1. Description of Our Community
Rajasthan is the largest State of India. It covers 10.4% of total India’s area. We are located in the Shekhawati belt in Churu which is the land of shifting sand dunes and is also called the Gateway to Great Thar desert. The population consists of 73% cultivators and about 4% of agricultural labour and 2.26% population is involved in processing and servicing industry. This was a land of heroism & gypsies, wonders & wars and strong winds and trade. This belt has a major chunk of traders called Marwari merchants. These Marwari merchants during 17th to 19th century travelled far and wide to trade. They brought in a lot of wealth to their home towns. Success in distant lands did not make marwaris turn their back on their home land instead to most impress those they have left behind they lavished money on their homes which were later called havelies. There are close to 2000 havelies covered with frescoes on their walls and ceilings. These frescoes depict scenes from mythology / wars and battles and the ancestries of their owners and also the coming of the British Raj. Today these exquisite painted houses, Ozymandian in their hubris and decay. These havelies are mostly unoccupied now and their desolation combined with their scale and great wealth produces the feeling of wonder.
2. Summary of Our Project
We wanted to rescue our past to build our future.Tourism contributes heavily to the economy of Rajasthan in India. It almost accounts to 8% of Rajasthan’s domestic product. Whereas in our belt, the old heritage of havelies and frescoes was neither contributing in providing employment nor adding to the economy. This cultural heritage in our belt has been ignored by the owners and the Government. Therefore it was imperative for us to visit Chattries (cenotaphs), baoris (stepwells) and havelies (mansions) of Churu, Ramgarh, Mahansar, Mandawa and Bissau to study the art and architecture. We wanted owners and the Government to wake up and do the restoration work as in bigger cities and towns (like Jaipur, Jodhpur etc.). We wanted tourism to develop thus bringing in more revenue to our belt. We also decided to collaborate with a school in Italy to compare the frescoes in both the countries. The biggest aim though was to preserve our cultural heritage.
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:dial-up modem
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):
We connect through dial-up connection in our school computer lab. Internet facility is also available through WiFi. Besides, most of us use computers for surfing after school. We have 2 computer Labs in our School which caters to around 40 classes of 30 students each. Therefore the availability of machines was a problem.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Since most of these havelies were owned by people who have moved to different parts of the world, it was difficult for us to access these havelies. So we decided to contact their nearest relatives who were staying in our belt to help us. We initially faced a lot of resistance from the Government and the owners. However, by holding heritage walks and by making the common man aware of the importance of these heritage properties, we had more support thus making us reach our target. Since we had limited access to the computer room in the school, we decided to bring our own device (BYOD). We also took help from our teachers wherein they hosted skype classes for us as when we were missing our classes. January to March is the final assessment term in our country so time management was a major issue so we had to organize flipped classes .
5. Our Project Sound Bite
For us Cyber Fair is the best tool to learn 21st Century skills. It is an authentic cross-curricular and project based work. It has set up new academic standards as we are engaged in authentic real world project. It involved entrepreneurship, presentation, demonstration, problem solving, research, an inquiry, pear learning and career skills and above all it has taught us time management and resource management. It has also enhanced our IT skills.When we collaborated with the school in Italy we could actually Understand and Unite.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
The activities done during this project not only enhanced our know how of the curriculum but also about our cultural heritage. We learnt to a) draw timelinesand use Gnnat chart , b) to analyse data, c) to conduct interviews, d) to reflect, e) to use the right tool and technology, f) to conduct heritage walk, g) to learn about different materials use for making frescoes in different parts of the world,h)to use the robin round method of brain storming i)to use the why why analysis tool for problem solving