CyberFair Project ID: 5488

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: ‘Belchatow’ The Lignite Mine – one of the greatest open-cast mines of brown coal in Europe
Category: 5. Local Attractions (Natural and Man-Made)

School: 13 LO im. Marii Piotrowiczowej
    Lodz, lodzkie, Poland

8 students, ages 17-18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 19, 2008. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

Classes and Teachers: Wojciech Kolasinski, Ewa Karolewska

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Have you ever visited a complex of old factories where a fashionable hotel and a large modern shopping centre are situated in? Have you ever seen workers’ housing estate changed into one of the most expensive and most luxorious dwellings? Or maybe have you been able to attend classes in a magnificent palace or residence? We would spend hours talking about Lodz and its community, so we simply encourage You to visit the city and now we will try to decribe briefly our local society.

Our community is greatly manifold; it consists of 800 thousand of inhabitants that are highly diverse because of a short but very rich history of the megalopolitan. For hundreds of years Lodz used to be a little underdeveloped village. Everything changed in 1820 when the authorites decided to establish a textile industry here, in a few years transforming this village into one of the biggest industrial empires in Europe. Simultaneously, the development of culture and education was flourishing. Unprecedented mixture of various cultures (Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Ortodox as well as secular) blended with a local tradition forming an inseparable whole. Names as Tuwim, Reymont, Rubinstein, Wajda, Polanski are strongly bound up with our city. This diversity has survived, and athough it has changed during 200 years, it still exists.

But our community does not include only inhabitants of the city. Hundreds of students (also from abroad) arrive in Lodz and stay here for months and years to study at Lodz’s renowned Universities: University of Lodz, Politechnic, Medical Academy, Academies of Music or Arts and, of course, at a famous Academy of Theatre, Film and Television. Lódz has become a centre of students.

Despite those who are learning, there are commuters that live in the outskirts or in adjoining towns (like Pabianice, Zgierz or Belchatow next to which the open-cast mine of lignite “Belchatow” is situated), but are employed in municipal companies and offices. Finally, we can add to the community all these people, who are temporary in Lodz without permanent employment and perspectives of settling down here but who contribute much to the development of the city.

2. Summary of Our Project

This year we would like to introduce the project, titled: “‘Belchatow’ The Lignite Mine – one of the greatest open-cast mines of brown coal in Europe” to you. It seems to be an unusual choice for “Local Attractions” category, but we firmly believe that such a decision will become the greatest advantage of a whole project. We are going to prove that a seemingly boring place may surprise and arouse everyone’s interest.

The idea of our topic came into our minds while we were strolling through the “Belchatow’s” excavation, which was a part of a tour to the prodigious coal mine. In October we started collecting notes, readings and pieces of information associated with our topic. After several months we prepared a website containing articles, the gallery, curiosities as well as the survey, interviews, the quiz and two games. Everything was prepared in order to catch and hold attention of our visitors. Moreover, there are four versions of the website available: in English, in Polish, in French and in German, to help especially less advanced students understanding the topic. We hope you will appreciate our efforts and enjoy learning about “Belchatow”.

Despite many problems we had to overcome and thanks to involvement of many people now we can present you an atypical but incredible place you did not know about unless visiting this website. We are glad to present you this place.

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:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

When writing your own text, you have to overcome plenty of difficulties, making your work a lot longer and harder. The main problem, which appeared from the very beginning of our collaboration, was the lack of time. We had a lot of ideas and ambitious concepts however, because of the limited time we had to resign from some of them. Moreover, a siginficant part of our team is sitting Matura (the biggest exam in their lives) this year. It was almost impossible for them to combine working for the project and preparing for Matura. The topic of our presentation is also a very demanding one because it is very hard to find information about it. It required from us getting to really precise information, such as specialistic publications. However, thanks to the involvement of the teachers and The ”Belchatów” Brown Coal Mine’s workers, who render access to lots of useful books, text and meterials, our problem has been solved.

Another stumbling block, which stood on our way, was caused by our over ambitious attitude to the project, as a result of which we had to prepare 4 different language versions of our web page( Polish, English, French and German). This approach to the presentation was motivated by the convincement, that the mission of the web page will be fulfilled, only then, when it will be comprehensible for as many, as it is possible, visitors. These four language versions required a lot of hard work from, both, students and teachers.

The last thing that bothered us, was partly connected with the previous one. Some of the technical vocabulary connected with Mine was hard to be translated. Especially, the vocabulary connected with biology and chemistry. In spite of this, thanks to the involvement of the teachers, we managed to reach our aim and prepare the page, in the clearest possible way.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

We are taking part in CyberFair competition to present, in an original way, attractions which are almost unknown. The places which are said to be boring and gray by the most people, are suprisingly interesting. We would like to present a brand new way of local attractions cognitioning not only with guidebook using traditional and common trails, but also virtually and, most of all, throught the unconventional places to have a great time and learn more.

