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How to Develop International Understanding through the Internet: Some Advice and Tips for Educators-III. How to Spread the Use of Internet in Schools

III. How to Spread the Use of Internet in Schools
 
I. The Use of Internet in Japan
The use of Internet as a teaching tool has become a major issue that will have a profound effect on schools throughout Japan. Some educators are enthusiastic about introducing the Internet to schools and some are not.
Since the Japanese government has announced that every junior-high and senior-high school in Japan will have access to the Internet by the year of 2001 and every school throughout Japan by 2002, the Internet is definitely the trend of the future in schools.
The number of Internet users is currently said to be 10,000,000 (the Internet White Paper: See http://impress.co.jp/release/970519.html), while that of cellular phone users is currently said to be over 25,000,000. It won't be long before the former catches up with the latter and there is no doubt that the Internet will become an everyday tool by the time children today start working after college graduation.
 
II. How to Set Up the Internet in Schools
Here are some tips and advice for educators on how to introduce the Internet in schools.

1. Set Up an Intramural Internet Committee
(1) For the Use of Students
First, you will have to make a plan on how to use the Internet in your school.
For example:
  • Location: Where is the best place to install computers?
  • Method: It will be used school-wide, but how?
  • Rules: Scheduling, etiquette for use, deciding basic rules for the Internet use, etc.
It is a good idea to set up an Intramural Internet Committee for planning. Since it is not likely, however, that dozens of personal computers are installed all at once in a school, one person may be assigned to the task in the initial phase. If you are the person placed in charge of this task, start with something small and familiar to you, for instance, something related to your specialty, like English, social studies, etc.
 
(2) For the Use of School Faculties
The task will cover issues from school management to teaching tools and more. In the near future, the school management will starting using the Internet and educators will contact each other via email and make announcements on the electronic bulletin board. They also will need the environment to share data such as students scores, addresses, personal files, and so on.
Your planning task and that of the Intramural Internet Committee will have to cover everything from school management to method of teachers' meetings, Internet use as a teaching tool, and much more. Like the "100-schools Project," most advanced projects have been successfully carried out under the supervision of an Intramural Internet Committee set up in the school.
 
2. Select an Intramural Systems Engineer
Some countries have computer personnel, teaching personnel, and even a contents-advisor in class on a daily basis, while Japan usually has only one person in charge. He or she has to act as an engineer, a teacher, and an advisor and even take responsibility for the network control.
Network information changes day by day. At the minimum, obtaining the latest information requires a teacher who can maintain and control the system, but it is desirable to have a systems engineer in your school.
 
3. Search for the Latest Links
Although the Internet Search Engines enables you to find desired information instantly, it will take time for a beginner to get to his/her desired URL. Linking to newspapers, libraries, TV information, education-related groups, and advanced projects will make it easier for a beginner to use the Internet. This is one of your important tasks. Linking to students' URLs is also recommended (Http://kensaku.jr.chiba-u.ac.jp/).
 
4. Training on How to Use the Internet
Give lessons to students on the following before using the Internet:
  • Starting up in the Internet and logging out
  • Searching the WEB
  • Printing out data
  • Sending and receiving email
  • Netiquette ( Network etiquette)
  • Downloading the score processing files (ftp)
  • Creating teaching materials in html files
  • Sharing printer files
  • Giving a class via the Internet
  • Joining the mailing list and observing good manners
 
5. Set up a server
Exchanging e-mail, viewing your friend's home page or setting up the mailing list--- all these require setting up a server (to distribute and store information).
A server will need the following functions at the minimum:
  • WEB server: This is used to publish your home page on the web. You can post students' essays so everyone in your class can view them and this will create better understanding within the class. You can use home pages within the school without connecting to the Internet.
  • Mail server: This is used to exchange email within the school and with other schools in Japan and overseas.
  • Ftp server: Instead of handing out print-outs to students, you can put materials on the ftp server so students can download them using Netscape.
 
6. Select a Systems Supplier
You will have to be careful in selecting the systems supplier. It is desirable that they use the Internet on an everyday basis so you can make inquiries by email and even have their systems engineer remotely control your school system, if necessary.
The computer and the Internet need continuous follow-up by suppliers. Just like raising children, they will come to require additional functions in your mailing list and some plug-ins like Real Players. The more you use the Internet in class, the more your system will need to expand.
 
