Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase
Senior high school meeting
Exchange within the Local Community Using a Network
Haruo Usami, Niihama Technical High School
- We're finally
beginning to see signs of educational reform in our country. Primary and secondary
education are changing as a result of computerization and internationalization,
and school curriculums are changing as new subjects are established, current
electives become required classes, and as more and more students are taught
communication skills at a younger age. The Ministry of Education has announced
plans to introduce some type of network system to every school in Japan. This
trend will further speed the computerization of education and create new ties
between schools and local communities.
For the past three years, the 100-School Networking Project and its phase
II have contributed to the computerization and internationalization of education,
and the project is daily becoming more entrenched within the everyday activities
of participating schools. The project's current focus is on demonstrating
the benefits of Internet use for various educational activities. At our school,
using the Internet, we developed new ways to teach subjects, improved community
relations, taught students about different cultures, and developed a new education
system. We did research on new teaching methods, examining them from various
In this paper, we would like to discuss new ties to our local community, built
through the Internet, and problems we encountered.
2. School education evolves with the local community
- The local community and school education are directly related by the choices
and everyday lives of students, by cooperation between schools and homes,
and by educational activities related to the community. The local community
and schools also share in the responsibility of promoting continuing education.
By complementing each other, both school and community can grow together.
Based on this idea, we have tried to improve our relations with the local
community by holding Internet seminars, participating in various study meetings,
and establishing new educational events. In all of these programs, the Internet
has functioned, with excellent results, as a communication channel between
our school and the local community, producing increased collaboration for
education between our school and our community.
(1) Seminars and study meetings concerning the Internet
A. An Internet seminar for citizens of the community
- Event name: "Internet seminar," an open school course, FY 1997
- Participants: People from the local community (two cities, a town, and a
- Limit: 30 participants
- Date: Saturday, May 13-Saturday August 2, 1997 A total of ten three-hour
- Curriculum: A computerized society, the development and the future of information
networks, how the Internet works, network computing, how to use the Internet,
creating a home page, transferring a file, remote log in, and presenting home
B. Lecture given during National Information Month 1997
- Theme: "The Internet and society"
- Date and place: May 31, 1997 in Niihama city
C. A seminar on Internet use in high school education, for high school teachers
in Ehime Prefecture
- Event name: Technical training 1997: "Seminar on Internet use in education"
- Participants: High school teachers in charge of technical education
- Limit: 30 participants
- Date: July 30-August 1, 1997 Three six-hour classes over a three-day
- Curriculum: A computerized society, how to use the Internet, development
of information networks and how they affect school education, how to introduce
the Internet to a class, creating a home page, transferring a file, remote
log in, and presentation of home pages
D. An Internet seminar for neighboring high school students (an exchange between
- Theme: Creating a school home page
- Date: Two years ago-August 1997 (held several times)
E. Participated in the 60th anniversary of Niihama city
- Theme: Home page contest
- Date: November 3-5 (participated as a judge)
F. Debate on environmental problems (a teleconferencing debate using CU-SeeMe)
- Theme: "No more incinerators in our schools. What shall we do with our garbage?"
- Date: November 10-17
G. An Internet seminar for the domestic science club (domestic science club
members and instructors of five city schools, 40 participants in all)
- Theme: Internet use at home
- Date: November 1 (three hours)
H. "An Internet seminar for children" in Saijo city
- Theme: Experiencing the Internet
- Date: Throughout the year for elementary school students (every Saturday
During summer vacation for junior high school students (five days.)
I. Collaboration to solve environmental problems
- Theme: Excess packaging
- Exchanging views with students from other schools and community members,
using the CU-SeeMe system
- Date: scheduled for spring vacation or within the first term of 1998
J. The Software Research Committee of the Ehime Prefecture Technical Education
- Theme: Creating guidelines for introducing the Internet to a class, and
rules for use
We also discussed communications between schools and communities.
- Date: November 20
K. A training lecture for new employees in the Toyo region of Ehime Prefecture
- Theme: The Internet and corporate business
- Date: Scheduled for April 3, 1998, at *the Toyo Industrial Creation Center*
L. Establishing a volunteer group
- We plan to establish a volunteer institution to hold lectures and give
consultations in Internet use for children, the elderly, and for schools.
Membership will include students and teachers from our school and adults within
M. Organized the "Niihama Internet study group," which has held regular seminars
and study meetings for community members since 1996.
(2) Offering school information
- Via our home page, we introduce the everyday lives of our students to community
Some of the information is produced by students, some by teachers, and some
through collaboration. We plan to research the feasibility of making information
available to the public.
(3) Communications between community and school (students and teachers)
- Following graduation, many students at our school would like to work for
local companies. We are fortunate in having many industries and companies
in our region, and our students have conducted job hunts and exchanged information
with companies through the Internet and other computer networks.
Students gather information from home pages for companies, universities, and
vocational schools, and request and receive further information through e-mail.
Teachers collect information about companies through our school home page
and exchange information through e-mail. The networking system that makes
these activities possible suggests new directions for education.
(4) Studying the computerization of local industries
- We plan to establish a study group to study the computerization of local
industries. (manufacturing, agriculture, and fishing)
3. Future goals
- The Internet is developing rapidly. Use of the Internet for educational
purposes, computer hardware, and people's computer skills should all be kept
(1) Research the potential of establishing a network as part of a community
disaster relief system.
(2) Keep up with advances in networking use.
(3) Upgrade equipment and systematize Internet-related curriculum.
- The Internet has become an element of the societal infrastructure, but schools
remain somewhat slow to take advantage of its resources. In my view, Japanese
schools lag behind other developed nations in Internet use. But steps are
being taken to correct this. The Ministry of Education recently announced
that it will provide Internet equipment to every elementary, junior, and senior
high school, as well as to special schools. But many problems remain to be
solved, including finding the necessary personnel trained in educational Internet
use for the schools, creating guidelines and rules for Internet use, protecting
students from unsuitable information, and the financial burdens of maintaining
and managing networks. These issues involve everyone, and both the government
and schools must work together to solve them.
In an information-oriented society, the quality of information is a social
issue, whether the information is used for educational, business, or personal
reasons. Information regulation will be difficult, as can be seen from the
example of the U.S. Communications Decency Act. I believe that teaching computer
ethics to both students and adults will be the most effective and practical
way to maintain quality of information. In comparison, legal measures will
lag far behind.
Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)