CyberFair Project ID: 8566

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Smolder the Spirit of Charcoal
Category: 4. Local Specialties

School: Kang Chiao International School Junior High
    New Taipei City, Taiwan, Taiwan

10 students, ages 14-15 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on January 8, 2021. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Classes and Teachers: Hsiao, Shih- Hsuan & Peng, Ying- Tsong

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Formosa, a word that means “Beautiful Land” is once used to describe Taiwan, is a small island that lives up to its name, as this small island has more than just mountains, it contains beautiful nature landscape and most significantly, people and special crafting culture. There is a special craft that has been kept through generations, it’s the culture of charcoal making. Modern days people use gasoline and electric stoves, almost no one uses charcoal in their daily lives, people even thought the craft of charcoal making is already dead, but this craftsmanship has been kept for a long time here in Taiwan, just without being widely noticed.

2. Summary of Our Project

As natural gas replaces charcoal due to pollution issues and production efficiency, the product and its industry begin to vanish from Taiwan’s market. This results in a cultural loss since the charcoal industry is part of Taiwanese culture. Charcoal producers, losing popularity among local customers, seek alternative solutions such as decorations and air purifiers to survive. However, Mr. Lee Yung-Xing, an expert regarding the production of charcoal, insists to burn wood for charcoal. He is one of the few who keep the traditional kiln for the production of charcoal. After research and interviews, our team noticed how Mr. Lee views his life differently compared to others. For example, he believes he should continue and preserve the tradition of charcoal, although the industry is not making profit. Mr. Lee's beliefs toward his life provides us a different perspective regarding the tradition and preservation of charcoal.

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:1

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):

As internet nowadays is much more innovative, we can now work during class while accessing the internet. During the class, mostly all of us are accessing to the internet during class for additional research and making surveys. While we are working at school, we used the internet in the school for the progress of our work. While we are working in class, we used the internet in our homes to continue working.The upload connection speed used in the classroom is about 10.58 Mbps, download about 2 Mbps, since we our school is in the mountains, the connection speed is very inconsistent and very unstable. When the wifi is broken, we use wired internet, the school’s PCs to do our work.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

When we were researching this project, we could only find limited information about Mr. Lee Yung-Xing, including his career and the history of the cast since the main resource we have is his Facebook page and some other reports. In order to solve this problem, we visited Mr. Lee at his charcoal kiln for an interview, so that we can learn more about him, the culture, methods of charcoal making, and the inheritance of coal. Another problem we faced during this project is that many classes are skipped due to the Taiwanese festivals’ break. To overcome this problem, we used online communicators such as LINE, Google Hangout to discuss our project. We completed most of the research and work at home and uploaded it to Google Drive.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Participation in International Schools CyberFair makes us a more active citizen, we have gained precious cultural inheritance and learned the hardship behind those unsung heroes who sacrificed themselves to preserve the ancient Taiwanese culture for the next generation, who's silent dedications created present Taiwan. From this learning, we think participation in International Schools Cyber Faicr can help promote these groups of people who are caring for the Taiwanese culture and help them gain attention from not just Taiwanese society but the whole world.

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

The CyberFair project addresses the background history and the manufacturing process of charcoal, related to school academic content of Taiwan history. Students learned the knowledge of creating a website that links to the technology classes we are learning academically, as well as scripting for an interview, cooperating collectively to coordinate internal issues and communicate effectively to complete the project within the due date. Our group conducts “teamwork” throughout the process since we distribute the work evenly and urge each other to produce the most out of each person. Moreover, our team used the internet to research for additional information which enhances the overall understanding of the project.

