CyberFair Project ID: 7717

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Monas: Icon of Jakarta
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: Sekolah Lentera Indonesia
    Jakarta Selatan, Jakarta , Indonesia

11 students, ages 14-16 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 10, 2014. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 0

Classes and Teachers: Deo Talao

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Located on the Northwest coast of Java at the end of the Ciliwung River on Jakarta Bay, Jakarta is the economic center and cultural capital of Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago and the 4th most populous nation in the world. With about 10 million people claiming it as their home, Jakarta struggles to find itself in the era of globalization.

Towering skyscrapers occupied by influential business people, luxurious malls and high-rise apartments are sprouting everywhere. These progressive images are contrasted by numerous stalls frequented by the masses and sardine-packed kampungs or villages. It is said that there is considerable religious and ethnic tolerance in the Muslim-dominated city but there are still clashes among groups who do not share the same belief. The current governor of Jakarta has an appeal that can unify the people but the task may be too much for one person.

The Monumen Nasional or Monas, which was originally built to commemorate the struggles of those who were bonded together to achieve independence, is one of the most identifiable landmarks of Jakarta. As a symbol of unity, it is therefore important that the people of Jakarta look at the Monas with new lenses for inspiration. For no matter who you are, the moment you enter the hallowed grounds of the Merdeka Square where the Monas stands, everyone is equal.

Our school, Sekolah Lentera Inonesia, is a national plus school located in South Jakarta. The word lentera means lantern or light. Though we are located several kilometers away from the Monas, we share similar values in that we strive to be a light and inspiration for everyone.

2. Summary of Our Project

40 years after the Monas first opened its gates to the public, people have been divided on how they view Indonesia’s National Monument. Ironically, the monument was supposed to be a symbol of unity and independence. Moreover, the meaning is somehow lost to many people especially the youth and tourists simply see it as an unremarkable spot.

It is for those aforementioned reasons why we, the Grade 9 students of Sekolah Lentera Indonesia made a project about the Monas, researching its history, architecture and symbolisms. Furthermore, we created a website which tries to evaluate the importance and relevance of the Monas to the current generation.

With the national elections in Indonesia drawing near, the people needed to be reminded of the ideals and sacrifices of those who joined the Indonesian Revolution. The Monas, therefore, remains relevant.

Finally, just as Parisians are proud of the Eiffel Tower as a symbol of industrial success and New Yorkers are proud of the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom, we hope that the website will not only promote Monas to the rest of the world, it will also remind us of the values of which the Monas was originally built and to inspire us to make new meanings in this era of globalization.

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:2-3

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:1

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

Not all of us could bring our laptops to work in school but fortunately we could use our smartphones to research. We are also grateful to our IT staff who allowed us to use the computer lab to finish our work. We the number of users, it is quite understandable for the internet connection to be a bit slow, but we were able to secure our own wi-fi access to make our work faster.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Since it’s our first time to join the competition, we had to familiarize ourselves with the rules and instructions. We always had to refer to our checklist to see whether we’re on the right track. Fortunately, there are several reference materials provided by Globalschoolsnet.

Studying the websites of past winners also gave us a lot of ideas.It took us a while to brainstorm on which topics we should research. Conducting the research efficiently was also challenging because we had to coordinate different assignments. Sometimes, our topics would overlap. We had to address this during our ‘project time’ in class to sort out our ideas. Most of the available information about the Monas came from travel websites and online encyclopaedias. While they are helpful, they are far from definitive and a lot of the views are biased or opinionated. There were also not a lot of books and other printed materials.

Even with the lack of time, we fortunately managed to visit the Monas to see the monument for ourselves and listen to the different perspectives of the people in the area. At first, we were especially excited to go to the very top of the monument but the elevator to the viewing platform was still not available for the public. Though the outcome of the interviews we did with the workers was productive, we had the impression that they were careful to say very positive things about the Monas, Sukarno and Indonesia. Some topics are probably still considered taboo. Being first timers, we were mostly shy and experienced some language barriers.

We experienced a lot of technical difficulties in finishing our articles and in building the website. We had to make special sessions after classes and request for a separate wi-fi access just to finish our tasks.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

As a small school, we are limited in terms of our physical resources and social interaction. Through this project, however, we were able to go out of our comfort zones and connect with people with different backgrounds and status. Not only that, we now look at the Monas and other landmarks in a more meaningful way. More importantly, we were able to share our experiences, research and reflection with the rest of the world through the internet. We could consider our project as our humble contribution in the promotion of awareness and appreciation of the Monas, our city, Jakarta, and country, Indonesia.

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

Since our school adopted the Cambridge International Examinations, the objectives of the project should were based on its objectives. For instance, this was initially project in our History class which aims to ‘encourage the development of historical skills, including investigation, analysis, evaluation and communication skills’ as well as to ‘encourage international understanding.’ Our lessons were on the aftermath of World War II and the fall of European empires including those in Asia. The Indonesian Revolution was mentioned in passing. As Indonesians, we believe more should be mentioned about that topic.

As we were doing the interviews, we had to keep in mind our Bahasa Indonesia skills where we had to ‘communicate clearly, fluently and purposefully’. Later as we were writing our articles, it also touched on our English classes wherein we had to ‘articulate experiences and express what is thought, felt and imagine’ and ‘use a range of appropriate vocabulary’ as well as to ‘use register appropriate to audience and context.’ The skills that we have learnt in our IT classes were also helpful when we were building the website.

