Teachers or classes:Ms Marina Myburgh and the pupils of the Computer studies department, especially
How many students worked on this project?20
Their ages were:
15-17 years of ageThe following people assisted us:
Category 7 - Environmental Awareness
Our Community are city people living in a densely populated area. It straddles the Roodepoort/Krugersdorp municipal boundary, 15 km from Dobsonville, Meadowlands and Soweto, 25 km from the center of Johannesburg and close to Randburg and Pretoria. It is in Gauteng, known for it's mineral riches, in fact gold was first discovered on less than 10 km from the National Botanical Gardens and Ruimsig Entomological Reserve. There are numerous mines and minedumps, factories, shops and shopping centers, yet our city has a suburban feel with mainly one or two story houses, clusterhomes, schools, churches and recreation centers.
We focused on the uniqueness of a small 12 hectare Entomological Reserve that was established for the protection of the rare butterfly Aloeides dentatis on very valuable development property and the National Botanical Gardens where, despite being surrounded by built-up areas, this corner of Gauteng has retained its tranquillity and Black eagles still soar from their centuries-old nest on the cliff.
The Entomological Reserve is a first in Africa proclaimed to protect a unique grassland habitat for insects not commonly found in Gauteng. The butterfly is restricted to this locality since it requires both the presence of its host ant and its larval foodplant, that is found here. The viability of small nature reserves is being investigated here and results of these conservation strategies could have far-reaching consequences for butterfly conservation in South Africa.
The Black Eagles in the Witwatersrand Botanical Garden are fascinating and unique raptors in that they manage to survive and breed successfully in an increasingly unnatural environment. It is envisaged that with ongoing observations any problems will be timeously dealt with and the future of these famous Black Eagles secured.
Our Computer Science syllabus requires us to cover Datacommunications. Last year I described concepts like modems, digital and analogue lines, routers, hubs, INTERNET and Email according to textbook definitions. I could show the students pictures in magazines and tell stories other people told me about the excitement of international communication and learning from information on the INTERNET. This year we have, thanks to our sponsors and friends, the opportunity to gain firsthand experience.
The teacher and students also learned side by side to locate and use resources and use higher order thinking skills. Active learning and groupwork took place and these skills are of value in all subjects and life at large.
The Biology curriculum also covers ecology, the close relation of insects and birds with their habitat. In doing our research we were thus also working multi disciplinary and integrating work in more than one subject.
Very few schools completed CyberFair projects in our area. At a meeting of Computer Science teachers at JCE on the 6th of March 1996 we mentioned our project to several other teachers and many of them heard about this competition from us for the first time.
We also told Gauteng Information Technology people about our project at a Gauteng Schools Network launch meeting held at Parktown Boys' High School on the 25th of March 1996. Nobody there ever considered publishing on the WWW before as far as we know.
The personnel of the Botanical Gardens were very pleased that we chose to mention their workplace as a place of interest. They wanted to know if we could create more pages on other Nature Reserves and Botanical Gardens as well . See story about a reunion.
We were invited to have guided tours in the reserves and the garden and we could see everything for ourselves and take pictures.
Because our school was the first in our area to venture in a project of this kind, other schools watched with some envy as we overcame one problem after the other. I am sure we will have more competition from them next year!
Our project made a difference in our own lives in that our horizons expanded, we learned new skills and teacher and students learned side by side. We learned to use HTML through WEBLEARN and experienced the excitement to publish our first Web page. In doing so we became not only "surfers on the web, but also servers" (as Jim Levin at University of Illinois said according to the article: Introduction to Harnessing the Power of the Web, Global SchoolsNet Foundation).
A concern for nature conservation was kindled with many teachers, pupils and their parents. The businesses involved also became more aware of nature conservation in our area. This could result in further interest and contributions towards these conservation institutes, who rely on public funding.
As we only published our work for the first time now, we eagerly await the phase where our audience will respond to our work and ongoing dialogs established. We are sure people all over the world would appreciate what we offered as a project and contact us to find out more about our reserves, our school and our beautiful country. We even hope to see some of you visiting us in future!
I am a teacher with only 2 years experience in the teaching of Computer science and we haven't had any experience of Email or downloading information from the Internet. Our classroom is equiped with computers to teach programming in Turbo Pascal, but we lacked a telephoneline, modem and computer suitable to work on when we entered the competition 6 weeks ago. We haven't even heard about HTML or NETSCAPE or service providers before. Obviously we had to rely heavily on the expertise and donations from within our community. We are very grateful for the parents, local businessmen, friends and members of conservation societies who contributed.
We would like to thank the following people who assisted us:
South Africa has undergone major changes recently, as you probably know. Our country has a new government, and a new constitution is being written. Our school used to for white, Afrikaansspeaking children only. We have changed our policies towards full integration now so that all races are welcome and they have been accepted very well. We even accomodate a few children whose home language is English.
We use our computer centre after hours for classes in computer literacy, wordprocessing and bookkeeping that are available for everybody in the community
During May a big Motor Show will be hosted at our school where local Businesses will display new models and related products and motor enthusiasts show of their vintage models. The whole community will have the chance to participate or just enjoy the day.
Nataniel, a well known South African vocal artist, will perform at our school on the 19th of April. It is part of a beauty pagent gala evening and big prizes donated by local businesses will be given to the senior and junior Miss Adie.Link to our CyberFair entry