1. Description of Our Community
Our community is the 9th grade class of the American International School of Vilnius. Our school is located in the capital of a small country in the Baltics called Lithuania. Our class is fairly small. We have 8 native Lithuanians, 5 students who have lived in Lithuania for more than one year, and one student who just came to Lithuania this year. Most of us have lived in Lithuania for many years and know a lot about Kaziuko muge, so when we heard about the CyberFair we thought it was a great chance to share our information and culture with the rest of the world. Our community is very passionate about this topic, and, besides all the hard work, it was a pleasure to put this together. Our grade consists of 8 boys and 6 girls, and all of us enjoyed doing this project. Throughout the process of doing this project we also found out that our community is very supportive, focused and well organized. We tried to help each other as much as possible, we tried to get all of our work done for each of our topics as well as keep all of our information organized so it would be easier to work with. All in all, having a great community such as ours, really helped us make this project enjoyable and fun.
2. Summary of Our Project
Our International CyberFair Web Project is about a cultural event in Vilnius, Lithuania called Kaziuko muge (St. Casimir's Fair). Kaziuko muge is a fair where people occupy the old town of Vilnius. People come with their own products. For instance, they bring food, clothing, jewelry, etc. And they sell their own products. Kaziuko muge happens only one time in the year, every year, and everybody looks forward to buying new treasures. Also, St. Kazimierz fair is not just an event where the buyers and sellers meet. It is also a highly cultural event. This is true, because the tradition of this ongoing event dates back to the 17th century when St. Casimir was held as a new saint of Lithuania. Besides this, during Kaziuko muge the sellers mostly trade cultural and handmade products from Lithuania. For example, Easter palms (verba) which is a long staff, with colorful dried flowers around it. And also, there are numerous amounts of crafts that are made out of wood and metal. This event is highly important in Lithuania, because it brings people from all around Lithuania to unite. To tell the truth, we think that this event is highly cultural and it shapes Lithuania as a whole. In fact, our goal is to expose Kaziuko muge to the whole world, so the whole world will recognize it. Therefore, this project is essential for us, because this project is not just introducing an event, it is also shaping the cultural and traditional aspects of Lithuania.
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:4-6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Our internet speed is very good. Our computers are near the schools router, so it makes them faster. We get 1ms Ping, 91 Mbps Download speed and 96 Mbps Upload speed. For school purposes that is more than we need, but we have a lot of computers which require a lot of bandwidth. All of our students have internet access at home that was used to work on this project. Our school had some internet access from the start of when the school was built.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
The hardships we faced began within the classroom itself. A decent amount of us were confused or uncertain on what we wanted to do, or had to do. There was also a bit of difficulty on distributing who should do what task. The issues were resolved eventually, but then the festival days came. Some of us were not able to go for more than one day, which certainly was a large backset, since a sizable amount of us had to go out and interview people. A lot of people at the festival also refused an interview about themselves or their product, with various reasons behind it (such as believing that their English wasn’t good enough, or simply not giving consent to be filmed.) Another challenge was getting ahold of a professor named Klimke, who had written books on the Kaziuko muge festival, and would certainly have been an amazing source to be cited for the project. Thankfully, after the festival ended, everyone had at least something prepared, and we compiled the footage we gathered for the time being. Next, we looked at winners of previous Cyber Fairs and it was certainly inspiring and motivating. The 2015 winners, Taiwan, had a site that looked better than ours in every category. They had done things with their website that were impossible for us to do without outside help. We held our heads high and kept working. Our next task was the narrative and bibliography. What we were supposed to write about in the eleven parts combined with the bibliography was left up to us to discuss. Some of us didn’t show much activity on the discussion within the designated Google Group, but we eventually overcame that too.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
The participation of our school community in the international school CyberFair has meant a lot to us. It is important for the younger generation to learn the history, traditions, and cultural peculiarities of Lithuania, to teach the world community about this small but amazing country. Kaziuko muge is a combination of history and modern life which has a great cultural spirit and attracts a lot of people, not only from Lithuania, but from other countries, and doing the project, we had a brilliant opportunity to investigate pages of Lithuanian history together and share it with the whole world.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
This whole project got all of our class to be active, engaged and dedicated to the topic. By doing so we thoroughly covered these three ISTE standards: Creativity and Innovation, Communication and Collaboration, and Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making. A lot of communication and collaboration took place before the fair. We split ourselves into groups, assigned jobs for each other and created a Google Group to inform each other about our work and progress with the website. We had a lot of discussions going on and most of the time we found compromises to deal with our disagreements. We were creative by using a free version of Weebly and tried to get the most out of it with the tools possible. Also, we interviewed the sellers at the fair and they were very interested in our project because no one has ever done anything similar before. We had some difficulties during the fair. Half our class got sick with the flu and some people had to fill in their part of the filming or asking questions. However,because our communication was so efficient those roles were assigned pretty quickly. The biggest problem that our class faced was explaining to others what Kaziuko muge is. Since many in our class are not Lithuanians, we had to explain what happens during the fair and why it is important to choose it for our project. This project was a great opportunity for our class to bond and to become closer. It included a wide range of people and a lot of work, but it all was worth it for the good time we had working together.