Project Elements

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

A CyberFair project includes research, communication, interviewing, video editing, and most importantly, website design, coding, and publishing. To do this, we need help from technology. For this project, students used 10 personal laptops to do research on Mr. Lee-Yung-Xing from online data. Search engine acts an important role in the research, Google allows us to find interview videos done by others before, Mr. Lee’s own Facebook page, to get a better understanding of our research target. Youtube is also very useful when it comes to learning new skills, before interviewing, the director gets to use Youtube videos to learn how to shoot good interview videos. Including tips like two camera angles… In addition, Google Drive, including the instant sharing function, folder creating, and supports a variety of types of documents, did a great job of helping us be organized. With the fully-functioning Google services, it makes the crewmates more connected even without being together. Google docs are the main way we store information and data. Besides, we used Google Form to collect data for later analysis. The team used Google Forms to make and send surveys. Moving on to filming the interview, we used a Canon M50 as the main camera, an iPhone 12, an iPhone 12 Pro Max as side views, and the intro is filmed by an iPhone 8 Plus. To move the video from iPhones to laptops, we uploaded them on Google Drive, where the resolution does not get zipped. For video editing and adding subtitles, the video editor uses Windows Video Editor and Arctime Pro, two easy to use free software that has enough functions the editor needs. Finally, the team used Google Web Designer to code for the website. Furthermore, used the school server to publish the website.

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

For a deeper understanding of the research content, the leader of the team conducted an interview with Mr. Lee Yung-Xing. According to the project leader, he uses Facebook Messenger to contact Mr. Lee, the charcoal maker accepted our request immediately. However, the interview date changed over 5 times due to Mr. Lee’s full schedule, it was finally confirmed after two weeks of coordination. One morning, the students took the school bus to Hsinchu, Baoshan Township, where Mr. Lee’s charcoal kiln is located. We acted as ambassadors as well as school representatives to organize the interview. During the interview, Mr. Lee answers the questions using his past experiences, knowledge in charcoal making and personal stories. This information helped a lot for completing the research and website. In addition, we did not get any visitors or donated services because of our contacts. However, many people are impressed with the work that we are doing including the person we are interviewing, he praised us and looked forward to our accomplishments in the future. Most of the people who are impressed are family members and school faculties. They first ask how we are doing in the project, after we show them the achievements, they show impression through facial expression, oral approbation and told us to keep doing what we are doing.

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

The impact of our research, CyberFair project is not limited in the community but could be spread to the society, even internationally. The project educated people about basic charcoal making information, this is an opportunity for people who may be interested in this area to discover his/ her position. We try hard to spread this information, including publishing the website, making posts on our instagrams, as well as publishing the interview we had with Mr. Lee Yung-Xing on Youtube. However, we do not think we would be discovered in a short period of time, therefore meaning the project will not influence anyone. But long term wise, we do think the effort and work we put in could help pass on the charcoal making tradition. Kang Chiao students and parents found the process of charcoal interesting, and a parent even decided to take her childs to see the unloading. A student stated: “I never noticed charcoal making is so complicated, I never really cared about how charcoal came or its existence until I used it during the moon festival (Taiwan moon festival has BBQ tradition), I feel like I should think more about how things come and appreciate them.” We showed our website, including the interview video to parents, students, and teachers, feedback is all positive. Thanks to CyberFair, it gives us a chance to introduce charcoal making, the dying traditional process and skills. By letting people interact with this knowledge, it may live longer.

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

Mr. Huang Guang Zhou is a former parliamentarian from Hsinchu of 2002, and he is also a close friend of Mr. Lee Yung-Xing, who we are interviewing and investigating. Mr. Huang has participated in Mr. Lee’s career for some time, he has recognized the major process of charcoal making as a third-person view. When we were interviewing Mr. Lee, he added details for the process when making charcoal, a third-person point of view for reference, and add extra information Mr. Lee had missed. Besides the interview, our school computer teacher, a former designer, design expert, also gave great help in the technical area by giving useful suggestions when we are making our website and video. Finally, we are very thankful Mr. Lee Yung-Xing moves his schedule and allows us to interview him. Throughout the interview, he talked professionally, gave creditable, easy-to-understand, and honest replies. We hope through this project we could help make this Taiwanese tradition shine bright.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 8566)

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