CyberFair Project ID: 4015

Close this Window

NOTE: Due to URL changes, some links may no longer be valid.

International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: 'The Dance of the Needle'
Category: 4. Local Specialties

School: Eastern Mediterranean College
    Famagusta, MERSIN 10, TURKEY

5 students, ages 13-15 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 20, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): None

Classes and Teachers: Teacher: Mrs. Guncem Kinay Students: Mr. Zeki Ilkan, Ms. Ulvan Ozad, Ms. Acelya Cosar, Ms. Meltem Burak, Mr. Sertunc Tuncel

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

'Hosgeldiniz'…. This word probably sums up Cypriot society. It means welcome. However, it's not just 'come in', not just 'enter' but rather 'join our company' and it is a sentiment that Cypriots are very proud to follow.

Kibris…..Chypré…..Kypros……Cyprus…….An island which is secured from evilness and cruelty for thousands of years is known from its gorgeous sea, sandy beaches, fresh grape wine, calm climate, historical places which mean more than artifacts for Cypriots, many matchless flowers, donkeys which are unique for Cyprus and millions of features which can not be expressed by words. Seeing is believing.

Local specialties of Cyprus are innumerable. 'Cypriot culture' unites all the Cypriots as one whether they are Turkish or Greek. Both Turkish and Greek societies are loyal to their cultures. By effort of thousands of years, Cypriots discovered countless jobs and elements, some of them may be carried from these societies' origins which are known as Turkey and Greece but there is a remarkable dynamic, and that is, Cypriots created their own culture which plays the most important role in Cypriots' communities.

These two societies may have different origins. However, as a result of living together for many years, a new culture was born. 'Cypriot culture' is the best statement which explains this bi-communal composition, the bonded culture of two different communities.

2. Summary of Our Project

All Cypriots are very proud of the friendly and hospitable 'Cypriot Culture'. Yet it is a a diverse culture, whether from town to village, or from south to north. There are cultural distinctions. The societal distinction of Greek or Turkish heritage principally follows the political and ethnic division of the island: Greek culture prevailing in the southern regions and Turkish culture in the territories to the North. This can be seen in such everyday things as the street names in Lefkosia, the capital city, written in Greek on one side of the divided city and in Turkish on the other.

The theme of Cyber Fair for 2005 is 'Prepare And Unite'. In our project we will try to indicate the common culture shared by Turkish and Greek Cypriots. The research we have done is about Lefkara Lace. It is a traditional embriodery one can find traces of the past which enable us to discover our history and identity. Lefkara lace-making used to be very popular amongst Cypriot women. We conducted a research about the history of Lefkara. We found out that gone are the days of 'gathering and working together' to make Lefkara lace. Nowadays, Lefkara is a commercial item. We conducted interviews, visited the homeland of Lefkara to see the current tourist attraction centre. We explored the realities of today and what could be done to return Lefkara back to its roots. We are preparing and uniting with many countries as a Cyprus with a settlement and it is very important to gain back cultural richnesses we shared many years ago.

We are very optimistic about our findings. Welcome is 'Kalimera' in Greek, and 'Merhaba' in Turkish. 'KaliMerhaba' everybody.

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:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

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

In our school, there are 2 computer laboratories each with 24 Pentium IV computers. We can access the Internet through Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) with 1536K uploading speed and 384K downloading speed.

Our members use computers to access networks by either 56 dial-up modem link through various network providers at home.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

First of all there was little written material about Lefkara work - either as hard copy or internet. Hence, we had to rely on interviews conducted by other people and we had to roll our sleeves and do some interviews as well. Concerning cultural richness, people tend to forget about putting most of the things in ink for the up and comimg generations; and, when the chips are down then it becomes very difficult to collect every bit of information. Hence, we had a jigsaw that we had to prepare by ourselves and join the pieces to get the whole picture.

Another difficulty was, most of the people we interviewed were old people and memories seemed to flow slowly and not as a whole story. Due to dial up connection problems we couldn't put our web site on air at the time we wanted it to be aired. However, this is something we are used to!! What is important is that we lost some sleep but we managed to upload it on time.

The busy timetable of our school meant that we had to do our research as quickly as possible. We have finished our project but we had some ideas which couldn't be materialised. However, it is a good idea that CyberFair allows projects to continue on for the coming years. We make this research on both Greek and Turkish sides. Because of this, transportation and both sides having different languages was a huge problem for us.

Also, some friends live far away from school and sometimes these friends couldn't come to meetings.However, we did more than our best to complete this project successfully without failing from our lessons.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

This project showed us that teamwork makes us learn faster. Division of labour helps one to get specialised in one area but having to gather and discuss certainly leads to a better knoeledge intake. You learn to be patient, to have a better understanding, to share and to discuss.

Another thing we learned is that 'it really doesn't matter what you are saying. What is more important is that the people you communicate understands what you are saying as you meant it to be.' Hence, since the beginning we concantrated on our communication skills and in a short period of time we learned how to be effective with our communicative skills. Having to do lots of research on the internet, arrange and do interviews with craftswoman, meeting with the author of a book, taking photographs to explain our case better....

