CyberFair Project ID: 7956

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Sewing Workshops in Alleys
Category: 3. Business and Community Organizations

School: Lu Jiang Elementary School
    New Taipei City, Taiwan, Taiwan

10 students, ages 10-12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 1, 2015. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2014

Classes and Teachers: 3

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Luzhou, located on the west bank at the downstream of freshwater river, was named 'River Delta' at first. As a result of low topography, it is prone to flooding. The earliest settlers in Luzhou were largely poor people from the south central part. They came to Luzhou for a living. Luzhou is next to Sanchong, which used to be a heavy industrial city, providing many employment opportunities,. The rural migration tide provided considerable human resources to the knitting industry and textile factories that are in great need of labor. For this geopolitical reason, Luzhou area became a place of settlement for the immigrants at the time.

2. Summary of Our Project

The 1970s was the peak time for the development of Taiwan garment industry. The quantity and the production technology of knitting industry in Sanchong were mature then. With the establishment of several textile garment factories on the west side in the early times, the adjacent Luzhou area become one of cities for that textile garment factories outsource tailoring process at that time. In Luzhou area, there were a number of sewing workshops undertaking sewing businesses including clothing, gloves, etc. These small and exquisite sewing workshops were often hidden in the alleys or the first floor of big buildings. Inconspicuous as they were, they had many relevant weaving machines and old staff busily working inside of the doors. You will find the finished products piled aside are actually big clothing brand that we are all very familiar with. We used the data from surveys and interviews to understand the history of the sewing workshops in Luzhou. We also tried to know the locations of those workshops near our school, and dig out the old stories behind them through ground visits to residents, businesses as well as employees. We also came to understand the hardships and difficulties of garment industry through actual participation in the work of these workshops. Finally, we promoted the Luzhou sewing workshops on campus, so that all the teachers and students would understand the close connection between sewing workshops and Luzhou.

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):

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Challenge 1 The distribution of time and inconsistency of everyone’s time The team members have to attend after-school classes, extracurricular classes or clubs after school or on weekdays. We also have many family activities Wednesday or weekends. Therefore the discussions of Cyberfair project can only be held during the break of morning study as well as the noon lunch. Sometimes we even had to skip regular classes to attend webpage making courses, distribute work, collect and organize data, discuss various activities, rehearse radio dramas, shoot films and make poster. We often had to ask for leaves on after-school classes or extracurricular classes in order to be meet.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

The data we were able to collect on the internet for the Cyberfair project is limited. Most information had to be gained through ground visits and exploration. We appreciate the positive and warm support the interviewees have given to us. When looking at the data and pictures at the end of the project, we felt greatly moved and had a sense of fulfillment that can hardly be described by words. We were moved by all the encouragement, care and kindness we received throughout the whole process. We felt fulfilled because of the ever-enriching contents and dynamic performances of the members. Through the Cyberfair project, we learned a lot. We not just understood more about home and environment, but also realized that in our life there were many invisible histories that were gradually being forgotten. But all these footprints are very precious pieces of treasure the history of Taiwan!

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

Our theme for this Cyberfair project is 'The Sewing Workshops in Alleys'. There are three reasons why we chose this topic. Firstly, there happen to be 2 students whose family members are in the clothing industry. Secondly, the teacher's mom used to do sewing work in the north when she was young. Thirdly, through research we discovered later that there were more sewing workshops than imagined. Some sewing workshops are actually located near where we live. It’s just that we had never noticed them. This result was greatly different from what we had thought in the beginning, so we feel motivated to know more about it. During the research process, we had 3 tutors, including computer teacher Guan-you Guo, social service leader Teacher Ching-chien Chan, and the homeroom teacher Li-hsun Lai. Everyone’s expertise and the division of labor were different. The teachers and students constantly interacted and thought over in this Cyberfair. It was a process in which both teachers and students can grow and progress. The students involved in this process, could learn to cooperate with the team, while the teachers could have continuous reflection in the Cyberfair project process. Unity is power. The diverse interaction between students and teachers ignited various sparks. Students learned about active construction of knowledge, rather than passive learning. These life experiences can not be learned in textbooks. It is the spirit emphasized in Grade 1-9 Curriculum -- 'taken-away knowledge'!