7. Let Everyone use It
Have a terminal installed where everyone can use it. Before a field-trip, for instance, let students monitor how the clouds are moving and this will be one of the best ways to introduce the Internet to students.
 
8. Install a Computer in the Principal's Office
I highly recommend having a computer installed in the principal's office, if you can afford it, so he/she can realize how useful the Internet is. If your principal becomes able to use it well, it will become easier for you to talk about spending more money on the Internet. It will also help you to get a better understanding of the Internet management work within the school.
 
9. Publicize at Teacher's Meetings
After connecting to the Internet, you may get a lot of email from all over the world. I recommend that you report how the project is proceeding and distribute print-outs regularly at teachers' meetings. Otherwise some of them will not know what you are doing and this could prevent misunderstandings within the school.
 
10. Build Up the Intramural Network
You may develop the network within the school as follows:
  • Connect a terminal set up in the teachers' room to the Internet via a PPP line so teachers can print out data via the Internet.
  • Connect a terminal to 20 computers and to the Internet. Use the Internet with students in pairs. All students and educators have personal free mail accounts and use email via the Internet.
  • Set up a server. All students and educators have personal email addresses and the school has its own domain address like my school.edu.jp. The mailing list can be set up for active exchange of views.
 
11. Have Somebody Who Helps and Supports You
A systems engineer cannot supervise the intramural network all alone. You need people to help you and work for you. Why don't you go to news groups or mailing lists with the same interests in the Internet? They will provide you with a wide variety of ideas that I am sure you will find very helpful. Make friends with other educators and exchange email addresses to share ideas and know-how, or even set up meetings. A friend of mine met a lawyer at one of the meetings and got some very useful advice from a lawyer's point of view that he found helpful when establishing his school's Internet rules.
 
III. Collaboration with Hawaii University:International Exchange Using Cu-SeeMe
1. Method
  • Level: High school level Age 16 to 18
  • Countries participating: Japan, U.S. (Japanese-language majors at two universities)
  • No. of participants : Japan, 40 students; U.S., approx. 10 students each
  • Internet tool: Cu-SeeMe, Email, WEB chat, mailing list
  • Keywords: US-Japan, Collaborative class, mixed use of Japanese and English, 3-year project, use of Cu-SeeMe, collaborative work
 
2. Background
We joined the "100 -schools Project" sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, we explored ways for international communication, using the Internet over a period of three years.
In the initial phase, we were just amazed to see how fast email was and that graphics and audio were transferable via the Internet. Students were excited, too. As a participant of the "100 -schools Project," our school was fortunately equipped with a server and students were allowed to have personal mail accounts. They rushed into the computer room after school to check if they had got mail. At the sight of students exchanging personal mail, educators were worried about who would check their English mistakes at first. Actually, however, exchanging mail often promoted the use of better or advanced English. They first used the phrase "good-bye," but they soon graduated to "I have to go," and then starting signing off with "I am looking forward to your prompt reply." They didn't compose English, but started imitating English expressions the other party used, and this was very helpful in improving their English.
School access to the Internet has greatly changed. We put our home page on the WEB for the first time in May, 1995. At this time the Search Engine showed only 3 schools registered. But now 1,006 out of 5,496 high schools in Japan have their own home pages (Osaka Education University survey in January 1998). According to an announcement by the Ministry of Education in October, 1997, 17% of Japanese high schools already have access to the Internet and more than 50% have intramural LAN access to the Internet.
Thus, this project is no longer a minor activity for people in circles having the same interest. It is a nation-wide and global activity that we periodically carry out as an international collaborative class.
 
3. Purpose
This project aims:
  • To correct the stereotype held of American people.
  • To use a second language in real time communication and make students feel close to other people who study Japanese.
  • To give students a chance to think about what their lives are like.
  • To learn to work and take responsibility in the network through creating WEB magazines.
  • To obtain new Internet literacy like Cu-SeeMe.
 
