction to the species of guava will be given. 2. Xizhou’s Pearl guava: an introduction to the background, subsequent development, weather conditions, growing process, and technology of guava cultivation. 3. Selling: an introduction to Xizhou’s Pearl guava. 4. Professionals: the local guava professionals’ success stories. 5. Current condition and perspectives: innovative ideas about the future development of Xizhou’s Pearl guava cultivation, and sustainable operations of local industries.
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:1
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
We have encountered quite some difficulties in the process of research over the last six months. Fortunately, we have received valuable help and support from our mentors and community people and have learned a lot from this experience.In the aspect of research focus:In the summer vacation of 2013, the mentors have led us to get familiar with our homeland through field research activities. We have discovered that the Pearl guava grown in Xizhou Township has been ranked as 1st in the respects of production and plantation area in the country, and thus we have reached a decision to focus on Pearl guava in our research.In the aspect of team building and teamwork:The school conducted a workshop for the Cyberfair project during summer vacation to develop our capability in interviewing, taking pictures, photography, and Webpage production and so forth. We have been assigned with specific tasks according to our personal interest and ability.In the aspect of time arrangement:In 2013 summer, we had done actual field activities. In the mid-semester, our mentors helped us to revise and supplement the original report. All of us continued with the work of Webpage production during the winter holiday, and done the supplementary or revised work for information required of this report.In the aspect of information technology:We had found Webpage production very difficult in the beginning phase of the Cyberfair project.We did not consider the editing of photos and aesthetic judgment to be something that need learning so as to make the Webpage inviting to web browsers. Under the guidance of our computer teacher and Teacher Ming-hua Lin, we have grasped the knacks of making good Webpages.In the aspect of data collection:Our teachers organized many sessions on taking pictures, tips on photography, interviewing, and recording. All the techniques have been employed in the process of information collection.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Ever since we began this project, we have gathered for several times, and each time we have achieved a differing purpose, which gave me a lot of sense of fulfillment. I have high curiosity, and have had a habit of finding the answer independently since I was very young. I remember I interviewed a farmer once, and he said that “I am inclined to take a job that is free since I graduated from senior vocational school. And I found I love growing vegetables and fruit.” When I visited his home, I saw so many adorable animals. He reminded me of a great farmer poet Tao Yuan-ming from the Wei Jin and North and South Dynasties. Also another farmer remarked that he hoped guava can have a further improvement in Xizhou in the future. Everybody hopes to see an improvement in their hometown, and I count myself as lucky to have this chance to make research on such a topic. I really wish to have a second opportunity to take a part in the Cyberfair project in the future.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Our research project has initiated “action learning process” for all the people involved, teachers or students alike, helping all to get rid of cold knowledge and memorizing: We have integrated many areas of knowledge and community activities in daily life into a system of research. It may well be said that most people, including the pupils in these districts, have depended on guava plantation for a living. Yet it seems that very few people have taken the time to explore the land and natural surroundings of our hometown. It was not until we have confirmed the topic of the research, did we suddenly realize how important the hometown meant to us. Not only should we know where we came from, but we also have to acquire knowledge—from books and everyday life. Memorizing or passing examinations might be part of our schooling, yet there is more to education, such as caring and giving. Hence we realized that the village, the land, Jhuoshuei River, and the farmers, are vital elements in the process of growing up for us.We have developed a spirit and capacity of doing research.Through a confirmation of the research topic, discussions over research framework, the design of questions, interviewing, literature collection, information analysis, report writing, and Webpage making, we have constructed a system of knowledge about agriculture in Xizhou Township and the industry of guava cultivation. This process of knowledge acquisition and research has taught us a lot.We have developed a capability to take advantage of information technology.We did not know that Internet and computer technology could help us with in-depth learning. Through working on the Cyberfair project, we have learned to use a computer to build an exchange platform. By editing photos and adding melodious music and elaborately written words, we have created a presentable Webpage.