We have been using the internet almost daily for fun but we have never fully grasped what a powerful tool it is in sharing our ideas. Thus, we have to be very responsible in making sure we don’t post anything that may give negative impressions. Because of this project, our school is considering doing more interdisciplinary projects in the future. They have noted that even among ourselves we were able to express our ideas, collaborate, critique or peers and delegate and assign tasks. Our learning experiences indeed went beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Project Elements

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

The internet was greatly harnessed in gathering most of our information. We used our laptops during our History class’ designated ‘project time’ to conduct research and write our articles while some utilized their smartphones. The ‘project time’ was usually held inside the school library as it has a wi-fi connection. Also, there are some books in the library that has a write-up about the Monas. Instead of scanning some pages, we took pictures of the books using our phones.

Prior to the trip, we called up our contact persons to make appointments. During field work, we used digital cameras or our smartphones to take pictures of the surroundings and videos of interviews. We visited the National History Museum of the Monas to get additional information about Indonesian history.

To finish the website, we requested a room with a dedicated wi-fi connection. We used, a free website developer, to host our website. We went through numerous trials and errors to get the look that we wanted. To exchange information, we sometimes traded flash drives or sent e-mails to our classmates. Those who do not have laptops used the computers in the school’s computer lab.

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

Because it’s the first time our school is participating in this competition, we had to justify why we are having this project. We had to brainstorm how to connect the project to our lessons and how this project would be beneficial not only for us but to the community as a whole in order to allow us to conduct a field work at the Monas.

Many of our peers made fun of us at first as to why we are studying the Monas. Some commented that it is a field trip ‘for children’ or that it is ‘just a gold foil’. We had to calmly explain that the youth’s cynical attitude towards the Monas is exactly the reason why we needed to study it – to rediscover its significance and relevance While conducting the interviews, we had to introduce and explain our project to our interviewers in order to convince them to give honest inputs. We also had to encourage our tour guide to give interesting information.

We asked permission from the Jakarta City Government Tourism and Cultural Office to use their logo in our website and link it to theirs. We hope that those who are interested in Jakarta will get more information through their website.

Before publishing our website, we invited some of our teachers to view it and give their critique. We received helpful comments from the Language and IT teachers regarding the content and appearance. With this experience, we plan to become mentors for our schoolmates who wanted to do a similar project in the future.

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

The key objective of our project is not only to promote the Monas to non-Jakartans but also for everyone interested to extend the knowledge and understanding of the monument. Along the process, we hope that they will develop a deeper appreciation of what the Monas represents as well as the nation's distinctive culture and history as embedded in the different sections of the Monas and the symbols that were incorporated in the design.

For many people, Indonesia is an unknown, strange and ‘exotic’ land. They do not really know a lot about the harsh years of agony and imprisonment from foreign empires that our country went through. Through our project, we hope that it would not only encourage people to visit our nation and its historical sites but for them to be informed as well.

We also believe that our website, would be a useful resource for teachers and students. While the information we have provided may not be exhaustive, it could be an excellent starting point for it contains different types of information not commonly found in other websites (e.g. costs). Also, we hope that the website would be a springboard that would invite dialogue regarding critical issues.

With the success of our website, we hope that our school will increase its support for projects that encourages students to harness the power of the web and collaborate not only with their schoolmates but also with their peers in other schools here and abroad. We also aim to be a model for other schools in our area in spearheading projects like this.

Last but not the least, we hope that with the increased interest in the Monas, it would spur more economic activities especially for people who are plying their trade around the Merdeka Square.

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

As this is the first time we have ever participated in the International Cyberfair Competition, our resources are quite limited. Nevertheless, we are very grateful for the support from everyone who helped us make this project a success.

We are grateful to our Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language) teacher, Mrs. Tuberta Lase, for training us how to properly conduct an interview and for guiding us during the field work. She also gave several input that enhanced our research.The Information Technology Department of our school, which includes Mr. Shie Fung and Pak Kris, should be cited for their assistance in providing us with a dedicated internet connection and for helping us with the use of IT tools. We would also want to thank our Principal, Mr. Frederick Laurente, for helping us organize our research trip. Credit also goes to Pastor Alex for arranging the meeting with different contact persons.

Our deepest appreciation goes to Pak Zulham, our guide in the site who provided us with detailed knowledge about the monument and our country that could not be found in the web. We also enjoyed the candid conversations that we had with the members of the staff and security personnel who were working in the Monas as well as the vendors around the area while we were conducting our research.

Finally, we would like to thank our parents as they gave us their consent and financial and moral support so that we were able to set out for the trip and accomplish this project.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Even though we are from Jakarta, for many of us it’s our first time to visit the Monas. Being there up close and personal gave us an ‘authentic’ experience for we were exposed to the ‘real’ Monas, warts and all. Some of the things we noticed are not mentioned in many websites and books like the leaking pipes, broken tiles, and chipped paint. Despite the lack of maintenance, we at least thought that the Monas is well-visited.

The project also made us realize how limited our knowledge about the Monas and Indonesian history is. For many of us, we did not know who the architects were, and we were not even aware how the Independence Date was embedded in the design of the structure. As we were compiling our data, we were overwhelmed with the amount of information that we had to know only to realize that there’s still so much more to learn, especially that there are some topics pertaining to our turbulent history that people are not comfortable talking with.

Finally, we had to come to terms with the fact that our skills are limited especially in researching, choosing the right information, and in citing our sources. Interviewing and striking a conversation was especially hard. We then had to write and re-write our articles numerous times. We also made a lot of trials and errors in building our website. Experience, as they say, is the best teacher.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 7717)

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