Kunio Goto (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Masaya Nakayama (email@example.com)
2. Independent Activities
3. 100-school networking project
4. Problems in K12 schools in Japan
5. Possible solutions
Many schools from kindergarten to high school have been connected to the Internet in the United States as a result of so-called K12 project. What is going on in Japan?
Interest to educational use of the Internet in Japan has also been growing rapidly in these years. We can see the current number of schools and universities already connected or going to connect to the Internet from the number of allocated JP domains as in Table 1.
Table 1 shows 56% of universities have its domain name. Also the number of connected junior colleges (two-year) is growing rapidly. Small but not negligible number of schools below university/college is going to connect. One exception is college of technology, called "Koutou Senmon Gakkou". College of technology in Japan may be a unique school system. It provides 5-year course focused on technologies while ordinal senior high school does 3-year course. Most of colleges of technology are already connected to the Internet as a result of themselves and others' effort.
------------------------------------------ School type # of domains % ------------------------------------------ elementary schools 12 junior high 19 senior high 45 college of technology 52 90% American school 1 ------------------------------------------ subtotal 130 =========================================== polytechnic college 10 junior college 58 10% university 297 56% =========================================== All JP domains 2789 -------------------------------------------
At university/college level, there are few problems with using the Internet for education since IP environment is already available in many cases and professors have more flexibility in the curriculum and have more human resources than at K12 schools. At K12 schools, there are many problem with using the Internet for educational use. Unfortunately, there has been no support for Internet access by national government for senior high school nor lower education while universities may use SINET, sponsored and maintained by higher education division of Ministry of Education (ME), for a domestic/overseas IP connectivity. Therefore, most of the K12 activities have been rather independently seen in efforts by interested individuals on a number of BBS, interested groups of teacher/professors, or some non-profit foundations. Recently, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has just begun ``100-school networking project'' in cooperation with ME. Most of the 100-schools should be IP reachable by the end of June 1995. This is a big project and may accelerate the use of the Internet in schools. Therefore it is a good time to summarize the previous effort by many people and point out the problems.
In the next section, we introduce individual efforts and summarize their activities and contact addresses or URLs. Section 3 is devoted to the status report of the ``100-school networking project". Note the description of the ``100-school networking project'' in this paper is by no means official. In Section 4, we discuss the possible problems to be solved for using the Internet effectively in schools. We will try to give answers to part of those problems in Section 5.
The authors are volunteers of two different regional networks, Tokyo Regional Academic Inter-Network (TRAIN) and Tokai Communication Platform (TCP), respectively. Those regional internets provide IP connectivity to part of the 100 schools, and are interested in not only connecting the 100 schools but also promoting other schools to connect and most importantly help/arrange a discussion in SIGs (special interested groups) at domestic research/educational organization or at regional networks how to effectively use the Internet in education.
Global Classroom Project was a short term unique project. In the project, MBONE tools such as ``vat'' and ``nv'' are used over ISDN dialup IP link. It was broadcast on TV show on local TV station.
``my-ami'' is a communication project using e-mail and other internet tools between two high schools in Kyoto prefecture.
Hawaii--Nanzan Joint class was class level experiment planed and implemented by one of the author and the partner in Hawaii. The details are presented by Kumiko Aoki in a separate paper in this conference.
Apple Media Kids is a joint project by Apple and Center for Global Communications, International University of Japan.
1000 Cranes Project is an ongoing project and provide not only information in Japanese but also in English on its WWW server.
Also the authors are member of JAIN Consortium (JC). The JC has two 3-day meetings and one symposium in a year. As the activity of User Service WG, special sessions have been arranged for educational use of the Internet. The experimental projects mentioned above were reported in the past meetings or symposium.
In this project, schools (elementary to high school) will get Internet connectivity until March 1997 with no charge. IPA is building a center to help the operation of IP equipments at each school and to provide information useful for this project and other schools. Also regional networks are helping this project at voluntary basis. In this section, we summarize the schedule and the standard equipments provided to each of the 100-schools.
Since the number of the applications was far more than expected, reviewing process was delayed by about two months and finally about 100 schools were selected and the names were announced to the public in the middle of December 1994. The number by type of the schools are listed in Table 2.
--------------------------- Type number elementary schools 18 elementary+junior high 1 junior high 29 junior+senior high 9 senior high 41 American schools 2 schools for handicapped 6 --------------------------- total 106 ---------------------------
Apr95 May Sep Oct -- End Mar 97 <-Install lation-> <-- Test -> <-- Operation ------->
At each school, a Unix server and a Macintosh or Windows PC client are installed on a 10BaseT HUB segment connected to a regional network NOC via IP router. On a server, sendmail, WWW server, proxy and character code conversion server, and network news will be properly set up by a system integrator with the contract made by IPA. Note there are three common character code sets for Japanese language and a proxy server should convert the character code if a client can handle only one code set. Client PC or Macintosh will be set up to utilize those functions. Then at least each school has two terminals on which WWW client, E-mail, network news reader, and other standard application can be used.
