CyberFair Project ID: 1466

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Macquarie Island
Category: 2. Community Groups and Special Populations
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Fahan
    Sandy Bay, TASMANIA, Australia

2 students, ages from 16 to 17 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on October 1, 2000. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 1996, 1997, 2001

Classes and Teachers: Peter Lelong

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Macquarie Island is quite small, in comparison to the ocean that surrounds it. The Southern Ocean. The location of Macquarie Island is in the cross section of Tasmania, New Zealand and Antrctica at a latitude of 54 degrees 37 minutes S and longitude 158 degrees 54 minutes E. The Macquarie Island community was made up of Sealers and Sailors, with Scientist being the more recent arrivals on the island.

Macquarie Island was isolated and largely unvisited until the 19th century, when the Sealers and Sailors visited the island and exploit the large population of seals and penguins for their oil. Sealers of the Island included people such as Joseph Hatch and Allan Villiers. Joseph Hatch was a chemist, businessman, politician and brilliant public speaker. Joseph Hatch quite literally sank a small fortune in the Macquarie Island oiling industries. He made many enemies along the way, including Sir Douglas Mawson.

Allan Villiers was a writer and whaler who visited Macquarie Island with a Norwegian whaling fleet, and later wrote a comic description of the islands' 'little Charlie Chaplins' - the penguins.

The above went to make up the Macquarie Island community.

2. Summary of Our Project

We, Susan and Fflur, at Fahan School in Sandy Bay, Tasmania have been researching and gathering information from a community of writers and scientists associated with the study of Macquarie Island.

Our Cyberfair web page on 'Community Groups and Special Populations', gave us a chance to interview a number of people with specialist knowledge of Antarctica and the sub Antarctic islands sout of Hobart.

We also had a chance to work with Antarctic researchers from the Antarctic Division in Tasmania. and were encouraged in our work by Ms Paula Wreidt the Tasmanian Minister for Education.

We learnt a lot about Macquarie Island and the Sealers, Sailors and Scientists and hope that our web site will contribute towards educating people interested in the Sub Antarctic islands

This is expected to be through an informative education tool and also to other communities elsewhere in the world, and for tourists who may wish to visit the island in 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:2-3

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6

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

Fahan School is connected to the Internet via a 64K ISDN line. Fahan has a LAN connecting computers througout the Senior and Junior schools.

We have a computer per student ratio of 1:5 for a population of approximately 360 students.

We are required to upload our site to an external ISP in Hobart Tasmania to provide access to our site.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

During our project there were a number of practical problems that we needed to consider;

Image compression - was one of the major problems we came across in the creation of our web page. Because of the many photographs we received from people who had been to the island, and from Ann Morgan an educational writer, we were faced with a dilemma over whether to use all the images we had in our possession. If we did try to use all the photographs in their original format the pages would be slow to ddownload and as such we would risk people leaving before viewing the site. We learnt to use compression software for images and chose our material for the pages carefullly.

Audio Compression - was also another problem we faced. The introductory sea shanty on our index page was a large sound file. We had to choose the best way to put the song on our page without sacrificing quality while keeping the file small enough for the web.

In the end we used Quicktime 4.0 to stream the music so as notime would be wasted when downloading the opening music file.

We had to deal with a great deal of Information that was provided to us for use on our the web site. This information came from various sources and had to be summarised so as to create an informative and entertaining web site.

Working with professiohal writers and discussing various obstacle, assisted us in coming to an agreement about the necessary content.

Making information appealing - was another hurdle we had to overcome. We had so much information and we needed to make this informative information appealing, including young children in primary classes.

We overcame this problem by creating several games and interactive challenges such as assisting an Albatross Land and a series of interactive quizzes. These games were created using Macromedia Flash 4.0.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our participation in the Cyberfair has provided us with a focus on the Sub-Antarctic Islands that lie south of Hobart.

The two students involved in the project learnt a lot about teh importance of team work and sourcing material from a variety of specialists.

Their research has alerted us all to the history of the area and the everyday battles of the explorers to the Southern Ocean

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

The study of the Sub Antarctic Island of Macquarie Island has addressed a number of standards at our school. The project involved working as part of a small team coordinating a wealth of information from many volunteers with expertise in the study of the Southern Ocean

Both students involved in the creation of the Sailors Sealers and Shipwrecks web site were studying how to apply the Internet as a teaching and Learning tool. This was part of a Vocational Education and Training course studied at Fahan.

As part of their project they represented their school community acting as ambassadors working with the community of scientists, artists and writers to create an educational web site for the use of students and teachers not only within their own school but the general educational community.

The collaborative manner in which the students were able to engage the many volunteers who assisted them in providing content for the web site made it possible for the students to put together an informative and accurate project.

