International Schools CyberFair 97
Project Narrative


Ubrique, Land of Leather

Information About Our Site

  1. Link to our CyberFair97 Entry
  2. Date of Project: March 1997
  3. School: Multimedia English Academy
    City: Ubrique, Cádiz, Spain
  4. Teachers or Classes: Multimedia English Academy: Juan Carlos Ortiz Ordóñez, Miriam Bandes Zablah, Timothy Riley
  5. How many students worked on this project? 80 students
    Their ages were: 5-17 years of age
  6. Project Contact

Project Overview

  1. We entered our Web site in CyberFair Category:
    Local Specialties
  2. Description of "Our Community"
    Ubrique is a medium-size town in the southwestern region of Andalucia, Spain. It is a very picturesque place to live or visit. It lies in a valley and the majority of the houses are all white-washed, which is a well-known characteristic of many towns in this area. One of the most outstanding features of Ubrique is its long tradition in leather goods manufacturing. It is really hard to separate any of the sociocultural aspects of our town from our leather tradition, for this local craft or industry truly regulates our lives. In fact, even one of our local holidays celebrates the day of the most common profession in town: the day of the leather worker.
  3. Summary of Our Project
    Our initial invitation to get to know Ubrique, our town, is more than a wish to describe how leather goods manufacturing affects the life of our town. We touch on many other importantaspects of our community: our history and monuments, our unique way to speak Spanish (in fact, if you want to practice it or if you speak Spanish yourself, we invite you to view our project entirely in Spanish ). Yes, we also describe and show you some live pictures of us dancing and singing flamenco music. After all, this is one of the most widely recognized facets of Spain. Do not forget to check out our family recipes in the local gastronomy section. They have been given to us by our mothers and if you are into ethnic foods, these are specialand unique! We also describe some of our local festivities and celebrations.

    It is a rather tight agenda for a cybernetic visit to our community and we hope that it may eventually lead to an actual visit to Ubrique, our town.

  4. Our Internet Access
    Our academy has a contract with a local Internet Service Provider. We have a 28.8 modem (ISDN isn´t available in Spain).
  5. Problems We Had To Overcome
    The biggest enemies we faced throughout this project were time and orgnization. Our students come to our academy as an extracurricular activity and due to time limitations progress on the project was usually made on their weekends or off nights. To help organize ourselves we designed the project on paper first, then created a flow-chart on the wall representing the site. As pages were drafted they were printed out and added to the wall, that way students could come to the wall and see the progress that was being made, and what needed to be done still.
  6. Our Project Sound Bite
    Cyberfair97 has been a mind-opening exercise for our students that has opened their eyes to their own culture and given them exposure to an incredible new medium of communication which allows them to express themselves and their ideas multidimensionally using pictures, animations, sounds and text. This capability stimulates a higher level of communication and fosters a higher level of learning.

Project Elements

This section explains the project elements found in the CyberFair Project Assignment.

  1. How did your activities and research for this International School CyberFair 97 project support your required coursework and curriculum requirements?

    All direct participants in this project are students of a very small private academy: Multimedia English. Our center tries to incorporate new technological advances in the teaching of English, to stimulate students by using different media and getting hands-on experience in the process. One important goal in our academy is to get our students exposed to other cultures around the world. This has been done, for example, through an electronic penpal program. We must point out that we are the only institution in town, private or public, that has access to internet as an educational tool. In fact, our teachers had to spend quite a bit of time just trying to explain what the internet is, before beginning to describe Cyberfair ’97. The decision to participate in this year’s competition was taken after reading about Cyberfair ’96 in a Spanish magazine. We visited the site and realised that there were no participants from Spain. This project about our community local craft - leather manufacturing- was not set out to meet any requirement whatsoever. In fact, it was y introduced to the parents of our students as a wholesome experience combining the learning of English (our second language) with internet and web page designing. We proposed our idea as a "macro-challenge" that could only help us. We have to admit that this experience has drastically changed our ways of seeing our own town and to appreciate different ways to portray what is or isn’t "unique" or "important" about Ubrique. It has also changed our academy,our working hours, our computers, and much, much more! All in a positive and rewarding way.

  2. What information tools and technologies did you use to complete your CyberFair project?We used the academy’s computer laboratory to author our site. The center was given access to a digital still camera and a color scanner by a local company, Celestina Multimedia Productions, these tools were invaluable to acquire and incorporate all of the graphics on the Web site. We do not have the means for videoconferencing . We used a Beta-version of Microsoft´s FrontPage and Corel Web Designer as excellent tools to create and display a user-friendly site. We also used several other photo-editing programs, such as Photofinish and Paint Shop Pro. Microsoft’s Word. was used as a word processor.
  3. In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

    In many respects, we have high expectations regarding the effects or repercussions of this project in our community. We only come to the academy 3 or 4 times a week, that is, this is not the school where we spend most of our days. In fact, we attend all the seven elementary schools and one of the high schools of Ubrique. Our plan is that when the site is entirely done, groups from each school will show the site to the rest of our classmates in our English classes. There’s great expectation already on the part of some English teachers who think of this as an unique experience not only for the students who have contributed, but also for their classmates. We have done most of the contacting at the local level directly visiting people or meeting them in the street. One of our contributors, a historian, told one of us that he did not care much about the internet because he knows nothing about it; nonetheless, he would love to have the information he gave us put anywhere that it can be seen by the rest of the world (he did say , in fact, that he’d like to see the project when it was done). We also participated in community activities such as the carnival, chorizada and performances in the Peña Flamenca.

    Here in Spain, we have recently been bombarded by all kind of negative and at best confusing information about the internet (for example, the sex scandals, the indecency, etc...). This project has allowed us to demonstrate the true potentials of internet as an educational tool and perhaps we can contribute to change this negative image of internet.

  4. What has been the impact of your project on your community?

    The project has sparked the interest in many of our students who are extremely proud to know that they have done something which will be seen by many people all over the world. We used new technology, learned to take pictures, download them, edit them and author pages. We were required to do research, evaluate what we found and focus it towards the international public audience. As a result of this, we have learned to appreciate our community even more. Most people were also incredulous about the fact that what we entered in each page, every picture we had taken, could be seen anywhere in the world.

  5. How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?We were very fortunate to have lots of people involved in the project in and outside the academy. All the elaboration and information acquisition was done inside by members although we did not in any way restrict this project to our students. One major restriction we did have was the use of English; even though the site was done in both languages, everyone had to at least have some knowledge of English. We are very proud of some of the contributors we had: one of our students is an excellent dancer and is part of a Flamenco dance group and she allowed us to take lots of pictures, interview other members of the dance and singing group. Also in that field we would like to extend our gratitude to the Peña Flamenca de Ubrique for allowing us the opportunity to photograph dance and music performances. Don Bartolomé Pérez Sánchez de Medina, a very respected linguist shared with us all his research on the language of our region and specifically of Ubrique, some of it has not even been published yet. Don Manuel Cabello also shared quite a bit of his extensive knowledge on the history of Ubrique and of the leather manufacturing. He has numerous books and contributions in this field. We also had a very significant number of mothers who contributed with their personal recipes to be included in our project. We are extremely thankful to Don José López, the father of one of the students, who was kind enough to let a group of five students spend an afternoon in his leather factory, taking pictures, documenting the manufacturing process, and conducting interviews. We also want to thank Paul Phelan of Celestina Multimedia Productions who lent us his technical expertise regarding Web design. Finally, the academy would like to thank the parents for their support in providing materials even when that meant going out of their way.

Link to our CyberFair 97 Entry

International Schools CyberFair 97 Winners