CyberFair Project ID: 5644

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: IskolarWiki: A Wiki for the Pusô
Category: 4. Local Specialties

School: University of the Philippines High School Cebu
    Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines

70 students, ages 13-15 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 24, 2009. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2006, 2007, 2008

Classes and Teachers: all second year students; Mr. Elmer Montejo (teacher)

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our community is the entire Cebuano population, both here in Cebu and abroad. We also consider as part of our community other Filipinos, as well as the rest of the global community. This community that we're working with or working for is composed of people who have a stake in the pusô as an important part of the Cebuano cultural heritage. Our IskolarWiki site would never have materialized without that community, for it was that same community that gave us the raw materials for the site. To the people of that community, we dedicate IskolarWiki, our official entry to the International Cyberfair Competition 2009.

2. Summary of Our Project

The University of the Philippines High School Cebu's entry for this year is about a local food item known as pusô. Pusô, which has been part of the Cebuano culture for centuries, plays a vital role in the community. It provides food for many Cebuanos. It provides a livelihood for many Cebuanos. It provides delight to the global traveler. And, it fascinates the very same people who encounter it daily in their everyday lives.

The project is a Wiki site featuring everything about the pusô. It contains encyclopedic articles discussing various aspects of the pusô. The students gathered data from numerous sources. They used diverse skills in communication and technology in coordinating with other members of the team. They conducted personal interviews and acted as ambassadors of their school. They consulted with local experts about the pusô. They documented the pusô through their personal blogs and through video footage or still photos. And, ultimately, they reported their findings to the rest of the world through the pages of IskolarWiki.

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:more than 6

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):

Barely half of the students participating in this project have computers at home. All of them have Internet access through the school's computer laboratory, although the bandwidth in the laboratory is not big enough to accommodate all of them at the same time. Some students had to rent computers at Internet cafes. Others had to seek the help of friends or relatives who can lend their computers for a few hours.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Some of these problems we encountered during the data-gathering were time management, communication, and cooperation among members of the group. We had a problem in time management because this project also had to compete for time with the other academic subjects that we're taking. Yet, amazingly, we were still able to find time to work on our tasks. We scheduled most of our trips, interviews, and tours on Saturdays. To save time, we also assigned each member a specific task to accomplish. Then, we met regularly to keep one another updated with what we have accomplished so far.

The second problem was communication among the team members. There were a lot of occasions when one member of the group did not know his or her task, and, therefore, had no idea about what to contribute to the group or what role to play. TO overcome this problem, we held briefings and short conferences on the day before we went out to gather data. We reviewed the tasks and made sure that each member understood his or her responsibilities. We also had to keep lists of contact numbers for our team mates so that we could contact one another more easily. Most of us used our notebooks to list the contact information of the other members. Also, to ensure the cooperation of the members, we had to keep reminding one another about the importance of the project (including frequent reminders about the tremendous contribution the project will give to the whole world). Our teacher also regularly updated us about our performance. He also held pep talks in class that made many of us feel inspired and motivated to do our best for the project.

The third problem was technical. We did not have enough workstations for use by all 70 students. More than that, the Internet connection in the computer laboratory is very slow. We often felt that because of the slow Internet connection speed, the one hour that we spend at the computer is not as productive as we would have liked it to be. But, we tried to work around this obstacle. Some of us would work in Internet cafes while others worked using their own computers at home.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

We are members of one big global village. We are unique members of such a community. Part of our uniqueness is that we eat pusô and we love to eat pusô. We'd like the world to know this unique aspect of our local culture, and we'd also like the rest of the world to appreciate the beauty of the pusô, which we consider to be an big part of our lives as Cebuanos.

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

IskolarWiki is the final project of all the second year students of Mr. Elmer Montejo's communication arts class. Through the project, the students were expected to demonstrate all the language arts skills that they have learned from grade school up to this moment. The students were expected to show their abilities in writing objectively, in describing vividly, in applying grammar rules, in using communication skills, in thinking critically, in evaluating information sources, in oral fluency, in using information technology (particularly e-mail, messaging, forums, blogs, etc.), and many other skills that cannot be taken in isolation.

Another important milestone that the project achieved was that of promoting local heritage. The University of the Philippines Cebu College is expected to take the lead in promoting Cebuano culture and language. We believe that the project is a great leap towards that end.

