Chapter 1 Project Overview

1.1 A Brief History of the 100-School Networking Project

1.2 A Brief History of the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)

Chapter 2 Educational Uses of the Internet/Networks: Achievements and Challenges

2.1 Educational Achievements and Challenges (including teachersf roles)

2.1.1 Concerning Collaborative Programs and Advanced use of School Networking

2.2 Educational Achievements and Challenges (with a primary focus on CEC-initiative programs concerning globalization)

2.2.1 Achievements of the Globalization Projects

2.2.2 Issues and Future Challenges

2.2.3 Achievements and Challenges Concerning Support Systems

2.3 Significance of Wide Area Networks (WANs) in Special Education

2.3.1 Implementation of the 100-School Networking Project at Member Schools,
and its Achievements

2.3.2 Evaluation of the Project by Teachers in Charge and by Schools

2.3.3 Future Challenges

2.4 Technical Achievements and Challenges Concerning the Use of the Internet

2.4.1 Technical Achievements Concerning the Use of the Internet

2.4.2 Technical Issues Concerning the Use of Internet

2.5 Technical Issues and Challenges Concerning Advanced Use of School Networking

2.5.1 Various Technical Issues and Challenges

2.5.2 Use of High-Speed Lines

2.5.3 Content Filtering Technology

Chapter 3 Summary and Proposals

3.1 Contributions of the 100-School Networking Project (Phases I and II)

3.1.1 Contributions to the Introduction of Computer Technology to Education

3.1.2 Changes in Attitudes

3.1.3 Spread of Internet Use and Development of a Closer Relationship

3.1.4 Changes in Studentsf Learning Styles

3.1.5 Human Resource Development

3.1.6 Improved Hardware and Software Systems

3.1.7 Problems

3.2 Proposals

3.2.1 Computer Education Must be Dealt with in the Curriculum

3.2.2 Teaching Methods must Change

3.2.3 Teaching Materials Must be Developed

3.2.4 Technical Training Must be Provided

3.2.5 Support Systems Must be Developed

3.2.6 Infrastructure Must be Improved

3.2.7 Scientific Research Must be Conducted

3.2.8 The Internet will be Used in 40,000 Schools

  • Contents

  • Chapter 1

    Project Overview

    The Industrial Structure Councilfs Information Department Report, issued in June 1993, introduced the concept of computing everywhere. This report noted that computers were not widely used by public organizations, including administrative bodies and educational institutions. To promote greater use of computers by these institutions, the Advanced Information Program was launched in May 1994, based on the notion that such uses would enable:

    (1) students to become active learners, and

    (2) teachers to conduct educational activities beyond the spatial-temporal constraints of the classroom.

    The Program also noted that computers and the Internet could be used to achieve these two objectives.

    The third revised budget of fiscal 1993 contained an allocation to launch the Educational Software Development and Promotion Project, as an Advanced Use of Specific Program. One of the major experiments in the project was the 100-School Networking Project, which provided schools with technology for use of the Internet.

  • Contents

  • 1.1 A Brief History of the 100-School Networking Project                                                                

    The 100-School Networking Project, launched in 1994, was placed under joint control of the Information Technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA) and the Center for Educational Computing (CEC), in order to promote advanced uses of information by schools through the Internet, one of the main themes of the Educational Software Development and Promotion Project. To provide oversight for the project, the Educational Software Development and Promotion Center Collaborators Committee, composed of scholars and other specialists, was established. Application details for school participating were announced in August. In early December, the schools participating in the 100-School Networking Project were selected, and local providers were assigned. In early 1995, the relevant phone lines were linked with local Internet providers, and Internet-related equipment was installed by designated manufacturers at all member schools. In March, the Project began offering introductory and information-exchange meetings for teachers in charge of the Program as well as others involved in the Project.

    Application details for school participating were announced in August 1994, with applications accepted until the end of October. A total of 1,543 applications were received from elementary, junior high, senior high schools, and special education schools throughout the nation. Immediately after the deadline, the applicant selection process began.

    Number of Applications and Number of Schools Selected


    Number of Schools to be Selected

    Total Number of Applications

    Number of Schools Selected

    Group A




    Group B







    Member Schools by Type


    Group A

    Group B

    Elementary school



    Elementary/junior high school



    Junior high school



    Junior/senior high school



    Senior high school



    Special education school



    International school



    Audio-visual center






    Type of Terminal Adapter and Modem Used by Group


    Type of Terminal Adapter and Modem

    Group A

    64-Kbps dedicated leased digital lines (linked to dedicated phone line)

    Group B

    dedicated leased analog lines with band of frequency of 3.4 kHz (linked to dedicated phone line)

    Schools were selected in light of each schoolfs current technological status, its teachersf proficiency, and the content of project proposals. Selection was arranged to ensure that at least one school would be chosen from each prefecture. Overall, one hundred and eleven educational institutions were selected, including a reformatory and other educational centers; notification was sent to all institutions selected in early December.

    Project participants were grouped into two groups: 41 Group A schools, which were networked using 64-Kbps dedicated leased digital lines; and 70 Group B schools, which were linked with providers using dedicated leased analog lines with band of frequency of 3.4 kHz. Four schools in Group A were linked to a local area network (LAN). Under the initial plan, servers were not scheduled to be provided for Group B schools, but based on the large number of institutions applying, the existing technological foundations at these institutions, and the content of proposals submitted, the project secretariat (IPA and CEC) decided to provide a server for every participating institution.

    On March 29 and 30, 1994, an introductory meeting was held for the teachers in charge of the Program as well as others involved in the Project. An information-exchange meeting held during this time proved effective in terms of arranging later informational use of the Internet. In addition, the project secretariat prepared and distributed an gInternet Userfs Manual for Serversh, to explain the basics of UNIX and system management methods.

    At the same time, as introductory material for junior and high school students, the gInternet Userfs Manual for Clientsh was published to enable students to make use of application programs. The secretariat also prepared an Internet Guide which used sound and pictures (i.e., video and CD-ROM) to give general descriptions of various functions of the Internet and to show samples created using these functions. Two additional reference guides were created: the gWorld Wide Web (WWW) Server Guideh, listing the Web sites available in Japan at that time; and gConnecting to the Interneth, a reference guide explaining how to link to the Internet.

    As part of preparations for the introductory meeting, project proposals submitted by the participating schools were analyzed and drafts of joint utilization programs prepared.

    In 1995, the newsletter was issued. At the same time, the technical support center opened and a mailing list was prepared. After the summer vacation, the member schools began their proposed activities, making use of the Internet access provided for the project. The Educational Software Development and Usage Promotion Center Collaborators Committee established two subcommittees, one for educational uses of the Internet and one for networking technology. Joint utilization programs were also designed and implemented, and support for local Internet providers was provided. Study sessions on Internet use were held in ten locations, and a three-day special study session on the Internet was held for teachers in charge of network administration. In March, a meeting was held for member schools to report their project results.

    Before the end of the 1995 summer vacation, the equipment and the system necessary for networking were installed at each member school.

    The networking environment was built in cooperation with 13 local network committees, connecting 111 member schools to 39 operation centers via access points and a backbone of academic networks including WIDE and SINET. At the study sessions on Internet use, lectures on current Internet activity among educators were provided for pertinent personnel on the local network committees, as well as member schools; lectures were given by technical specialists from the companies that installed the networking system. The majority of problems occurred during this introductory period, and most were solved by the equipment suppliers. Other problems were dealt with by local network committees. Each member school was equipped with a server and a client computer, along with a router/terminal adapter or a modem. The system was linked to the provider via a dedicated line.

    The Information Infrastructure Center opened in fall 1995, at which time the 100-School Networking Project launched its first homepage. A survey on Internet use conducted that fall revealed that 70 percent of the schools had located their client computer in their computer room. The survey results also showed that 94 percent of teachers and 44 percent of students were able to use e-mail. Eighty-seven schools already had their own homepages on the Internet, or approximately 80 percent of all member schools.

    Internet utilization study sessions were held in six regional blocs (Hokkaido and Tohoku, Kanto, Hokuriku and Tokai, Kinki, Chugoku and Shikoku, and Kyushu) between October 1995 and January 1996. In addition, study sessions were held at the Information Infrastructure Center in Fujisawa City in Kanagawa Prefecture for elementary, junior high, and high schools, separately. A study session for special education schools was held at Makuhari in Chiba Prefecture.

    More than thirty participants attended lectures and practical training sessions covering UNIX and other technical topics, held at an Internet special study session in February. In March, member schools reported their project results at three locations. At the general meeting, a special lecture was given, and results from the joint utilization programs were reported. In addition, a panel discussion was held on the topic gWhat does the Internet bring to schools?h Participants also attended an information-exchange meeting.

    In 1995, operational support began to be provided for Program participants, along with technical support. An initial newsletter was issued and distributed to all member schools in April, so that participants could share common concerns with member schools during the Projectf introductory stages. Newsletter topics included a current schedule, mailing list and newsgroup information, information about events and seminars, and news from the secretariat. Six subsequent newsletters were issued, the last of which came out in June.

    In July, the secretariat set up an e-mail list address gakinotanoh for business communications. This was named after the first of the Hundred Poems?gAkinotano karihonoihono tomaoarami wagakoromodewa tsuyunimuretsutsuh?by the Hundred Poets. The secretariatfs hope was that the characteristics of each participating school would be as well reflected by its initiative program as each poem in the Hundred Poems reflects on the Hundred Poets. Technical support was initially available by telephone and fax, and over the Internet at Common questions included technical queries concerning equipment operations, set-up procedures, and how to use the Internet. Many participants requested that troubleshooting procedures be established, and asked that specialists be sent to their schools to deal with problems with computers or system. Answers to commonly asked questions were made available by fax and on the WWW server. In addition, current network use at each member school was surveyed and analyzed so that problems could be more promptly addressed, and an e-mail list address (gaimiteno@cec.or.jph) was set up for both member and non-member schools. This address was named after gAimiteno nochinokokoroni kurabureba mukasiwamonoo omowazarikeri,h, and allowed registered participants to exchange opinions and information over the Internet.

    Also during 1995, information on project activities and results was issued in two CD-ROMs, as part of a public relations package. The first CD-ROM contained an overview of the 100-School Networking Project, and listed member schoolsf homepages by regional bloc and type of school under a section on member schoolsf activities. It also provided information on the program implementation status at school. The second volume, gReport on Joint Utilization Programsh, described the network utilization programs and provided program reports and other information. gLetfs Use the Interneth which explains how to deal with the communication lines and summarizes four cases of school-networking, was prepared for distribution.

    Projects carried out in 1995 were of two types: programs initiated by member schools, and joint network utilization programs based on proposals from member schools. The joint programs were categorized into the following areas: information exchange, collaborative studies, electronic conference, and exhibition of students works. Another program was proposed by the secretariat and concerned special education. Collaborative studies included research on acid rain and ecological botany research (e.g., continuous observation of a tree at each member school), which continued in succeeding years.

    In July 1996, the Central Council for Education of the Ministry of Education submitted a report on optimal approaches to developing the education system in Japan for the 21st century. This report proposed that all schools throughout the nation should have access to the Internet in the near future. At the conclusion of the three-year 100-School Networking Project, in late 1996, Internet utilization study sessions were held; in March 1997, project results were reported. Some collaborative studies were continued even after the Project ended. Konetto plan launched in November with approximately 1,000 participating schools.

    Member schools voluntarily improved their communications environment. According to a survey conducted in July 1996, the number of servers increased to 162, an approximate increase of 50% from the Projectfs first 18 months, while the number of client computers increased to 2,314.

    Status of Communications Environment as of July 1996

    Number of Client Computers

    Number of Schools

    51 or more


    41 or more


    31 or more


    21 or more


    11 or more


    10 or less


    No response


    In fiscal 1996, there was growing use of real-time transmission of image-based data, using programs such as CU-SeeMe, along with WWW resources and e-mail. Because of the discrepancy between available transmission speeds and the amount of information to be sent, however, the results obtained were not as good as expected. A survey of budget activity for network maintenance found that two schools had completed a maintenance budget, while two-thirds (74) of member schools were working to compile one. Five schools were reviewing their budgets, 20 schools had submitted budget requests to the local Boards of Education, and 26 schools were working internally to modify their budgets. Twenty-three schools were engaged in other, unspecified phases of budget activity.

