A Book Describing Some Practical Examples of Internet Use in the Classroom - II
Information-Technology Promotion Agency, Japan
Center for Educational Computing (CEC)
Last November, the Minister of Education, Science, and Culture announced plans to install computers required to provide Internet access to all junior and senior high schools by the year 2001, with Internet access for all elementary schools to follow by 2003.
The 100-School Networking Project inspired local governments to introduce the Internet to their schools and accelerated corporate-sponsored support for Internet-related equipment.
In Phase II of the 100-School Networking Project, part of the emphasis was use of the Internet in lessons for the purpose of cooperative study and international exchange. The volume gA Book Describing Some Practical Examples of Internet Use in the Classroom IIh summarizes our experiences with the Internet at participating schools, when used in conjunction with various classroom subjects. We want this book to be practical and useful; we hope our ideas and experiences will help inspire you to undertake similar programs at your own school.
Wefd like to express our deepest thanks to teachers from all regions of Japan who contributed to the project, and to committee members for assistance in the editing process. We want this book to find wide use and acceptance in schools throughout the country. We hope it will help expand and deepen the use of computers as an educational tool.
@The Concept of Educational Computing
Junior High Schools
Senior High Schools
The Concept of Educational Computing
graduate school of pedagogy at Tokyo University
When a new tool becomes available in the field of education, the uses found for it lean heavily on the educational concepts held by the people in whose hands the tool is placed. Computers are a good example. Any number of real-world studies demonstrates that ideas on education held by teachers vary quite widely. Therefs no one right way to teach; each teacher has his or her own conceptions about education and study, and so do students.
This range of ideas gives meaning to learning about other peoplefs ideas and comparing them with our own. This book is meant to be useful in just this process. The best approach to the examples isnft from the merely technical perspective; you should try to understand the context of these examples, then study the cases from your own perspectives. Engaging in this activity produces new ideas. This is why wefve placed teacher responses to our question gHow and why do you use the Internet?h at the beginning of the report.
It often takes the appearance of some affordable new technology to make it possible to realize existing ideas. The Internet, of course, is a good example. Someone who tends to believe that studying implies collecting information and making the information their own will tend to view and use the Internet as a repository containing nearly limitless information. Someone who believes study means the construction of knowledge will tend to process and restructure information, perhaps making it available in a new form by building a homepage. And someone who believes studying in its essence involves learning about and exchanging views on the ideas of others in order to shape onefs own may be drawn toward the Internet tools of e-mail and a homepage.
Seeing the Internet used in a teacherfs lesson illustrates conceptions of teaching and education in much greater detail than just listening to their words. Some people may find themselves in perfect agreement with the ideas they see put into action, while others may disagree and try radically different methods. Through this process, education evolves over time.
Computers and networks are interesting for their versatility. Their flexibility allows for the expression of a wide range of ideas. But the strongest fundamental characteristic of the Internet is that it offers a new way to communicate, linking those who couldnft otherwise meet, frequently or at all. It follows that itfs especially useful in lessons in which we focus on human relations.
In America, therefs a wonderful idea called ThinkQuest, a student contest in which teams of junior and senior high school students create homepages containing study materials. Couldnft we create teams made up of members from all over the world? Say, a team having a student from a U.S. city, and a student from a small school in a rural region of Asia, with teachers and volunteers providing guidance and support?
The fundamental idea behind this contest is cooperative study, study in which students from different cultures and social backgrounds gather to study, work, and create. Number of accesses?a rough measure of how valuable others find a Web page?is one of the ways each groupfs homepage is judged. The contest attempts to demonstrate to students that when someone somewhere comes up with a good idea, this idea, in one sense, can be made just as much the property of others who encounter it; original ideas can be shared and improved. The purpose of study isnft merely adding to onefs own knowledge and skills, but improving society. This goal and approach helps motivate students. In most cases, of course, the studentsf work and homepages arenft directly useful. The learning experience of creating the homepage remains the main benefit. But I feel that the possibility that their work may be useful to others can motivate students to work harder, and encourage the habit of always keeping in mind how their work could be made more easily understood by others.
Participation is a wonderful experience, but not all students have to participate. The important thing is the idea underlying the contest, which can be applied in schools in various ways. There should be more opportunities for communication and collaboration between students who donft ordinarily have much opportunity to meet. Although they live within the same community, junior high and senior high school students rarely see each other. Students have relatively few chances to meet and talk to students in different classes or grades, even within the same school. And this isolation is reflected in the meager opportunities for students to share their work.
Despite the hype, the Internet does in fact offer an important and basic educational opportunity to explore the improvement of human relations and mutual understanding. Making students better people gpart of the goal of any course of studyh is also the starting point for the educational use of the Internet. Fortunately, many people have already begun this process. I hope this book helps you learn more about this process and help sustain it.