CyberFair Project ID: 3686

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Pearl in the Mist of the Mountains~Lalashan Peaches
Category: 4. Local Specialties

School: Balung Elementary School
    Tao-Yaun, Taiwan, Taiwan

13 students, ages 11-12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 19, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2000,2003,2004

Classes and Teachers: Ms. Yueh-hua Lyu,Mr. Long-shing Lyu,Mr. Ming-ching Chen

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Balung is located at the central part of Northern Transverse Road, Fuhsing Township, Taoyuan County. The word Balung means “juniper” in Atayal. The Upper Balung area in Balung is 1220m above sea level, and the residences are mostly Atayal descends. The produces of peaches and sweet persimmons, and the consequent attractions of tourists are the main sources of financial income. L’ra (Lalashan) is situated in the Upper Balung region. The word “L’ra”, meaning “ looking into the distance from the most beautiful mountain” in Atayal, was used for that one could see the beaches of Ilan, Hsindien City in Taipei County, Hsinchu county, Mt. Dabajian, as well as all the surrounding picturesque sceneries when standing on the summit of Lalashan. Moreover, as Lalashan Natural Conservation Area has the “largest juniper group in South East Asia”, it is renowned in the realm of giant-tree tourism, and has also gained the name of “the place where there are most oxygen in Northern Taiwan”. There are always tourists throughout the year. Throwing away the busy urban life for a moment and having a stroll in this area is certainly a fabulous enjoyment in life.

2. Summary of Our Project

“Qwirux” means peaches in Atayal, which is what Lalashan is most famous for. There must have been so many hard works and efforts in order to reach today’s standing from nothing. We hope that through this project, people will have more understanding in terms of the mental and material changes before and after peach cultivations, as well as the difficulties encountered during cultivating, and the expectations for the future. Moreover, it is with anticipation that people will know more about the value of peaches.

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:1

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):

There is a computer center, which also opens to the public, in our school, with 16 computers and Fast Ethernet LAN connection linking to TANet.

In the school, we have a computer room that is open for community uses. The 18 computers for student use are all connected with Ethernet regional internet, and through optical fiber they are able to access to TANet. In addition, there is one computer in each classroom, so that it is very convenient for us to do some searches between classes. However, since our community quite often has troubles of power failure, or power failures caused by Typhoons, the happening of disconnection from the internet is not rare. Sometimes when we notice that there are not signal indications on the cell phone, then we know that the computers must be disconnected from the internet. As for the students, although only few of them have a computer at home, it is usually not connected with the internet. For this reason, the school computer room is often open in the night for student or community residences to use. There are even students who stay after school or travel all the way down hill to the school from the uphill in the night, just for learning how to use computers.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

(1)We have introduced the special product of Lalashan, peach, in our project. Unfortunately, peaches are a fruit of summer, thus we were not able to take photos of peach blossoms and the fruits. Then again, thanks to the provision of photos from some students’ parents, that we are able to provide a complete set of photos for the viewers. (2)From September to early October, due to Hurricane, the roads were destroyed. Although the power supply was resumed, the optical fiber network was not in operation until the roads were fixed. In mid-October, the network failure in school occurred often, and it would take at least one day to fix it. Thus, it was quite difficult for us to collect data on the Internet. We then focused on discussing the project topic and work division, and collected the data until the network was back in work. (3)For our interviews, we needed to go to certain places for meeting our interviewees. However, there was only one car among the teachers, and quite a number of students. Thus we quite often needed to drive two times just for taking all the students, or helps from the parents. There was one time when we had to go downhill for the interview with Professor Pi of Christian Chun Yuan University. Due to the lengthy distance to travel, we had to spend a night away. Thanks to the helps from Hope Agent Development Association and the principal, that the whole trip was smooth and accomplished. Once again, we sincerely give them our appreciation.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

