CyberFair Project ID: 1338

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Treasures of Uzbekistan
Category: 4. Local Specialties
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Tashkent International School
    TASHKENT, N/A, Uzbekistan

11 students, ages from 10 to 11 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 15, 2001. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): none

Classes and Teachers: Ms. Dietz, Grade 5

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:,1876,11264-143934-13-1034,00.html

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Uzbekistan is a desert area located in the southwestern part of the former Soviet Union, north of Afghanistan. It gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Uzbekistan is the world's third leading producer of cotton and the eighth leading producer of gold. However, Uzbekistan is a developing country. In the cities people earn an average of U.S. $50 a month, and much of the countryside uses a barter system. The two largest populations are ethnic Uzbeks (80%) and Russians (5%). Most Uzbeks are Muslim. Tashkent is the capital, approximately 2.4 million people live here. Both Uzbek and Russian are common languages in Tashkent (source: Mayhem, 2000).

Soon after Uzbekistan gained its independence, United Nations volunteers came. Tashkent International School (T.I.S.) was started to provide students an American-based education. In 1995 T.I.S. became an independent school. We have 145 students in grades K-12, from 19 countries. Our fifth grade class has 11 students. We are from Bangladesh, China, India, Israel, Korea, United States of America, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Poland. The average time we've lived in Uzbekistan is slightly less than 2 1/2 years.

2. Summary of Our Project

Where in the world is Uzbekistan? Uzbekistan is unknown to many people. The purpose of this project is to learn about Uzbekistan's treasures and to share them with people. Because very few people in Uzbekistan have internet access, it is not our goal to reach locals through our finished Web site, but instead through our research. We especially want to reach people living outside of Uzbekistan: our families and friends- many who live in other countries, and other interested people throughout the world.

We began our project by writing about and sharing what we each thought is special about Uzbekistan, and we wrote an article in our school newsletter describing the CyberFair and asking our school community members what makes Uzbekistan special to them. We organized the topics into categories and voted on which ones we wanted to explore and share. We each chose one of the topics and wrote down what we already knew, what we wanted to learn, and ideas of where we could find more information. We talked about our ideas with each other. We made a timeline and began researching, interviewing and writing... helping each other a lot!

We gathered pictures from home and took more photographs. We visited many places, including the bazaars, our neighbors, the Peace Corps office, and vendors on the streets. We searched for other Web sites on Uzbekistan and critiqued them to decide which ones to list on our Additional Links page. After tons of editing, we asked people for their opinions and we continued making changes. Now we are answering these project narrative questions together. We look forward to sharing our Web site at a school assembly celebrating Uzbek culture, and we'll continue to tell people about it through e-mail.

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:1

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dial-up modem

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):

We sent an e-mail message to our computer teacher who is on a trip in the United States to help us with this question. Mrs. Thomas told us our school is connected to an ISDN Local Area Network. Our Web page is hosted by Yahoo! GeoCities. We have a computer lab with 12 Gateway PC's that is shared by grades K-12. Each classroom has at least one computer, either a Gateway or Macintosh.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

First, over a third of our class, and our teacher, just moved to Uzbekistan this school year so we're still learning about its culture. We asked a lot of questions to many different people.

Next, creating a Web site was new for us and for our teacher. We didn't know anything about HTML, so the contest was a big challenge! We used a book called Make Your Own Web Page: A Guide for Kids. We each became specialists in different areas and helped each other. For example, Abhimanyu, Margarita and Armina helped us center pictures.

Another problem was languages. Reading and writing English was hard because only two of us speak English as a first language. We read out loud a lot and helped each other edit. Only two of us speak Russian as a first language and none of us speak Uzbek, so interviewing was hard. Classmates translated Russian and neighbors helped us translate Uzbek.

Technologies and communications were a problem because they are not developed here. Electricity is unstable, so sometimes our computers didn't work. We jsut tried to be patient. Also, the mail system isn't developed and most people don't have telephones. Even though some people have telephones, the telephone lines aren't stable and there are no telephone books. We made a lot of trips to interview people because we couldn't always call first and many times they weren't home.

Our biggest challenge was deciding what information to share about Uzbekistan. We want to share what it is like living here by telling about Uzbekistan's treasures, but many people live in poverty. We didn't know if we should tell about the poverty. We talked about it a lot and decided we should, because it is important to know about it to understand people's lives.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Uzbekistan is a very special place, yet it is unknown to many people. CyberFair has helped us share its many treasures.

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

Our CyberFair project supported our school's values, and it taught skills in many areas of our curriculum. It complimented our Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum especially well. Our project also provided many opportunities for enrichment.

Teamwork and respect are two of the values that our school encourages. Teamwork was seen throughout this project. We worked together with our classmates, families and community members. Respect is demonstrated as we share an appreciation for Uzbek culture.

In Language Arts, we used writing strategies (prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading and publishing) and writing skills (grammar, mechanics and usage, and spelling and vocabulary). We also used study and research skills (choosing sources, comparing information across sources, formulating questions, interviewing, making a bibliography, making and using a timeline, and using a variety of resource materials).

In Social Studies we used reference skills (using the community as a resource, selecting and using appropriate resources and using a computer to run reference software) and map skills. We also used thinking skills (summarizing information and synthesizing information) and interpersonal skills (accepting and giving constructive feedback and developing respect for others). It is also part of our social studies curriculum to learn about Uzbekistan.

Our CyberFair project provided endless opportunities for enrichment. In Math we learned practical applications, such as converting numbers to hexadecimals to designate colors. Science was also enriched. We learned more about our environment, researching the destruction of the Aral Sea. In Art we learned techniques for photography, and in Computers we were introduced to digital cameras, Web critiquing and Web design.

