1. Description of Our Community
Hualien is always a place where people look forward to visiting. Then, they enjoy themselves so much that they do not want to leave. As one drives along the East Rift Valley, one can see the Coastal Mountain Range on one side, and the vast crystal blue ocean on the other side. The topography, the diverse soils, and as one goes farther inside, one will discover a different world, which has towering canyons, clear streams, abundance in flora and fauna ecological resources, and a much better view of the big ocean if one goes up streams. These ecological resources are uniquely God’s gift to Hualien. And yet, aside from these resources, the agricultural crops in Hualien county are also multi-variant. Planting crops is much easier than selling them. To sell organic fruits and vegetables at a more expensive price is even more difficult. But for those farmers who are engaged in ‘organic’ and ‘natural farming method’, and with their common ideals of wanting to attain environmental-friendly lands, the establishment of ‘Be Good House Of Hualien’ has provided them with a channel that eliminates exploitation from traders, and lets the customers understand the ideals they stand for. It is a place that builds a deep friendship between the farmers and the customers. Moreover, it is a place where consumers can appreciate art and culture, where they can experience a special ‘market’, a unique culture of Hualien.
2. Summary of Our Project
In Hualien, there is a group of farmers who love their lands with passion. They plant rice, vegetables, fruits, yams and other agricultural crops. They are also engaged in food processing. They formed ‘Be Good House Of Hualien’ farmer’s market, wherein they specially sell their own products there. The distinctive feature of ‘Be Good House’ is that the farmers apply the natural way of cultivating crops, they do not make use of chemical pesticides, nor chemicals to grow them. They use an environmental-friendly method of planting crops because they value and cherish their lands, and their persistence has resulted in producing unattractive fruits and vegetables from what we see in the market. Although their ideal of planting non-toxic products is good, its disadvantage is the lack of marketing channels. Thus, in December of 2010, a group of land-loving farmers founded a farmers market, ‘Be Good House Of Hualien’, and the location is fixed at the railway culture park, second building. The market also holds many activities that include local hand-made creations, DIY experiences, parent-child interactions, cooking, farming experiences, lectures, and musical concerts. We hope that through this study, we will be able to spread to the world the ideals of Be Good House, and let more people join in the ranks of people at Be Good House, and to attract even more supporters, and they will come to buy their food at this market so that our small farmers can continue to hold on to their ideals and still continue to make their living.
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
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
At present, every classroom and office in our school has computers, and we can surf the net. And also, there are two computer classrooms and one multi-media computer classroom. Our school uses 10m optic-fiber for Internet access, which is quite fast and convenient for uploading and down loading information. In addition, students use ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) to obtain Internet access at home.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
1.Be Good House market only opens on Saturdays, so we could only go there on Saturdays. However, some of the students had to go to cram schools on Saturdays and they were not able to go because of the conflict in the time schedule. We did not have enough experience in interviewing people, especially when it came to interviewing strangers. We needed to overcome our fears when we came face to face with strangers. That was why before we did the interview, our teachers let us practice with one another, pretending that the other one was the person we were going to interview. Some classmates even practiced in front of a mirror! 2.The students did not have enough knowledge in the area of webpage making techniques, so we also spent a lot of time learning things that were related to this.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Developing mutual trust from our interactions is something that we have learned from our study. In reality, the manufacturers don’t have direct contact with the consumers. The relationship between the two has been alienated. Through direct marketing, the farmers and the consumers foster a definite relationship between them over a long period of time. The farmers will treat the consumers as their friends, thus they will even give more importance on their products to make them healthy and safe for the consumers, and the consumers in turn, will trust the food that the farmers have planted even more. In this era flooded with information from the Internet, this creates an estrangement in interpersonal relationships. We have experienced the importance of interpersonal interaction and trust from this research study.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
At present, our school places great importance on the arrangement of integrated curriculum. Our competing at Cyberfair is the best example of integrated curriculum. We also used this opportunity to write a teaching plan, and hope that through this opportunity, we could lead our students and let them take part in the actual side of society’s economic actions. From actual observations, the students use what they have learned. We are extremely lucky to have this opportunity to get close to the farmers’ actual way of living, and to understand everything there is to know about organic farm products and also about the development of Be Good House. From our study, we have developed skills on how to write an essay, and how to edit (language); how to have control over the flow of our study project plan, how to do an estimation of our study budget (mathematics); how to do interviews, how to deal with and work together with our group members to form a capable team (humanities); how to manage webpage images and editing (art and computer), and many others. These are all the things that we have gained and learned.
The process of web page research is actually an example of cooperative learning. The teachers can also play the role of a leader to the students, growing and learning along with them. This research activity has made us realize that under the method of integrated curriculum, a student does not have to be kept inside the classroom, he can freely explore knowledge. The teacher, of course, has to have more educational resources. This is what we are trying to convey to our education administration authority.