    During the year, opinions and information continued to be exchanged over the Internet; the Internet was also used to support technical consultations. Two hundred seventy-five participants sent a total of 3,028 e-mail messages to the gakinotanoh site, while 1,920 e-mail messages were exchanged by 490 participants at the gaimitenoh site. In addition, 573 member schools and non-member schools participated in joint utilization programs and exchanged 894 messages.

    Internet utilization study sessions were held in the six regional blocs between October and December 1996, with many reports presented by prefectural and municipal governments. Topics included a project for connecting elementary and junior high schools to the Internet, implemented by Tanabe-cho in Kyoto Prefecture; and educational information networking activities in Yokohama. Kochi Prefectural Education Center and Saga Prefectural Educational Information System also reported on projects they had underway. In March 1997, the final results of school-initiative programs were reported at four sites, and a summary of the 100-School Networking Project was presented at a general meeting. This meeting also included a panel discussion, gCurrent Status of Educational Uses of the Internet, and Issues and Challengesh. Participants also attended an information exchange session.

    Also during fiscal 1996, two reports were published for distribution: gUse of the Internet in Educationh and gA Summary of the 100-School Networking Projecth. The first, a project implementation report, summarized the status of Internet use by member schools and eight themes for the joint utilization programs. The second described activities carried out by the 3-year Project, along with the results obtained. Topic covered included project establishment and implementation, project content, educational aspects of Internet use, technical aspects of Internet use, and challenges and proposals concerning educational uses of the Internet. For reference, this report included a list of homepage URLs for the member schools and the secretariat.

    During the year, school-initiative programs and joint utilization projects primarily carried out by member schools both continued to be implemented. Projects such as gNationwide Q&A Mailh, ecological botany research, gA Catch of Words and Friendship Across the Oceanh had less than ten participating schools, while a research project on acid rain attracted 44 participating schools in addition to the host school. Two school-initiative programs were established on an ongoing basis: gEstablishing databases for science experiments and observationh and gMathematical problems with multiple answersh. gMe and Mediah and gAsia-High School Student Internet Interactive Communication Projecth also continued as CEC-initiative programs concerning globalization in the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II), which began in fiscal 1997.

  • Contents

  • 1.2 A Brief History of the 100-School Networking Project
    (Phase II)

    Immediately after completion of the 100-School Networking Project in March 1997, the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II) was initiated in April 1997, with 108 participants. In place of subcommittees, CEC established four working groups, under a supporting committee, to implement CEC-initiative programs in four areas: globalization, area collaboration, utilization of advanced networking technology, and advanced utilization of school networking.

    Number of Schools by Group Before and After Adoption of Faster Data Transmission Speeds




    Group A



    Group B



    During Phase II, Schools submitted independent project proposals and implemented their own research or experimental programs. Phase II had many aspects in common with the Projectfs initial phase, but was characterized by increased participation by non-member schools. As in the initial phase, internet utilization study sessions and result reporting meetings were held.

    In fiscal 1997, 34 out of the 64 Group B schools switched to digital data transmission, thus becoming Group A members. After this change, 75 schools had installed 64-Kbps dedicated leased digital lines while the remaining 33 schools still used dedicated leased analog lines with the band of frequency of 3.4 kHz. Some prefectural and municipal governments approved a budgetary item to improve data transmission speeds, allowing more schools to adopt digital technology.

    In fiscal 1997, mailing lists were still in use, and technical consultation services continued to be provided on behalf of school-initiative programs. For example, the secretariat offered software programs and manuals used to create CGI-based Web pages, and lent out the equipment necessary for implementation of programs. The secretariat also managed an electronic bulletin board used to recruit schools to participate in programs and to gather information, and also prepared mailing lists and offered a server-mirroring facility for member schools.

    During the year, Internet utilization study sessions were held in the six regional blocs, and the secretariat of the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II) prepared a report. Technical and project reports were also provided, and some special lectures and a debate were held. In March, project results were reported at four locations. During the annual general meeting, a summary of the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II) was presented and a panel discussion on the theme gOutlook and Challenges for Internet Use in the Regionh held. Participants also attended an information exchange session.

    There were several publications released during fiscal 1997. gUse of the Internet in Educationh, on project implementation report, summarized both the status of Internet use by member schools and the content of 52 school-initiative programs. gA Summary of the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)h was published in three volumes, covering globalization, area collaboration, and advanced use of school networking, respectively. The 93-page gGuidebook for International Exchangeh described the objectives of international exchange, use of the Internet in the classroom, international exchange activities at schools, operational procedures, and actual examples of international exchange. It also included, as a supplement, basic information on education in foreign countries, a list of URLs, and information on how to connect to the Internet.

    The secretariat publicly asked member schools to submit project proposals. It also provided technical support to such school-initiative programs, and initiated programs in the three areas of globalization, area collaboration, and advanced use of school networking. Programs promoting globalization included gInternet Classroom Projecth, gAsia-High School Student Internet Interactive Communication Projecth, gMe and Media Projectsh, and gKIDLINK Projecth. Programs targeting area collaboration were classified into three types: activities conducted by education centers, as in Yamanashi and Saga Prefectures; exchanges among local schools (gArea Collaboration Network in Abukumah); and exchanges among groups (gSchool-Networking in the Hita region in Oita Prefectureh). For the last area, advanced use of school networking, two technical programs (gA Survey of Collaborative Preparation of Educational Software Available on the Internet, and its Usesh, and gCollaborative Learning Experiments using High-speed Lines (1.5 Mbps)h ) and one educational program (gUses of Networks in Special Educationh) were presented.

    In August 1998, gResearch Collaborators Committee on Computer Educationh of the Ministry of Education issued a report that proposed that networking at the school level be improved, in order to create an educational environment that better reflected advances in information technology. In December, the New Course of Study for elementary and junior high school programs (scheduled to take effect in 2002) was announced. Also during fiscal 1998, a new working group?dealing with advanced special education?was added to the four working groups already set up as part of the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II). Meanwhile, CEC-initiative and school-initiative programs continued to be implemented for research purposes, and study sessions on Internet use and results-reporting meetings were held as in prior years. In July, a 2-day international symposium was held.

    In November 1998, a questionnaire was issued to member schools, most of which had participated in the 100-School Networking Project (and later, in Phase II) since April 1994. The findings showed that the Internet was used most often for classes, followed by extracurricular activities, special activities, and school business. In addition to class times, there was high Internet usage after school and during the lunch break. Many teachers and students used the Internet during recesses and before first period. Approximately 60 percent of the member schools had improved their school networking environment by adding a LAN connection, while 68 percent of member schools had made their network system available to people in the community.

    Ninety percent of the respondents said that technical support they received was useful, while eight percent received no technical support. Eighty-three percent of the teachers in charge of network administration found this responsibility a burden. Seventy percent of teachers said that they had to prepare more for a class using the Internet than for a conventional class, while 23 percent found no difference in the time and energy needed for class preparation.

    In fiscal 1998, partly because of the situation regarding TRAIN, an academic network of the Kanto bloc, ORIONS (Kansai bloc), and KARRN (Kyushu bloc), more member schools paid for their communication lines; consequently, they made a switch to faster lines.

    A survey of the network in the area was conducted in fiscal 1998, as in fiscal 1997. The Ministry of Education takes charge of gConnecting 118 Schools to Optical Fibers.h The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications have been jointly conducting an advanced educational networking model project in 30 selected areas. Most prefectural and municipal governments worked on improving local networking environments, with some local governments adopting a gtop downh method. However, it has become increasingly obvious that schools need to form local educational networks by networking the schools within an area, with support provided by technical staff at an education center; also, the schools need to establish a support system of volunteers.

    The proposal gWould you like to prepare a multimedia dialect dictionary together with us?h was posted on, where information and opinions were exchanged. The term gdial-uph and a phrase gOur address will changeh were sent to the site. This mailing list should continue to be available in the future. Phase II of the 100-School Networking Project, which lasted for two years, ended with good results and an awareness of future challenges.

    An international symposium was held on July 1 and 2, 1998. There were two keynote speeches, on gThe Internet Environment in Schools in the United Statesh and gIdeal Ways of Learning Through the Interneth. Following these speeches, Japanese and overseas groups and schools presented reports on current activities and projects, while regional representatives from other Asian countries presented programs of planned activity. A panel discussion, gHow to Start International Exchange Using the Interneth, was also held during the symposium. In the fall, a study session on Internet use was held, which featured a special lecture and a mini panel discussion. Technical explanations of the Internet were also provided, and schools reported their programs and results. Final project results were reported at four locations in March. A summary of Phase II of the 100-School Networking Project was presented at the general meeting, which also included a panel discussion entitled, gCurrent Trends and Challenges in Using Networks in Educationh. Participants also attended an information exchange session.

    Several major reports were published during fiscal 1998, including gUse of the Internet in Educationh, gUse of Networks at Member Schools in 69 School-Initiative Programsh, and gA Summary of the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II) Concerning Globalization, Area Collaboration, and Advanced Use of School Networkingh. In addition, a collection of Internet-based sample lessons was published in 1996, 1997, and 1998.

    Selected school-initiative programs received financial support in fiscal 1998, as in prior years. CEC-initiative programs were carried out with a primary focus on globalization, area collaboration, and advanced use of school networking. All four programs on globalization were continued from fiscal 1997. For area collaboration, 1998 programs included a networking project by Wanouchi-chofs Board of Education in Gifu Prefecture, categorized as an exchange program among schools; and a networking project in CSI of Hiroshima Prefecture, categorized as an exchange among groups. For advanced use of school networking, programs on Operational Experiment of Educational Rating System, Use of Observation Data at Designated Points, and Making Use of Existing Database were continued from fiscal 1997. Some of the school-initiative programs supported by the secretariat in fiscal 1997 and 1998 concerned international exchange and area collaboration, while others had educational themes such as cooperative learning and comprehensive learning.

    CSI = Chugoku and Shikoku Internet assosiation

  • Contents

  • Chapter 2

    Educational Uses of the Internet/Networks: Achievements and Challenges

    2.1 Educational Achievements and Challenges
    (including teachersf roles)

    2.1.1 Concerning Collaborative Programs and Advanced use of School Networking

    1. Introduction

    The Internet has a wide range of applications to education. Among these, it can serve as an educational tool in at least four ways: (1) as a teaching tool (with information technology, and media); (2) as a learning tool, enabling students to achieve learning objectives for each subject, solve problems, develop self-expression/communication skills, and perform creative activities; (3) as a tool for developing a scientific understanding of information technology; and (4) as a tool for helping students to understand social, economic, and ethical issues associated with todayfs evolving information society. Keeping these applications in mind, we will discuss how to use the Internet in a collaborative manner and how to use it in more advanced educational activities.

    Uses of the Internet can be categorized as follows:

    1. Collaborative and investigative studies (development of local databases and their collaborative sharing use)

    2. Electronic conferencing

    3. Collaborative online producing activities

    4. Contests on the Internet

    5. Collaborative production of electronic materials used on Web sites

    6. Seminars on the Internet

    7. Remote control/management

    8. Remote teaching

    These activities have been conducted in actual school settings in a wide variety of forms, under limited resources and budgets. Before describing these programs in detail, however, we present a framework for learning via the Internet.

    2. A New Framework for Learning in the Postmodern Age

    What is the new framework for learning in the postmodern age, as we prepare for the 21st century? In an educational environment in which computers and networks are used as teaching/learning tools, learning may take place in the following situations or forms:

    1. Modeling group activities and collaborative learning projects in preparation for participation in social activities

    2. Evaluation and sharing of data and information obtained from conducting an exploring experiment

    3. Recognition of problems and discovering solutions with insight, and learning by asking, explaining, producing, and teaching

    4. Organization, refinement, and conceptualization of knowledge through interactive diagnosis

    In education using the Internet, knowledge is not simply transmitted by teachers to learners. In other words, students are not passive learners, but rather participate actively in their own learning experience. Students actively identify problems, hypothesize solutions, and make use of necessary information. Given this context, it is not appropriate to measure studentsf achievements quantitatively, by simply measuring how much information they have acquired. In addition, teachers must review their teaching styles to ensure that they are able to enhance studentsf abilities and skills to meet these new requirements.

