[appeared in Kyouiku Katei Shinbun July 1998]
About five years ago, teachers who got in touch with the Internet often complained that they could not find any content they considered suitable for use in school. Times are changing quickly in this area, too. Nowadays in almost every European country there are one or more comprehensive educational WWW servers run or sponsored by the national Ministry of Education. Let me give you some examples:
The Italian Ministry of Education runs a school server (http://www.bdp.it). It contains educational information from Italy and Europe, news from ministries and research centres, links to databases and Internet resources for schools, useful addresses, school laws, information on networking tools, mailing lists, discussion groups, video conferences, chat, and much more - mostly in Italian.
The Swedisch "School Data Net (SDN)" (http://www.skolverket.se/skolnet/) also offers links to educational resources, Internet introductions, event calender, project links, contacts to experts, news groups, video conferences, dictionaries, school addresses etc. A useful resource collection is maintained by the University of Lund (http://www.ub2.lu.se/skolverket/)
In the UK the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency maintains a useful site for educational resources in English (http://www.becta.org.uk/ncet-info/links/trendslinks.html) in connection with the "National Grid for Learning" program.
In Germany there is the national German Educational Server DBS (http://dbs.schule.de/) as well as servers in many of the federal states, like learn:line (http://www.learn-line.nrw.de/) in North Rhine Westphalia. Because curricula differ from state to state, different Internet resources are recommended for every grade and subject.
In many countries there already existed very popular individual resource collections, before the official servers were built, like ZUM (http://www.zum.de/) in Germany, which is maintained by teachers in their free time. Such individual efforts are still an important part of Internet culture, but now that institutions with their bigger human resources have recognised the importance of providing educational information, attention begins to shift towards the official sites.