Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase
Junior high school meeting
"How to Learn" as a Comprehensive Subject, and Internet Use
Hiroaki Kanahashi and Masao Saito,
The Junior High School Attached to the Faculty of Education of Utsunomiya University
- Our school has participated in the 100-School Networking Project and its
second phase since 1995. We worked especially hard on using the Internet for
education (using computers as tools, using the Internet) and improving conditions
for using a network (LAN, data sharing, and so forth). At the request of the
Ministry of Education, we've also done research and development in an effort
to draw up a curriculum for the comprehensive subject, "how to learn."
We made full use of our activities as part of the 100-School Networking Project
in our research.
2. Outline of the comprehensive subject, "How to learnt"
(1) How to learn
- According to "Teaching Students How to learn," by Yoshimatsu Shibata,
scholastic ability is made up of three components: existing ability (basic
knowledge and skills); ability to learn (ability to learn independently, knowledge
of how to learn); and the will to learn (desire to study). The ability to
learn (how to learn) has two elements: reasoning (a way of looking and thinking
about things) and skill (how to take notes, how to write, and so forth).
- We found these ideas attractive, and we also felt we should try to cultivate
our students' ability to learn and to give them the skills to solve problems
in the future. To the above, we added the ability to think and the ability
to judge, because students need these skills in choosing their study theme
and in carrying out research and presenting their work. So we arrived at three
- a. Reasoning: a way of looking and thinking about things, process of studying
- b. Skill: basic studying skills (how to take notes, how to do research)
- c. Thought and judgment in problem solving: ability to choose a theme
and evaluate one's own work during the research process
We considered other important factors to keep in mind when studying.
a. A will and determination to learn
b. Knowledge and understanding of things already learned
c. Open-mindedness and sensitivity
- We kept these factors in mind while we did research for the topic "How
(2) Courses and subjects for "How to learn"
- We set up two courses: a basic course and a theme study course for seventh,
eighth, and ninth graders. Each course was separated into two subjects for
a total of four subjects: basic I, basic II, theme study A, and theme study
In the basic course, students concentrated on learning how to solve problems
and present their results (learning skills). In theme study A, they selected
a theme and planned their research. In theme study B, they did the research
needed to solve a problem and presented their results, using the skills acquired
in the basic course.
With all this as a foundation, we added the comprehensive subject "How
to learn" to our curriculum. Our goal was to improve our students' will
and ability to find a problem themselves, choose a suitable theme, do research,
solve the problem, and present their results, all the while integrating the
subject "how to learn" with their other regular subjects.
3. Actual example of using the Internet
(1) Skills required for solving problems
- We thought of four kinds of abilities that should be accounted for in a
curriculum that cultivates learning skills. We also felt that students should
learn about them simultaneously.
a. Language literacy: reading skills, writing, and listening. Skills used
to read books and literature, compile reports, and interview people.
b. Media literacy: computer and information skills
c. Ability to use information: skills in collecting, choosing, processing,
and presenting information
d. Communication abilities: conversation and presentation skills, and the
ability to ask and answer questions
In the past, these skills were taught separately. We tried to teach these
problem-solving skills by systematically introducing them into our "How
to learn" project.
(2) Actual example of using the Internet in Basic I
- We chose the theme, "health and the environment," reflecting student
lives and interests. We taught a number of useful skills through this particular
Content of Basic I
- Students acquire learning skills with instruction and help from a teacher,
choose and research a theme, solve problems, and evaluate themselves.
- Students collect, choose, process, and send information while learning about
the characteristics of each medium, using computers and software.
- A lesson of Basic I
- [Material 3] "Let's experience the Internet" (the seventh and
The primary goal of these lessons is to teach students how to use a computer
and how to gather information. The goal of this section is to give students
first-hand experience in collecting information by making efficient use of
In the lesson, students use the Internet as a tool to gather information.
Specifically, they learn how to use a search engine and how to search using
keywords. The information they gather is then used as study material.
4. Internet use in each subject
- At our school, teaching most subjects has involved audiovisual equipment
at one time or another. Lately, the Internet and e-mail are used more frequently,
to gather information and materials, according to the subject being studied.
||research into dialects: seventh grade
||collecting materials for a theme study: eighth
||collecting materials on earthquakes: ninth grade
collecting materials about the sun: seventh grade
|Technical arts and
|making a classroom home page: ninth grade
|Foreign language (English):
||collecting materials for discussions according
to theme: eighth grade
collecting information on a school trip destination: eighth grade
- Our school has about sixty networked computers that can be connected to
the Internet. The audiovisual room has forty computers and is open all day,
so students can use the computers freely. As a result, students are getting
more familiar with computers as a tool in studying.
At our school, the Internet has become an essential learning device for both
teachers and students. We plan to continue with educational activities that
make more efficient use of the Internet. Problems and goals for the future
use of the Internet include:
a. Ways to assure enough computer time for students
b. Education on information issues such as ethics, privacy, and security
c. Increasing each student's awareness of what is important and what to beware
of when using the network
Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)