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

Our project gave the students a great possibility to develop their skills in area of natural science. However, the most important ability the students learnt was establishing relations with a local community. They learnt how to use various forms of transfering the information, such as articles, surveys, interviews. They elaborated the methods of checking the information (for example, a quiz). They expanded accomplishments in information science preparing the games, a quiz, graphics, HTML and PHP codes. They also earned experience in team work, being constantly under the pression of time.

The assumption of our project was setting high requirements for students. Since the beginning we have been assuming the creation of the most possible various content transmission, selecting substantial hard subject, which would encourage a potential recipient. Thanks to the participation in the project, we became convinced, that we could influence the teaching system. Being secondary school students, we play an important role in preparing the matherials for our colleagues from lower degree schools not only in Poland but all over the world.

The Internet is a very helpful source of information, the way of communication with our local and global community and a great supplement of traditional teaching methods.

Project Elements

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

SOURCES OF INFORMATION: - The Internet - the materials given by the ”Belchatów” Brown Coal Mine: books, movies, presentations, brochures - the interviews - a survey - the consultations with the local community

THE EQUIPEMENT AND ACCESSIORIES: - Personal computers (at least one per participant), school computers - printers - CD and DVD - pen – drives - cameras

SOFTWARE: - Internet languages: HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, JS - Internet browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Opera - Adobe Photoshop, WebSerc, PHP Expert Editor, wordpad

COMMUNICATION: - mobile phones, stationary phones - The Internet comunicators: Gadu – Gadu, skype - web mail

Through the usage of the technologies listed above, we managed to improve our project, thanks to which our web page is more interesting and more professional. The Internet and various Internet comunicators played an incredible role in our work. They enabled us to comunicate directly. It is very hard to say which of these tools helped us most because all of them had significant role in our presentation. The lack of some of them would make our work a lot harder and wuld limit our intentional effects.

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

- consultation through the Internet: the invitations to take part in the interviews, setting the meeting dates - consultations with the teachers - the survey made among the students from our school and randomly selected community members - the interviews with the figures from the world of science, for example Mrs Brzezinska – geodesist - the conversations with the members of our local community on the expectations of the web page outlook and its content - placing the games and a quiz, which are meant to encourage people to visit the page again and use the presented information to popularise the ”Belchatów” Brown Coal Mine - contact with the local media, concerning the possible promotion of our web page, thanks to which we would manage to reach more local community members.

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

Although our web page has existed for a short period of time, we are really convinced that it will have a significant impact on our community. It fulfills the educational aim in various age grups: pupils, students, Lodz and Belchatow inhabitants. We made our best to create the page which is a very precious source of information for the local businessmen (especially from energetics and building), who want to purchase the articles produced by the ”Belchatów” Mine. Thus our page is not only a great way of knowleage, but it also helps the local enterprises. Our presentation gives the local community a possibility to get to know more about the ”Belchatów” Mine, which is great local and even worldwide attraction. Moreover, our page popularizes the existing trails and highlights (for example a ski lift) and planned resorts. We unveiled the results of the work with some local community members. Finaly, the well-considered construction of the web page gives all the visitors the opportunity to check their knowledge.

We reached these points mainly because the page became a reliable source of information for everyone, not only for the local community, but also for the ”visual guests” from all over the world. Our page is one the fewest in Poland (and in the world) presenting the ”Belchatów” Brown Coal Mine, one of the biggest brown coal mines in Europe. It connects the information about the mine with the ecological aspect of the subject. The page, which uses various forms of presenting the data (such as a quiz, games, surveys, interviews), attracts and holds the visitors’ attention for a long time.

Thanks to this page, the inhabitants deepen their knowledge about the industries and have a significant influence on the local economy and envirnment. The page will unaffectedly interest and encourage the Polish society to visit the mine. All of the hitherto prevailing visitors of our page have a possitive opinion about it, which makes us really satisfied with the results of our work.

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

This years’ presentation was a lot more expanded in comparison to the previous ones, which influenced increased number of people involved in the project people. The people who gave us the most significant contribution are: - the consultants (geographers, geodesists), who gave us a lot of information about the substantial correctness during the project preparation. - the representatives of the world of science (from physics, chemistry and geography), who agreed to be our interviewees - the respondents (secondary school students, inhabitants of Lodz), taking part in the survey - the teachers – linguists, who agreed to check all of the four language versions of our page - the photographers, who gave us the photographs, they took during their visit the ”Belchatów” Mine - internauts, who gave us inestimable advice about the page outlook and expectation of the Internet users - parents and friends supported us during the work

We would like to thank all these people and those, whom we omitted, but who contributed to the project.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 5488)

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