CyberFair Project ID: 4410

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: A new home for our city
Category: 1. Local Leaders

School: Elf School, Cluj-Napoca
    Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, Romania

150 students, ages 6-14 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 16, 2006. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): This is our first year.

Classes and Teachers: All the teachers and children in Elf School

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

We live in the city of Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania, Romania. From the Middle Ages on, the city of Cluj has been a multicultural city with a diverse cultural and religious life. The ethnic composition, according to official sources is made of Romanians, Hungarians, Roma, Germans and Jews. Modern Cluj-Napoca has one of the most dynamical economies in Romania, being a region with high ratings of foreign investments and one of the most important centers in IT and financial services in Romania. At present, the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca is Mr Emil Boc. He has been a mayor for two years now and we decided to look at some of the changes that took place in our city since he was elected, in 2004, and also at some of the changes that people would still like to see in Cluj-Napoca. In 2007, our country is to become a member of the European Union in 2007. Will that change our lives? For better or worse? Are we prepared?

2. Summary of Our Project

Our project is called “A new home for our city.” When we chose to compete in the “Local leaders” category of International Schools Cyberfair competition, we thought we should speak mainly about Mr Emil Boc, the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca. But as we tried to look at our city through this perspective, we realized there were many more things to be said about our city as it is today, about its new future home – The European Union, and about how we can prepare for that future. Therefore, we involved a great number of children, teachers, volunteers and community members in helping us make sense of the future. Some of the people we asked for help were indeed leaders of the community we live in, and some of the leaders – we realized – were ourselves! We may not have the opportunity to make decisions about what our future city will look like, but we can definitely dream about it, and speak out our dreams! We have learned that “a leader is a person with a vision”! Enter our site to get a taste of our vision for the future!

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:2-3

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

We started working on our project quite late (in February), and we were afraid we would not finish it in time. Initially, 60 children were going to be involved, but in the end the whole school became part of the project, which became more and more complex as days passed. Eventually, we decided to share our responsibilities, so that each class became responsible of a small part of the site. When we decided we were going to interview the mayor of Cluj-Napoca, lots of children wanted to be part of the interview team, and we had a hard time deciding who should go. Eventually, we wrote down the names of all the children who wanted to go and organized a draw. There were representatives from each of the upper-primary classes, but still some children were sad they could not go and meet the mayor at his work place. Ah! That reminds us: a major problem we had to overcome was the mayor’s difficulty to fit us in into his extremely busy programme. At certain points, the lack of proper equipment and software was a problem: we needed a good digital camera, a camcorder etc. We solved this problem by borrowing them from teachers or children who owned them and got permission from their parents to use the equipment at school. As the project was approaching completion, there was an overload of work to do, and that was when, besides our own responsibilities, we stepped in and helped wherever there was a cry for help! Eventually, we did manage to submit our project in time, and that was a great achievement for all 150 of us and our teachers!

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Working on this project turned our school into a community in its own right! There was a lot of cooperation going on between groups of children in the same class and from different classes, but also between the teachers. Also, our school has created strong links (long lasting, we hope) with the community of Cluj-Napoca: some of the people we contacted were impressed by our participation in Cyberfair and were very eager to share their thoughts about leadership with us. And we have shared the work we have been doing in this project with our partners in another international project: Spring Day in Europe. We understood how strongly connected we are with an even wider community: the European Union!

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

We practised skills we have learned in Romanian, English, French, German, History, Geography, Citizenship, ICT, Mathematics, Arts, Biology, almost every subject we do in school was involved. The project fits perfectly into the philosophy of our school: developing the global personality of each child, according to their individual talents and skills. We got to choose what topics to manage within the project, according to what we liked and what we were good at. At the same time, many of us got a chance to improve some areas where they had not been very confident. To each of us in different ways, working on this project has helped us learn and practise new skills: - 1st graders learnt how to write a description, both in Romanian and in English. - 2nd graders learnt to find places on the map and talk about them. - 3rd and 4th graders learnt how to conduct a research, interpret their findings and present the results. They were also very good at brainstorming ideas when they made their proposals for a better world. - 5th graders have worked with an architect and volunteer students in architecture. They have learned what to consider when designing buildings or public spaces, and how to create a scale model of a building. They have also tried their hand at creative writing, both in Romanian and in English. - 6th graders, have learned how to design a questionnaire, how to approach people in the street when conducting a survey, how to collect data in an Excel file and how to interpret the results. Also, they have learned how to organize an interiew with a public figure, how to write a press release and how to write letters to people they do not know. - 7th graders helped us with translating materials about the European Union from German and French into Romanian. The materials were used by our younger students in order to learn about the EU. They also helped with translating into English some of the work their younger colleagues had created in Romanian. And last, but not least, our colleague Cristian Anton in the 6th grade, was responsible for putting up the site, organizing all the information and creating the web pages. He did a great work and we really think the design he created illustrates the theme of our project.

