CyberFair Project ID: 7287

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Gourmet Paradise – Traditional Cuisines of Truku People
Category: 4. Local Specialties

School: Jian Ching Elementary School
    Hualien, Taiwan, Chinese Taipei (Republic of China, ROC)

10 students, ages 10-12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on February 27, 2012. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011

Classes and Teachers: Teacher De-lin Ai,Teacher Shu-jun Hua,Director Shou-liang Hsu.

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Jiancing Village is located in the center of Wanrung, Hualien County, with Silin Village in the north, Wanrung Village in the south, Nanping Village, Fenglin Township in the east, and Central Mountain Range in the west. Jiancing Village is the smallest village in the township where residents are unsophisticated and hospitable. Approximately more than 90% of the residents in the village are Truku people. The Truku people are now highly populated in Sioulin Township and Wanrung Township in Hualien County, and a few of them reside in other villages, Lishan Village in Chuosi Township and three villages in Jian Township – Chingfeng, Nanhua, and Fusing. In terms of the labor structure in Jiancing Community, most of the residents engage in agricultural, industrial, and service industries. There is no specific industrial operation in the community, and the labor forces have to look for working opportunities outside the community. As a result, the family functions in the community are incomplete, resulting in many educational problems and the population’s sense of loss. Therefore, the role and status of our school are particularly important. In addition to taking into account the physical and psychological development of children in the community, our school should also attach importance to the thematic courses of local culture and cooperate with private and government units, in order to systemically preserve the culture of Truku people. Our school established a cultural club to explore and investigate the culture, and the research projects of many themes have been completed and published, including Truku weaving, Truku rituals, Truku hunting, and Truku facial tattoo. Our school instructs students in basic academic abilities through education process, which also enables them to indirectly obtain abundant cultural intelligence.

2. Summary of Our Project

This project introduced the cuisine culture of Truku people and conveyed the Truku culture through the sharing of respondents and the text or image records of the knowledge and cooking skills of Truku cuisine culture. In recent years, because in-depth tourism and healthy food are quite popular in Taiwan, Truku people have started to think about how to bring tourism into their tribe. With the assistance from public departments and enthusiasts in the tribe, the cultural ecology and industry of the tribe have been activated and put into marketing. Although there isn’t any natural and ecological landscape in Jiancing Village and its economic value of sporadic industries is limited, there are diversified cultural ecology and valuable industries in the areas where the Truku people reside. This year, our school selected traditional cuisine of the tribe as the research theme to provide courses where students can experience local cuisines and to conduct interviews. The sharing of female community volunteers and the person in charge of local cuisine enabled all the students to understand the traditional food in the past and creative cuisines in modern days. Moreover, the introduction to the tribe’s cuisine restaurants also enabled them to better understand the history and ecological landscape. More importantly, all the text or image records were transformed into knowledge and posted on the information platform to be shared with the world. More people can understand the cultural insights into Truku people from the perspectives of conveyance, respect, education and affection.

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:2-3

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

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

Our school supports wireless Internet access, and the computer classroom is equipped with high speed fiber broadband. In Taiwan, which is now a country with advanced information technology, most Internet access problems have been solved. Our school upgraded the computer information technology equipment in 2011, and purchased equipment for interviews, such as video cameras, sound recorders, and digital cameras. Students have a complete set of interview tools in groups.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

(1) Technical difficulties: 1. Problem: there are numerous files on the sound recorder and video camera after the interviews that need to be transferred to the computer, organized, and converted. These works require more time than the class sessions. 2. Solution: the course content strengthens the instruction on the use of video camera, digital camera, and sound recorders, as well as file transmission.If these works cannot be arranged into hands-on courses, the teachers and students would share the workload. The teachers would transfer the files to the computer, and organize and convert the files, whereas the students are responsible for transcribing the interviews. (2) Interview outlines: 1. Problem: the interview outlines must match the research theme, while the theme is determined based on a large amount of reference materials. Students have insufficient data collection and organization ability. Finding answers would be easy for them, but transforming the data collected into interview outlines is difficult for them. 2. Solution: the guidance of the teacher is very important. When search for information on the Internet, the information must be read carefully, in order to ensure that the information matches the research theme, and facilitate the interviews. (3) Language and expression: 1. Problem: The students had problems in questioning the interviewees during the interviews. The poor expression would make the interviewees unable to answer the questions. During the transcribing process, as the vocabulary of the students is limited, the transcripts contain many errors, which causing problems in the subsequent works. 2. Solution: the teachers served at the interviewees for practice, and instructions were given afterwards. If the students still had problems during the actual interviews, guidance was given immediately, and the teachers would explain the students’ situations to the interviewees. The transcripts would be reviewed and corrected by the teachers.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

As the Chinese saying goes, “It is better to travel far than to read voluminously”. At every performance or field visit, I see smiles on students’ faces that I don’t see in school. Field trips can cultivate good learning atmosphere, and I enjoy leading the teachers and students to research trips. I also work my colleagues to design courses, especially meaning and goal-oriented activities. The students have learned how to develop interview outlines, how to conduct interviews, how to operate equipment (video camera, digital camera), how to communicate with others, as well as transcribing, software use, community website management, writing reports, at Sinbaiyang Cultural Club. I really envy them having the chance to be exposed to the course contents that are only offered in university.

