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Abstract -- Slovak Academic Network (SANET) and European Schools Project (ESP) in Slovakia Education Track
D4: Using Networks for Collaborative Learning

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Slovak Academic Network (SANET) and European Schools Project (ESP) in Slovakia

Weis, Tibor ( tibor@tuzvo.sk)
Krajnak, Julius ( krajnak@tuzvo.sk)


This paper describes the Slovak Academic Network (SANET), its organizational stucture and services,and European School Projects (ESP) from the view of secondary and primary schools in Slovakia.

Since 1991 when SANET organization was founded and the first SANET node in Banska Bystrica was connected to Internet via leased 14.4kbps line, SANET has grown to be a large community with more than 280 members including academic, research, scientific, governmental, non-profit, and commercial organizations.

At this time, SANET provides a communication infrastructure which consists of two 64kbps international lines to the Czech Republic (Prague) and Austria (Wien) and also ten local lines inside Slovakia.

The main backbone operates on two 64kbps leased lines which join Bratislava, Banska Bystrica, and Kosice.

Most of the SANET nodes are located and maintained at universities.The main Internet services, (e.g. E-mail, telnet, ftp) WWW, Gopher, USENET NEWS, X500, and Netfind servers are available for all SANET members.

SANET is a non-profit organization, funded by Ministry of Education, and is also a member of international network organizations, e.g. TERENA (Trans European Research and Education Network Association) and CEENet (Central and Eastern European Network).

The organizational structure of SANET consists of the General Assembly of SANET, SANET Executive Committee, and SANET Technical Team. SANET is open for everyone (organizations and individuals) who agrees with the rules of SANET and pays the yearly membership fee.

The process of developing the SANET infrastructure is not finished yet. Interest in INTERNET services is going up and is the reason why new SANET nodes are being established.

The main SANET activity is focused on building a high-speed network backbone and its link to INTERNET. SANET has neither the means nor the staff that would provide INTERNET services on a professional level. More than 90% of the SANET budget is used for lines rented from the Slovak telecommunication company.

The WWW, Gopher, X500, USENET News, Netfind, FTP/FSP, and other services which are world-wide accessible are the result of the initiative of the people who work at the universities and research institutions which operate SANET nodes. These people maintain INTERNET services free of charge and SANET does not pay these people. It is a paradox that the SANET node in Banska Bystrica was one of the firsts, that has provided the NETFIND service in Europe. SANET activity is based on the voluntary work of its members.

We think it might be interesting to observe how INTERNET has been expanding to the secondary and primary schools in Slovakia. This process was started in 1993 by joining the Gymnazium L. Stura in Zvolen via simple terminal connection at the 2400 bps rate. The main reason of this step was for the participation of some teachers in European Schools Project (ESP).

ESP is the network of the primary and secondary schools in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, and Japan which collaborate on Teletrips. Teletrips are collaborative learning projects on various subjects using various foreign languages based on electronic mail. ESP is the main reason for schools in Slovakia to be connected to INTERNET.

This paper explains the process from getting connected, using INTERNET services at schools, the design and planning of new Teletrips, which are based on two years experience.

It also discusses some of the barriers and difficulties that hinder INTERNET use. For instance:

Next it describes how these problems are solved and shows the first results of ESP in the educational process.