4. Preparation and Actual Events
(1) How we Found a Collaborator
Through the School-Net (schoolnet@schoolnet.or.jp), I got mail from Mr. Koike, a Japanese teacher at Haverford University in the U.S.. He wanted an exchange partner in Japan and also asked for some comments on a Japanese essay created by a U.S. student who majored in Japanese language. While having personal email exchange, we came up with the idea of having a collaborative class via the Internet and decided to put it into practice. The first year, we had the international communication class during first period on Wednesdays, using mailing lists and Cu-SeeMe. Mr. Koike presented this exchange at an academic conference of Japanese educators and Japanese majors at University of Hawaii came to join us. In this way, we started three-way communication among University of Hawaii, Haverford University and Seiryo Commercial High School and it is still continuing now.
 
(2) How to Proceed with Collaborative Work
  • Decide the theme of collaborative work first 
  • After exchanging opinions via email, students decided to create a WEB magazine this year. In this phase, educators helped them to select one of themes that could be executed under the current Internet environment.
  • Post an essay in the mailing list via email 
  • We made each student to write at least one essay suitable for the theme and posted it on the mailing list. Educators gave a basic lecture in advance on how to write an essay.
  • Reply to essays 
  • We had each student reply the essays that the other parties had posted.
  • Exchange opinions (via Cu-SeeMe, WEB-Chat) 
  • The real time audio and visual device, Cu-SeeMe, was used about twice a month to encourage students to have more frequent exchanges.
  • Create a WEB magazine 
  • They created an excellent WEB magazine by putting each essay on the WEB.
 
5. Outcome of the Project
(1) Change in Views Toward Different Cultures
When there is communication between people, there is exchange in lifestyle and culture. After creating the WEB magazine, a Japanese student replied to an essay posted by a Japanese-American student: "I did not know what Japanese-American people were feeling until I read your essay. As you said in your essay, if you look like an Westerner, people will try to use easy Japanese to make themselves understood, but since you just look Japanese, people tend to wonder why your Japanese isn't perfect. I think I should be more careful about what others are feeling."
 
(2) Change in Perception Toward the English Language
Both parties used their second language in this project. When students saw other students trying hard to communicate in another language, it made them feel closer to them and it even changed their own attitudes toward English. And having a place to use the English they had studied greatly contributed to building up their confidence in English, too.
A Japanese student said:
"I read Japanese essays written by American students. I corrected their mistakes. I was amazed that they wrote and spoke so well in Japanese. There's only one thing I was embarrassed about. They knew quite a bit about "Enjo Kosai" and asked me about it. I didn't know what to answer."
 
(3) Deeper Communication Among Educators
Although educators are not central to the project, the relationship among them is of great importance in making the project successful. Educators exchanged email (sometimes as many as 20 messages a day) to prepare for class. Because of the triangular communication, we used the real time WEB-chat and this didn't prevented us from having a WEB-chat (set up in the University of Hawaii) once a week. There is a considerable time difference (9:00 p.m. on the east coast of the U.S.; 4:00 p.m. in Hawaii, 11:00 a.m. the next day in Japan). Enthusiastic coordinators are the key to successful projects.
 
6. Advice to Those who Start an Exchange Project
  • The relationship between coordinators is of great importance. Everyday exchange is highly recommended.
  • Try a wide variety of tools such as graphics, Cu-SeeMe and so on, which will help to enhance student motivation.
  • Keep their collaborative work so later students can look at it and use it to help them to create something better.
 
7. Other Useful Information
  • Profile of the collaborators: 20 Japanese language majors at Haverford University and 10 Japanese language majors at University of Hawaii
  • Profile of Seiryo Commercial High School: 27 classes for a total of 840 students and 42 students in the senior year taking the international communication course
  • Term: from September 1996 to February 1999
  • Network environments: 64kbps dedicated special phone lines equipped for the "New 100 -schools Project," 40 terminals
  • Name of Our school: Nagoya Seiryo Commercial High School
  • Created by Makoto Kageto (kageto@nagoya-seiryo-chs.nishi.nagoya.jp)
  • Project- related links
http://210.235.197.2/japan
Webzine by Haverford University
http://www.haverford.edu/jnse/4fall97/zinecover.html
Haverford University -related link
http://www.haverford.edu/jnse/4fall97/students.html
Hawaii University related link
http://www.lll.hawaii.edu/web/faculty/ashworth/490/
CHATROOM used for educators' contact 
http://www.hern.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/WebX
Past information on this project
http://210.235.197.2/kageto/hawaii.htm
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