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

(1)Language areas: The team members raised their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills when the students collected information on the internet and organized them into the mental maps of the interview outline and when participating in actual interview written documentation. (2)Social fields and combined activities: In this Cyberfair project the students, through the internet and interviews, can simply describe the living environment from past to present and the migration of the Sinbaiyang Tribe. Students can also describe the food ingredients’ name and location of the restaurants in Truku areas and in the vicinity near the school. From the records of the interviewer, we better understand each village’s unique cuisine and the relationship of community interaction, and the background and causes for prosperity and decline. (3)Information Education: Each club member has been trained in small group cooperation to find the suitable website sources, audio and video recording files of completed interviews, downloading and reading files, and transfer or establish simple a file library and manage information. Members can fully understand network use and basic internet operation (including operating the Facebook community, send and receive email, navigate browser, using ftp). (4)Family education: Students participating in Cyberfair project can get to know common traditional foods, ingredients, and make simple meals and arrange extra-curricular activities to share with others their favorite foods. From the interview process with food and beverage operators, they got to know traditional Truku holiday meals and food culture. These operators also use their knowledge of cuisine and tourism to affirm and express themselves, and to develop even more creative career development.

Project Elements

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

(1)Social networking sites: Through the application of Facebook social networking sites and the Hualien County Education Office Chilai network teacher’s social networking site, this became the communication and knowledge management tool for teacher and student team member contact. This provides a third person encouragement and suggestion for better improvement prior to announcement on the research website. (2)Camcorders and digital cameras: It is a great tool for record the community going on. In order to let the children make full use of digital camcorders the school applied for second-hand digital cameras from the public service platform foundation, so that each student has one and makes full use of the recordings. (3)Scanners: This can scan the students’ pictures and reference images, and is very important for the completeness of the information archive. This school has 3 A4 size scanners, 2 flat scanner, and 1 reel (suction type) scanner. Especially concerning the reel-type scanner, students’ manuscript or drawing sketches can be copied and transferred to PDF file. This greatly benefits subsequent data validation and first-hand information downloading. (4)Voice recorders: Record the complete oral content of the interview subject and an important tool for compiling post interview written records of the visit. (5)Computer Software: Web page production software, mind mapping software, image processing software, server, music production software, music conversion software, Doz transcription software, etc.

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

The parents and interview subjects all support the school in organizing such meaningful curriculum for each outside visit. They also feel personally and mentioned that their culture must be passed down. Because the elder generation are illiterate, have lower educational attainment, or health issues, they cannot take the initiative in bring up the historical and cultural past. Today's young people are also alienated from the identity of the aboriginal culture, so the schools guidance in the children’s systematic interview is absolutely correct. Of course, the children are the group with the most potential in the 4 generations, and it is hoped that through the school’s courses, they can have the ability to describe the things that happened in their own home town or village. We are a member of the Sinbaiyang Cultural Club, the small vanguard of cultural heritage. We will continue this kind of work. If there is close interaction between the community and school, the local culture will not disappear.

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

These few years there has already been a set base for students that continuously participate in the culture exploration courses. Because our club changes ever six months, and some students want to learn other club’s courses, so they will give up participation half way in that year’s research. There are also some peer influences. What do you guys do in the Sinbaiyang Cultural Club? Computer classes are fresh in the beginning, but later report organization is very painful, so in the past few years almost three-fifths of the students leave. But this year is different, because there is a group of students that still seriously want to complete this meaningful research activity. At least we see in them the insistent attitude in accomplish something.

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

The students always find the Cyberfair project meaningful, with a sense of achievement. For example, the owner of the Masai Restaurant expressed her persistence in the Truku food. From the interview, we learn about the traditional ingredients and the innovation in modern foods. Mr. and Mrs. Doyong built a paradise of fine cuisine by growing various food ingredients that we often heard but never seen before. Mr. Doyong gave interesting explanation on the food ingredients, which are valuable to our research. Mrs. Guo of Dageeli, despite of the various obstacles, managed to sustain the business through applications of subsidies and support from her family. It was regretful that Hongyeh High-raised House closed down, which showed that difficulty in managing aboriginal restaurants. The failure experience is also worth of learning. The students have cooperated to complete their tasks, and the learning experience will be memorable to them.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We found that the interview subjects all have a common trait. That is, to insist on what they want to so. When their accumulated wisdom, is being discovered and respected by us, the sense of awe that they show the ancestral spirits and the confidence, courage, and professional attitude could not be seen in ordinary life. They emit the energy of lifelong knowledge, and awe us into stepping towards the hallow hall of culture and society.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 7287)

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