Following 29 C/5 UNESCO in framework of Major Programme IV UNESCO in pursuance of the decision of the 2nd session of the IITE Governing Board and the IITE work plan, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education together with Education Sector, Sector of Communication, Information and Informatics organised the Meeting of Experts “Education via the Internet” and the Workshop “Internet Usage in Education”. The National Commission for UNESCO of Belarus invited IITE to hold the Meeting and Workshop in Minsk (Belarus) from 1 to 4 March 2000 and suggested Belarus State University, National Institute for Higher Education and the Computer Analytical Centre of the Ministry of Education of Belarus as base organisations for holding the Meeting and the Workshop.
The Meeting was prepared by IITE in co-operation with Belarus State University National Institute for Higher Education and the Computer Analytical Centre of the Ministry of Education of Belarus. IITE in close co-operation with CII established contacts with the Council on Co- operation in Education of the Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the IFIP WG 3.6, some of the IITE focal points, experts, participants in the Meeting of experts in Kiev (Ukraine) from 12 to 13 April 1999 and invited them to nominate a experts at the meeting. After nomination the personal invitations signed by the Director of IITE were sent to the experts.
Striving to ensure an active and fruitful run of the Meeting IITE prepared in good time necessary documents and materials (see Annex 2: "List of documents'). All documents were in English. Provisional agenda (see Annex 3) and provisional time-table (see Annex 4) were sent to the participants and observers personally in advance as a full text of the analytical survey "Experience of Internet Usage in Education". A full set of documents and materials were handed to the participants and observers at Minsk on the eve of the Meeting.
For this Meeting the Institute in co-operation with "University Knowledge Networks" corporation (UNICOR, Russia) elaborated and distributed the analytical survey "The Experience of Internet Usage in Education" as a basis for discussion. This document outlined the programme and major themes to be examined at the Meeting in the light of the objectives set.
In order to accumulate the experts' opinions on worthiness/need for establishment of an IITE information system "Education via the Internet" and on main tasks, which could be solved with the help on this system a special questionnaire was elaborated and given to the participants at the Meeting for filling in. First question was about expediency of creation of an International information system covering the Internet usage in education. The rest questions concerned objects of this system, orientation for definite users groups, requirements of this groups of users in special information and possible sources of information.
By the request of IITE the equipment for video and sound recording, communication (including Internet), as well as for different kinds of demonstration was installed at the Conference hall of the National Institute for Higher Education where the Meeting took place.
In keeping with adopted agenda the Meeting conducted its work in plenary sessions and discussions. The first day plenary session included presentation of the analytical survey "Experience of the Internet Usage in Education" made by keynote speakers and review of the analytical survey made by invited speakers. The second day were followed by discussions in which all experts took part.
Next themes were discussed:
Experience of the most effective Internet usage in Education including:
Existing typologies of the Internet applications in education;
Usage of the Internet technologies in teaching and learning;
The Internet and the organisation aspects of education.
Merits and demerits of information systems on the Education via the Internet:
Functional features, offered information and approximate degree of satisfaction of user's needs;
The necessary Internet educational information resources for educators;
Ethic problems of using the Internet in Education.
The establishment of a series of modules relating to the use of the Internet in education within the framework of the intersectoral UNESCO project "The status of teachers and teacher education in the information society" and inclusion them in the IITE educational programme.
In addition to plenary sessions and discussions the acquaintance with Belarus State University and the Ministry of Education of Belarus as well as cultural programme for the participants were organised.