All these certainly made us walk away from the classroom and still ahve a vast amount of knowledge. This was a step in learning that education is as effective in the fields as in the classroom.

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

Until now we were used to read other people's views and do little questioning. This time we had to prepare something for other people. We had a role of learning first and then organising what we had learned and trying to send the messages we wanted other people to receive. We learned to question in great deal. We learned to think critically. We questioned technological life we have today. We had to listen carefully and understand what was being told because we had little material to rely on. All these are not included in our curriculum. When we started this project we thought we knew lots of the facilities available on the computer. Then we discovered that we knew very little. We do lots of surfing on the internet. Jusy-t because most of the things are ready, cooked and serves in front of us we tend to think that most of the things are 'easy stuff'. Not at all friends! When we rolled our sleeves and started to learn Flash, then we discovered how life could be difficult. But in the end we know one more facility of computing and let us tell you that preparing a page by using Flash is a hell of a matter. You learn how to work with patience and; certainly, appreciate what other people does quickly.

Another learning experience was working as a team. Shouldering responsibility, organising division of labour, criticizing without harming feelings, and covering ground as a group of people is what we did. Sharing became a pert of our lives. We felt more stronger than ever before.

Project Elements

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

1. Mobile Telephone:To contact with each other, to arrange interviews and to discuss each day's work. 2. Digital camera:To frame anything which looked interesting, to capture resources as many as we can and then load it to our computers without too much of a hustle and certainly without having it to be printed by the local photographer. 3. Computer & the Internet: : P4 1.6 GHZ, 256 MB RAM, 10.4 GB HDD. For editing photos, recording findings, sending and receiving e-mail's, surfing for more information, 4. Computer software: Photoshop, Paint ShopPro8, Macromedia Flash MX, Microsoft Office XP. 5. Scanner: To scan some interesting old pictures of craftswoman and newspaper articles. 6. Tape recorder: We used it in interviews. 7. Photocopier: To read photocopied articles at home.

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

We visited the villages Cayirova, Kato and Pano Lefkara, and talked with many craftswomen. We had an interview with Muharrem Faiz, a sociologist and the author of the book 'Culture and Alienation.' We chatted with many shop owners in the North and South Cyprus. We visited Handicraft Cooperative.

We usually found interviewees by helps of our families and technology. Before going to interview, our teacher gives us tricks about public speaking and debating. When we start to an interview we firstly express our topics. Also, we used e-mails in order to communicate with each other. Telephone was one of the most important device during our communication. And, not to forget our digital cameras. Most of the interesting things were framed immediately.

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

Our self confidence in meeting new people, talking with them and getting the information we want is clearly better off. Our communication skills have improved tremendously. We know how to create a web site by using Flash software. Organising all the information into an understandable and presentable unit is another thing we learned. Another important factor is that we have tasted education outside classroom and textbooks. Our teachers and peers are aware that more field work should be conductewd especially concerning our cultural heritages.

Our awareness in a local cultural product has increrased immensely. We feel that we have more knowledge about our country and its cultural values. This research clearly points out that something must be done to return back to old days in Lefkara lace making. It shows our concern for a local product and there are proposals to enhance this cultural heritage.

All these factors helped us to gain self respect. All our teachers are really proud of what we have done. Many of our friends are already queing to take part in next year's project. All the people we contacted for information showed their respect towards us. At such young age they didn't expect us to gain detailed knowledge about a fading cultural item.

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

This project clearly puts forward that schools should not be kept apart from the society. We should be in closer contact with our community and also be in contact with other societies as well to see what everyone else is up to. Learning should not be limited and by getting out of classrooms and getting connected to other people via internet to share our knowledge is extremely important.

While doing the project we had many friends and teachers giving us a helping hand. Whoever we contacted volunteered to provide us with every bit of knowledge they had. We had our Information Technology teacher heavily involved with our project. Our librarian never hesitated to help us with finding resources. Whoever we approached to take thier views and ask for information provided all the help they could open heartedly.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

After this project we are aware that every item made in a country may pack so many stories and realities behind it that we should get more interested and try to learn it in detail. We know that Lefkara lace is not just an embriodery. It is a nice looking handicraft but the role it played in the society is extremely important. Before, women used to be together while working with lace. There was sharing and caring for each other. Lace working wasn't made for money. Nowadays, lace working has lost its earlier communal status. It is done seperately and for earning money.

We feel that Lefkara lace work is one of the stronger ties between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Hence, all the efforts must be made to bring back the earlier spirit and play its role in preparing to unite both communities on the way to a political settlement. By preparing this project and presenting it to everybody's attention on the internet we feel that we started something worthwhile because we have only one country to live on and share everything on it.

We would like to mention that we have not stopped here. We will be organising a symposium and invite people from both sides of the island to bring back the spirit of the old days.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4015)

Close this Window