    Learning takes place not only within the learner, but also through interactions with others and with the outside world. The learnerfs actions also change the surrounding environment, providing the learner with feedback and enabling her to evaluate her actions. As learners, we must obtain and refine our knowledge through interaction with our learning environment and the outside world, and gain the ability to monitor our own thinking processes and understand other peoplefs points of view. Learning activities in the postmodern era can be expected to be centered around activities in which individual students prepare hypotheses, then verify them through self-directed research.

    Figure 1 Learning Model using Computers and the Internet

    Figure 1 shows a learning model using computers and the Internet. It is important to note that students must first recognize a problem for learning to begin. They establish their learning objectives and prepare a hypothesis to solve the problem, then gather data, conduct research, and analyze the information and results obtained. They then proceed to plan and design their problem-solving activities, using modeling and simulation concepts and techniques and other tools, to obtain possible solutions to the problem. To test their hypothesis, students prepare and implement actual problem-solving activities and evaluate the appropriateness of their solutions. If their results seem to be of some value, they may make a presentation or prepare a report to share their findings with other people, or create a database containing the findings obtained. Networking is indispensable if databases are to be built and knowledge shared; also, a system enabling students to participate in collaborative activities must be set up. At the same time, every time students take part in an educational activity using the Internet, they must be asked to think about the purpose of the activity in terms of its relationship to people, society, and information technology. In general, teachers must educate students so that they can be sound participants in the information society.

    Looking forward, it will become increasingly important for the educational system to incorporate multimedia in teaching and learning activities. Multimodal interfaces and processors are used not only to deal with actual situations in society but also to do global simulations. Multimediafs interactive nature enables dynamic links between a simulated environment and learnersf actions to be forged. In such circumstances, students can change the environment as they wish. Changes in the environment reflect the studentfs thinking process, and metacognition of this process can be taught. In such cases, students may have to judge their own thinking processes objectively. The Internet and multimedia systems play an important role in education by allowing such learning environments to be realized.

    3. CEC-initiative programs focusing on advanced use of school networking

    Following the 100-School Networking Project (April 1994?March 1997), Phase II of the Project (scheduled for two years), composed of CEC-initiative and school-initiative programs, was implemented. One of these CEC-initiative programs focused on advanced use of the Internet. Programs conducted in fiscal 1997 were as follows:

    1. Production and accumulation of educational materials to be used in the educational field using computers and the Internet, and collaborative use of such materials

    2. Sharing and use of observational data at the fixed points

    3. Improvement of network accessibility for mentally and physically challenged students

    4. Re-use of existing databases

    In fiscal 1998, the four themes above were narrowed down to the following two topics:

    1. Sharing and use of observational data at the fixed points

    2. Re-use of existing databases

    The project associated with mentally and physically challenged students was not carried out under this category in fiscal 1998, but it was conducted as an independent project which worked toward improvement of network accessibility for students challenged by multiple handicaps. In the following section, the educational implications and effects of the primary programs of the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II) will be briefly discussed.

    (1) Production and accumulation of educational materials to be used in the educational field using computers and the Internet, and collaborative use of such materials

    The initial objectives were to (a) review how to use various educational materials and decide what methods would be most appropriate to accumulate and search such materials, and (b) collaboratively prepare educational resources to be used in particular subjects. Plans called for making the database of various educational resources, including materials and pictures used for scientific experiments, evaluation problems, teaching plans, and sample lessons. However, this program was not carried out in fiscal 1998 due to copyright, privacy protection, and cost-effectiveness issues.

    (2) Sharing and use of observational data at the fixed points

    This programfs objective was to test a method for creating online databases and an information-sharing method, in order to make an effective use of the observation results obtained at each member school. Observation results were gathered nationwide through collaborative studies based on the following themes: a designated school tree, the weather, acid rain, gnationwide kenaf germination maph, and glive camerash. These activities played a major role in the 100-School Networking Project. Member schools gathered observation data over a period of time on the above themes, including data on differences in geographical conditions, the seasons, and the weather. Using data collected throughout the nation, students analyzed and reviewed the observation results with a scientific eye.

    (3) Re-use of existing databases

    The objective here was to examine methods for using news articles taken from article databases in class, and then to try them out. In the first year of the Project, a questionnaire was distributed, and in the second year, some experiments were implemented at selected schools.

    4. Educational Achievements

    Questionnaires and interviews were conducted to review the results of the 5-year 100-School Networking Project, with a primary focus on CEC-initiative programs. They were designed to evaluate the project results in terms of the following: (1) aspects associated with teachers, (2) aspects associated with students, (3) aspects associated with administrators in the Boards of Education, (4) aspects associated with the community, parents, and guardians, and (5) the cost-effectiveness of use of the Internet. The survey results obtained from people in different positions will be summarized below.

    (1) Aspects associated with teachers

    A questionnaire was used to collect data on the relationship and data sharing among teachers, teachersf roles and their relationship with students, and the design of teaching plans. The data analysis revealed that, over the course of the Project, teachers became more cooperative with one another and shared and exchanged more information. Teachers acted as advisors and facilitators in class and communicated more with students. They intentionally moved away from traditional teaching plans to more flexible teaching methods.

    (2) Aspects associated with Students

    The questionnaire asked teachers about studentsf interest in learning, their abilities to gather information, to use the information obtained, and to express or report their thoughts and findings. Teachersf responses were based on their own observations. The results showed that students had become more interested in learning and had improved all the abilities mentioned above. In order to go beyond these achievements from the Project, it will be necessary to study and analyze in detail what psychological mechanisms caused these improvements, what makes those abilities transferable, and how these abilities differ from abilities relating to media use.

    (3) Aspects associated with administrators in the Boards of Education

    The questionnaire was sent to the Boards of Education to ask about use of the Internet in education, the degree of understanding by teachers, and matters concerning information ethics. The results showed that the Boards of Education tended to understand the social significance and influence of the Internet, and to expect schools to use the Internet to obtain favorable educational effects. The Boards of Education evaluated the educational effects obtained through use of the Internet as superior to those obtained through traditional instruction. In their view, students acquire comprehensive abilities, show more interest and active involvement in learning, and seem to improve the quality of their lives through educational use of the Internet. Some conflict was seen between teachers using the Internet in class and those not using it, but in general this was not a big issue. Many respondents stated that they wanted to make the Internet available to the public instead of using it exclusively at the designated schools. It should be noted that 60 percent of the respondents said that they were worried about harmful information on the Internet, but did not think that such information would cause adverse effects.

    (4) Aspects associated with the community, parents, and guardians

    People in the community, parents, and guardians were interviewed. The interview results showed that they wanted to see more educational uses of the Internet. This result may indicate that parents who engage in economic activities realize the necessity of using the Internet more than teachers. Various questionnaires completed in my lectures at public halls show that citizens in the community are extremely interested in the Internet. A major concern here is how to establish sound social rules and to cultivate a sound attitude concerning the use of the Internet.

    (5) Cost-effectiveness of the use of the Internet

    What are the monthly and annual costs needed to install and operate an Internet connection? And once an Internet link is in place, what additional tasks will teachers have to perform and what types of human resources are necessary? The cost-effectiveness associated with the use of the Internet in education should be reviewed based on such considerations. Furthermore, teacher training costs must be taken into account, as teachers will play a new role in studentsf learning and conduct classes in an unconventional way. Other costs related to the use of the Internet are purchasing expenses for teaching materials, teaching aids, and other resources. Software costs are another important factor, such as whether schools must buy software programs or other program arrangements; software upgrade methods must also be considered. Schools must consider the economic costs associated with establishing an Internet service, relative to the educational effects to be obtained. If introduction of the Internet is to be cost-effective, it is necessary to obtain adequate understanding from those concerned.

    The educational effects and significance of the 100-School Networking Project can be summarized as follows:

    1. Schools moved away from a conventional view of scholastic abilities to a new perspective which places an importance on studentsf planning ability, expressiveness, creative ability, collaboration, and interest in learning.

    2. The concept of gability to use informationh was clarified through actual use of the Internet.

    3. Through learning activities using the Internet, students were able to have access to information technology, acquire computer literacy, and understand and experience the reality of the information society. Students indirectly learned about information science and technology by actually using multimedia by themselves.

    4. Educational activities linking schools and communities were designed, giving teachers an opportunity to create a new type of curriculum.

    5. Schools accumulated know-how concerning the network in each subject as a learning or problem-solving tool.

    6. Teachers and students experienced an open learning space, which is different from a conventional closed learning space.

    7. Teachers and students experienced project-based learning activities, which functioned as a model for a new type of group activities.

    Consideration should be paid to the following problems and issues.

    1. Problems concerning system maintenance, how to cope with problems with the system, and the disruption of classroom activities caused by such problems.

    2. Because teachers spent much time and energy on class preparation, they were not able to perform other education-related duties to the fullest extent.

    3. Because no standards for information disclosure were established, the degree of information disclosure was completely up to each teacher. It is uncertain if actions taken by each teacher were appropriate from an educational point of view.

    4. The Internet was available only to limited classes. It is uncertain if students in other classes and teachers who did not have access to the Internet in their classes had understanding of their situation.

    5. It was difficult to determine the degree to which studentsf scholastic abilities had actually improved.

    5. Roles of Teachers

    Educational uses of computers and the Internet will greatly change the roles of teachers. In conventional classes, teachers act as transmitters of knowledge; consequently, their lesson plans and classes have been managed based on this assumption. In classroom activities using computers, the Internet, and other various media, however, teachers are required to function as designers of the studentsf learning environment, and as consultants or advisors to student learning. Teachers are also required to obtain necessary educational resources such as teaching materials and aids in the preparation of effective individual and group activities. It is essential in education that students acquire knowledge and sound judgement, and develop various skills. These educational objectives are not abandoned by teachers even when they play a new role in the classroom. Teachers must check on students and give them feedback more frequently to direct students to the right track. In the new, Internet-based environment, there is the possibility of letting students do whatever they want without restriction, if student independence is respected too much. If this happens, classes will become overly disrupted. To avoid such a situation, teachers are required to develop well-thought-out teaching plans, and to possess excellent monitoring and teaching skills enabling them to give students prompt, accurate guidance. Training should be provided for teachers to cultivate these skills.

    The implementation of the 100-School Networking Project provided key information on the roles of teachers, and on the teaching skills and abilities needed for classes using the Internet.

    1. Teachers conduct classroom activities in groups (collaborative activities and learning) by using questions, explanations, and/or project-based activities.

    2. Teachers function as producers or coordinators.

    3. Teachers function as supervisors who help students gather, use, and dispatch information, and who help students develop information searching and research skills.

    4. Teachers help students develop skills to evaluate information available to them.

    5. Teachers function as mediators.

    6. Teachers function as counselors who help students select necessary information from the abundant information available on the Internet, to help them achieve self-confidence.

    7. Teachers must have knowledge and operational skills necessary to use computers and the Internet. They must at least have skills to use information technology as teaching tools.

    8. Teachers must be able to collect applicable information and select information needed.

    9. Teachers are required to plan and design classroom activities.

    10. Teachers are required to coordinate with other teachers.

    11. Teachers are required to know what is happening at other schools and in society, to gather related materials, and to implement educational activities most desirable for students.

    12. Teachers not only transmit knowledge but also help students become independent learners.

    13. Teachers are required to support not only students but also other teachers.

    14. Teachers are required to teach students information ethics and social rules.

    Each of the new roles of teachers mentioned above is important; however, it is an extremely difficult task for teachers to assume all such roles. The relevant skills must be acquired through experience and developed through trial and refinement. Such skills must be handed down to inexperienced teachers through training, primarily practical training. To that end, it is important to develop practical training programs?which use a format other than gsit and listenh?for current and future teachers. This will be an important task for the CEC.

    6. Evaluation Results

    What do the evaluation results from the 5-year 100-School Networking Project tell us? From a short-term perspective, a significant number of respondents gave positive opinions, but personal reactions can not be measured by quantitative research. In this section, I would like to discuss this Project from a long-term perspective. In other words, I would like to consider the Project in terms of how information technology will influence our learning and what significance it will have on our learning in the 21st century, when digital communications technology will play an important role in our lives. To that end, the following five criteria should be considered:

    1. Using digital technology, various forms of information can be handled at the same time and in the same space. With a kind of metasymbolic foundation called multimedia, artifacts of diversified values can be created.