Schools which already have LAN for classrooms or office may connect it to the 10BaseT HUB. However, LAN connection is not covered by the project because the diversity of LAN configuration at school makes it difficult. Therefore schools should add IP suite onto the computers connected to the LAN and set up software on them if they use classroom computers to access the Internet.
The following is the list of the problems.
In case of public school, regional office of education may set up a guideline for standard telecommunication equipments for a school. For example, if the standard is two telephone lines for voice and G3 facsimile, a school is not allowed to have another line for data communication unless they get some extra money from other sources. In case of private, national, or attached school of a university, teachers have more freedom.
Lack of technical knowledge/experience of IP suite and applications makes difficult for teachers to plan their facility at schools. Venders and system integrators may plan, install, and setup school LANs and equipments, but experienced engineers may not be available except in large cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. Once the equipments are ready, the teachers have to learn how to use the new toys, in order to teach the students. We need someone to teach teachers.
Though more and more introductly internet books are soled in bookstores, latest information is always on the net and it is written in English. Even English teacher may not understand technical terms.
However, typical Japanese student even in university is very shy or incapable of expressing one's idea in English, which one has learned for at least six years in junior and senior high school. International communication using e-mail is a good motivation for the students to use foreign language for real communication. But study load for the students is imbalance between the partners and sometimes not fair if the language is the first one for a side and the second one for the other side. The language barrier problem may apply even to teachers. International communication is not easy to implement. Finding a matching class in foreign country, building a plan, finding a topic to discuss, and helping the students to communicate are all on the shoulders of the teachers.
Due to the lack of nationwide communication channel for the educational use of telecommunication networks, many groups are independently exchanging information and the corporation among those groups is not very effective so far. To overcome the technical and funding problems, there must be a common communication channel for discussing problems, exchanging related information, and getting help.
The second author made an arrangement to have a communication channel for information exchange and discussions among all interested people in Japan.
EDU-WG of WIDE project has announced, in April 11, a new netnews subhierarchy named tnn.edu+net. An article posted to either a news group or the corresponding e-mail list will be delivered to both of them. So far the announcement has being forwarded to 16 mailing lists, 9 BBS, and 4 network news groups. We hope these news groups/e-mail lists shown in Table 4 work well.
------------------------------------------------- News group Purpose ------------------------------------------------- tnn.edu+net.announce announcement tnn.edu+net.edu teaching method etc. tnn.edu+net.net network tnn.edu+net.misc misc ------------------------------------------------- edu+net-< name > corresponding e-mail list @iijnet.or.jp -------------------------------------------------
mail Majordomo@iijnet.or.jp subscribe edu+net-announce subscribe edu+net-edu subscribe edu+net-net subscribe edu+net-miscThere must be a helpdesk where they can find the solution to the technical problem. Since most of the document on Internet standards, drafts, and informational documents are available only in English, important FYI and RFC need to be translated into Japanese. To avoid excessive teaching load of the teachers, teaching assistants should be used. The assistants can be experienced university graduate students hired in part time.
Some volunteers including the authors will translate some FYIs prepared for for educators into Japanese and those translated documents will be available from ``URL: http://k12.jain.ad.jp/'' (JC USV-WG WWW server).
We would suggest an international communication class choose a partner class from two categories so that the load for the students at both side is fair. One is Japanese language classes in foreign countries where the first language is English. There are many such schools in the US, Europe, and maybe in Asia Pacific. Japanese students mainly use English and the other use Japanese language and they help each other. The other is the classes in which the students learn English as a second language. It can be first simulated within a class and then proceeded to a real international communication where English is the only language to communicate. As a matter of course, providing photo and drawings on a web server helps building their friendship as well as written words.
We need some coordinators who provide consultation to help schools to find a partner for the international communication classes in addition to the common communication channel for posting ``wanted'' announcement. Such mailing lists and newsgroups are already available. Coordinators can be a group of volunteers from all over the world.
Dept. of Information Systems and Quantitative Sciences, Nanzan University, Yamazato-cho 18, Showa-ku, Nagoya 446, Japan Phone: +81-52-832-3111 ext. 748 FAX: +81-52-833-4920 firstname.lastname@example.org (http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/goto-lab/goto-e.html)Dr. Goto's work in this paper is in part supported by the research grant from the Center for Educational Computing.
Computer Centre, Univ. of Tokyo, Yayoi 2-11-16, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan Phone: +81-3-3812-2111 ext. 2720 FAX: +81-3-5684-7775 email@example.com (http://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/centre/nakayama-e.html)