(1)Through the construction process of the Cyberfair project, we obtained many skills and knowledge. Not only we learned many computer and digital equipment skills, we also learned to appreciate the characteristics and special products of our homeland more. It proved that in order to produce peaches that worth praises, hard works and sacrifices are essential. (2)“Team work produces power”. Every one of us played an important role. The team could be easily affected even when one of us did not try his/her best. Therefore we were all earnestly learning and doing our best. Although everyone has the responsible areas of jobs, we helped one another, and formed a co-operative working pattern. This is also the reason for the positive relationships and strong bonds between us. (3)Through many visits, we met many senior members of the community, and experienced the friendliness and hospitality from Atayal people. It was by then we realized how wonderful our hometown is. It not only has beautiful sceneries, clean air, but also juicy peaches and people full of congeniality. (4)The coming of IT era and the advances of internet technology have enabled us to communicate and learn from people in every single part of the world through the internet. What’s more, they have also allowed us to introduce the beauty of Lalashan and the peaches to friends all over the world.

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

During the process of doing the project, we combined domains of language, social, art, culture, science and life technology, and joined activity education, life education, information education, and environmental education. We have not only strictly integrated a variety of curricula in the project, we have also brought about close interactions between the community and the school. By doing actual-site visits, we learned more about our hometown, understood the importance of the environment and the resources we have, and acquired many precious knowledge and experiences in the process. Furthermore, we have shared our feedback regarding the learning experience with other students and people from other regions through the internet, and similarly, we have also obtained knowledge and experiences from students in other regions. Our school provides lessons of information technology. During the activity, we not only had the chance to apply the computer and internet skills learned in the school, we also experienced the conveniences brought by the internet, which allowed us to obtain information and communicate with others in little times. During the activity, we assign jobs according to one’s strength and interests. For example, in the process of website construction, we were divided into documentary management group, and photo and graphic group. This enabled us to work more efficiently, and to put more value in team works. We definitely felt a sense of achievement when we finally saw our work outcomes.

Project Elements

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

1.The internet: Collecting information, as well as communicating with cyber friends through associated websites. Using MSN Messenger for contacting with the big brothers and sisters of Christian Chun Yuan University. 2.DC, DV, Video capture card:Taking photos and video taping during interviews, and converting the video contents into VCDs. 3.Scanner, Printer:Scanning images with scanners, and printing out information for making copies and the distribution with printers. 4.Telephone, Fax machine:Contacting and communicating with interviewees through telephones and fax machines. 5.Flash disc, CDRW:Storing project-related information in PCs without internet connection. 6.Drafting board:Making graphic composing easier.

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

Speaking of special products of Lalashan, the first one comes to our mind would be peaches. The pinky look and juicy fruit make people instantly fall in love with them. Although there are quite a few information about peach, they mainly focus on the peaches only. Thus, we would like to delve into something more, the development processes of the peaches and Balung Region, to visit the farmers for understanding the cultivation process, difficulties encountered and the vision for the future. In addition, we would like to find the help of online marketing to them.At the beginning, we found much information, but we found that they were all quite different from what we wanted.Then the Atayal language teacher of the school, Mr. Song-ming Chen (Taya), the elder of the tribe, came into our mind. So to begin with, we had an interview with him, and asked him to give us some recommendations for interviewees. At first, we were going to have an interview with Mr. Rong-Gui Chen and Mr. Rong-Ming Chen, who were the ones initially imported the peaches into Lalashan. However, with several unsuccessful attempts in fixing the interview time, together with the fact that they were not feeling well at the time, the family hoped that we would avoid visiting them in the cold weather. For that reason, we decided to visit Mr. Cheng-Hui Chen (A-sin), parent of a student and Mr. Cheng-Jhun Lin, the contact for the Online Tribal Marketing. After our first interview with them, they pointed out that our questions were not detailed enough. Thus, they gave us many suggestions and directions regarding questions about peaches. As a result, our following interview showed great improvement. As for information regarding online marketing, we traveled all the way from the uphill to Christian Chun Yuan University for the interview with Professor Shi-ming Pi, and stayed overnight at the principal’s place. At last, we finally got to have an interview with Mr. Rong-Ming Chen (Lebing) , the Father of Lalashan peaches. Since he had to go to the orchard everyday, we could only talk to him in evenings when there were no church services held. After finally agreed with the interview time, we took photo camera, video camera and the question list to the place of Grandpa Chen. The number of people participated in the visit became larger than ever. Apart from our team members and the teachers, some younger brothers and sisters also came along, for they have all become quite interested in the interview.