    2. A computer can create cyberspace or virtual reality, where participants interact with one another without spatial-temporal constraints.

    3. Activities in cyberspace are stored in a digital computer memory, which enables users to share and reuse the data.

    4. The network can be used as a tool to support and build up various activities. It functions as a booster of presentation, recognition, and creative activities.

    5. Information technology functions as a catalyst which alters the quality of activities taking place in a wide variety of fields including politics, economics, industry, medical care, education, welfare, environment, and scientific research.

    In light of these criteria, we conclude that the 100-School Networking Project definitely made major social and educational contributions.

    Finally, I would like to discuss two additional considerations: the abilities needed in an Internet-oriented society, and the positioning of the 100-School Networking Project in the domain of thinking models. Learning materials are divided into two categories: the well-structured world, as represented in textbooks, and the ill-structured world, which is not taught in textbooks. It is important to note that learning activities using the Internet deal with a world without hypotheses; that is to say, a world where the answer to the question of whether a studentfs hypothesis is correct changes over time and in accordance with changes in the surrounding situation. What is true for one time or place may not be true for another. This is how the real world operates.

    Thinking patterns in these situations can be categorized into four major groups: rational (conservative) thinking, pragmatic thinking, critical thinking, and radical thinking, as shown in Table

    1.Table 1 Four Thinking Models and the Positioning of Advanced Use of School Networking

    Here, grational thinkingh refers to a thinking process in which people apply well-established knowledge, such as mathematical theorems and axioms, and scientific principles, to concrete subjects and problems to obtain the answers. An example of pragmatic thinking is a scholastic ability to design an experiment and devise experimental procedures. In other words, it refers to an ability to think objectively. Critical thinkers are able to find and review situational flaws, inconsistencies, and problems. Radical thinkers do not accept fixed ideas as such. They are able to reexamine their own conceptual frameworks and ideas and to grasp the essential qualities of subjects.

    Conventional learning activities at school have placed a major emphasis on rational and pragmatic thinking in a well-structured, closed world of textbooks. There, students have accepted so-called gright knowledgeh and learned how to use it. By contrast, education in the future must help students develop critical and radical thinking, so that they become active and independent learners who identify problems and solve them by themselves. The 100-School Networking Project is positioned in the area covering pragmatic, critical, and radical thinking in both well- and ill-structured worlds. A learning environment that includes computers and the Internet is useful in that it encourage students to expand their thinking patterns from those suitable in the conventional well-structured textbook world to those necessary in the ill-structured, actual world.

    2.2 Educational Achievements and Challenges
    (with a primary focus on CEC-initiative programs concerning globalization)

    The CEC-initiative programs concerning globalization were implemented in 1998 as part of the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II). Their objective was to explore the potential of the Internet as an educational means of promoting international understanding through cultural exchange, using such means as e-mail exchanges with overseas students and participation in global projects. This section will discuss the achievements of the two-year globalization programs primarily from a standpoint of international understanding; it also addresses some issues for future consideration.

    Under the CEC-initiative programs, four projects were implemented: the Internet Classroom Project, Asia-High School Student Internet Interactive Communication Project, the Me & Media Project, and the KIDLINK Project. Related support systems were also established. In this section, the educational achievements and challenges of these projects will be first discussed; next, their support systems will be explained and discussed.

    2.2.1 Achievements of the Globalization Projects

    (1) Changes in students

    Through participation in the four programs mentioned above, students achieved the following:

    The primary objective of these projects for global understanding was for students to develop better understanding of other peoplefs cultures while also developing an awareness of Japanese culture. The projects helped students to achieve this objective. It is extremely important that students now consider English as a tool for communication, and show more interest in and motivation for learning the language.

    (2) Changes in teachers

    It is extremely important to note that teachers are ready to accept changes in their roles and teaching styles.

    (3) Opinions about project operation

    Prior communication among teachers plays a key role in successful project implementation.

    (4) Opinions about the system

    It is necessary to use multimedia along with e-mail messages as communication tools to facilitate communication and enhance friendship.

    2.2.2 Issues and Future Challenges

    (1) Issues and challenges concerning the implementation of globalization projects

    Teachers identified a number of future challenges for consideration: incorporation of cultural exchange activities into the curriculum, face-to-face friendship exchanges (visits to overseas schools by Japanese students, or to Japan by overseas students), financial difficulties, language barriers, establishment of offices to deal with business affairs concerning partner schools, and curriculum design (including the need for well-thought-out teaching plans).

    (2) Issues and challenges concerning the system

    In particular, hardware management and the need for prior discussions and arrangements impose a considerable burden on the teachers in charge.

    2.2.3 Achievements and Challenges Concerning Support Systems

    (1) Achievements and challenges concerning preparation of the gGuidebook for International Exchangeh

    This guidebook explains the basics of international exchange for teachers lacking experience in this field. It received favorable responses from such teachers.

    (2) Achievements and challenges concerning the support system of volunteer translators



    It is necessary to build a translation support system that links overseas schools, Japanese schools, and translators.

    (3) Achievements and challenges concerning overseas research and participation in overseas symposia

    As illustrated in the comments above, the CEC-initiative programs concerning globalization achieved overall success, although certain issues remain to be tackled in succeeding projects.

    2.3 Significance of Wide Area Networks (WANs) in Special Education

    Special education in Japan takes the form of general education for physically and mentally challenged children. It is provided through special schools as well as special classes at regular schools, using special curricula and teaching methods. Curricula are designed to meet the needs of individual students and to give individualized academic instructions to each student, based on the nature of his or her handicaps, so that each student can develop his or her potential as much as possible.

    Special education schools are classified based on type of handicap: (1) school for the blind and visually impaired, (2) school for children with hearing disorders, (3) school for mentally retarded children, (4) school for physically challenged children, and (5) school for children who need medical treatment. The last three types of schools are generally termed gschools for the challengedh. However, each type of school generally has its own specialized curricula, due to the differing nature of the handicaps among their students. Recently, children with multiple handicaps have become more common; consequently, special education schools must design highly individualized curricula to meet the needs of such students.

    Within the special-education field, teaching methods and materials using the Internet and other wide area networks (hereafter gthe Interneth) vary in accordance with the types of student handicaps involved.

    Physically and mentally challenged children have greater difficulty moving from one place to another. As such, they have little opportunity to meet children at schools in general because special schools are classified based on the types of handicaps . Our great hope is that the Internet will compensate for these limitations and help children make use of the abundant information it offers, and also allow them to interact with more people. Use of the Internet may allow special education schools to conduct employ new, more varied educational activities which would not be feasible using traditional teaching methods. Such usage should also enhance the possibility that children with handicaps may acquire various skills needed for social participation, which is most important for these children.

    Although the Internet is a medium with great potential, a major problem emerged when attempting to use in special-education settings: current computers (and associated peripherals) are not designed to meet the needs of people with handicaps. Children with physical and mental disorders have particular difficulty using them. Therefore, schools must use equipment offering greater accessibility to individual students with disabilities. The largest difficulties related to the use of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and pointing devices. Blind and visually impaired children cannot read the information on Web pages, while physically challenged children have difficulty using pointing devices. As a result, these children could not use computers or the Internet.

    Therefore, educational experiments have been initiated to find accessible methods of computing, primarily at schools for the blind and visually impaired and at schools for the physically and mentally challenged.

    2.3.1 Implementation of the 100-School Networking Project at Member Schools, and its Achievements

    Eight special-education schools participated in the 100-School Networking Project: Tsukuba University School for the Blind and Fukushima Prefectural School for the Blind; Tokyo Municipal Ohta School for the Deaf, Osaka City School for the Deaf, and Hyogo Prefectural Kobe School for the Deaf; School for the Mentally Retarded attached to the Faculty of Education, Fukui University; Koumei School for the Physically Handicapped; and Soyokaze Branch of Koumei School for the Physically Handicapped. Kobe School for the Deaf was unable to participate in Phase II of the 100-School Networking Project.

    Since special-education curricula and teaching methods are designed with special attention to handicap type, schools dealing with students having the same type of disabilities were able to actively cooperate with and support one another. However, schools found it difficult to share information and develop collaborative relationships with schools serving different handicap types. Along these lines, the School for the Mentally Retarded attached to the Faculty of Education, Fukui University; Koumei School for the Physically Handicapped; and Soyokaze Branch of Koumei School for the Physically Handicapped (for children who need medical care) were the only schools in their groups. Therefore, these three schools and Fukushima Prefectural School for the Blind cooperated with one another when necessary.

    (1) Project implementation at the schools for the blind

    Tsukuba University School for the Blind introduced a pin display system to its educational environment. This system displays the letters and characters on the screen in the form of protruding pins which students can read with their fingers, and represents the latest technology from the United States for the blind and visually impaired. The Tsukuba University School researched the use of this system in special education for the blind and the visually impaired through trial-and-refinement. The school also experimented with use of a speech synthesizer, which changes text messages to voice messages. In this latter method, a GUI Web page is first sent to a server with a translation system, the Lynx Mail Gateway System. Then, the information on the Web page is sent back to the client computer in the form of text, which is then processed by a speech synthesizer. Students at Fukushima Prefectural School for the Blind carried out online debates with regular high school students, using these systems. Actually, the students conducted their debates through e-mail (and in this sense, the debates were not online). According to the report, this new way of interpersonal communication via e-mail produced great results since the systems allowed blind and visually impaired students to understand messages without reading them.

    (2) Project implementation at the schools for the deaf

    During implementation of the project, there was frequent communication and cooperation among Tokyo Municipal Ohta School for the Deaf, Osaka City School for the Deaf, and Hyogo Prefectural Kobe School for the Deaf, as all three schools serve children with hearing disorders.

    (3) Project implementation at the schools for the physically and mentally challenged

    After considering the nature of its studentsf impairments, the School for the Mentally Retarded attached to the Faculty of Education, Fukui University, proposed creating a homepage in hiragana characters. College students volunteered to prepare Web educational materials and interacted with mentally retarded students on a daily basis. The school tried to expand educational uses of the Internet by having more people participate in the project, rather than by using advanced equipment to enhance the accessibility of information on the Internet.

    Koumei School for the Physically Handicapped choose to use input devices most suitable for each student. It actively promoted the use of the Internet in education, and encouraged students to dispatch information on the Internet and to create homepages by themselves. On the assumption that the network system supports children who receive education at home, there were experiments with long-distance learning using CU-SeeMe.

    At the Soyokaze Branch of Koumei School for the Physically Handicapped, students receiving medical care dispatched information when they felt like doing so. Thanks to warm support from mail volunteers, these students were able to make use of an expanded information network.

    The greatest achievements of the 100-School Networking Project are that physically and mentally challenged children acquired a broader view of the world and society, due to their ability to access the abundant information on the Internet, and that they found joy in dispatching information and in building relationships with various kinds of people.

    Teachers played a major role in supporting and guiding these special-needs students. In addition to these efforts, many mail volunteers played an important role in the programfs success, by sending a steady flow of encouraging words and thoughts in response to the childrenfs messages. Interpersonal communications via wide area networks may have broadened the world of children with handicaps.

    The projectfs results revealed that accessible computer equipment remains difficult to arrange, and that further research is necessary to increase the accessibility of such products for disabled individuals. Since physically and mentally challenged children need highly individualized support, considerable energy will need to be spent on the development and fitting of supporting devices. It should be noted that these devices are not welfare devices exclusively for a small number of physically and mentally challenged children, as the technology used to improve accessibility will also lead to greater opportunities for the elderly and other special-needs users of information networks. Also, it is wrong to assume that accessibility can be increased only through special devices and extremely expensive systems; many physically and mentally challenged children will be able to use the Internet if an easy-to-use system for various users is developed. In industrial design, this concept of access is known as guniversal designh, and the principle behind it is that everyone is a potential user. This is an important concept in an aging society, in which an increasing number of people need to be supported and also in which people must support one another.