One of the important skills we learned was that of collaboration. At first, we showed our fierce competitive spirit. We wanted to win as individuals. But, our site came out a mess, until our teacher pointed out that if we work individually, we will not only duplicate one another's work and waste our time, but we will also be isolating ourselves from one another. So, we started to collaborate more closely. We had to learn how to negotiate and to keep an open mind. We also learned the pricless value of communication when working in a collaborative environment.

We discovered that each member of our team has a special talent, which, if put to good use, will actually benefit not just the member himself or herself but also the rest of the team.

We also discovered that the Internet makes communication faster. We learned many things through our online interactions with our teacher and with other team members. We learned more about our classmates through their personal blogs. We also learned much from the discussions in the forums. We also learned to be humble and to accept that someone else could have a better alternative or plan. This last one we learned while we worked on the Wiki pages. At first we had petty quarrels because we were not used to having our work changed or modified by other people. But, we realized that our collective work came out much better if we allowed others to help.

Project Elements

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

We used the following information tools and technologies to complete our Cyberfair project:

* desktop computers at home and in the computer lab * laptop computers (courtesy of our teachers who own them) * mobile phones (those with buil-in cameras were especially helpful in data gathering) * the traditional pen and paper tandem (for taking notes) * the telephone (for conducting phone interviews or for setting appointments) * the Internet itself * TikiWiki software, which our teacher set up for us to use * digital cameras * MP3 players and USB flash drives (for storing our precious data) * Ubuntu Linux (the operating system of the computers in the computer lab) * YouTube (for hosting our video streams)

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

Our teacher always told us never to grab any information from the Net and claim it as our own. He said that that was plain stealing. Instead, he said that we could ask for permission from the owner of the information. And we did. We wrote to several website owners for permission to use the photos on their site. We got permission, of course. But, it was an anxious thing to do because we feared that the site owners would refuse.

Another occasion where the students became ambassadors of the school/project was during the personal interviews. The students had to talk to pusô-makers and introduce themselves and ask for an interview. They had to explain the project concept to the interviewees and get the latter's permission for an interview.

Many of our teachers were impressed by the amount of information that we were able to gather within such a short time. Of course, it also helped that the TikiWiki system that we used was so user-friendly.

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

We believe that our project will have a strong impact on our community. Last year, we won a Gold Award for our project about the tuba, a drink made from the fermented juice extracted from coconut flower buds. The media covered that milestone. Many people have learned a lot about the tuba because of that project.

This year, we are focusing on the pusô. We are hoping that many Cebuanos will rekindle their love and fascination for a cultural item that has become commonplace because of daily encounter.

Through our project, we are also trying to portray a human image about our school. We'd like the outside world to know that students of UP High School Cebu are not just socially aware but also are eager learners. More than that, we want the outside world to realize that learning can be fun and exciting, especially with projects like the Cyberfair. More importantly, we want the whole world to know that UP High School Cebu is developing students who love and cherish their local culture.

As mentioned already, some of our teachers have already previewed our project site, and most of them were impressed by our work. They said that they learned a lot of new information about the pusô that they never knew before. It made them feel proud about their being Cebuanos.

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

Our most important helper was our teacher, Mr. Elmer Montejo. He was the one who devoted time to guiding us and assisting us from start to finish. He guided us primarily by visiting our pages, by reading our blogs, by leaving helpful comments, and by interacting with us in the forums. He also gave a lot of motivational talks during our classes. Our social science teacher, Mr. Deo York Arthur Talao, too, provided us with the same kind of assistance.

Our parents were very supportive. During the days before the deadline, we had to work overtime and we had to stay late in school. Our parents allowed us to join the overtime session. They encouraged us to work diligently on our project. They even provided us with snacks.

Our other subject teachers also supported us in an indirect way. Sometimes, we'd need to leave some of our classes to work on our project. Our teachers always accommodated our requests.

Other people who helped us greatly are Professor Reynaldo Inocian of Cebu Normal University. He and some colleagues wrote a monograph about the pusô four years ago, and he willingly allowed us to interview him. He even lent us a copy of the monograph.

The site owners of and also deserve special thanks for granting us permission to use some photos and materials from their sites. We e-mailed them, and they e-mailed back to grant us permission.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 5644)

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