[appeared in Kyouiku Katei Shinbun April 1998]
The European Schools Project (ESP) dates back to the year 1988.
It is a bottom up organised initiative of European teachers, supported
by the Faculty of Pedagogical and Educational Sciences of the
University of Amsterdam and other institutions. Communication takes
place via a coordinators' mailing list, at regular conferences and
through the Usenet newsgroup school.project.esp (for an oranisational
diagram see http://www.esp.schule.de/wer.htm).
Because of its decentralised character we do not find one central ESP home page, but many home pages in the participating countries, e.g.
ESP's aim is to support teachers and students in participating in the
world of Internet-based Computer Mediated Communication and in using
Internet Information Resources for the improvement of learning and
teaching. Each participating country has a coordinator, and the long
term contacts between the key persons have proven to be an important
asset for many telecommunication projects.
Regular conferences are held in different European countries. This year everybody meets in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 27-30 (http://www.copenhagen.dlh.dk/infa/espdk/esp_conf/me.html).
Currently there are schools from 17 European countries participating,
including Russia, and in a few non-European countries (Chile, Japan
and the USA) the project has cooperating coordinators as well
The Japanese Coordinator, Hillel Weintraub, teaches at Doshisha International High School (http://www.doshisha-intnl.tanabe.kyoto.jp/esp/index.html).
Around 70 different joint projects are currently listed under
Examples are "Aquadata", "The image of the other", "We and the media", "What are your fairy tales like?", "Women all over the world", "Memories of the 1940's", "Write me your story" and many more.
Most projects are designed as interdisciplinary (http://www.esp.schule.de/projekte.htm), a point that could be interesting for the current Japanese discussion on "sougouteki na gakushuu".
Some ESP projects are supported by partners like Bionet (http://www.bionet.schule.de/), a European network for environmental projects.
The European Commission sponsors some ESP activities within the Comenius Program, cf. http://www.eurplace.org/edu/wseu/socrate.html.