Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase
Junior high school meeting
Broadening Internet Usage
from hardware to applications
Kazuto Orita, Maebashi Daiyon Junior High School
- In several years, every school in Japan will be connected to the Internet.
People considering getting access to the Internet usually want to how they
can be hooked up and what they'll need, and they generally bring with them
a certain number of expectations and anxieties. Before anyone gets on the
Internet, there are a number of things he or she should prepare for and consider.
In this paper, I would like to talk about the requirements for Internet use
in a school setting, examining three aspects: materials, opportunities, and
2. Equipment and preparing an environment in which students can learn (materials)
- We need to be able to offer students of the 21st century the opportunity
to learn using the Internet. At our school, we felt that we needed to create
an environment in which students would have free and independent access to
computers and to the Internet. To accomplish this goal, we have expanded our
in-school networking system every year, increasing the number of computers
that are connected to the Internet as follows:
Computers installed in
Analog line 24 kbps
Windows 3.1 (1)
the computer room
Analog line 24 kbps
Windows 95 b (7)
the international exchange room, the teachers' room
Analog line 24 kbps
NT (1), FreeBSD (2)
Windows 95 (40), NC (10)
all regular classrooms, special classrooms
Digital line 64 kbps
NT (1), FreeBSD (1)
Windows 95 (40), NC (10)
the entire school
Now, we can access the Internet from any classroom. We're able to do this
for two reasons: we've had a leased line that we can use as long as we need;
and from the beginning, we have had a server to access the Internet, allowing
us to operate and expand the in-school network freely.
3. Internet-related curriculum (opportunities)
- To teach students
how to use the Internet as a tool to solve problems, we need to offer well-planned
lessons on a regular basis. Students also need to learn netiquetteproper
rules and manners for using the Internetand how to collect and publish
information effectively. There was no course that taught such material, so
we began offering a unit called "basic information" in our technical
arts and home economics classes, taught intermittently to each grade throughout
the year, for a total of ten hours. In each grade, students learn the following
- Basic computer operations, e-mail programs and browsers, creating a home
page, and how computers and networking systems work (knowledge and skill)
- The process and methods of thinking when collecting, editing, arranging,
and publishing information (use of information)
- Rules and manners when using the Internet and protection of copyright and
privacy (morals and ethics)
- We try to teach all these things simultaneously in a problem-solving study,
rather than teaching each one separately. The necessity of achieving certain
goals in every subject and preparing for high school entrance examinations
limits our ability to carry out a comprehensive study. To expand the scope
of our study, we offered optional courses and a cross-curriculum to create
more opportunities for independent study. We also established new committees,
including the international exchange committee, to increase student opportunities
to use the Internet. We decided to leave the computer room open during breaks
and after school, so that students could use the computers and the Internet
4. Training and support for teachers (human resources)
- The number of computers we have and the Internet training we offer students
is meaningless if teachers can't give their students the opportunity to use
the Internet in class. This requires training for teachers. We have been training
our teachers how to use computers and the Internet for the past three years,
but not every teacher uses the Internet in lessons. As a result, a considerable
gap has widened between teachers who use it and ones who don't. This year
we applied the teaching plan for students to teachers, offering training that
focused on improving lessons through use of the Internet, based on the following:
- Learning about basic computer operations, e-mail programs, and browsers,
and creating a home page; and how computers and networking systems work (knowledge
- Lessons in which students use the Internet as a tool for independent study,
including problem-solving exercises (use of information)
- Learning about the necessity of information education in the broad sense,
planning a teaching style, and accepting the computerization of education
- Each teacher chose a theme to study and conducted actual lessons in the training.
From the planning stage, we discussed when and how teachers should supervise
student independent activities, including problem-solving, and how students
should make use of the Internet to solve them. We also provided continuous
support to teachers from the preparation stage.
- As a result, most teachers learned how to conduct lessons using the Internet.
Seeing students actively working on problems using the Internet made teachers
more aware of the value of using the Internet in their classes, and acquainted
them with some of the associated problems.
5. Benefits and problems
- As a result of our efforts, students learned how to use the Internet as
a tool in solving various problems. We noticed the following benefits:
- Teachers began using the Internet to research teaching materials, and to
exchange information by joining mailing lists or by using a search engine.
- Since starting to use the Internet, teachers have improved their teaching
methods and their lesson contents, especially for comprehensive and problem-oriented
- Students now have better sense of purpose in studying certain subjects.
For example, English becomes more interesting once you begin exchanging e-mail
with students from schools overseas.
- Students bring a more positive attitude toward studying, doing research
on the WWW, and asking questions using e-mail.
- In the process of collecting, sending, and exchanging information, students
on their own come to understand the features and problems of the Internet.
- Students learned the basic knowledge and skills need to use a computer and
to use the Internet as a tool for problem-solving.
But a number of unsolved problems remain.
- For lack of time, we have to pack a lot of information into short periods.
- The workload of those in charge of computer education is very heavy, including
communicating with teachers and arranging various projects, maintaining a
network, and helping other teachers. Dividing and systematizing work and training
successors are all difficult.
- Increasing awareness of privacy issues is beginning to constrain the ability
of students to publish information on the Internet.
- We need to find a way to fit information education into the curriculum,
and to relate it to other subjects.
- Connecting a school to the Internet is a starting point, not an end
in itself. The important issue is how we use the Internet, once we're prepared
to use it. As I mentioned before, preparing to use the Internet involves the
whole school, including establishing conditions for using a network (material),
drawing up a curriculum for using the Internet in information education and
other subjects (opportunity), and training and supporting teachers (human
resources). Our school couldn't have established our system without studying
various examples from other schools and soliciting the advice of people with
more experience, or without the cooperation of local volunteers. I hope that
more and more schools including ones that plan to access the Internet can
share and exchange information to improve conditions for using the Internet.
Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)