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

Our Goal is for Students to Provide Information

Kazuhiko Ishihara, Hirano Elementary School

1. Introduction

Since joining the 100-School Networking Project, Otsu city's Hirano Elementary School has engaged in several curriculum experiments involving student Internet projects, in which our students provide information to people outside our school. In FY 1997, in addition to those initiated by the CEC, we implemented our own programs for use of the Internet for education. We would like to report on our activities for that period.


2. Involvement in programs initiated by CEC for the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)

(1) "Live Camera Map of Japan" (sophisticated use of school networking, initiated by the CEC)

Initiated by the CEC, the Live Camera Map of Japan is part of a program to share observation data with other schools. Starting this year, our school will run this program. We'd like to be able to send the latest weather information from all over Japan, using live cameras stationed throughout the country. We hope to offer basic information that will be helpful for studying the weather in science classes, along with the images of clouds taken by the weather satellite Himawari.

(2) "Nationwide Germination Map '97" (sophisticated use of school networking, initiated by CEC)

Since the inception of the 100-School Networking Project, this three-year old program has been run mainly by Elementary School attached to Faculty of Education of Miyazaki University. This year, elementary schools in various locations cultivated kenaf, an annual plant whose pulp can be substituted for uses which normally require wood pulp, and which is attracting attention in the environmental education field for its potential to protect forest resources. We harvested kenaf in November, made paper and produced post cards, and exchanged New Year cards with other schools participating in the project. We also participated in a program called "Joint Production of a Picture Book," run by Shimizu Kokusai Junior and Senior High School.

(3) Improved access for handicapped children (sophisticated use of school networking, initiated by the CEC)

Our school has two special classes for handicapped children. Participating in Challenge Kids, a special network for handicapped children, children in these classes correspond by e-mail with children from other schools. We borrowed touch panels from the CEC, used touch-compatible software, set up a touch-panel version home page, and did some research into such interfaces in order to improve access to the network for handicapped children.
(4) Experiment using filtering software (IFS) (Program for the use of advanced networking-technology, initiated by CEC)
At our school, we set up computers in regular classrooms to allow children free access to the Internet. The first student to arrive at each classroom in the morning turns the computer on, and the last child to go home turns it off. Children access various sites and write e-mail during breaks. From the fourth grade, students know how to use a search engine. To guard against the possibility of their encountering educationally unsuitable sites, we have installed filtering software (IFS) on each computer.



3. School-initiative program

(1) International research group http://www.hirano-es.otsu.shiga.jp/kokusai/

Last year, the Overseas Japanese Children Education Division of the Ministry of Education initiated a plan to network schools for Japanese children living abroad, using the Internet. At our school, responding to a request from Japan Association for Promotion of Education Technology (JAPET), we planned an educational project based on this international network. We established a "conference room" on our server, where Japanese schools from all over the world can contact us, and conducted research on a global scale.

First, we researched consumer prices. Then, we explored the appearance of the moon on the same day from different points on the globe, and the sun's culmination altitude around the world. We would like to continue offering such educational material next year, in efforts to increase international understanding.

(2) A joint study of the story of "Gongitsune", via the Internet
http://www.hirano-es.otsu.shiga.jp/gon/gon.html

The idea behind this program was to use the Internet to teach subjects that are already taught in conventional ways, to see if a joint study such as this could be implemented in a regular classroom. One goal in using the Internet was to bring out children's diverse thoughts, and to improve and deepen each student's reading abilities. Another goal was to improve collaboration between teachers by sharing ideas about teaching materials and discussing types of questions to ask children, via the Internet.

(3) A comprehensive study project for six graders, entitled "theme research"
http://www.hirano-es.otsu.shiga.jp/kadaikenkyu.html

Six graders worked on this program one hour each week (35 hours total). Each chose a theme on which they did research throughout the year, and presented their results in individual home pages. The themes chosen and the results of their research varied widely, reflecting their individual traits and interests. Student A, creator of the home page on the right, likes sports and drawing. He summarized the results of the Atlanta Olympics, drew pictures, and made woodcut prints commemorating the Olympics. He drew pictures on large drawing paper, photographed them, and used a scanner to place them in his home page.

(4) Our School Research Classes, FY 1997

Grade

Subject

Unit name

URL

First grade

Life science

Exploring our school

http.//www.hirano-s.otsu.shiga.jp/class97/1tanken1.html

Second grade

Life science

Using various means of transportation

http.//www.hirano-es.otsu.shiga.jp/2s/2s-homea.html

Third grade

Science

The anatomy of insects

http.//www.hirano-es.otsu.shiga.jp/3r/31r/31r-home.html

Fourth grade

Japanese

Story of "Gongitsune"

http.//www.hirano-es.otsu.shiga.jp/gon/gon.html

Fifth grade

Environmental studies

Quiz on the earth's environment

http.//www.hirano-es.otsu.shiga.jp/kannkyou/kannkyou.html

Sixth grade

Social Studies

War and its effect on people's lives

http.//www.hirano-es.otsu.shiga.jp/kadaikenkyu.html



4. Conclusion

In FY 1997, we strove to conduct classes that would teach every child how to provide information across the Internet. In an atmosphere free of intimidation, children learned to use a networking system. Using the Internet, they expressed their opinions and thoughts freely. We are weighing the idea of providing each child with a portable remote terminal, which would allow them to store their own research and relate it to their study, using the school LAN.


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