Local SpecialtiesDescription of "Our Community"
Our local community is a special interaction of students, teachers, parents, and supporters from over 70 nations at St. Mary's International School with the local host country, Japan. This unique community (situated in Tokyo) has allowed us to experience a global consciousness in interactions with each other as we learn to respect and appreciate each other's cultures as well as the culture of Japan.Summary of Our Project
We have focused on special things that one can do, experience, or appreciate in and around our host city, Tokyo. We have only had since the beginning of March to do our research and HTML work. Thus, we have decided to focus on somewhat personalized descriptions of some special things in the Tokyo area. We have also provided images and some links found through Internet searches that may prove interesting to those visiting our page.
This project has been undertaken as part of the Information Technology Class at St. Mary's. This is a new course offered in the 1995-96 school year. The students in this course have become the vanguard in the use of the Internet server and phone line that we received from the Japanese government as part of the 100 Schools project. The stated goals of the course are to promote interpersonal, local area, and global networking. We are focusing on projects that require us to think and plan at a local level and share and present on a global level. The CyberFair project has provided us with an exciting avenue with which to meet our goals. During the limited time we have had (since the beginnnig of March), we have learned much about HTML and other hardware and software and have stressed the "information" part of Information Technology by doing research about our local community.
St. Mary's is an International School for boys of foreign families living in Japan temporarily or long term. As foreigners living in Japan, we perhaps tend to seek comfort in our living situations and sometimes fail to venture out to learn more about our host country. In this project, we have focused on our host country in a meaningful way. We have learned from our own research and have shared this knowledge with other members of our class and the wider community. Because we have defined our community as including the interaction of the International nature of our school (students from over 70 countries) and the surrounding culture of Japan, we have written many of our topics from personal experiences. In the process, we have learned about activities and interests of our class in relation to Japan. We also found out that our project is generating great interest with the school administration as it fits well into our committment to give students a better understanding of their host country.
We included the use of the following tools in our project:
We used the digital camera and scanner to collect images and mostly used Adobe Photoshop and PhotoFlash software to edit and compress them. We used the fax and telephone and e-mail to collect information from community resource people. We made extensive use of library books and magazine articles about Japan and searched the Web for pages to link to our page using AltaVista,, Yahoo, and other search engines. We did most of our HTML work in Simple Text on the Macintosh. For imagemapping we used WebMap.
Since the start of our participation in the project we have been aware that, in order to gather information that would be interesting to the readers of our page, we would have to involve our community. We used parents, teachers, and other community members as resources in this data collection endeavor. From the short writeups students have provided, visitors to our page are invited to browse through various links to additional information that we were able to find on the World Wide Web.
Members of the community who have learned of the project from student and teacher contact have proven most supportive. One interesting example is a phone call I received from the Sumo wrestler Konishiki recently. In our efforts to introduce our host country more effectively to the International School students, we were fortunate to have a parent arrange a visit from Konishiki to our school to explain the life of a Sumo wrestler in Japan. At that time I took digital photos and later faxed an explanation of our project and a request that we be allowed to use his photos in our Web page. I was astonished to get a telephone call in return in which he not only gave permission to use his name and photos but also pledged his support of any further help we may need with our Web page information!
On another occasion we were visited by a parent, Mr. Christopher Wells, as we were working on our page and he immediately showed great enthusiasm for the work we are doing and recommended good sources of graphics. He has subsequently written to the school expressing his appreciation of the project and offering to help more in the future.
Mr. Minoru Mukaiya, Mr. Kosei Tsuji, Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi, and Fr. Jim Herman (mentioned above) have been further examples of substantial encouragement of our project from the Japanese and foreign community when they were approached to be supporters.
Our project has come at an especially good time for making an impact on our school community. We have just gone through a self-study for accreditation. The visiting accreditation committee was here while our work on the CyberFair home page was in full progress. One of the recommendations of the self-study is that we give our students a better understanding and appreciation of Japan. The accreditation team members who viewed our work felt that such projects as these stimulate student interest in finding out more about the surrounding host country. (The students were also displaying a good deal of technical skill which was also commended in the report.) Furthermore, by publishing the information as a web page, we can learn from each other's discoveries. Useful contacts have also been made to help us do further research in the future. We are hopeful that those who view our page from overseas will find it interesting and want to learn more about Japan. We are getting much encouragement to make this an ongoing project as time limitations have allowed us to only "scratch the surface"!
This project has been undertaken as part of the Information Technology class. We had learned the basics of HTML but needed to do a great deal more learning in order to put this project together. Webmaster Hidetake Jo guided us through some rough spots very patiently. We were helped by a senior, Philippe Bouvier, who is not in the class but has a great deal of experience with home page construction. Keun Lun Lee gave many hours to help with research and other details. Mihai Parparita, a very talented eighth grader, spent a great deal of time designing the web page for consistency of "look and feel". He and Hidetake figured out image mapping and thus we were able to use an image map on our main page. Ryo Mukaiya, also in eighth grade, volunteered his time and expertise with computer related things on many ocassions.
The librarians at St. Mary's provided us with a lot of good reference material and graphics for our page and allowed us the use of the Library Internet Room on weekends.
Mr. Wells provided us with good graphics material and a lot of encouragment.
We are very thankful to members of the class who came in on weekends as well (we were very late in finding out about this project and only started at the beginng of March). Aside from those mentioned above we also had help from Nicolas Gregoriades, Steven Kawasumi, Hideomi Nihira, Shinichi Inouye and Ali Bhuiyan
Mrs. Danse and her friend, Mr. Jeff McNeill, gave us the opportunity to get sumo wrestler Konishiki involved in our project.
Community leaders likeMr. Mukaiya (musician) and Mr. Tsuji (potter), Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi (professor of business and management) and Mr. Suzuki (architect) provided us with support and encouragement and Fr. Jim Herman gave excellent advice on green tea and the tea ceremony.
Mr. Satterwhite at twics.com allowed us to use images from his Tokyo Food Page in our page.
This has been an excellent project for bringing school and host country community together and we hope to make the page better in the future...
We have been fortunate to be supported in our telecommunications projects for many years by the Benesse Company. Through this cooperative arrangement, we have been funded for participation in the National Geographic Kids Network and the AT&T Learning Network. This has helped us immensely to get our Elementary School classes working on global projects.
Last June we received a grant from the Japanese Government for full Internet access as part of the 100 Schools Project for the span of about a year and a half. We are grateful to be a part of this excellent cooperative project.
Mr. Minoru Mukaiya, a well know musician in Japan and a parent at the school, introduced us to the Internet World Expo and we subsequently received a 128K line that can be used by our students and teachers until the end of December.
St. Mary's is also involved in projects around Tokyo such as collecting rice for the homeless, visiting orphanages and handicapped people, and recycling for Roots and Shoots. We are also involved in International projects like Save the Children .