    The e-mail list address gedhandh played a substantial role in introducing the relevant technology to schools, including equipment to improve accessibility, and in supporting information sharing. The mailing list was established at the beginning of the 100-School Networking Project, to provide support for Project participants. In the area of accessible computing, technology and know-how remain in the developmental stages, as mentioned above. Teachers in charge of the Project at the school level cannot address all needs in this area using their own knowledge and technical abilities. Over time, an increasing number of people have joined the list, and more than 100 members currently support one another and exchange opinions. The list has served as a place for discussion since its establishment.

    2.3.2 Evaluation of the Project by Teachers in Charge and by Schools

    This survey of participating special schools yielded various opinions about the significance of the 100-School Networking Project. It is not meaningful to analyze the results quantitatively or to make relative comparisons, however, because of the small sample size and the special circumstances of the schools involved. All schools responded that educational uses of the Internet yielded significant benefits. Common sentiments included gchildren started to view the world from a different perspectiveh and gthe Project had favorable effects on the childrenfs motivation and academic performance in Japanese and other related subjects.h However, many respondents responded to the question, gAt the entire school level, has the number of students who use the Internet increased?h by saying that little change had occurred. This may be attributed to the fact that special-education students have varying needs and that current accessibility technology does not allow all such students to use the Internet. Another possible factor may be that many teachers in charge of the Project found it difficult to extend the use of the Internet beyond their students, because many special education curricula are developed to meet individual student needs. It is desirable that more and more students use the Internet; however, it would be reasonable for schools to consider the use of the Internet as one of multiple options available to teachers for children to achieve their educational objectives (such as the development of communication skills), rather than as a tool to be taught to all students regardless of individual need. One bitter reality to emerge from the survey was that the teachers within a school did not have a common understanding of the Project, and that no mutual support system existed within most schools. This finding illustrates a key fact: the educational uses of this computer equipment are limited to the teachers in charge, and do not extend to other teachers. As mentioned above, this is largely due to the fact that special education curricula are individualized; teachers do not necessarily teach the same content.

    Teachers using computers in special education must have knowledge of computers and cannot avoid shouldering a heavy burden in relation to the accessibility of technology products. As a result, use of the Internet is limited to students of teachers who know a lot about computers.

    gThe teacher in charge of the program maintains the server at the school while performing his or her regular teaching duties. This is an excessive work load.h This statement symbolizes the situation of the teacher in charge at a given special-education school. The solution to this problem will be discussed in detail later, but for now, we should note that technical support systems within and outside the schools are essential, as is better human resource development.

    The second biggest problem found through the survey related to the maintenance of communication lines. Every special education school in the Project was connected primarily to high-speed dedicated leased lines; however, some schools had to switch to dialup connections due to the financial support available from local government once the 100-School Networking Project ended. After using both high-speed lines and dialup connections, many teachers said that dedicated lines are necessary to use the Internet in special education. Because physically and mentally challenged children need more time to read and dispatch information, special education schools must have leased digital data lines which a) allow high-speed display of information on the screen and b) permit students to use the Internet as long as they want. Such thoughts should be needed in future planning for provision of Internet-related equipment and services for special education schools.

    The 100-School Networking Project started as a pilot project to provide and improve the Internet equipment and services at educational institutions; however, there seems to be a big gap between the level of equipment and services provided by the Project and that which schools and sponsors can actually maintain.

    2.3.3 Future Challenges

    Based on the program results and survey findings, use of the Internet in special education yielded the following results:

    Issues and challenges to be tackled in the future included the following:

    Issues and challenges concerning computer equipment and services

    Issues and challenges concerning support systems and research

    Further research must be conducted on the accessibility and usability of technology products by individuals with disabilities. At the same time, educators must raise awareness of this matter. As computers and Internet technology becomes more advanced, a wider variety of accessibility equipment will become available. This will permit more disabled students to use the Internet. In the interim, educators must study accessibility technology and associated concepts whenever possible.

    Another issue requiring consideration is the development of systems and human resources to support use of the Internet in special education. The most advanced computer equipment available is needed for students with varying handicaps. Unless outside organizations help special-education schools to maintain this equipment, the teachers in charge will face an excessive workload.

    The trial-and-refinement process required for equipment accessibility and fitting requires knowledge and skills beyond mere computer-user skills. Therefore, support organizations and community support are necessary. The gedhandh mailing list currently offers such support, and a nationwide organization of this kind should be developed in the future.

    Mail volunteers are important in that they both support Internet-based educational activities and motivate children to dispatch information. Along with the development of teaching methods and technology, further research on human resource development must be conducted.

    2.4 Technical Achievements and Challenges Concerning the Use of the Internet

    2.4.1 Technical Achievements Concerning the Use of the Internet

    1. Providing Computers and Internet-related Equipment and Services for the Member Schools

    The primary objective of the 100-School Networking Project was to provide computers and Internet-related equipment and services for 100 selected schools throughout the nation, and to see what kinds of educational activities were possible using the Internet. The Project began in 1994, when the Internet was first introduced to Japan, as a nationwide pilot study on educational uses of the Internet. In the United States, an experimental K-12 project promoting use of the Internet in education from kindergarten through high school began in 1993. Given circumstances at the time, the 100-School Networking Project had to provide the equipment and services necessary for the use of the Internet for each member school.

    First, the computers installed at each member school were connected to form a LAN, which was then connected to the Internet via a network provider. As mentioned in section 2.2, a local network provided a transit function linking the LANs of the member schools within the area to the Internet. Each school was provided with a server system and a client computer. These were connected via a hub to build the LAN. Then, the LAN was linked, using dedicated leased lines, to an NOC on the local network via a router.

    As mentioned in section 2.2, two kinds of communication lines were available: 64 Kbps dedicated leased digital lines, and dedicated leased analog lines at 3.4 kHz. A modem with a maximum transmission speed of 28.8 Kbps was provided for every school using analog lines. In the area of Internet-related equipment and services, the 100-School Networking Project maintained certain installation policies, which required every member school to (1) use a dedicated leased line to connect to the Internet, and (2) build a LAN within the school to connect to the Internet via its local network provider. The dedicated leased lines allowed the schools to use the Internet without worrying about connection costs. Construction of the LAN enabled schools to connect more computers to worldwide networks, for a larger-scale experiment on educational uses of the Internet. In order to connect many computers to the Internet at the same time, schools must use high-speed communication lines. The secretariat of the Project adopted the policies mentioned above so that the teachers implementing the Project would not be discouraged due to constraints imposed by existing facilities.

    Almost all member schools actively used the Internet and conducted various studies on the use of the Internet in educational activities during the first two years of the Project. The results of these studies were reported at several meetings, through Web pages on the Internet, and through the mass media. The Projectfs achievements also attracted considerable social attention. Overall, these successes may be attributed to the design of the Projectfs network.

    2. Network Operation

    In general, system operation at each school went smoothly. The system was chiefly managed by a teacher in charge of the Project at each school. In some cases, teachers who had played an active role in designing project proposals were transferred to other schools either before or during the Project. When replacement teachers were not available, the Internet was not used much in educational activities. At most member schools, the teachers who played a central role in designing the proposals and in setting up the system also played an active role in system management.

    Many school used the Internet to browse World Wide Web (WWW) sites and to create Web pages to dispatch information about their schools. The teachers in charge of the system initiated Web publishing, but other teachers and students (in most cases, high school students) learned to create Web pages in no time. Schools could post their Web pages on a Web server system provided by IPA, but most schools posted their homepages on servers installed at their schools, which were capable of transmitting signals only within the signals at 28.8 Kbps through the analog telephone systems.

    The second-most used function was e-mail. The gaimitenoh mailing list administered by CEC served as a source of troubleshooting advice, answers to questions about system operational problems, and responses to schoolsf requests. In some cases, questions and requests concerning support were directly sent to local networks, and the local network personnel in charge provided the necessary support.

    The biggest concern related to system operation was troubleshooting. When the system did not function properly, a cause had to be determined and the problem solved. When schools had trouble with their computers, they asked their system suppliers to provide on-call maintenance services, sent questions to the gaimitenoh mailing list, or received support from their local providers. In a few cases, schools lost Internet access for up to a month due to the types of system problems they experienced; however, most problems were solved in a relatively short time. Also, every time a system problem was solved, the teacher in charge of system operations at the school learned more about troubleshooting. Thus, by the end of the Projectfs first year, the system was operating more reliably. In the third year of the Project, many system administrators at the member schools were transferred to other schools. In such cases, new system administrators took over the tasks.

    The gInternet Userfs Manual for Serversh and gInternet Userfs Manual for Clientsh, both compiled by IPA and CEC, proved to be extremely useful resources for member schools. Additionally, a reference volume of question-and-answer material from the gaimitenoh mailing list will be published in the near future. These questions and answers were accumulated during implementation of the 100-School Networking Project, and will serve as a reference on how to connect to the Internet and how to operate the system.

    The NOCs of some local networks monitored the communication traffic of member schools in the area. Long-term monitoring was provided by the Information Technology Center of The University of Tokyo, the central NOC of TRAIN; and the Information Processing Center of Yamanashi University, a distributed NOC of TRAIN.

    The monitoring results showed that the average communication traffic of the member schools was several percent of the traffic of a typical college. The local providers connect universities and other organizations in the area to the networks at the communication line connecting segments or hubs in their NOCs. The providers also installed connecting segments or hubs to connect the member schools in the area to the Internet. As mentioned above, the traffic of the Project member schools is much lighter than that of universities. Therefore, the local networks imposed less burden in terms of traffic control.

    There was no relationship between traffic volumes and the space requirements for networking equipment. In the NOC room, the equipment for the 100-School Networking Project occupied the same amount of space as the facilities needed to connect universities to the Internet. Extra costs were related to electricity charges for the equipment. When the NOC was located on a route connecting a CU-SeeMe reflector to several schools, it had to deal with considerable traffic at one time.

    Schools using dedicated leased digital lines experienced little trouble with the NOC, and they usually had smooth connections. Schools using modems for analog transmission sometimes asked their local networks to reset their modems. In general, the NOC handled regular amounts of traffic to and from member schools, and thus never experienced excessive loads at any one time. Member schools throughout the nation were linked to the NOC at their local network provider, which distributed the load on each NOC and enabled the NOCs to operate under stable conditions.

    3. Area Collaboration

    The 100-School Networking Project entered a new phase in 1997. As mentioned at the beginning of this section, the original Project lasted for three years (one year of preparation and two years of implementation at member schools). The Project provided computer and Internet-related equipment and services for member schools and conducted studies to see what could be achieved through educational uses of the Internet. The studies showed that use of the Internet in education produced positive results. Several nationwide model school projects, in which model schools would use the Internet in educational activities throughout the entire school, were scheduled to begin in coming years. In 1997, an experiment on area collaboration began. The objective of this experiment was to extend the achievements, experiences, and lessons obtained through the 100-School Networking Project to schools in areas adjacent to the member schools. For this area collaboration study, detailed programs were developed and implemented. During 1997 and 1998, programs in this area were carried out as part of Phase II of the Project. Project proposals were submitted by member schools, other schools seeking to use the Internet, and municipal education centers. The secretariat (IPA and CEC) selected programs to be implemented as CEC-initiative programs. The proposals submitted by other schools were carried out as school-initiative programs, and received support from the secretariat.




    Education center

    Yamanashi Prefecture

    Activities Conducted by Yamanashi Prefectural Education Center

    Education center

    Saga Prefecture

    Activities Conducted by Saga Prefectural Education Center

    Exchanges among schools in the area

    Abukuma district of Fukushima Prefecture

    Area Collaboration Network in Abukuma

    Exchanges among groups

    Hita district of Oita Prefecture

    School-Networking in the Hita
    region in Oita Prefecture

    The 1997 CEC-initiative programs are shown in the table at right. These programs were classified into four groups, based on the nature and range of the activities involved.

    Organizations in each area chose the content of their activities based on the results from a study group organized for this Project. Proposals were implemented under each organizationfs own initiative. The objective of Phase II of the Project was to develop school-networking methods enabling more schools to use the Internet in educational activities, and to view the project results, learn lessons, and accumulate examples and know-how.

    The 1998 CEC-initiative programs are shown in the table below.