Project Elements

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

While working on the project we tried to make good use of the resources we had at hand. We used: • 15 computers with Internet access in our school’s computer room to research the Internet, to type in the information we gathered and to edit our texts and pictures, to create our webpages; • Floppy disks, CDs and flash disks to transfer information from one computer to another; this was very useful as a lot of the work we did was cooperative and we depended on each other; • digital still cameras to take pictures of all the children involved in the project, of some of the work they did, and photos of some places in our town; • scanners to digitize the drawings made by the students in the primary classes; • an mp3 recorder to record pieces of guitar music which was going to be used as musical background for the page about medieval Cluj-Napoca; • computer software: Microsoft Word, Excel, Photo editor to edit our work and Flash to create our webpages; • to conduct our research we used Internet resources, mainly, books, newspapers, news programmes on television, we organized visits to museums, libraries and Europa info-centre, we conducted oral and written interviews and surveys in shops, in the street, in our families; The most useful technology were computers with Internet access.

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

All the children who were involved in the project had some contacts with the local community: - 1st and 2nd graders were visited by volunteers working for Info Europa Centre, who organised games and interactive learning activities for the children to find out more about Europe and integration; they also visited the airport of Cluj-Napoca, after investigating their own connections with Europe; - 3rd and 4th graders observed people in shops, interviewed shop-assistants and customers to conduct their research; they also visited a healthcare institution and an important department store in the city and met their leaders; - 5th graders were visited by a team of architects and students in architecture who helped them refine their proposals for the new Cluj-Napoca. - 6th graders were visited by a team of volunteer students from the Faculty of Political Science who explained them how surveys are conducted, how to design a questionnaire, how to sample respondents correctly and get a valid result, how to interpret the results etc. Eventually they conducted a survey about the activity of the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca. - 7th graders, together with their colleagues in 5th and 6th grades visited the Faculty of Political Science and attended a university lecture which was held especially for them in one of the faculty’s big halls. They were able to ask questions and present and discuss the findings of their survey. And finally, on March 21st, when we celebrate Spring Day in Europe, our school will open its gates to parents and guests who will visit us to find out about all the work we have been doing while working on this project.

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

We really believe our project will make a difference! It has already made a lot of difference: - We have learned how to look at things around us and to understand them better! - We were happy to see that most of the times people took us seriously and answer our questions, explained things to us and were interested to find out more about our project. Many people thought we were lucky to be able to do such a project. It’ s also true that sometimes people did not take us seriously and we felt dissapointed. - What we felt extremely proud about was that we acted as real ambassadors when we asked people what messages they had for the mayor of Cluj-Napoca; we collected all the messages and presented them to Mr Emil Boc, our Mayor, at the same time with the results of the survey we did about how people appreciated his activity as a leader fo the city. - We also felt vert happy and proud when we learned that the results of our survey were going to be used by the Faculty of Political Science when they will organize a similar one – on a larger scale – about the acitivity of Mr Emil Boc as a Mayor of Cluj-Napoca. - Moreover, after our visit to the University, we were proud to be informed that they were going to start a new project in which more pupils from the schools of Cluj-Napoca would be invited to attend special courses at the university.

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

Our grateful thanks for all the support and help they offered go to: Camelia and Danut Muresan, who helped us with designing, printing and multiplying the posters we created to advertise our project in the city. Cristina Grigorean, manager of Europa Info Centre, for providing us with a lot of printed material about the European Union (leaflets, brochures, maps) and with little gifts (pens, badges, balloons, T-shirts etc.) as prizes for our games. Dorina Kudor, Director of The Teachers’ House in Cluj-Napoca (and Mr Emil Boc’s sister), for drawing up a portrait of her brother; it really helped us understand what leadership is all about. Gabriel Badescu, Head of Department at the Faculty of Political Science, for his competent advice and help with our questionnaire and survey, for facillitating our visit to the university. Also, lots of thanks to Manuel Bosancianu, Ramona Dragomir, Dayana Dinca, Anca Iga – students at the Faculty of Political Science who met us at school in order to explain all about surveys, sampling, types of questions to be used in surveys etc. Ioana Muresan, Cristina Nicolescu and Raritsa Szakatcs - leaders of local non-governmental organizations, for replying very promptly to our questions about what being a leader means and how they see the future of our city. Mihaela Adam, Doina and Dan Olteanu, Gabriela Siotean, Dumitru Scripcariu – for facillitating our visits to the Clinic of Pediatrics, “Herbalife”, “Ambient” and the airport of Cluj-Napoca. Oana Reteghi and her friend, students in History and International Relations, who helped our younger students learn about the European Union through enjoyable games. Octavian Ciotlaus, architect, Cristina Sucala and Cornelia Tuglui, students in Architecture, for helping the children in the 5th grade with their designing project. Marcela Pop, president of our school, for supporting us all in doing this project, and to all our teachers, for coordinating our work, sharing their knowledge with us and learning along with us.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4410)

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