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

(1)After having visited many people in the tribe, we realized how inconvenient and difficult the tribe-life used to be. Now that our tribe has become an important traveling spot for Taipei Region, as well as having the fame brought by the agricultural product of Lalashan--- peach, our tribe has converted from a “tribe of darkness” to “the star of Northern Transverse”, despite being located in deep mountains of Northern Transverse. This is the result of the tribe’s hard works, as well as the tribe’s honor that makes the residences more self-confident and hopeful. We hope that through this project study, we could introduce the peaches of Lalashan to everyone, make people appreciate the beauty of Balung, and bring about increases in the tourist number, as well as economic improvements. (2)With the experiences of previous two years’ Cyberfair, the local residences have recognized the benefits brought by such an activity. Not only the parents encouraged the children to participate in the learning experience, many other local residences also helped us by providing many precious opinions and information. Everyone worked in one heart for the tribe, and in one heart hoped a better future for Lalashan. (3)What’s more, the project study not only provided us the chance to introduce our peaches to more people, but also united people of Lalashan with a common goal. We are thankful for the internet, which served as a learning tool with no regional limitations. We hope that the internet will bring more learning opportunities and new hopes for us, and that we will unite our strengths for creating a new opportunity for Lalashan.

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

First of all, we would like to thank the encouragements and supports from many parents, as well as for the information and thoughts you have kindly provided for us. ( Mr. Cheng-Hui Chen (A-sin), parent of a student, Mr. Song-ming Chen (Taya), the elder of the tribe, and Mr. Cheng-Jhun Lin (Yako) , the contact for the Online Tribal Marketing, Mr. Rong-Ming Chen (Lebing) , the Father of Lalashan peaches. It was with your helps that our information could be as complete. We would also like to thank the campus guard, Mr. Po-song Chen, who helped us in interpreting in the interview with Mr. Rong-Ming Chen. Also, we would like to thank Mr. Bo-song Chen, who happened to pass by and helped us in one morning when we had trouble fitting everyone in our car by providing transportation. Furthermore, we would like to thank the Principal, Mr. Fu-yang Hsiao, who timely provided us a place for stay overnight in one visit, and solved our financial and accommodation troubles.In addition, we would like to thank Mr. Cheng of Hope Agent Development Association, who timely provided us with assistances and opinions. Also thanks to Li-An Chang, Jia-shian Jhung, Si-wei He, Yi-ting Cheng, Ao-chan Li, Cheng-chian Hong, and many other students of Christian Chun Yuan University Digital Team, who kindly sacrificed their precious vacation times and traveled by motor bikes to the uphill despite the dangers and lengthy distance in the September and October, when there were many road collapses happened in Balung Region, for teaching us how to make our project. Last but not least, Thanks to TVBS Cultural and Educational Foundation that gave 40 and some computers to the parents of the community, and the professors and students of Management Information Systems Department, Christian Chun Yuan University, who were kindly taught the children in their vacation times. All of these made Lalashan grow and improve. We give thanks to all the people who gave support; it was with your helps that our project website could be complete. Thanks to you all!!

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

(1) Throughout the Cyberfair project, we have not only learned the importance of teamwork, computer skills, and interviewing skills, we also learned how to protect our hometown, to treasure what we have already got, and to become helpful for Lalashan. (2) Children in Lalashan have long been low in self-confidence. However, in the process of the project study, we saw growth in these kids, and that a sense of responsibility and calling have been developed in them. They know that an activity like this would help their hometown, as well as add to their skills and knowledge. Therefore, they were all very hardworking, focused throughout the activity, and the sense of self-confidence has also been built. (3) An activity like this has united people in Balung. Everyone loved to do what he/she can to help the development of the hometown, and people have also started to value the conveniences and significances brought by internet technologies. For that reason, not only the children loved to learn about computers, even the parents of the community have started learning. This made Balung Region gradually starting to catch up with the IT age of today.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3686)

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