Project Elements

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

Our school's computer lab has 12 Gateway PC's with internet access, 2 printers and 1 scanner. In our 5th grade classroom we have a Gateway PC with internet access and an Apple Macintosh. The software used for our Web site was Microsoft Explorer, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word and Word Pad. We also used a Kodak DC280 digital camera, JamCam digital cameras, and our personal 35mm cameras. Other tools we used were books and magazines from our school library and homes, and handbooks from local volunteer organizations. We'll be using a projector and laptop to share our Web site at an assembly.

The local people that we interviewed were the most valuable. They knew a lot! It was fun talking with them, and they let us take pictures of them and their things. They shared a lot of information about Uzbek culture that we could not find other places.

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

When we first started our project, we wrote an article for our school newsletter telling about our project, asking our school community for their ideas about what makes Uzbekistan special to them. Once we started our project, we had many oral interviews with people at our school, neighbors, and other community members. (We didn't write letters or make many phone calls because those systems are not developed here.) We told them about our project, they were excited.

We will be able to share our project most effectively online. We're sharing it with our families and friends, many who live in other parts of the world, and also with our e-pals and other cyber friends. Our class of 11 has family and close friends that we have or will contact in Canada, China, Egypt, England, France, Korea, Indonesia, Israel, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and in 15 states of the U.S.A. Also, our CyberFair project is linked to our school Web site, so people visiting our school's site can see our project. We're adding our site to the indexes of search pages on the World Wide Web, and we'll continue telling people about it through e-mail.

We are making posters to hang in our school telling about our site so students in other grades will be able to see it and share it with their families and friends, many who live in other countries. We will write another article for our school newsletter after we finished the project, inviting the school community to visit our Web site and telling them about our presentation. We are sharing our project at a school assembly for kids, parents, and people we interviewed. Many people have already looked at our site and are telling others about it.

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

The people we interviewed were proud to share their culture. Interviewing them and taking pictures of them and their things strengthened our friendships. This project has also strengthened our school community by working together. We hope that by sharing our CyberFair project at an assembly we will build pride for the Uzbek culture in our school community. This was the first Web site created at T.I.S. using HTML. With this experience, our next step is to developing our school Web site.

This project is uniting our global community by helping us share our experiences living in Uzbekistan with our families and friends who are living in other parts of the world. We've received e-mail messages with positive feedback- people are curious about Uzbekistan.

We've heard from a variety of people. The national Peace Corps office in D.C. is mentioning our site in their literature, and Cyber Uzbekistan is listing us in their collection of best Web sites related to Uzbekistan. The deputy head of mission of the Aral Sea Programme contacted us. We're learning more about their program and we'll be adding their site to our additional links page.

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

We'd like to give a huge thanks to our families, school community, neighbors, and other community members who helped us. They helped us with ideas for our site, and they also provided support. We received technical support from Mr. Galligan (physical education teacher), Mrs. Thomas (computer teacher) and Mrs. McCleave (computer teacher's aide). Katya and Maria (12th graders) helped us with basic HTML. Photographs were contributed by the Gal Gendler, Hoq, Pak, Tyson and Dietz-Galligan families. Bakhridden (T.I.S.ís general service officer) helped us with editing.

We interviewed a lot of people who talked with us and let us take pictures. Thanks to the following people: Abdulla (Uzbek candy seller and sheep owner), Abdurakhman (Uzbek driver), Anvar (Uzbek driver), Armina's parents, Bakhridden (general service officer), Margarita's grandfather and grandmother, Ms. Hartman (Peace Corps Uzbekistan) Ms. Idinaeva (Russian teacher), Jasuar (Uzbek driver), Kahim (Uzbek bread maker) Mr. Leahy (Peace Corps Uzbekistan director), Lena (nurse), Margarita's neighbor, Menuar (Uzbek tailor), Miya (Russian teacher), Muhabat (Uzbek neighbor and university professor), Natasha (Russian domestic helper), Samita (office manager), Sammat (Uzbek bread maker), Shovkat (Uzbek bread maker), Sofia's family (Uzbek friends), Sveta (Russian babysitter), Mr. Tyson (father of student), Ulugbek (Uzbek chicken owner) Ms. Valaria (Uzbek university student), and Ms. Valeria (Russian tutor).

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Reflecting on our project, we had a variety of thoughts.

Abhimanyu: "This was the first time I made a Web site. It gave me an idea to make my own Web site."

Armina: "I learned a lot about Uzbek culture and noticed similarities and differences between my culture and Uzbek people's. I liked going around Uzbekistan taking pictures. As I take pictures I learn different things."

Kara: "We're teaching people about Uzbekistan, but also we learned a lot from the people we interviewed. It's fun learning new things. This was an adventure!"

Katya: "I discovered that working together is more interesting than working alone."

Ke: "A lesson I learned was you must explore everything before you give a decision."

Liz: "I learned that gathering information, in my opinion, is the hardest thing to do in making a Web site. Sharing ideas in class was my favorite thing. We would talk a lot and decide things together."

Margarita: "I discovered my grandfather knows a lot. My favorite thing was to interview my grandfather."

Mo Jung: "I discovered many treasures of Uzbekistan. It surprised me that our class maked our Web site. It was great to me!"

Ofek: "I never knew that you do HTML on Web sites. I liked making a Web site because it teaches people and I learn some things that I didn't know."

Sin Woo: "This was fun."

Yakub: "When I come 2 1/2 months ago I didn't know anything about Uzbekistan. I discovered Uzbekistan is the 3rd biggest producer of cotton and that the Aral Sea is getting smaller and smaller."

Ms. Dietz: "I learned as much about Uzbekistan and developing a Web site as the kids did, I enjoyed being involved in the learning process. Internet-based Learning helped us become involved in both our local and global community."


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1338)

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