1. Description of Our Community
Located on the Northwest coast of Java at the end of the Ciliwung River on Jakarta Bay, Jakarta is the economic center and cultural capital of Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago and the 4th most populous nation in the world. With about 10 million people claiming it as their home, Jakarta struggles to find itself in the era of globalization.
Towering skyscrapers occupied by influential business people, luxurious malls and high-rise apartments are sprouting everywhere. These progressive images are contrasted by numerous stalls frequented by the masses and sardine-packed kampungs or villages. It is said that there is considerable religious and ethnic tolerance in the Muslim-dominated city but there are still clashes among groups who do not share the same belief. The current governor of Jakarta has an appeal that can unify the people but the task may be too much for one person.
The Monumen Nasional or Monas, which was originally built to commemorate the struggles of those who were bonded together to achieve independence, is one of the most identifiable landmarks of Jakarta. As a symbol of unity, it is therefore important that the people of Jakarta look at the Monas with new lenses for inspiration. For no matter who you are, the moment you enter the hallowed grounds of the Merdeka Square where the Monas stands, everyone is equal.
Our school, Sekolah Lentera Inonesia, is a national plus school located in South Jakarta. The word lentera means lantern or light. Though we are located several kilometers away from the Monas, we share similar values in that we strive to be a light and inspiration for everyone.
2. Summary of Our Project
40 years after the Monas first opened its gates to the public, people have been divided on how they view Indonesia’s National Monument. Ironically, the monument was supposed to be a symbol of unity and independence. Moreover, the meaning is somehow lost to many people especially the youth and tourists simply see it as an unremarkable spot.
It is for those aforementioned reasons why we, the Grade 9 students of Sekolah Lentera Indonesia made a project about the Monas, researching its history, architecture and symbolisms. Furthermore, we created a website which tries to evaluate the importance and relevance of the Monas to the current generation.
With the national elections in Indonesia drawing near, the people needed to be reminded of the ideals and sacrifices of those who joined the Indonesian Revolution. The Monas, therefore, remains relevant.
Finally, just as Parisians are proud of the Eiffel Tower as a symbol of industrial success and New Yorkers are proud of the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom, we hope that the website will not only promote Monas to the rest of the world, it will also remind us of the values of which the Monas was originally built and to inspire us to make new meanings in this era of globalization.
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:1
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Not all of us could bring our laptops to work in school but fortunately we could use our smartphones to research. We are also grateful to our IT staff who allowed us to use the computer lab to finish our work. We the number of users, it is quite understandable for the internet connection to be a bit slow, but we were able to secure our own wi-fi access to make our work faster.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Since it’s our first time to join the competition, we had to familiarize ourselves with the rules and instructions. We always had to refer to our checklist to see whether we’re on the right track. Fortunately, there are several reference materials provided by Globalschoolsnet.
Studying the websites of past winners also gave us a lot of ideas.It took us a while to brainstorm on which topics we should research. Conducting the research efficiently was also challenging because we had to coordinate different assignments. Sometimes, our topics would overlap. We had to address this during our ‘project time’ in class to sort out our ideas. Most of the available information about the Monas came from travel websites and online encyclopaedias. While they are helpful, they are far from definitive and a lot of the views are biased or opinionated. There were also not a lot of books and other printed materials.
Even with the lack of time, we fortunately managed to visit the Monas to see the monument for ourselves and listen to the different perspectives of the people in the area. At first, we were especially excited to go to the very top of the monument but the elevator to the viewing platform was still not available for the public. Though the outcome of the interviews we did with the workers was productive, we had the impression that they were careful to say very positive things about the Monas, Sukarno and Indonesia. Some topics are probably still considered taboo. Being first timers, we were mostly shy and experienced some language barriers.
We experienced a lot of technical difficulties in finishing our articles and in building the website. We had to make special sessions after classes and request for a separate wi-fi access just to finish our tasks.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
As a small school, we are limited in terms of our physical resources and social interaction. Through this project, however, we were able to go out of our comfort zones and connect with people with different backgrounds and status. Not only that, we now look at the Monas and other landmarks in a more meaningful way. More importantly, we were able to share our experiences, research and reflection with the rest of the world through the internet. We could consider our project as our humble contribution in the promotion of awareness and appreciation of the Monas, our city, Jakarta, and country, Indonesia.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Since our school adopted the Cambridge International Examinations, the objectives of the project should were based on its objectives. For instance, this was initially project in our History class which aims to ‘encourage the development of historical skills, including investigation, analysis, evaluation and communication skills’ as well as to ‘encourage international understanding.’ Our lessons were on the aftermath of World War II and the fall of European empires including those in Asia. The Indonesian Revolution was mentioned in passing. As Indonesians, we believe more should be mentioned about that topic.
As we were doing the interviews, we had to keep in mind our Bahasa Indonesia skills where we had to ‘communicate clearly, fluently and purposefully’. Later as we were writing our articles, it also touched on our English classes wherein we had to ‘articulate experiences and express what is thought, felt and imagine’ and ‘use a range of appropriate vocabulary’ as well as to ‘use register appropriate to audience and context.’ The skills that we have learnt in our IT classes were also helpful when we were building the website.
We have been using the internet almost daily for fun but we have never fully grasped what a powerful tool it is in sharing our ideas. Thus, we have to be very responsible in making sure we don’t post anything that may give negative impressions. Because of this project, our school is considering doing more interdisciplinary projects in the future. They have noted that even among ourselves we were able to express our ideas, collaborate, critique or peers and delegate and assign tasks. Our learning experiences indeed went beyond the four walls of the classroom.