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This section explains how your project addressed the project elements found in the CyberFair Assignment to Schools.
1) How did your activities and research for this International School CyberFair project support your required coursework and curriculum requirements?
All students and teachers who participated in this project had to sacrifice almost their entire winter vacation, during which falls the Chinese New Year, the most important festival for the Chinese people. The many aspects of this project---planning the interviews, gathering relevant information, selecting people to be interviewed, dividing the tasks, discussing the contents of the interviews, training in interview etiquette and skills, inviting the guests to be interviewed, compiling and editing of notes---gave us a wonderful opportunity to practice expressing ourselves, and to improve our writing skills. This helped us in achieving our school's aim of teaching civics and the humanities.
In addition, we became acquainted with photography and recording skills; we acquired a basic understanding of using computer software and creating our own webpage; we even learned lighting design for interviews. All this was precious knowledge, which was not acquired directly from a classroom. Listening to the personal stories of our community leaders also led to a strengthening of character. Finally, apart from all these things, there was one final benefit: we had to try to write out our webpages in English, and this was a great way to learn about a subject that students in Taiwan often find most challenging!
2) What information tools and technologies did you use to complete your CyberFair project?
3) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
It is difficult for the conservative and reserved Chinese people to agree to an interview, in which they must reveal something of themselves to the public. It is also very difficult for students, who do not have much status in society, to get in touch with our busy community leaders. In fact, about half of those whom we had asked to interview, declined, pleading a variety of reasons. Such is the special nature of Chinese culture. For this very reason, our project seems all the more valuable.
Apart from using e-mail, we were able to come into initial contract with community leaders through introductions arranged by parents and teachers. We even wrote to our nation's Vice President! We were able to inform the community leaders clearly of our intentions, though as 15-17 year olds our ability to write clearly is still a little limited. Except for two students, everyone on the interviewing team was female. The feminine charm of our sweet and beautiful female students also had the unanticipated result of making the interviews go more smoothly.
In the course of arranging for interviews, the most surprising incident was that the Office of the Vice President, having received our E-mail, actually arranged for someone to call us to ask about details. This really gave us quite a suprise at the time.
"As their teacher in this project, what moved me most was seeing our students, who normally come across as being quiet and passive, come alive during the project; their potential was used to the utmost. For example, some students who are usually introverted and quiet were able to speak eloquently in front of the local leaders. As I saw their potential released and stimulated in this way, I felt extremely touched. "
4) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
In fact, our project ˇ§Sailing to the Worldˇ¨ represents a new and tentative start for our community. As mentioned above, it is not easy for the conservative Chinese people to accept something new. Even though Taipei is a cosmopolitan city, the influence of certain cultural factors means that the impact of our project upon the community is not something that can be detected immediately. Nevertheless, the project was an entirely novel experience for the students and teachers who participated in it, and for Panchiao Senior High School; and it is an experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
What touched us most was that Ministry of Education, Taiwan, was very positive towards the project; they generously helped us overcome our translation problems, and provided our school with assistance in software and hardware. What most surprised us most was that the China Times, which is one of the most influential papers in Taiwan, warmly responded to our requests for help and lent us their aid.
Amongst the schools in Taipei, the Chinese homepage of Panchiao Senior High School has a considerable number of readers. We exhibited the results of this project in the Chinese home page of our school, and that surely will increase the influence our project will have on the local community. We can claim with pride, that while ˇ§Sailing to the Worldˇ¨ is a small step for Panchiao Senior High School, it is a big step for our community, in sailing out to the world!
5) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
Since the students participating in this activity were almost all female students, we were unfamiliar with the techniques of setting up a home page. We also had to learn from scratch how to use many different kinds of software. So we often spent long hours at the school's Internet center in the library, sometimes staying until almost 01:00 in the morning. We had to stay in school even during the most important of all Chinese festivals, the Chinese New Year, and during winter break, the favorite holiday of many students. Some of our parents could not bear this, and they became our most loyal volunteers. Mrs. Wang, who teaches in middle school, and is also the wife of our project director Mr. Wang, was also a great help; so was Mr Wang's father-in-law, who is experienced in translating between English and Chinese.
We especially want to thank Mr. Lo, assistant editor of the China Times, and Miss Tang, reporter for the China Times. You provided us with so much precious information. For example, it was your information on our community leaders, that enabled us to get in touch with them.
We would also like to say thanks to our principal Mr. Lin, and to our library supervisor Mr. Chang. You always encouraged us and helped us in so many ways. Your concern for our project encouraged us greatly.
We would also like to express our thanks to Dr. Huey-Jen Su , the executive secretary for the Environmental Protection Committee, Ministry of Education and Miss Shiu-lin Chen. When we were most in need of help, you tirelessly solved our translation problems. Without your assistance, it would have been impossible for us to complete the translation on time.
We also want to thank Mr. Liau, President of the Parents' Association at Panchiao Senior High School, for your donation of Adobe Photoshop 5.0, which made the presentation of our project so much more beautiful.
One again, we would like to express our deepest and sincerest thanks to all the volunteers who helped us, and to the community leaders who agreed to the interviews, the precious pictures you offered for this project make our works more perfect. The help you gave us will always be more than you can imagine! Thank you and thank you!
6) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises
This is the first time we have participated in the International Schools CyberFair. We have tried our best. Not only was the project an opportunity for us to improve our English, it also showed us that we are able to exert an amazing amount of influence in our community! That was not something we could have anticipated.