CyberFair Project ID: 3553

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Toprak-Kala
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: Secondary school #32
    Nukus, Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan

13 students, ages 13-16 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 18, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2005

Classes and Teachers: Bondarenko Natasha, Pak Larisa, the 7th-9th grades

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Karakalpakstan... This place is considered to be one of the misterious, ancient, cultural areas among the Central Asian Republics. It is the land, rich in historical monuments and similar to a museum in the open air. The Karakakalpakstan border is located on the Turan lowland. Kara-Kum desert is on the south-west, and Ustyurt plateau is on the north-west; Kyzyl-Kum desert is on the north-east. The name Karakalpakstan in translation into English means the country of black hats. (kara -- black, kalpak - hat, stan - country). Karakalpak ancestors used to wear black hats in everyday life. They have that name eversince! The population is more than two million people.The representatives of many nationalities live here: Karakalpaks, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Tadjiks, Turkmens, Kirgizs, mainly and Bukharian Jews, Uigurs, Armenians, Tatars, Koreans, Russia and etc.Here in this Republic people of the most diverse origin live peacefully side by side. All history of the region is presented in the finest manner in one of the best museums of the world, the Savitsky Art Museum. Igor Savitsky (August 4, 1915 -- 1984) its founder, has greatly contributed to the story telling of this mysterious country. 'It still remains to introduce the collection in all its richness to the world art community in a major way,' said one of the diplomats, Khalid Malik, former Chief United Nations representative in Uzbekistan. 'We are hoping to make that happen. When it does, this collection is really going to go ballistic.' And such doers as Aimkhan Shamuratova, Azhiniyaz, Berdakh, Kunkhoja, Tleubergen Kaipbergenov are the wonderful representatives of Karakalpak culture. In Karakalpakstan you really can find specific, varied landscape and magnificent ruins of historical monuments and archeological sites which were built up in centuries based on specific and original features of local community.

2. Summary of Our Project

The project describes one of the fortresses of Karakalpakstan, Toprak-Kala. Toprak-Kala dates back to 1-4 th cc. AD. The Toprak site of ancient cities is located in the Lower part of the Amu-Darya Riveron the territory of Ellikkalin region of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. It was discovered in 1938 by S.P. Tolstov. In the year 1940 the first exploring works were done.This site covers the area of 500?350 meters. A greater part of the palace consisted of ceremonial halls and halls where people carried out their religious rituals. The walls were decorated with paintings. There are some groups of ceremonial halls, such as: The “Rulers' Hall” - which was a dynastical sanctuary. In front of the walls there were the sculptural groups of Khorezm rulers, their wives, retainers and Gods who protected them. “Victory Hall” - the wall there was decorated with the depiction of the sitting ruler and “Nika”, goddess of victory. In this hall the Rulers usually glorified some of their victories and actions, “Dark-skinned fighting men hall”- in this hall the Rulers accomplished some ceremonies, troubled with the war rumours and Ruler's war functions, in ”Deer's hall ” - the walls were decorated with bus-relief sculptures of deers with flying birds “Griffons” above them. The depictions on the walls, apparently, transmitted some cosmological ideas, “Dancing masks” - the hall was likely used for feasts and holidays. Ancient Khorezm documents were also discovered there: documents written on wood testified documents on raising taxes. Documents, written on leather, informed about receiption of products at the appointed time. This palace had a magic meaning, but it became empty at the beginning of the 4 th century a.d. and later was used as a citadel. The excavations on Toprak-Kala confirmed that the culture of Khorezm was very original and diverse.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:less than 20

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:1

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our school has become a finalist of the US State Department funded, IREX administered School Connectivity for Uzbekistan Program since 2004.The Educational Internet Center was established in our school. Now we have a great opportunity to link with the world from our city Nukus. So our school has a computer equipped class with 10 personal computers. Teachers, students and members of community can link to Internet every day with the exception of the time when school lessons of IT are conducted.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