1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
In order to complete this project we used quite a lot of information and technology tools. The most common technology that was used is the internet. We used it in order to research our topic, to create a website, to communicate with each other and, of course, that is the way we found this project. Also, each of us used his/her own laptop. These devices helped us to use the internet. In addition, we used video cameras and our phones in order to film and record interviews. From the information tools we used oral interviews and documentaries. These helped us to learn more about the history of Kaziuko muge and, of course, to see how the direct participants of the fair see it. Oral interviews were our main informational tool, because everything that we learned about Kaziuko muge today, we learned from them. As for the technologies the most helpful was the internet, because almost everything that we did was done online, including website building, research, contacting each other, finding scholars for the interviews and much more. And, of course, we would not be able to find this wonderful project without the internet’s help.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
During this project we acted as ambassadors in many situations and represented our school and the CyberFair project. Many of us interviewed multiple people before and during the fair, and some used e-mail to contact people. When interviewing and writing an e-mail, it was our job to let them know what this is for and that this information will be very useful to us. We had many opportunities to learn more about our topic from other people, and they had an opportunity to learn a little about our school and the project that we were creating. During the fair, all of us walked around during our own time, some of us walked around with other people and took pictures and shot footage with permission and met new people. The people were usually curious about where the information that they provided us with would go. When film footage was shot, a lot of people asked on what channel this would be shown or on which news. We then had to explain to them that this was for a school project about this fair. Unfortunately, some people weren’t as willing to give interviews as others, either because they were shy, tired, or both. But in those cases, they did give permission to take photos of the goods that they were selling. Overall, we shared our school spirit and our involvement in the CyberFair project with many people.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
This CyberFair project that we have undertaken can have many possible implications. These results, or impacts, of our project revolve mainly around enlightening people on this Lithuanian tradition and its relevance. Kaziuko muge stands as a festival whose popularity is relatively restricted to people in and around Lithuania. That being said, this project could very well draw attention to the joyous occasion that is Kaziuko muge. This is a celebration with rich history and tradition, which already draws participants from other Eastern European countries, and tourists from even further out. However, its origins are still unknown to many who come year after year. We hope to show people why this celebration was important 400 years ago, as well as today. In regards to our small school community, we have plans to share the information and knowledge we have gained with our fellow students as well, in the hopes that the ethnically diverse student body located here can learn about Saint Casimir and his fair that is enjoyed by so many in the country of Lithuania. This festival brings together many people, and with them their cultures, to one place where they share products unique to the celebration, as well as their country. It is only natural to want to share this event with those unfamiliar with it and educate those individuals.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
This project did not simply involve AISV, but it involved other members of our community as well. In order to get some very precise and clear information about the festival, our team had to interview lots of people. We found and interviewed organizers of Kaziuko muge, we interviewed teachers and professors, and we interviewed people who take part in the fair. Most of them were very honest and open with us. One problem with interviewing people of the Kaziuko muge was that AISV is an international school and many people in the AISV community do not speak and understand Lithuanian, and people at Kaziuko muge do not understand English. It was sometimes a little complicated to communicate with others due to the language barriers. Our project was not just about a festival in Vilnius; it was a very international and multicultural project. People we interviewed came from many different countries to one city. They brought their religions, cultures, products, languages, and shared them with us and with everyone who visited Kaziuko muge this year. Our team, Grade 9 of AISV, is very thankful to all the volunteers and helpers that we worked with and communicated with throughout this project.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
Our grade has learned many things about Kaziuko muge. Some things which we experienced are that Kaziuko muge is a very massive fair, and it brings a lot of people together. It brings people from Vilnius and even from other cities and countries together. For example, people come from Poland, Russia, Belarus, Hungary and many other places. In addition, the fair is a great place where you can learn about other cultures, histories, and what people do in different places. You can buy different things from different cities and countries and see for yourself what people do, and you can ask how they did it. Also, our grade found it surprising that there were so many people in this fair, and perhaps it is one of the only events in Lithuania in which you can meet and see so many people in one place. Also, we were surprised that so many people visited from different places, and many sellers were from different places. Finally, our grade thinks that there were many interesting things at the fair. You can learn about a city or a country by looking at what they are selling, what they represent. In addition, while you are at the fair, you can recognize that the fair has a combination of history and modern life, and it has a great cultural spirit that can gather a lot of people from different cities and countries.
View our CyberFair Project
(Project ID: 8118)