    Exchanges among schools in the area

    Wanouchi-cho in Gifu Prefecture

    School networking in Wanouchi-cho

    Exchanges among groups

    Hiroshima and Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture

    Networking of nine schools in Hiroshima and Kure

    The 1997 and 1998 CEC-initiative programs drew on the know-how accumulated through implementation of the original 100-School Networking Project. Based on past experiences, more advanced Internet-related equipment and services were provided for the schools participating in the Project, and more sophisticated LANs were established within those schools. This know-how also helped participants to manage their systems more efficiently. In the education center programs, prefectural education centers functioned as the NOCs in their areas, just as the local network providers did in the original Project. These NOCs functioned as Web and mail servers for schools whose LANs were connected to the NOCs. In this sense, this networking system relied more on the NOCs than did the system used for the original Project. The new system is more effective in increasing the power of the servers, giving solutions to problems, blocking harmful information, supporting training programs, and allowing experiences to be shared. On the other hand, it was likely that a top-down approach to decision making might be adopted by education centers. In this approach, system strength and operating procedures are determined based on the education centersf policies. One major drawback of this centralized system is that a breakdown of the NOC system could lead to a situation in which none of the schools connecting to the system could use the Internet. To avoid this problem, the networks must have redundant systems and routing.

    The programs concerning exchanges among schools were carried out in Abukuma district, composed of several villages, and in Wanouchi-cho (town). Here, the municipal Boards of Education took charge of school networking. The gbottom-uph approach was adopted in operation of the networks. School networking depended on human resources, the experience gained through the original Project, and local volunteers. The programs concerning exchanges among groups also relied heavily on local volunteers in networking, especially technical specialists and researchers who provided guidance and support. In these latter programs, all schools in the area are not necessarily connected to the network; instead, the network tends to be formed among schools that are eager to use the Internet in education and which have teachers actively involved in Internet-related activities. Widespread use of the Internet for educational purposes can be expected under such circumstances. The tie-up with an educational administrative office is important in the network future operation.

    The CEC-initiative programs in Phase II adopted the networking and operational techniques developed during the original project (ended in 1997), as well as same methods for using information on the Internet in educational activities. The server systems used in the original project ran the Solaris and System V PC UNIX operating systems (OSs). In Phase II, Linux and Free BSD systems were often adopted. Also, more servers used Windows NT. In the original project, 24 global IP addresses were assigned to each member school; however, in Phase II, an extremely small number of global IP addresses were assigned by commercial ISPs managing the host networks. Therefore, in most cases, private IP addresses were used. Building a LAN is much more complicated under such conditions, as a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Network Address Translator (NAT) server are necessary. However, Web-browser performance and function has improved dramatically improved since the Project began. Authoring software programs that make Web publishing simple are now available as well. Overall, the technical knowledge and skills concerning school networking (and associated management) obtained during the original project made a considerable contribution during the implementation of Phase II. They made even greater contribution to the planning and implementation of the subsequent model school projects. These projects include the Konetto Plan (1996 to present), Project Involving the Use of the Internet in Specially Designated Areas (1997 to present), Model School Project on Connecting Networks with Fiber Optics (1998), and Advanced Educational Networking Model Project (1998 to present).

    DHCP = Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

    NAT = Network Address Translator

    2.4.2 Technical Issues Concerning the Use of Internet

    The 100-School Networking Project was one of the first model school projects in Japan to promote educational uses of the Internet. The Project began at a time when it was difficult to use the Internet through commercial ISPs in some parts of Japan. Therefore, the Internet was connected to local networks of academic institutions and nonprofit organizations. At that time, the networking technology was relatively simple. Consequently, knowledge and skills obtained during this period lack applicability today, due to the greater complexity of the current Internet environment. Today, people can easily use the Internet by making arrangements with a commercial ISP, if they can afford the charges. If one seeks to build an Internet system without using commercial providers, as did the member schools of the Project, one must possess more advanced technical knowledge and skills?the computer technology has become much more complex.

    Current communications channels are also more varied. The 100-School Networking Project used digital and analog dedicated lines exclusively. Now, dedicated leased lines are also available. However, high-speed lines are still expensive to use, though less so than previously. New alternatives include private fiber optics, CATV, radio signals, satellites, and asymmetric digital subscriber lines. Some of these are inexpensive to use yet support high-speed transmission. However, if you want to use high-speed lines for school networking, you must think about issues concerning LANs, including the question of whether these new channels are a better option for connecting LANs to the Internet and how much routing control they provide (desirable for operation of LANs). Some observers feel that harmful information cannot be blocked to the degree that educational institutions want. While this may be true, blocking efforts should be centered at the NOCs networking the educational institutions.

    2.5 Technical Issues and Challenges Concerning Advanced Use of School Networking

    Many technical issues concerning the use of the Internet in education remain to be solved. In this section, we discuss general technical issues, with a primary focus on the use of high-speed lines and how to select information on the Internet, both of which are important considerations when using the Internet in more advanced educational activities.

    2.5.1 Various Technical Issues and Challenges

    The first obstacle faced by computer users, whether students or adults, can often be difficulty in using the keyboard and other man-machine interfaces. Children must learn how to type on computer keyboards at the introductory level of computer use, so that they can later become strong users of computers and the Internet. Some students may find keyboard skills difficult to master. Teachers of the lower elementary grades, in particular, may wonder whether they should have their students remember the kana character arrangement on the keyboard, or whether they should teach the Roman characters to their students before they learn how to type on computer keyboards. No matter which method is adopted, students should remember the arrangement of the English letters sooner or later.

    ADSL = Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line

    Keyboarding instruction does not cause any problems when a teacher is an experienced computer user; however, if the teacher herself hates serious problems arise. In general, technological development and standardization will be needed to solve keyboarding-related problems.

    It is important to remember that computer hardware and software are not completely compatible and rapidly become obsolete. Corporations may be able to choose an option which minimizes overall costs in this area, including the expense of switching to heterogeneous computers or new systems. However, it is not feasible for schools to adopt new computers or systems while minimizing overall costs. Therefore, it is necessary to develop educational equipment and software programs using standardized technology, and to develop technology which will increase compatibility and make it easier to switch to newer systems.

    It is also important to develop the technology to support teachers. Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) systems could be helpful for helping teachers to obtain knowledge about how to use computers and the Internet in education, for example. Similarly, operational support system would permit effective system management, while expert systems for troubleshooting would be of great help.

    It is also crucial to develop the technology to support the development of teaching materials to effectively promote interactive and group learning by students. This technology will be used to promote collaborative use of electronic teaching materials and at the same time, to customize the content of teaching materials to meet individual student needs. Such materials need to be equipped with tools for evaluating individual studentsf understanding and progress. Toward that end, the technology used to develop teaching and learning materials must be standardized. JAVA, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and similar types of computer languages are expected to lay the foundation for such standardization.

    Due attention must be paid to copyright protection in developing teaching materials. In recent years, the international community has adopted copyright laws to protect information on the Internet. In addition, encryption systems, digital watermarks, and other copyright-protection technology have been developed. When you want to use information on the Internet for educational purposes, you must pay due attention to copyright issues and take all necessary measures to acquire permission to use the information.

    Preventive measures must be taken against hackers, computer viruses, and other threats to information security. There are no perfect measures to protect against such threats; however, this issue should be dealt with by an operational support system as mentioned above.

    When student work and information are shown on Web pages, the studentsf personal information must be protected. Most schools preserve the anonymity of their students and use closed networks. To protect studentsf personal information, as with other issues concerning educational uses of the Internet, the organization responsible must review current systems and examine possible technical solutions, including the application of information security technology.

    2.5.2 Use of High-Speed Lines

    The limited speed of communication lines represents a major problem with effective educational use of the Internet. Most schools use modems that convert digital data into analog signals transmitted over ordinary telephone lines or Information Network System lines due to their lower costs. While these lines work well when teachers can control student Internet access and display the same information on all computer screens, or when teachers can limit student access to information stored at proxy servers, in order to maximize the Internet's educational potential, students should have free access to the information on the Internet with limited supervision from teachers. To realize this, a school's LAN should be linked to its Internet service provider with at least a 1.5 Mbps connection and, if possible, with at least a 15 Mbps connection.

    XML = Extensible Markup Language

    High-speed lines allow many terminals to have simultaneous access to the Internet. They also transmit multimedia data such as live images and allow students to communicate with people in remote areas with no time lag. Additional research needs to be conducted to further evaluate the effectiveness of high-speed lines in raising student achievement. Based on the research results, a budget should be drawn up for the use of high-speed lines, and appropriate measures should be taken to install the necessary facilities at schools.

    2.5.3 Content Filtering Technology

    Teachers must understand that although most information on the Internet is educationally beneficial, some information (content) on the Web is illegal or harmful to students.

    Although legal measures must no doubt be taken against illegal information on the Web, it is not always easy to clearly distinguish legal and illegal information. Moreover, different countries have different laws on the matter. In an information society, it is also important to protect freedom of speech. Since the laws cannot protect students from all illegal and harmful contents, schools must take the best possible measure to filter the information that is on the Internet. In particular, they must adopt technologies and take measures to block legal, yet harmful content on the Internet.

    In February 1996, the Electronic Network Commission set voluntary guidelines on computer ethics in relation to publishing matter considered libelous or obscene in e-mail messages, on electronic bulletin boards, and in other various media. One of the basic principles of the gEthical Codes of Electronic Network Managementh dictates that every network provider shall respect public order and morals required by laws and social conventions. In the statement of operational principles, the commission maintains that in the membership agreement every network provider must try to clearly inform its members what their responsibilities are, what constitutes a prohibited act, and what actions the network provider will take against prohibited acts. The commission also asks the network providers to include in the section on rules and manners the members must follow the statement: gPlease do not advertise for obscene adult videos or indecent images and documents on electronic bulletin boards and in electronic conference rooms.h

    The Telecom Services Association of Japan has made its self-imposed guidelines available to the general public. The guidelines recommend that the network providers try to build mechanisms that will not allow access to adult material with a young personfs ID and that the network providers develop and adopt a rating and filtering system for Internet sites to block illegal or harmful information, chiefly in order to protect young people.

    Some people raise an objection to these guidelines from the standpoint of the protection of free speech on the Web. However, other people maintain that it is highly likely that government legislation will be imposed unless people who publish on the Internet or network providers self-regulate. It is difficult to deny this possibility.

    While protecting the rights of free speech of everyone who publishes on the Web, a technology makes it possible to block the information consumers do not want to accept or to filter the information on the Internet to only accept the contents they want. Various filtering products are now commercially available. For example, Microsoftfs Internet Explorer, a WWW browser, has a filtering feature integrated. As filtering software, CyberPatrol, CYBERsitter, CyberWatch, KinderGuard, NetNanny, and many other products are available. Japanese filtering software currently available includes CyberPatrol (Ascii Corp.), CYBERsitter97 (IQs), KidsGoGoGo, KeepUp, and KidsGoGoGo GoGoGo (Maki Enterprise), SmartFilter (Vert), and WebSENSE (Alps System Integration). Consumers have an option to install filtering software to accept the content that conforms to the levels set at their browsers or blocking device. The filtering software also helps consumers reduce their communication expenses and the time they spend in front of their computers.

    One of the most commonly used filtering systems is a full-text search. The filtering software searches the full-text for harmful words every time an Internet user receives Web documents or e-mail. If it finds even one harmful word, it does not allow the user to access the contents at all, or it permits the user to only have access to the text in which that harmful word is eliminated. This system is not efficient because the software performs a full-text search every time the user accesses the Web. This approach is not applicable to non-text data such as images. There is the possibility that the content is not actually harmful (such as an article on the improvement of the social status of women) even though it is filtered out by the system due to an apparently harmful word such as sex. Regardless of these disadvantages, the full-text search system can be helpful under the current circumstances in which Web sites are often renewed and in which there are no other practical systems available to screen the e-mail content.

    Another system is a positive list (white list or gyesh list) system. The school prepares a list of the Web sites it considers acceptable and allows its students to have access only to the listed URLs. It is not practical to make a list at each school, but if some schools work together, filtering the information on the Internet is feasible by using this system. The biggest problem is that the students are not allowed to have access to all new Web sites. The actual implementation of this system requires educational institutions to make an enormously long list and to control it. In recent years, an increasing number of Web sites are published every day; consequently, it is highly possible that Internet users would miss out on useful information if they resorted to this filtering system alone.