Project Elements

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

Recorder pen:Record the interviews and then write the script accordingly Canon digital camera :Shoot pictures of the activities JVC video recorder:Video the interviews and activities NAS USB, USB Drive:Store data Printer, poster machine:Printer materials and pictures Internet & EMAIL:Search for information, communicate, hand in the interview records Wordpress Blog:The school set up Wordpress Blog for data collection and article writing

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

In order to get more people to know about the stories of sewing workshops, we tried to promote our ideas among individuals, classes and the whole school. 1.Individuals: (1) We went into communities to explore sewing workshops and interviewed current workers and retirees. In this way, we collected the information needed for the research project. (2) We advocated our theme as well as the stories and histories of sewing workshops through posters made by ourselves, TV walls and web links to school homepage. 2.Classes: We made poster and brought them into the classrooms. We reported to the students and interacted with them in closely. We asked them to participate in the activities and go into the communities to find about the sewing workshops around us through worksheets. So they could observe their working conditions and environments. We also guided the students to experience how to sew through patchwork practice. They came to understand the process and the hardship of sewing, thus forming the virtue of cherishing. 3.Whole school: We chose a more diversified way to make our radio drama. With the help of Teacher Sheng-jie Chang from the office of students’ affairs, we performed the lively drama on campus during the noon break. We even had an exhibit at the end of the semester. We systematically introduced the stories of development of sewing workshops with the aid of posters and pictures. We also presented sewing machines, uniform decomposition and patchworks. We had close interaction with the students and helped them better experience. They deepened their understanding about the sewing workshops that we rarely know in their daily life.

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

We want to draw more people’s attention to sewing workshops through this Cyberfair project - The Sewing Workshops in Alleys. We want to let more even, and even the whole world to know about this industry. At the same time, we want to express our appreciation to those silent workers. We try to more people care about the vanishing sewing workshops through our web pages and advocating activities. Cultures are hard to preserve, but easy to disappear. We wish to awaken more people to notice and care about our living surroundings through this Cyberfair project.

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

?Mrs. Bao-luan Chang and Mr. Tien-chu Huang: We thank them for introducing to us the development backgrounds and histories of sewing workshops. They also taught us some principles how we should do things and be a man.Besides answering our questions tirelessly, They also showed us around their own workshop and demonstrated the process of making clothes. In this way, we understood more about sewing workshops. We thank them a lot. ?Elderly: During the interviewee, the grandmas were very generous and warmhearted to help us collect information. They answered our questions and provided us with valuable information. Therefore, we came to know the social situations then as well as their life experiences. We are really grateful for that. ?Parents: The support of these parents enabled the students to continuously participate in this Cyberfair project. So we were able to complete this project. It was of great importance to win the support of parents. Without their recognition, many kid would not be able to participate in many of the activities. As a result, the progress of the Cyberfair project would be very slow. So parents’ support was an important element that contributed to the completion of this Cyberfair project. We thank these parents for their support and cooperation. ?Class instructor: Thank Teachers Mei-hui Lin, Li-ming Chen, Chia-jung Li, Feng-yu Cheng, Ying-chen Chuang, Hsin-yu Li, Hsueh-ching Chen and Pao-chou Chen for cooperation. They provided the Cyberfair project with students to participate. So we were able to finish this Cyberfair project smoothly. ?Mrs. Xiu-lan Hu: Thank Mrs. Xiu-lan Hu for sacrificing winter vacation to help with puppet sewing activities.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

(1)Discoveries: With the development of Cyberfair project, we came to understand the working conditions and dilemmas in these sewing workshops. we realized that were so ignorant and forgetful about our living surroundings. If no systematic record were made, we would regret that our children and children’s children would know little about these cultures. Through this firsthand research I found that sewing workshops were the common experience of many grandmas and their common memory as well. (2)Lessons: We didn’t realize our shortcomings until we were conducting interviews. The difference in the two eras made us very difficult to sympathize with them. To make it worse, we hadn’t read enough materials beforehand. We would perceive what we saw subjectively. What’s more, we had not made enough preparation about how to conduct an interview. As a result, when we came back from the interviews and started to write about it, we felt that our contents were quite lacking. Some were not asked in the interview. We had to go there for a second time. So it is really important to collect all relevant materials and read them carefully, in order to have a clear picture about the subject. Otherwise, the direction of the research might be wrong and you have to start again. (3)Surprises: Among our interviewees, Mrs. Chang was a person with stories. She started to work when she was 10 something and lost one arm in a work accident. But she was very positive and did not complain. She did not leave the workshop because of losing her arm. In stead, she opened up a workshop of her own and made her way in the clothing industry. She was able to spin around the cloth very swiftly without any difficult. Just as Mr. Huang said, you will create more opportunities for yourself if you can make great efforts and endure hardships.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 7956)

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