We participate in CyberFair project for the first time. One of the greatest difficulties for us was the translation of all collected information from native language into English. Taking into consideration the fact that existent standard of English language knowledge did not allow us to do it. We needed help from teachers or sometimes even from well-qualified specialist to translate some of our information. In the second place, there was a problem of coordination the students and teachers, it was not easy to come to the common agreement with everybody about the time of the meetings. All participants of the project were from different classes and most part of them had out-of-class activities. But the problem was finally solved due to our flexibility and keen desire to participate in the project. Also, while we were collecting information the library was under repairs for a long time. All the required literature for us about the Toprak-Kala was locked. Only on the last week of work on the project we were given a chance to use library resources. Also, we did not have the digital camera, only traditional one. We spent money to buy batteries and print them. That is why, we need a digital camera. We were lucky, at the last moment the main office of the Educational Internet Center in Tashkent provided a digital camera for our region. But the most disturbing problem we faced was interruptions in power supply. We did not know the time of the next power on or off and had to wait a lot. Another problem we faced was the heating system in our school, which did not work, really freezing our work. But we never stopped working. Another problem was that the trip to Toprak-Kala was very expensive because the fortress is located very far. But in the end we are happy to have what we have: the product: project made by joint efforts of All.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

There is a famous local saying: When a father's work is done, At a higher level is a well-trained son. Preserving, complementing and improving the heritage of our fathers we will be able become stronger ourselves. There are great riches here in the heritage of fathers also! We, as inhabitants of one and only planet, should know and protect everything we received from our ancestors. The experience we gained within the period of work on the project is great and it truly had its good impact. We know, the work we completed, participating in this project, will help grow further spiritually also. We should promote new and fresh ideas. The history of our country is in our hands! Let us unite and preserve history for the next generations!

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

The work on the project has corresponded to the requirements of special subjects and a great number of humanitarian ones. Students had to do various duties. For example, the certain group of participants worked in the library searching for literature. Thus, project participants researched historical texts and learned a lot about the history and historical monuments of our country. Another group of students made arrangements for each meeting and conducted interviews. In this case, they learned how to behave, introduce themselves and make presentations. Webmasters was a group of creative, talented and responsible participants. And another interesting thing about that was that all of them were only girls. They cooperated and advised directly with designers` team. One of the most important groups was a group of translators. They translated all collected information from Karakalpak into Russian and from Russian into English. All of them practiced their speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar skills. Sometimes some students happened to work in both teams. From time to time they changed their roles to help each other and exchange duties, experience and opinions for getting best results.

Project Elements

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

To complete our Cyber Fair Project we used: a.) 10 PC Pentium 4 Celeron, in the Internet Educational Center b.) personal computers in students’ home, to digitalize information such as images and text, for translations, preparing data for site, data and software search in the internet. c.) printers, to print documents d.) digital camera, to make pictures of monument and interviews e.) scanner, to scan articles and pictures f.) telephones, we use telephones to inquire the interviewers g.) libraries (school and museum), h.) books, i.) the Internet, j.) museums to find more information’ concerning our project, k.) oral interviews to gather different points of views on theme under research. All mentioned tools were used to produce out project in quality ways. During project we used a lot of software: a.) MS Word to edit information, b.) The Bat to receive and send mail, c.) Internet Explorer to navigate through the internet, d.) Macromedia Dream Waver to design our web pages e.) Adobe Photoshop to design interface of site and to process graphical information on our site. f.) ABBY Lingvo to translate info into English g.) digital camera software Fujifilm 3.2 mpx, h.) File managers such as Far and Total Commander to manipulate files and to upload our web pages to server.

