Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)
Elementary school meeting

Recording the Daily Lives of Children in Yamanashi

Hitoshi Ishikawa, Elementary School attached
to Faculty of Education of Yamanashi University

1. Introduction

Yamanashi prefecture was chosen as one of the major projects in the 100-School Networking Project Phase II (the practical experimentation of the advansed utilization of school networking) to collaborate in the promotion of an education-center type of network. Some projects were carried out mainly by Yamanashi Prefecture's Education Center. Here, we report on efforts to record the daily lives of children in Yamanashi. For this project, children gathered information and created a home page to make this information accessible to children living in other areas of the prefecture. Since children would make up the majority of those accessing this site, we tried to create a web site that would be easy for children to use.

2. The Details of Creating a Web Site

(1) Networking among elementary schools in Yamanashi prefecture

Although a growing number of schools in Yamanashi prefecture are connected to the Internet, the number of connected elementary schools remains relatively small. Fewer than 10% of elementary schools have a home page.

(2) The keyword is area collaboration

The relatively low participation limits the collaboration that can be conducted in this area. Our efforts to implement our project as a prefecture-wide project assume that this situation will improve. We have thus appealed to all 218 elementary schools in the prefecture to join the network.

3. Progress and how we proceeded

(1) Progress

To create a web site, we maintained correspondence with members of the Yamanashi School Net Education Research Group, chosen from a mailing list, to discuss web site content and a questionnaire we drew up. We sent the questionnaire to prefecture elementary schools in October 1997, requesting that they be returned by the end of October. Over a period of a month, we created the web site based on data gathered from the questionnaire responses.

(2) How we proceeded

4. Features of the teaching material found on the web site, Record of Daily Lives of Children in Yamanashi

(1) Information published

On the page for each school, we published a picture of the school and the following information, acquired from responses to the questionnaire.
Official school name, its founding date, its age, elevation above sea level at the school location, approximate dates for first cherry blossoms and snowfall in the school area, summer and winter vacation schedules for FY 1997, popular school events, the school's good qualities, games popular with children, nearby sightseeing spots, local seasonal festivals, and farm products produced in the area.

We also published each school's address and telephone number and established a link button for the school's home page, in cases where schools had home pages.
We scanned in photographs of each school and displayed them on the home page.

(2) For ease of use

(3) Home page directory

Map of the entire prefectureEight regions of the prefecture64 cities, towns, and villagesEach school's page

(4) Consideration for users

For both children and teachers (adults), we prepared instructional pages for use of our home page and pages describing how the home pages were prepared. For children, we noted the written material found on each school's page and instructions for using the clickable map. For teachers (adults), we noted the written material on the page for each school and how we made the home page. For use by adults, one page provides the names of all 218 schools in the prefecture. Teachers can download this data into word processors, databases, or spreadsheets, from which study sheets can be prepared for use by students when working with the Record of Daily Lives of Children in the Yamanashi home page.

5. Instructions

(1) Using it on the network

The Record of Daily Lives of Children in Yamanashi is found on the home page of Yamanashi Prefecture's Education Center. The document can be used on-line.

(2) Working off-line

For schools not connected to the network, the Yamanashi Prefectural Education Center distributes CD-ROMs that include all information, enabling any school to use the web site teaching material.

6. Using the Record of Daily Lives of Children in Yamanashi: a Lesson

In December 1997 when the Record was near completion, we conducted four hours' worth of lessons for third graders (covering basic familiarity with computersdoing researchinforming others). During these lessons, we tried to get across the potential for research of using a home page on the Internet.

7. Conclusion

As of February 16, 1998, over 98% of the schools questioned had returned questionnaires. Our home page contents have been enriched by histories for each school and the features of each local area, based on information gathered from students. Our lesson succeeded in quickly acquainting children with computers, and we found students to be eager to find out more about the lives of their counterparts in other parts of the prefecture, using the computers and the network. With an increased number of schools connected to the network, we hope to broaden the base of students who are able to communicate with each other. We plan to review our work and correct mistakes made during editing, send second requests to schools that did not respond to the questionnaire in the first round, and continue to improve our home page to make it more useful.

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