CyberFair Project ID: 2387

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Exploring the Beauty of Chinese Characters
Category: 8. Local Music and Art Forms
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Hsing Ya Primary School
    Taipei city , Taiwan, Taiwan

7 students, ages twelve ~ thirdteen years worked together to complete this CyberFair project on February 4, 2003. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2002

Classes and Teachers: Mrs. Wang Mei-lan, Mr. Chiang Chin-hua and Mr. Lai Chin-kuo, Miss Chang Ling-yun

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

The city we live--Taipei is a cosmopolitan city with the great IT resource. Also, Taipei is the city of art. Here you can find the art of Chinese characters everywhere, like government institutions, schools, companies, buildings and the shop signs of all kinds of stores. Chinese is not only the tool of communication but also the most special local art.

2. Summary of Our Project

Chinese words has deep rooted in Chinese people‘s life. But we also find now many students’ Chinese ability is getting lower. Fortunately, our school put great emphasis on the education of Chinese traditional culture. Besides Chinese music, calligraphy is also one of our school’s features. Our calligraphy teacher, having won the Champions in many calligraphy contests, combines this Chinese culture with Internet and technology to make more students learn calligraphy easily. Therefore we have great interest in this local art. So in our project we are dedicated to exploring the beauty of Chinese words in our daily life. We traced back to the origin of Chinese words and interviewed with many famous calligraphers and gathered plenty of information about calligraphy though Internet. Moreover, all the teachers and students of our school and the members in our community joint the activity “Exploring the beauty of Chinese words” to vote for what they thought was the most beautiful Chinese character seen in our life. We hope that this project can have more people are aware that Chinese words actually has great influence on our life so we shall cherish this cultural legacy being kept for several thousands years.

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:4-6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

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):

Our computer laboratories and research workstation with ADSL and Cable Internet are available for teachers and students to gather or exchange information with others on Internet.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Problem: a. Lack of ability: Our participants know a lot about how to surf the Internet to collect information and are good at calligraphy and drawing. But compared to the 2002 Cyberfair participants, the members of our school orchestra and therefore quite familiar with their project about Chinese music, this year our participants lack the professional knowledge on Chinese words. b. Lack of manpower: In the process of doing our project, we had to look for the words that could present the beauty of Chinese characters. However, due to limited manpower, we found it’s hard to gather enough Chinese words suitable for our project.

Solution: We decided to have everyone in our school join our project by holding a very interesting activity – voting for the “Chinese beauty.” on the sport day. We invited all students to gather the Chinese words which they like from all kinds of resources such as print publication or newspaper ads.On the sport day, we invited our teachers, students, and the people in our community to vote for their favorite among these Chinese characters. Also, we have several 6th-grade girls wear the T-shirt with new computer Chinese fonts on the back. And this creative “fashion show” made the originally dull collection of Chinese words an interesting learning process. Besides, in our project, we tried to introduce many kinds of computer Chinese fonts while nowadays computers are frequent used in our daily life and computer Chinese fonts have been part of our local art and popular on Internet. But at first we couldn’t get the legal authorization of these Chinese fonts. Fortunately, the President of Dynacomware corp., Lee Chen-ying, appreciated our idea very much so he not only accepted our interview on digital Chinese fonts but also sponsored our promoting activity on the sport day and supported us to translate our homepage into English. That helps us learn more about computer Chinese fonts and increase the depth of our subject.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Unity is strength. There is nothing we can’t do if we work together. But be sure to have full preparation for what you're doing to get other people’s notice.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our project itself is a learning activity of experimental art appreciation. From the small research of we 7 participants to a full-scale involvement of our school, our community and even the whole society, we all realize that the beauty of Chinese Characters can be found everywhere in the process of taking pictures of the Chinese words on the street and gathering various Chinese fonts from print publications. Besides, calligraphy is part of the Chinese courses. So our project, including our participants demonstrating writing calligraphy and the appreciation of many famous calligraphers’ works, can make our students and teachers know more about the beauty of Chinese words and the importance of calligraphy in Chinese culture. Even our English teachers are inspired by the way we developed our project. They have their students look for the English in their surrounding neighborhood during the winter break or display the English words around their classrooms to make students aware that “words” always influence our life.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

