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

Use of the Internet in Junior High Schools
—Actual Use in Classes and Comprehensive Study—

Takemi Hanada, Fuzoku Fukuoka Junior High School attached to
Fukuoka University of Education

1. Introduction

Our school is one of two schools from Fukuoka Prefecture participating in the 100-School Networking Project. We set up nine client computers in our computer room in FY 1997, and tried using them in our lessons. Since our school was appointed as a research school in FY 1995, we've been designated to school of research and development and worked on developing more comprehensive lessons. We would like to report on our research into using computers in developing more comprehensive lessons.

2. Activities in regular lessons

1) English (eighth graders)

We examined the yearly curriculum and re-planned the units, creating as many opportunities as possible to use the Internet, as appropriate for each unit.

Collecting information

"Who are the Aborigines?" "Who's Pele?"

To motivate them and provoke interest in the lesson, students view home pages and pose questions about their content by e-mail.

Learning how to express oneself

"Let's send e-mail to people all over the world"

Students compose e-mail, learning he unique expressions used when writing letters in English.

Sending information

"My volunteer activity"

Students express their ideas on volunteering and write about actual experiences in our English home page, then listen to opinions and have them evaluated by people not associated with our school.

In the beginning, teachers from both Japan and overseas played a larger role in overseeing children's activities. But now all students have a pen pal, with whom they correspond on their own, through e-mail. They write e-mail once a week in their English lesson, during lunch break, and after school.

2) Art class—Visual communication design (ninth graders)

Students normally create a poster to learn the value of communicating through visuals. We decided to use home pages instead, given their increasing popularity and effectiveness in communicating with visual information. By creating a home page, we hoped to cultivate students' design skills, including skill in choosing shapes, colors, and letters. In using the Internet, we wanted to accomplish the following three things:
3) Technical arts and home economics—Using the Internet to introduce woodworking (seventh graders)

We established a unit on "Forest environment problems, and creating a home page for them" at the beginning of our study of making things from wood, which is in the subject of technical arts and home economics. Students researched forest problems by visiting Nishi Park, located near our school, and a branch forest office. They then created a home page, incorporating what they learned. People not associated with our school sent their impressions and opinions by e-mail, and evaluated student work.

3. Comprehensive study

At our school, we emphasize a curriculum that nurtures the personalities of our students and cultivates their ability to learn how to live and learn. Our revised curriculum consists of regular courses, comprehensive study, and special activities. We established the units "How to live," "World time," and "Graduation research" as part of our comprehensive study. In these lessons, students select their own themes and study them independently, using the Internet to gather information, and expressing their own ideas. I would like to introduce some examples of how the Internet is used in the lessons "Graduation research" and "How to live."

1) Using the Internet to collect information for the research—comprehensive study, " Graduation research"

Students reviewed their work over three years, including subjects studied (regular subjects, "How to live," and "World time"), personal hobbies and specialties, and club activities, then did a more intensive study of a subject that interests them, and of possible future ways of living. Teachers advised then on using the Internet for research within classes for the subjects "World time," and "How to live."

2) Using the Internet to express themselves—omprehensive study, "How to live"

In this lesson, to follow modern educational goals, we chose five themes; friends, social welfare, the environment, traditional culture, and international understanding. We teach students about these themes over three years to cultivate a capacity for lives that are in harmony with nature, culture, other people, and society. The lesson consists of three stages: grasping the problem, findings ways to solve it, and implementing a solution. Students are supposed to learn about the problem and decide what to do, while experiencing the whole process. We feel that creating a home page to report what students learn during their research is part of the solution.
Comprehensive study is a method of learning that involves problem-solving and a cross-subject approach. Students use the Internet as a tool to collect and send information, independently discovering various ways to learn. The Internet creates the opportunity for global study, allows students to think and express themselves from a global viewpoint, and improves their communication skills.

4. Conclusion

Using the Internet is becoming more common in our school, and from using it in regular courses and comprehensive study, students' ideas about the Internet are changing. The results of our activities follow:

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