    The opposite system is a negative list (black list or gnoh list) system. The school prepares a list of the Web sites it considers unacceptable and blocks the contents of the listed URLs. Unlike the positive list system, this system allows students to have free access to new sites. However, due attention must be paid in the actual implementation because new sites may include harmful information. Like the positive list system, the school must make an enormously long list and control it before using the filtering system.

    The advantages of the above two systems can be integrated into a multiple rating system. This system supports the rights of free speech of Web masters and permits educators to make informed decisions about what information will not be accepted. This system is called a multiple rating system for the following reasons:

    First, information raters vary. A self-rating system in which people who publish on the Web rate their own Internet content may be most suitable in many cases. However, publishers may not always rate the Internet content using the same standards as Internet users. It is necessary to have an option whereby a usersf group (such as a PTA) or third party (such as a neutral organization) rate the Internet content.

    Secondly, rating categories vary. These categories include indecency, violence, discrimination, reliability of information, and how new the information is. Having a variety of categories is important.

    Thirdly, rating information is expressed on multiple levels. Internet content is not divided into gyesh or gnoh but into several levels. In a rating system with five levels ranging from 0 to 4, if users set a desired level at their browser or blocking device, the system will only accept contents with level lower than the preset level.

    The Recreational Software Advisory Council on the Internet or RSACi in the United States provides Internet users with a multiple rating system mentioned above. The RSACi system employs the four categories of violence, nudity, sex, and language and rates contents on five levels.

    A multiple rating system provides consumers with rating information about the level of the predetermined categories in Web sites so that Internet users (in the case of children, their parents or teachers) can control what they access on the Internet. For this kind of filtering system to work, the system engineers must set up the categories of the rating system, the levels, and their descriptors in advance. However, the filtering system should have an option that allows users to increase the number of categories and levels, as these vary with the situation.

    In order for Internet users (parents or teachers) to take the initiative in selecting Web site and document content using a multiple rating system, the system specification must be standardized for labels to be associated with Internet content. For that purpose, the Platform for Internet Content (PICS) specification was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Using PICS, labels are embedded in the header of HTML, a language used to write Web documents. Based on the idea of PICS, W3C developed a new label format called the Resource Description Framework (RDF) that integrates a variety of web-based metadata activities using XML. RDF labels are interchangeable with PICS labels. RDF is integrated into Microsoftfs Internet Explorer and other recently developed software.

    The PICS specification is applicable to self-rating and rating by a third party. It permits software programs to set up multiple categories with multiple levels. Internet users can filter Internet content using customized profiles. PICS is integrated into Microsoftfs Internet Explorer and several other manufacturersf software. It is important to promote the integration of PICS into Japanese software.

    The New Media Development Association has established a safety on-line rating system. This rating system has the five categories (the four categories of the RSACi system plus a fifth category for miscellaneous concerns) with the five levels (Level 4 ganti-socialh, Level 3 gillegalh, Level 2 gobsceneh, Level 1 gneed cautionh, and Level 0 gnone of the aboveh). The association has developed software in conformity with this rating system. This system was tested in the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II) to examine the issues and concerns related to the use of this filtering software in education.

    Future goals are the promotion of the PICS integration into browsers and other software as well as the international standardization of the categories and levels of the rating system. The Internet Content Rating Alliance (ICRA) among European organizations, North American organizations including RSAC, and other nationsf organizations have been working together to achieve these goals. Japan must also take concerted action in this area.

    Furthermore, it is necessary to develop this technology further so as to reduce the time and effort required for rating Web contents and checking the reliability of rating information. At the same time, a technology is also needed to rate useful Internet contents and promote their use.

  • Contents

  • Chapter 3

    Summary and Proposals

    3.1 Contributions of the 100-School Networking Project
    (Phases I and II)

    The overall evaluation of this five-year project primarily revolves around whether its two initial objectives--whether students would be able to become active learners, and whether teachers would be able to conduct educational activities beyond the spatial-temporal constraints of the classroom through educational uses of information technology--had been achieved. The project was also evaluated with an eye towards the objectives of the CEC-initiative concerning globalization, area collaboration, the utilization of advanced networking-technology, and the advanced utilization of school-networking.

    We conclude that these objectives have been successfully achieved.

    3.1.1 Contributions to the Introduction of Computer Technology to Education

    The 100-School Networking Project (Phases I and II) contributed greatly to the introduction of computer technology to education.

    The 100-School Networking Project was an organized project implemented throughout the nation to promote the use of the Internet in education. It established the foundation for the succeeding projects on computer education.

    The Konetto Plan was implemented on a larger scale, making use of this foundation. The projects directed primarily by the Ministry of Education have been working smoothly due to the schoolsf readiness for accepting computer technology developed through the 100-School Networking Project. These projects included the following: Use of the Internet in Specially Designated Areas, Development of Telecommunications Network Bases, the Research and Development Project on the Use of Multimedia in Schools in Isolated Areas, the Research and Development Project on the Use of Networks Connecting 118 Schools Throughout the Nation with Fiber Optics, and the Advanced Educational Networking Model Project for Connecting 1,076 Schools in 30 Districts with the Latest High-Speed Communication Links. If the 100-School Networking Project had not built this foundation, the introduction of the Internet to Japanese schools would have been delayed by several years.

    The 100-School Networking Project built a close relationship between various government ministries. With respect to the use of the Internet in education, it had a positive influence on the communication between the four Ministries.

    The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry founded the Center for Educational Computing (CEC). Since the foundation of the CEC, despite their past differences, these two Ministries have managed to work collaboratively to promote computer education in Japanese schools. The Ministry of Education also cooperated with the Ministry of Home Affairs in terms of providing the member schools with computer equipment. The 100-School Networking Project helped the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry strengthen their relationship.

    In addition, the Project heightened the status of the CEC. This Project began at a time when the development of a standard computer for education was behind schedule, and when the CEC specification of BASIC and computer education were not so pervasive in Japanese schools. The third revised budget of fiscal 1993 was approved not only for construction activities supported by construction bonds but also for infrastructure facilities for the computer equipment. The budget for introducing telecommunications technology to educational institutions was not allocated to the Ministry of Education but to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. With this budget, the 100-School Networking Project was initiated. The Project passed into Phase II and continued until March, 1999. The third revised budget of fiscal 1998 supported a project for creating educational materials. IPA and CEC contributed greatly to the introduction of computer technology to education under the guidance of the Ministry of Education in terms of the project design and implementation, and with the financial support of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

    Of course, this contribution was not attributed to CEC alone. The move towards a more computerized society was part of an ongoing worldwide trend.

    The 100-School Networking Project began in April 1994. In January 1995, the Ministry of Education published a summary of deliberations on the development of the educational policy in response to the development of multimedia. In February, the Advanced Telecommunications Promotion Headquarters published basic guidelines on the subject. Around that time, an item outlining basic criteria for Japanese educational system for the 21st century was submitted for deliberation to the Central Council for Education. In July 1996, the Central Council submitted a report which greatly contributed to the use of computers in education. In August 1998, the Research Collaborators Committee on Computer Education issued a report on the promotion of computer education in elementary and junior high schools in response to the advances of information technology. Based on the deliberations of the Curriculum Council, a new course of study for elementary and junior high school programs was announced in December 1998.

    Along with these movements, educational reform programs were designed and special budgets were approved for the promotion of computer education. The 100-School Networking Project (Phases I and II) was carried out while the nation was making changes to its educational policies on computer education, and it played a role in materializing these measures.

    3.1.2 Changes in Attitudes

    In the early days of the 100-School Networking Project, the member schools and teachers in charge carried out on a trial-and-refinement basis . Next, the teachers and other people interested in the Project started to exchange information with one another. Throughout the five-year Project, the teachers developed various educational activities using the Internet.

    Around 1995, when the Internet was installed at the member schools, only a few teachers had heard about the Internet and even fewer teachers had used it. A small portion of the teachers were willing to use high-technology then. One thousand five hundred and forty-three schools applied for the 100-School Networking Project. The teachers in charge did not know what the Internet was or how to use it. With technical support of local networks, universities, and corporate engineers, teachers became a little more familiar with using the Internet and started to use it in class to find effective uses of the Internet in educational activities. Through information gathering and exchange, teachers realized that they were communicating with people on the other end of the Internet. The information gathered via the Internet was created by people. There were people and friends who read e-mail messages and wrote back. There were also friends and parents who read Web sites the students of member schools had published. The Internet is not a computer but a wonderful tool for communication. When the teachers and students understood this concept, the Internet provided them with a wider variety of uses. They started to think about the objective of Internet use. They used the Internet with a clear goal in mind. The schools opened their doors to the communities, gathered information out in the communities, and published that information on the Web. Teachers and students studied similarities and differences between Japanese culture and overseas cultures to develop cross-cultural understanding. Students conducted research collaboratively via the Internet. In order to bring these collaborative studies to a successful conclusion, they spent time and energy on preliminary studies. As illustrated above, teachers and students worked hard to effectively use the Internet in educational activities as a learning tool. These activities developed into the CEC-initiative programs concerning globalization, area collaboration, advanced utilization of school-networking, utilization of advanced networking technology, and advanced utilization in special education. These CEC-initiative programs produced positive results.

    3.1.3 Spread of Internet Use and Development of a Closer Relationship

    In most member schools, only a small number of teachers and students dared to use the Internet when it was first introduced. Gradually, more people took to the challenge of using this latest technology. In some areas, students began to exchange e-mail with volunteers in their neighboring areas. When students became familiar with the Internet, they not only gathered but also published information on the Internet. Then, the schools began to receive information sent by e-mail from outside sources. First, a small number of schools exchanged information and messages. Then, the group grew larger. Several schools conducted collaborative research and surveys. Some schools established a support system in which volunteers translated messages written in foreign languages into Japanese. This system allowed students to communicate with overseas friends. In some cases, a few of these many groups became partners and developed off-line friendships.

    3.1.4 Changes in Studentsf Learning Styles

    When students are inexperienced Internet users, they often gather information to learn. When they feel more comfortable with using the Internet, they start to send e-mail messages to their friends, ask questions for information, and sometimes conduct research by sending out questionnaires. Students move away from their passive learning style, in which they mainly listen to their teachers, to a more active learning style beyond the boundaries of their schools. They select information in their research. They collect information they need via the Internet, and sometimes gather local information outside their schools using digital cameras. Students edit the collected information, and then design and create attractive homepages by using images, sound, and texts in their Web documents.

    Learning is now taking place on a scale that was unimaginable before the Internet was introduced to Japanese schools. The Internet has made it possible for students to cultivate self-confidence. Internet use will play a key role in educational activities of comprehensive studies.

    3.1.5 Human Resource Development

    Many participants in the 100-School Networking Project have become leaders in the field of computer education. Some teachers have acquired more technical knowledge and skills than corporate computer engineers and are capable of not only managing the LANs within their schools but also educating corporate engineers. Some of the teachers now work as teacher consultants, and visit many schools to give advice to teachers on how to use the Internet in education. Unlike teacher consultants in particular subjects, those in computer education exchange information via the Internet with many people, including those they have not met. They communicate with many teachers and school volunteers on the Internet and participate in discussions as mailing list members. Through these activities, teacher consultants, teachers, and school volunteers have learned to solve their own problems, encourage one another, and begin team-teaching several classes at different schools in remote areas. As illustrated above, many teacher consultants in computer education have a wide range of experience. Making use of that experience, these teacher consultants provide other teachers with warm guidance.

    3.1.6 Improved Hardware and Software Systems

    In the early days of the 100-School Networking Project, only a few computers were available at each school and only a few teachers could use them. A small number of computers were connected to a LAN within the school building. Schools did not have much software or many projects. This situation significantly improved over the four and a half years of the Project.

    The LAN typically found within a school building has now been expanded and upgraded. New models of servers and computers are being installed. More easy-to-use application programs are available at each school, and it is not unusual to see many teachers and students using the Internet with ease. Students can also participate in television conferences. Students are excited about this dynamic learning system in which they can see other participantsf faces on the screen; consequently, they are more eager to learn.