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

We think, that we were the first young group of students who did such a serious work at our school. During our work we had to visit a lot of different places, such as museums, libraries, universities, governmental offices, make arrangements for different meetings. Every time we met with different groups of people we began with a brief introduction of the CyberFair project goals and the subject . People were interested and even surprised during the first meeting with us. They were shocked that just a few young students from the ordinary school tried to raise and solve such huge problems. The first thing we did in our research work was the discussion with the history teachers and students from the Pedagogical Institute. It was very interesting to communicate with them because we did not feel the differences in ages. Our common interests brought us really closer to each other. Then we started to look for a specialist in the field of history or archeology. We called different organizations: institutes, Science Academy, and State University. We were very satisfied and happy because when we met Shamil Amirov, a candidate of the institute of history, archeology and ethnography. As a result, he became our tutor, consultant and a good friend. We are planning to share this information with Media and Tourism representatives in future to make our own contribution in country development.

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

We hope that our work will be a good beginning to make changes and good things for our society for a better life. it helps to increase the awareness of local communities as well as the world community about the sights. Our project is precedent, it should serve as a model of how to change any situation for the better. If we talk about the development of web resources in our country, so it is really young and is on the development stage. We have very few resources of information and materials about our republic in WWW. Participating in this project we tried to improve the current situation for the better. The project will provide additional sustainability in tourism, economics, education, culture, employment of this region. Many people from different parts of the world visiting this place will share ideas and it will consolidate peaceful coexistance of the nations. If you have peace in your land, You will have health in your hand. - the Uzbek proverb says! During our work we established some new working relationships with people and organizations in our community. We cooperated with governmental and educational officials, academicians, the Museum of Arts, the Museum of Regional Studies. It made our project widely known. One of the reasons is to involve more and more people. So, we involved a great number of students from other classes and made Cyber Fair project presentations about the process of activity, gained information, new experience and discoveries. As a result, they were highly impressed by our project development. They seemed really interested in that and tried to provide their help and suggestions. Some parents were nicely surprised, as well. They enjoyed the way their kids improved their knowledge and skills and broadened their horizons.

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

Activities on this project required human and other resources and permanent promotion and support. Sometimes it was difficult to explain people how much they can be of help to solve the problem of that big scale. But after discussions they understood that even making small steps they can generate big changes. This project is subject to completion with those people we would also like to give thanks to: Amirov Shamil - who is a prominent archeologist and provided unique materials about Toprak-Kala, Kaipova Gulnara - history teacher of our school - she helped to contact with VIPs , Ghairatdin Khojaniyazov - Candidate of Historical Sciences, RUz, made suggestions where we could get useful information on our project, Avezov Salamat - an active volunteer and invalid since childhood, he helped print information and translate it from the Karakalpak language into Russian, Pokrovskaya Elena - helped to contact with officials, Miroshnichenko Yulia - Communications Officer from Counterpart's Umir Nuri Child Survival Program, helped to edit the project, Nadirov Damir, Abdiev Arstan - consultants and advisors, Amarayan Susanna - an active community member, gave some recommendations, Kamalova Raushan - an archeologist, provided detailed information about the Toprak-Kala from her research paper, Gubin Igor – volunteer and FLEX alumni of Exchange Program and the workers of the Savitsky Art Museum and the Museum of Regional Studies, Natasha Bondarenko - a computer specialist of Educational Internet Centre of school, who gave technical support, Miroshnichenko Sasha - the Regional Administrator of School Connectivity Program provided an excellent support with logistics, trips and technical support and others.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Working on this project any participant involved gained new useful experience, knowledge, new friends, supporters and helpers. Participation in Cyber Fair project impressed us. Of course, on our way we faced a lot of difficulties, nevertheless, we tried to overcome them with patience and hard work. It was really funny! We learned very many things in this project. For example, that Toprak-Kala inhabitants, which is situated in the centre of the desert, invented and used irrigative canals for many kilometers long to have water at their homes. We think that this project is very useful. It helps much to understand our ancestors better, find out new facts about their life. Our ancestors of Toprak-Kala were people from all over the world. That is why, our history is the history and heritage of the whole mankind. Toprak-Kala discovery allows to show the world that there is something for everyone in this unique, fascinating, culturally rich and historically eventful country. Toprak-Kala is a good source of knowledge about the history of mankind! We can travel there, investigate, see with our own eyes.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3553)

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