CyberFair Project ID: 1835

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Caring Hands in Uzbekistan
Category: 3. Business and Community Organizations
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

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

Sixt students, ages from 9 to 18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 30, 2002. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2001

Classes and Teachers: Diana Thomas and Andrew Shelokov (computer teachers), Nancy Briggs and 4th graders, Karrie Dietz and 5th graders, Terry Nichols and 6th graders, Mandy Juraev and 8th graders, Peggy Pescatore and 10th-11th graders, and Felicity Timcke and 12th graders

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Uzbekistan is a desert area located in central Asia, just north of Afghanistan. It gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The two largest populations are ethnic Uzbeks (80%) and Russians (5%). Most Uzbeks are Muslim. Tashkent is the capital city, approximately 2.4 million people live here. Both Uzbek and Russian are common languages in Tashkent. Uzbekistan is a developing country-- in the cities people earn an average of $50 a month, and much of the countryside uses a barter system (source: Mayhem, 2000).

Soon after Uzbekistan gained its independence, United Nations volunteers came. Tashkent International School (TIS) was started to provide students an American-based education. In 1995 TIS became an independent school. We have 135 students in grades K-12, from 18 countries.

2. Summary of Our Project

This project showcases organizations that help people in Uzbekistan. Prior to Uzbekistan's independence gained in 1991, there were no such organizations as "Doctors Without Borders" and "Red Cross" which provide humanitarian help to people. The Soviet government provided these services out of its own pocket. Health care and education, for example, were totally free of charge. Housing was provided to workers, and there were programs for veterans, orphans and handicapped people.

Today a lot of changes are taking place, which has caused a change in the social support of the government to its people. The weak economy and declining industries added to the different economic policies of the newly independent Uzbekistan. Businesses and organizations are forming to provide aid.

Students in grades 4-12 explored how people are working in businesses and organizations to care for people in Uzbekistan. 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.

We began our project by listing the ways people care, and then categorizing the ideas. Each class worked with their English teacher to choose and learn about one or two organizations. We made a timeline and began researching, writing and interviewing. We visited places such as a deaf school and an orphanage, and we had visitors come to our school. We searched and critiqued Web sites with our computer teacher and assistant, and we also worked on creating the Web site in computer class.

Now we are answering these project description and project narrative questions together. We look forward to sharing our Web site at our school's annual general meeting, and we'll continue to tell people in the global community 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:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Our first challenge was deciding which organizations to showcase. Once we started listing ideas we had a lot of choices and we had different interests. Next, CyberFair was new for most students and teachers, and this was the first time we've participated in a collaborative project involving multiple classes. The teachers involved met weekly to organize the project. Also, creating a Web site was difficult for us. Our computer teachers, Mrs. Thomas and Andrew, spent a lot of time helping us. Andrew helped us with the design, too.

Another problem was language. Reading and writing English was hard because many of us speak English as a second (or third) language. We read out loud a lot and helped each other edit. Interviewing was difficult because many of us do not speak and understand Russian and Uzbek. Students and teachers who do helped translate. Arranging interviews was difficult because technologies and communications aren’t developed here. The mail system isn’t developed, most people don’t have telephones, and there are no telephone books. Taking pictures was a problem because at some places the organizations did not want us to take pictures, so instead we drew pictures.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

We are amazed that doctors and people from other countries are sacrificing their time and energy without getting paid a large salary to help people in our community.

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, Social Studies and Computer curriculum especially well. Our project also provided 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, students in other grades, 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 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.

In Computers we learned how to use digital cameras and a scanner, critique Web sites, use HTML and design Web pages.

Our CyberFair project also provided opportunities for enrichment. We learned techniques for photography, communication skills for interviewing and we were given the opportunity to collaborate with other classes.

Project Elements

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

We have a lab which has 15 PC's with and ISDN 256 internet access. We have three printers one of which is color. We used our color scanner to put pictures and photos in our web pages. The school has two digital cameras, one a Kodak DC 280 and the other a Panasonic Palm Camera. We tried our Jam Cameras, but they did not give us the quality we wanted. Some of us used our home 35 mm cameras and scanned in our pictures. Other pictures were taken from our searches on the internet. This made us aware of copyright laws and citing our references. One organization provided a zip disk of digital photos for us to use. The software used for our Web site was Microsoft Explorer, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word and Word Pad. 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 people that we interviewed were the most valuable. They shared interesting stories with us. We admire their willingness to care for people.

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 the project, we wrote an article for our school newsletter telling about our project, asking our school community for stories about people in Uzbekistan caring for others. Once we started researching, 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. Afterward we wrote them thank yous.

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. Also, our CyberFair project is linked to our school Web site, so people visiting our school’s site can see our project. 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.

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

The people we interviewed were proud to share their stories of helping others. Interviewing them and taking pictures of them and their work 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 in the Uzbek culture in our school community.

Some of the organizations we learned about do not have a Web site (they can't afford one). They are thrilled to be able to have publicity through our CyberFair 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 hope that this Web site will show others that there is a need to help places like the Deaf School and the orphanages.

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

We’d like to give a big thanks to our families, school community, neighbors, and other community members who helped us. They helped us with ideas for our site, and helped us contact organizations. We received technical support from Mrs. Thomas and Andrew (computer teachers). Mr. Thomas, our school director, supported our project. Thanks!

We’d also like to give a special thanks to Mr. Kalb (Winrock), Ms. Safarora (Eurasia) and Ms. Malika (Soros Foundation) for visiting our school. We’d also like to thank Mrs. Ivanova for going to the deaf school with us to translate, and Mr. Shakizanov for arranging the bus to the Deaf School and the orphanage.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Following are some of our discoveries. For additional discoveries, lessons, and surprises, select the class listed at the top of each Web page.

Matthew, 4th grade: "The orphanage is poor and needs a lot of money to upgrade."

Paul, 5th grade: "I was surprised how people eat sheep's heads."

Hannah, 6th grade: "I learned how much I take for granted reading through the student's report."

Heather, grade 8: "I think it is cool that Eurasia Foundation helps and supports other projects."

Yeon Su, 10th grade: "Through making this Web page, I learned to cooperate with many different peole."

Bo-Ram, 10th grade: "There are people among us that dedicate their lives to bring a brighter future to achieve better condition for so much lifes- that was a pleasnat surprise."

Amy, 11th grade: "It was a wonderful experience to meet such interesting and amazing people. To learn that the Sister of Charity work day after day despite poor conditions."

Zukhridden, 12 grade: "I always learned some valuable information from my parents and ancient people. It is extremely interesting."


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1835)

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