    3.1.7 Problems

    Unfortunately, everything does not go smoothly. Occasionally, the networks do not function properly, and it is not always possible for teachers to fix the problems. Sometimes, schools must seek technical support from computer experts. This is inevitable given that technical problems should never prevent teachers from conducting valuable classes.

    Teachers with computer expertise have become indispensable. Some teachers visit their previous schools to offer help after they finish their work. Others often come home after midnight due to their heavy Internet-related workloads. There is a tendency among teachers to rely on a small number of capable teachers. While these teachers spend many hours and much effort to help others conduct good classes, there are some teachers who are not interested in using the Internet at all and those who try to frustrate those teachers that use the Internet in their classroom activities. When these people are school administrators, the situation is serious. Since it has already been decided that the Internet will be introduced to all Japanese schools in 2001, such teachers and administrators must be studying about the Internet instead of trying to drag hard-working teachers down.

    When communities, remote areas, and other countries become places for studentsf learning through the use of the Internet, the amount of bullying attributable to living in a small, closed world and the problem of unruly classes should decrease dramatically.

    3.2 Proposals

    The 100-School Networking Project (Phases I and II) achieved splendid results as illustrated above. The valuable experiences that individuals accumulated through the project must be utilized in the future so that Japanese education does not retrogress. The experiences obtained and lessons learned in the Project should help similar projects taking place in the future to even greater success and provide useful lessons for the 40,000 schools that will use the Internet in education. The actual achievements of the 100-School Networking Project will be tested then. In the future, we need to seriously consider proposals made based on the experiences obtained through the Project.

    3.2.1 Computer Education Must be Dealt with in the Curriculum

    The use of the Internet in education must be dealt with in the curriculum. Unless the objective of Internet use in education is set forth in the curriculum, students will lose interest in the Internet. Students browsed through various Web sites, exchanged e-mail, and dispatched information about daily happenings and activities, the environment, and the society when the Internet was just introduced. However, students gradually became bored with these activities and quit using the Internet. In order to encourage students to use the Internet on a long-term basis, the Internet must be used in everyday learning activities.

    The Internet can be used as a tool in three major contexts: (1) learning how to use computers and the Internet; (2) studying various subjects; and (3) gathering information, conducting research, comparing data, processing information and data collected, and creating Web pages in comprehensive studies.

    The first context amounts to computer literacy education. Students systematically learn how to use e-mail software programs, browsers, and search engines, how to search information, how to create homepages, and many other computer-related skills. They also learn about how computers work, how information is processed, copyrights on information on the Internet, computer ethics in relation to dispatching information, and the societal implications of computers.

    Almost no member schools dealt with computer literacy as a project theme in the 100-School Networking Project. Most schools used the Internet as a learning tool. Computer literacy was learned as a by-product of Internet use.

    The Internet is currently used primarily in social studies, science, music, art, and English and Japanese language classes. In these classes, students look for information, study collaboratively, conduct collaborative research, carry out collaborative projects, and exchange information with other Internet users. Because the Internet will be used by all Japanese schools in a few years, experiments should be conducted to obtain many successful sample lessons for the future.

    Currently, most Internet use takes place in comprehensive studies. Using the Internet, students learn about the environment; do area studies; compare various cultures; conduct research on customs, prices, where things are produced, and the growth of plants. Studying interesting topics by using the Internet helps students become more autonomous learners. If students look for and exchange information on familiar things that they are interested in, they may not be able to find interesting topics and may lose interest in using the Internet after several classes. To use the Internet on a long-term basis, teachers must develop well-thought out plans, do sufficient preparation before the actual implementation of the projects, and exchange information with one another during collaborative studies. It is also important to develop friendship by encouraging students to exchange information and e-mail messages regularly.

    3.2.2 Teaching Methods must Change

    To take advantage of the educational benefits of using the Internet, teachers must change their views on learning and education.

    In traditional education, every teacher has a broad knowledge of his or her subject, and transmits necessary pieces of information in accordance with the content of the textbook. If the teacher wants to teach the basics, it is useful to use the Internet as a transmitter of that knowledge. In this case, the teacher may use the Internet to introduce information available on the World-Wide Web to his or her students. However, it is more effective to allow students to look for necessary information by using the Internet. Having students use the Internet leads to greater initiative and more autonomous learning. In order to develop independent learners through Internet use, it is important to design a curriculum and teaching plans that allow systematic studies of Internet-related computer literacy: how to use browsers, search engines, and databases; how to respect information copyrights on the Internet; how to evaluate data critically; and how to ask questions via e-mail. Web-based teaching manuals and workbooks may be helpful in this regard.

    Students can gather local information outside their schools using digital cameras and video cameras and then create multimedia works using texts, images, and sound. They can then publish these works on the school homepage. After receiving questions and comments, students often modify their work and publish them again on the Internet. This is an ongoing process among model schools, cooperative schools, sister schools, and overseas schools. This learning process allows students to build on their knowledge.

    3.2.3 Teaching Materials Must be Developed

    Abundant, varied teaching materials must be accumulated on the Internet to make autonomous learning through the use of the Internet even more successful.

    The organization in charge should prepare packaged teaching materials for schools and make site lists of Web-based teaching resources. In addition, links must be made among educational information and material for children on the Web. In other words, the administrative center will have teaching resource directories of linked sites, from which the organization collects information on sites that provide educational materials, classifies the sites, and makes links to them. The site information must include the type of school, stage of the childrenfs development, their grade, subject, moral education, global issues, environment, welfare, and career or academic guidance.

    Government agencies, companies, research institutes, universities, and social education institutions will be asked to create ,in addition to their regular homepages, homepages that are easy to understand for children and that are written in English so as to promote English education in Japan and expand Japanfs influence on the world.

    In order to maintain valid links to teaching materials, the responsible organization must continually gather information from Internet users on the renewal, improvement, deterioration and removal of particular Internet sites, together with information on those sitesf ratings.

    3.2.4 Technical Training Must be Provided

    In order to have more teachers use the Internet in education, technical training sessions graded by ability must be provided.

    First, the teachers who were excellent system administrators in the 100-School Networking Project will soon serve as wide-area coordinators to promote the use of the Internet. They will play a key role in promoting Internet use in education in their assigned areas and take responsibility for planning, budgeting, training, spreading the use of the Internet, and giving advice to teachers on behalf of the Board of Education.

    In addition, capable teachers will be chosen from those who participated in the Project activities. Then, the selected teachers will be trained to become wide-area coordinators. They will first become local leaders and learn from the wide-area coordinators through working with them as their assistants. Later, they will be assigned to wide areas and serve as coordinators for their responsible areas.

    It is urgent to develop training programs for local leaders. It is necessary to design a training curriculum and develop multimedia and Web-based training materials.

    The success of the 100-School Networking Project was largely attributed to school leaders. Many school leaders will be promoted to coordinators and local leaders. Therefore, some teachers must be chosen from the those who participated in the Project and be trained to become school leaders. It is urgent to design a training curriculum and develop multimedia training materials.

    Furthermore, since the Internet will be used in education at all of Japanfs 40,000 schools, training sessions must be held for the remaining teachers throughout the nation. These sessions will be offered chiefly at the member schools of the 100-School Networking Project (Phases I and II) as well as at the model schools of the Konetto Plan and other similar projects. Technical training will begin in the summer of 1999. Educational telecommunications networks hooked together with satellites will play a major role in providing teachers with technical training.

    3.2.5 Support Systems Must be Developed

    In order for the schools to use the Internet effectively, it is essential to develop systems that allow them to receive support from people in a variety of fields.

    The success of the 100-School Networking Project was partly attributed to generous support from people in various fields--including college professors, engineers, government office workers, volunteers, parents, local communities, and companies. It is desirable to organize these support channels into a nationwide support system.

    An educational support group composed of college professors, experts, and participants in the 100-School Networking Project will be organized. Cooperation with the existing education technology associations and educational research institutions should be encouraged. This group will serve as the brains of the project on the promotion of Internet use in education.

    The current network of engineers in local networks, universities, and companies will provide technical support. They will systematically help schools and communities by providing solutions to Internet-related problems. The technical support system must be able to cope with a wide variety of problems, from simple ones to extremely complex ones. It may be good to have wide-area coordinators take responsibility for arranging technical support activities.

    Computer education requires support from local communities and parents. Schools must open their doors to the public, disclose information to the communities, and promote learning activities that require local peoplefs participation so that more people will show interest in computer education. Collaboration with various communities will increase awareness of the importance of computer education and lead to effective use of the potential of individual citizens. Their technical knowledge and skills, expertise, economic power, political power, and connections may contribute to education. People in the community will have a better understanding that the school is an important treasure and that they must work together with it to make it a better place for learning.

    An academic support group will be composed of experts in each subject and other knowledgeable people. A virtual network Q & A room will be organized in each area to answer questions from students and teachers. These local networks will develop into a nationwide network. Unlike homepages, students and teachers will be able to obtain direct answers or suggestions to their questions.

    For communications with overseas schools, a volunteer translation system will be established in each area. A budget will be allocated to this service, and the translatorsf organization will take charge of translation work. It is important to build a good relationship with local people who act as mediators between Japanese and overseas schools.

    Infringements on copyrights of the materials on the Web, privacy protection, and computer ethics in relation to Web publishing and e-mail messages are extremely important issues to consider in using the Internet. In order to deal with these issues properly, it is important to establish a system in which people concerned can obtain consultation.

    Hopefully, a ghelp deskh will be established in each region to answer various questions and a nationwide network of these ghelp desksh will be supported by a center within the central government.

    3.2.6 Infrastructure Must be Improved

    To promote the use of the Internet in education, it is important to improve on the current infrastructure.

    Every classroom will have Internet facilities. School buildings will be converted into intelligent buildings. Multimedia equipment will be installed. Everyone will have a computer to use in class. High-speed lines will be installed to connect to the Internet. The infrastructure improvements mentioned above must be carried out as soon as possible, and preventive measures must be designed and taken against hackers and computer viruses for information security.

    Multimedia teaching materials will be developed. At the same time, authoring applications, browsers, search engines, and filtering applications, as well as groupware, will be developed.

    An education-related domain name will be selected so that schools can exchange information more efficiently.

    Because the networks are hooked together with various kinds of lines, links, and satellites, all the schools should use the same type of communication lines for smoother information exchange. If schools use different types of lines, information should be disclosed concerning the type of lines they use.

    3.2.7 Scientific Research Must be Conducted

    Scientific research on the use of the Internet will be conducted.

    Everyone involved in the 100-School Networking Project (Phases I and II) did not at first know what to do, and they had to work hard to make things right using a trial-and-refinement method. Therefore, the participants could not conduct systematic research on educational uses of the Internet and on the educational benefits of the Internet.

    Although most participants think that the use of the Internet in education produced positive results, their impression is not scientifically supported. Therefore, they have no means to convince administrators, teachers, educational administration, the financial authorities, the Diet, and citizens who are negative about using the Internet in education.

    In future projects concerning educational uses of the Internet, the secretariat must design systematic research plans based on previous experience in order to obtain reliable data on the use of the Internet in education and on its educational benefits. Then, the educational benefits of the Internet must be proved by scientific studies. The research will be carried out by researchers and scholars who participated in the previous projects. To conduct full-scale research, research expenses must be subsidized and cooperative relationships must be developed with administrative organs and the schools.

    3.2.8 The Internet will be Used in 40,000 Schools

    It is important to establish a nationwide system of information exchange to promote the use of the Internet in education.

    The member schools of and other participants in the 100-School Networking Project (Phases I & II) have developed and accumulated the know-how, wisdom, human resources, connections, technical resources, and system mechanisms through valuable experiences. In order to share these resources and the experience accumulated by the model schools of the Konetto Plan and other similar projects with 40,000 Japanese schools to which the Internet will be introduced in two years, it is crucial to build an information exchange system so that these schools can work together to promote Internet use in education. To that end, the responsible organization must soon create a mailing list that everyone involved can join, and then post this list on bulletin boards. The mailing list and bulletin boards will be administered by the administrative center or the local centers.

    (Takashi Sakamoto, Chairman of the Overall Evaluation Committee)

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