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

Developing a Network in Yamanashi

Yoshihiko Hatsushika, Yamanashi Prefectural Education Center

1. Introduction

The Yamanashi Prefectural Education Center has worked to promote educational activities in Yamanashi since 1993, providing equipment for use in information networking systems and improving educational information exchange. In FY 1995, we established a system giving schools Internet access through our center, a project to promote area collaboration designated by the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II) in FY 1996. We began offering equipment to schools to promote the effective use of a networking system. We would like to report on our activities and some of the problems we've encountered.


2. Yamanashi Prefecture Information Network System "Hi-Use Net"

(1) Originally a computer network
The computer network "Hi-Use Net" was begun in FY 1993 with our computer serving as host. Although too small to be called an educational information networking system, it was useful in creating a foundation for information exchange, using inexpensive equipment. It was our hope that it would be used for public purposes. We used this system to communicate with schools, and for the following purposes:

(2) The Iowa project

In FY 1996, we began an international exchange project to commemorate the 35th anniversary of our relationship with Iowa, our sister state. In this project, people in Iowa and Yamanashi communicated for educational purposes via the Internet. We used our center as a network base, using the center to connect test schools to the Internet. As a result of this project, we succeeded in establishing a base for connecting schools to the Internet. But since the schools are connected to an academic network, rather than a service provider's network, no other schools can connect to this network.


3. Preparing a system for area collaboration

(1) The "Hi-Use Net" intranet version

In July 1997, we established our networking system so that schools and teachers could use networks via our center, and launched a "Hi-Use Net" intranet version, which can be used to access the Internet.

Our center's host lines are TRAIN, via Yamanashi University and InfoWeb, via the prefectural office. Eighteen appointed schools participating in the "Konet plan" are connected to the Internet through the prefectural office, while test schools for the Iowa project and our center have connections through Yamanashi University.

If ordinary schools and "Hi-Use Net" users can access our center by phone, they can access the prefectural office's server and a server connected to the "Manabi Net" in Lifelong Learning Promotion Devision. By accessing the "Manabi Net," they can also access servers connected to "Manabi Net," or our center's server. People cannot access the Internet through servers operated by the prefectural office or the Education Center, although e-mail can be sent to providers on the Internet.


4. Systems that will be offered to prefectural high schools

For FY 1998, the Yamanashi Prefectural School Board requested funding for FY 1998 to equip schools with a system for Internet access, with the Education Center serving as a nucleus. We hope to achieve the following:
The following procedures have been proposed for the budget, but not yet approved.

5. Area collaboration

(1) Establishing an environment to act as a base for educational information

Our center offers educational information to schools via networks.

a. On our WWW server, we also provided a database of educational information.

b. We provided a collection of links useful for schools.

c. We created a list Japanese search engines.

d. We established a search engine at the Yamanashi Prefectural Education Center web site.

e. We opened web pages on behalf of other institutions.

f. We provided mailing lists.

(2) Internet seminars held by the Yamanashi Prefectural Education Center

The Yamanashi Prefectural Education Center began holding seminars on using the Internet for educational use in FY1997. Although one seminar (Network Seminar) focused exclusively on the Internet, we touched on the Internet in many others. Approximately 900 teachers learned about the Internet by participating in one of our seminars.

(3) *Yamanashi School Net Study Group*

In April 1994, the Center for Educational Research and Teacher Development of the Faculty of Education of Yamanashi University began the joint research project "Research on using the Internet for educational purposes" in order to provide support to educational institutions. As part of this project, study meetings on using networks for educational purposes have been held at the Center for Educational Research and Teacher Development of the Faculty of Education of Yamanashi University every month since February 1 of 1997. The meetings are open to any resident of Yamanashi Prefecture. People can also exchange information through the "ysn-ml" mailing list established by our center. From the fifth meeting, we decided to treat this meeting as our own special seminar, to allow teachers to participate as part of their official work. We invited lecturers from the CEC to lecture on new techniques and information. We gave the study group the official name of *"Yamanashi School Net Study Group."* Parts of the meetings were devoted to developing teaching materials for use on a web site.

(4) Developing teaching material for use on a web site

Members of the *Yamanashi School Net Study Group* and our center's staff developed the following teaching materials for use on a web site. These materials can be seen at our web site (URL: http://www.ypec.misaka.yamanashi.jp/). We also distributed CD-ROMs to those requesting them, for the use of schools not connected to the Internet.

a. "Recording the Lifestyles of Children in Yamanashi"

b. "Yamanashi's geological features"

c. "Yamanashi's traditional handicrafts"

d. Educational materials on disaster prevention

e. Guidebook of Yamanashi high schools in '97

f. "Yamanashi Rivers," focusing on environmental education



6. Conclusion

In order to increase use of the Internet in our community, the following things need to be done:
Although our current financial budget is tight, we should seek more funds by appealing to prefectural and municipal school boards.
We should improve our center's seminars to improve Internet use skills of teachers. We also need to offer teaching materials and information that can be used on a network, with help from teachers. We would like to create an environment that encourages independent organizations such as the *Yamanashi School Net Study Group* to carry out various energetic activities.


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