Interview: having an interview with the experts in the field of calligraphy and computer Chinese fonts. Internet: Surfing the Internet to look for the relative websites and discussing the schedule of our project through MSN Messenger. Book, magazine: reading the publications about Chinese etymology, calligraphy and calligraphers to know more about the development of Chinese words. Digital camera: taking the picture of various Chinese fonts to presents clearly the figures of Chinese words. Personal multifunction and all-in-one: used to scan the images of print words, do images editing and copy the information we need. Large-format printer: used to print large posters for our promoting activity. Telephone, mobile phone: used to liaise with our interviewees and confirm details. Computer software: Photoshop 4.0/5.0、FrontPage98/2000、Real Encoder、WS_FTP…etc... Ps. Most of the equipments above are offered by our teachers and parents.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

When just getting started, we couldn’t find a specific goal for our project. “Chinese characters” seem to be a very broad subject because they influence every aspect of our life. Though later we came up with the idea of having all our teachers and students join our project, at first some people thought it’s unpractical to make thousands of people spend time on our small project which basically needs only a couple of students. But finally because of our enthusiasm and our principal’s encouragement, we won every one’s recognition. We picked up sixty pieces of works, every ten offered by our students at each grade (1st to 6th grade) and held an activity of “Chinese words beauty contest” on our sport day. Interestingly, on that day, a few 2graders, wearing the colorful election ribbons (note1) with the sign “It’s the election for words, not for people!” on them, were our perfect ambassadors. So our activity and these adorable ambassadors attracted many News media to have an in-depth report instead of visiting other school’s sport activities. That proved our “Cute ambassadors” strategy worked!

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our project and creative activity make our school emphasize calligraphy education much more than before. To make more students how to write calligraphy well, our school turns the video tape of our calligraphy teacher, Mr. Jiang Jinhua, and Cyberfair participants demonstrating writing calligraphy into DVD and plays it in the public areas like the corridors. And many news media also take the idea of our activity “Chinese words beauty contest” and held an activity “My favorite Chinese word.” It’s amazing that our school project can arouse the highly attention of the whole society toward our traditional culture. Besides, because the calligraphy class is one of the required courses in elementary in Taipei city, our project and homepage becomes a very useful teaching and learning material for teachers and students. Even some educational institutes has put our homepage on their websites, hoping there are more people learn more about Chinese characters through our website.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

1. Our calligraphy teacher, Mr. Jiang Jinhua, has devoted himself to calligraphy teaching for several years. In this project, he gave our participants a lot of advice, taught them much professional knowledge in his field and instructed them to tape their calligraphy writing. 2. The President of Dynacomware corp., Mr. Lee Chen-ying authorized us the 2003 updated Computer Chinese fonts and offered their computer font dress for our dress show on the sport day. 3. Our students and their families help us gather the most beautiful words by taking the pictures of the shop signs on the streets and collecting the logos on any print publications. Their all-out involvement enriches our project and activity. 4. Bureau of Education of Taipei City Government has been thinking highly of culture and art. So it informed many reporters to visit our school. Many reporters had to sacrifice their holidays to report our project and made more people know the beauty of Chinese words. 5. As our computer teacher, Mr. Chen Kuan-lin taught us the skills of image editing, homepage and animation designing. He instructed us how to solve the most difficult problem—having the complicated image of Chinese characters shown clearly on our homepage. 6. Our English teacher, Chang Ling-yun, not only translate our project into English but offered us the information about the difference and similarity between Chinese and English words, hoping more people oversea can see the result of our research and love calligraphy, one of the most unique art in the world.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Last year Hsing-ya primary school combined China music with the Internet and won the platinum award in 2002 Cyberfair contest. This year we tried to research Chinese words — a totally different local art. We find that Chinese words are much more than a graceful art. They contain Chinese culture and its history. So it’s quite hard for our 5th-grade participants to understand the complicated background behind Chinese words. On the other hand, we know a lot about Chinese etymology in the process of doing this project. Based on what we have learnt about Chinese characters to introduce it, maybe this way we can make people who don’t know much about Chinese words have great interest on them as we do. Besides, in the process of studying Chinese words, we realize the importance of learning Chinese well and how to use the most specific words to express our feeling. In the future, we’ll keep learning all the knowledge about Chinese words. Above all, we realize that though we’re still students, our finding can teach many people, including adults, how to appreciate our local art. The true meaning of education is no loger limited to school education. Through Internet, we can teach other people ourselves or learn more from them. We still remember that during the past few months of working hard on our projects, every day we had lunch and discussed our project in the research workstation and spent every holiday to learn how to do our homepage, looked for all kinds of information about Chinese characters. We’re glad that finally we finished our project on time and know how to do a professional project. But most importantly, we know how important it is to work together to achieve our goal and never quit. So next year no matter what kind of project we are going to face, we’ll remember the maxim “Unity is strength.” and moreover, hand down it to the juniors for next Cyberfair contest.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 2387)

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