The students received many messages of support from their teachers and peers as well as from the Minister for Education in Tasmania, Ms Paula Wreidt, who offered encouragement during the development of the Sealers, Sailors and Shipwrecks project.

On two occasions they appeared in the local newspaper to promote the history of Macquarie Island and the work of the scientists who are involved in caring for the fragile environment of Macquarie Island.

Project Elements

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

We have been fortunate to have had access to good multimedia computers with sufficient RAM to work on the more complex elements of our project.

In total our school has approximately 100 computers used by both students, teachers and the schools administration. We worked on both Apple G4 and IBM compatable machines.

The majority of out Project was completed on G4’s but we also had access to a Windows 95 PC Computer. Our school has a dedicated ISDN Internet line.

During the time of the Project we had access to telephones, televisions, and radio stations, as well as; a Sony Digital video cameras, an Olympus digital camera; a scanner; a Panohead and tripod (for Quicktime VR panoramas) and good multimedia software.

We have been fortunate to have been able to learn how to use Macromedia Flash 4, Macromedia Fireworks 3 and Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 authoring tools along with Adobe Photoshop 5.02, QuictTime 4.01, MediaCleaner Pro 4, Adobe Acrobat and Apple Quicktime VR v 1.1.

We were also very fortunate in being able to talk with theo many people involved with the future and historical study of Macquarie Island (Through the Antartic Division headquarters in Hobart).

We realise that we are very fortunate to have had access to the above hardware and software. We have made the most of the opportunity provided to do our best to recreate a sense of what it must be like living on Macquarie Island.

We are thankful to our school who has donated and bought most of the hardware and software for our use on this project. We are also incredibly grateful to all those in the Antarctic community for their support as we worked on producing our web page.

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

During the time of the project we met many people which we would not have otherwise met, had we not been participating in the Cyberfair challenge.

We both realise that it was both beneficial to ourselves, the web page, our community and also those who now and in the future view our site. For a number of years we have both taken an interest in Antarctic studies. Our first contact with the Antarctic community of scientists was in Year 6 when we conducted an email link with Mr Mike Craven, a glaciologist, working for the Antarctic Division in Kingston, Tasmania.

Mr Craven was working as a glaciologist and conducted the first glacial study of the Lambert Glacier, the largest single glacier in the world. During our studies with Mr Craven, he emailed us information about his studies during his three month trek around the glacier.

Our email link with Mr Craven lasted for four months and during this time our class completed projects including the summer melting of the ice shelf, and the life cycle of the emperor penguin. On completion of our studies in Multimedia over the past two years we will have both completed vocational placement with the Antarctic Division in Kingston, furthering our interest in this area.

Our contacts with the people who assisted us was via email, phone conversations and many visits to and from school.

The web site has now been accepted as worthy of being placed on the National Parks and Wildlife homepage in Tasmania.

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

The impact on our school and local community in Hobart of our study of Macquarie Island has been to highlight the hardships experienced by the early explorers to the Southern Ocean and the effects early settlenment had on the natural habitat of a fragile environment.

Schools in Tasmania study as part of their curriculum, the explorers who visited Antarctica and the Sub A.tarctic Islands. Probably the best known of these brave explorers was Douglas Mawson.

With the Australian National headquarters for Antarctic studies located near Hobart in the suburn of Kingston, it made sense for us to research a part of our own backyard and the community of visitors who explored it in the early years of Australian settlement.

The relationships we made with the scientists and researchers involved in learning about the Southern Ocean has been a valuable and unique opportunity for us as students.

Feedback on our study and on our web page has been positive. Late in 2000 we received an award from the National Public boradcaster for innovation and design. This was for our work on bringing information on Macquarie Island to the attention of the Australian education community.

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

Our project involved not only our school community but also the scinetific and educational bodies that endeavour to educate our community on the Southern Oceans and the Sub Antarctic Islands.

Everyone we worked with were enthusiastic about their area of study and only too willling to help us prepare a web site to inform the public about their work.

Anne Morgan and Glyn Roberts in particular provided us with invaluable information on the history of Macquarie Island. Ann prepared some stories she had discovered on the early shipwrecks and sailors that visited the island so that we could convert them to pdf documents that could be printed off for use in classrooms and for general information. We are indebted to them for their support and encouragement throughout our project.

The Minister for Education, Ms Paula Wreidt, kindly agreed to launch our web site in November to bring attention the work that has been done by all those wo helped us.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We learnt a lot about working with people, including scientists involved in researching the Sub Antarctic Islands. We also enjoyed dealing with many other members of the community and of scholars who so kindly supported us in our work.

We feel fortunate in this resepct and are greatly appreciative of their help and contribution in helping us fulfil our dream of creating a useful site for those wishing to learn more about Macquarie Island.

Now our only dream that is yet to be fulfilled is to one day visit the island we have learnt so much about.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1466)

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