CyberFair Project ID: 1439

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: To Save from Oblivion
Category: 2. Community Groups and Special Populations
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: XIII Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace
    ul. Zuli Pacanowskiej 4, Lodz, Poland

10 students, ages from 17 to 18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 14, 2001. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 1999, 2000

Classes and Teachers: Wojciech Kolasinski, math-computer science class

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Lodz, our home city, is situated in the very centre of Poland, Central Europe. It is very large, though the community is quite united. We all are strongly attached to Lodz and we feel true affection for it.

However, many people are unaware of the presence of some special groups within our community. One of these groups is the Germans, and it is this group we have decided to depict. The role they play in the life of our city has significantly diminished over recent decades. Nonetheless, we still deem them to be part of our community.

By "our community", we mean all those who live in Lodz and, what is more, are fond of it. Apart from this, they must have ties with other people living here. This is, in our opinion, enough to be regarded as a member of our community.

2. Summary of Our Project

For diverse reasons, for a very long time our country had been the destination of thousands of Germans seeking solace during the historical turmoils. Among other cities, Lodz was one of the most visited and this resulted in the fact that, during the interwar period, one-fifth of its citizens was of German nationality.

The memory of significiant members of the German community slowly dies out. This is why we have decided to focus on this community group in our project. We want to let other people know where Germans in Poland came from and what they did for our city. While developing our project, we have tried to gather as much original information as possible and therefore we hope that our site would be interesting to anyone wishing to learn something new about the community they live in.

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:2-3

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Similarily to most CyberFair teams, our greatest enemy was time. We discovered that the deadline approaches very quickly, while the work moves on at a slow pace. We did our best to finish before the final deadline and include all the information we wanted, but this turned out to be too difficult and we actually had to leave out some of our materials.

Besides, it was reasonably difficult to properly organise the group work. We found it quite hard to assign particular tasks to adequate people. However, we had some experience from our previous CyberFair entries and that proved to be really important.

What's more, we found out that our subject itself is not well-documented. We had to overcome certain lack of information regarding the community group we were interested in. Fortunately, we have found some people who are familiar with this subject and they have helped us a lot.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

For a long time Lodz has been a multicultural city, but recently the role of other nations within our community has significantly diminished. Our aim was to present the role of the German people in the development of our city, to show their merits and and their contribution to our local community. Simply saying, to save them from oblivion.

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

As a matter of fact, all the schools in our country follow generally the same curriculum guidelines. For this reason, students from Lodz do not actually have the opportunity of learning many interesting facts regarding specifically the region they live in. That is why we deem the CyberFair competition to be a great chance of better interaction with our community. While developing our project, we have given ourselves a great lesson about another nation within our community. Since we have covered the subject of the German nation's presence in Lodz during last century, this project was a great supplement to the knowledge of our home city. We have aquired a broader view on some matters. This has made us feel enriched in some way.

However, this was not the only way we have benefitted from our participation in the CyberFair. The organisation of the group work was a valuable experience. We found it very difficult and it has brought us a lot of problems. Nonetheless, we have managed to cope with it and put all the material together in an ordered way. But before it happened, we had had to learn how to share and publish materials in the Internet, how to request information on a specific subject, how to join ideas to form a whole - unite and logical, and many other skills. Probably these are the greatest benefits from the CyberFair competition.

We have also made some discoveries. One of them is the backwardness of our educational system. The power of the Internet has not been appreciated yet, the curriculum guidelines do not contain 'local subjects', students are supposed to learn facts instead of skills, schools do not take advantage of public facilities such as museums, libraries, theatres, etc. For this reason, the CyberFair competition has a great meaning to us. Not only does it support our curriculum requirements, but it also surpasses them and brings us new skills and experiences, new methods of learning. This is a great initiative.

Project Elements

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

While developing our project we have used various information tools and technologies, namely these were:

Telephone 35mm cameras Scanners Several Personal Computers

Software: MS Windows Video-processing software Various E-mail programs for staying in contact Macromedia Fireworks 3, Macromedia Flash 4, for preparing and retouching graphics Pajaczek as the HTML editor Some Linux programs ( Lynx, Netscape Communicator ) for testing the project

Information gathering sources: Regional libraries Numerous museums in Lodz Some oral interviews National Archives

It is a commonly known fact that technology has significantly changed our everyday life. While developing our CyberFair project, we tried to exploit the advantages that modern technology offers us. We have discovered that it makes the work more effective, enables to reduce the time spent on processing data and, generally, it makes life easier. It was quite difficult to store all the information digitally so that it can be presented on a Website. However, we think that the achieved effect is a reasonable reward, since it can be accessed from all over the world by anyone wishing to learn about our community. Unfortunately, we didn't have an access to some tools, such as a digital camera. We hope that through our project some local business will get interested in the role of the Internet in education and we will be donated some modern tools in the future.

Apart from the modern technology, we have also used some traditional ways of gathering information. We have visited museums, libraries and archives. Nonetheless, the most helpful were oral interviews. This is mainly because the subject we have decided to deal with is not very popular in literature. Thus, we had to find the appropriate people who could tell us something about the German nation within our local community. We are grateful that we have succeeded.

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

While developing our project we had several chances to act as its “ambassadors”. We must admit that it was quite difficult, since in our country the Internet is not very popular media. Nonetheless, we did our best to convince the people we spoke to that this subject is truly worthwhile.

Some of us attended a conferene concerning the history of our city and the presence of other nations within its community. It was really interesting and it resulted in some contacts that proved to be valuable.

Besides, we consider it as a great success that we have met Mrs Lucja Robak and convinced her to help us with our project. We invited her to our project developers' meeting and told her about our plans and aims regarding the website we were creating. She agreed that this is a good idea and she promised to help us.

Some of us have also visited St. John's Protestant church. We met the headpriest of this church Father Lagiewka and the man who is devoted to taking care of this building – Mr. Boberek. We had to explain in detail who we were, what we were doing and what kind of information we needed. What is more, we managed to contact the author of a book describing this church and spoke to him about it, both on telephone and in person.

To sum up, we believe that we were good “ambassadors” of our project. We tried to get other people interested in our project and, in most cases, we were successful.

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

Our website has been up for a very short time and we haven't received any feedback yet. However, our research and our work has been noticed and there are some people who are quite interested in it.

What is more, since the subject we tried to present is not very popular, we hope that our project will fill a niche and this project might become a place of exchanging the information regarding the German people in Lodz. We suppose that some people from other countries, mainly Germany, will be looking for their ancestors. We could be of some help for them then.

Besides, our general aim is “to save from oblivion”. Thus, we believe that people from our city, having seen our project, will look differently at the nation which we have decided to depict. The Germans have played a great role in the development of our city and we would like this fact not to be forgotten.

Apart from the above, such initiative is a great way of promoting the Internet as well as its enormous capabilities. It makes us change our point of view at education, group work and school. We have even witnessed a change in our headmistress' attitude to our work and the Internet itself. She realised that the World Wide Web can be a great way of promotion of the school and now she fully supports our projects. We hope that there are more such impacts of our project to come.

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

Most CyberFair teams need help and support and we were no exception. We would have had great trouble completing the project but for the people who have found our idea worthwhile and decided to lend us a helping hand.

They were mostly people who love our city and who are interested in it and its history. We did our best to contact them - sometimes we needed some help from acquaintances of our parents, sometimes we just needed to ask about them in the museum we were visiting.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1439)

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