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

The Role of the 100-School Networking Project in our Community
—Networking in the Hita Area, and among Oita Prefecture Educators—

Fumiaki Kawazu, Oita Prefectural Hitarinko High School
e-mail:fumiaki@hitarinko-hs.hita.oita.jp

1. Introduction

Our school is a vocational high school, located in the western part of Oita Prefecture in the middle of Kyushu. With approximately one thousand students, our school offers six majors: Forestry, Timber Technology, Machinery, Electricity, Architecture, and Civil Engineering. Since May 1995, we've used the Internet in unique ways, based on characteristics of our community and the courses we offer. We've also maintained close ties to the community.

On June 1, 1997, *the Hita Internet User Group* was established to teach computer literacy by conducting and promoting the use of research on the Internet, and by promoting a sense of community among its members. Our school has closely supported this group from its earliest stages. Our school has also established *the Hita City Education Network for Elementary, Junior, and Senior High Schools* and* Oita Prefecture's Network for Educators* to promote Internet use in the Hita area and its schools. From our activities, we have chosen the ones we feel are best in promoting community Internet use. We would like to introduce some of these in this paper. Our activities have been selected as a CEC-initiative program for promotion of area collaboration (group exchange type) within the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II).


2. Activities in the Hita area

The Hita area includes Hita city (population: 65,000), two towns, and three villages. Very few people in this area have demonstrated interest in using the Internet. *The Hita Internet User Group, the Hita City Education Network for Elementary, Junior, and Senior High Schools, Oita Prefecture's Network for Educators*, and our school have all worked together to promote Internet use and offer people needed technical support (as shown in figure 1). A volunteer group from *the Hita Internet User Group* played an important role in establishing and running an educational network. The cooperation between a number of institutions was necessary to establish this network and use it in a sophisticated way.

These groups hope to achieve the following in promoting Internet use in the Hita area.

a. Prepare equipment (installing a 1.5 M class C line).

b. Establish a system that can be used for commercial, industrial, tourist-oriented, administrative, educational, and private purposes.

c. Increase the number of computer-literate people. (Provide seminars)

d. Sort information. (Information database)

e. Link commerce, industry, tourism, education, social welfare, and general users.


3. Conclusion

Collaboration between local governmental offices, schools, and citizens including those in institutions related to education is the most critical factor in establishing a local network. For our area, we need a leader or organizer to establish a network, promote computerization, and create a database. This person needs to know what people want and the equipment needed to operate a network. Since a small area such as Hita has few people with these skills, we need collaboration between schools, local governmental offices, and citizens to establish information networks. Schools need to play a larger role. Networking activities in our area have just begun. Our school has needs to become more deeply involved in these activities and to serve as a nucleus for the whole project.

Reference

Oita Prefectural Hitarinko High School http://www.hitarinko-hs.hita.oita.jp
*Hita Internet User Group* http://www.hitarinko-hs.hita.oita.jp/~hitanet
*Hita Internet User Group* mailing list e-mail hita-net@hitarinko-hs.hita.oita.jp
*Oita Prefecture's Network for Educators* mailing list e-mail edu-oita@hitarinko-hs.hita.oita.jp
*Oita Prefecture's Network for Educators* home page http://www3.justnet.ne.jp/~hirasen/oitaed.htm


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