[NetWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
January/February 2000
Copyright © Information Today, Inc.
by Kathie Felix, News/Reviews Editor

News of the latest Net-related products and technology for K-12 may be sent directly to Kathie Felix at P. O. Box 2444, Merrifield, VA 22116 or to kfelix@infotoday.com.


The U.S. Census Looks at the Internet
About one-half of the nation’s population aged 18 and older used computers in 1997, up significantly from 36 percent in 1993 and 18 percent in 1984, according to a report released by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau. Access to the Internet is one of the reasons for the big jump in computer use in the last decade, bringing 57 million people online in 1997 (one in five people, 3 years and older). Approximately 92 million adults (47 percent) used a computer in one or more places, 64 million at work, 56 million at home, and 11 million at school. In both public and private schools, about 75 percent of the students used computers. At home, however, public school students had much lower rates of computer use than private school students. Children using the Internet at home used it to find government, business, health, or education information (76 percent); to send and receive e-mail (58 percent); to participate in chat rooms (32 percent); and to look for news, weather, and sports (28 percent). The 1997 Census survey is the first to include questions on Internet use. U.S. Census Bureau, 301/457-2464 or http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/computer.html.

Protecting Kids Online
The Media Institute has released a 161-page report titled “Protecting Kids Online” that examines the efforts of 46 organizations to guard children online. The projects examined were developed by a range of profit-making corporations, educational groups, and advocacy organizations such as America Online, AT&T, Cyber Patrol, Lycos, Pearl Software, Viacom/Nickelodeon Online, the Anti-Defamation League, the Children’s Partnership, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Better Business Bureau, and the National Urban League. The report examines three areas—technology, consumer education, and law enforcement—and provides contact information for every company and organization surveyed. The report is available for $10.95 plus $2.00 for shipping and handling. The Media Institute, 202/298-7512 or http://www.mediainst.org/.

ED Guide to Information Literacy
Understanding Information Literacy, published by the U.S. Department of Education, examines this important issue in terms of its implications for teaching, learning, schools, libraries and librarians, the workplace, and society and culture. The report by Barbara Humes and a companion bibliography are available online. U.S. Department of Education, http://www.ed.gov/pubs/UnderLit/.

* Net Teaching

Ednow.com (http://www.ednow.com/) is an Internet portal designed to serve as an online education center for K-12 teachers, librarians, administrators, and other educators. The site contains access to current education news and trends, lesson plans, curriculum tips, book reviews, links to industry-specific press releases, trade show, and education resources including magazines, associations, and suppliers. Also offered are search tools for books, software, and videos; an online encyclopedia and dictionary; and free discussion groups for educators. The Sagebrush Corporation, 888/753-7243 or http://www.sagebrush-corp.com/.

Gradeworks.com enables teachers to create a class Web site designed to be a direct connection between teachers and parents. The class site can broadcast class information on grades, announcements, personalized teacher comments, and due dates for tests and assignments. A $49.00 subscription cost allows an individual teacher to set up a site for all of her/his classes. School or district pricing is available. A free 30-day trial is offered on the Web site. Gradeworks.com, 800/219-9605 or http://www.gradeworks.com/.

The Microsoft Classroom Teacher Network (CTN) provides a free online professional development community for educators. At the site, teachers can find software tutorials, lesson plan ideas, online seminars on key topics such as access to technology and Internet safety, links to Web resources, and hosted discussion forums. A New Teacher’s Corner provides a spot for first-year teachers to interact with others facing the same challenges and to find mentors for e-mail exchanges. Microsoft, http://www.microsoft.com/education/.

The Teacher’s Place in Cyberspace provides Web field trips, age-appropriate news for kids, chats with authors such as J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, thousands of classroom-tested lessons, online activities, research and reference tools, and professional resources. The more than 12,000 pages have been designed to support the daily curriculum and learning goals of K-8 teaching. By the autumn of 2000, the site is scheduled to offer e-commerce, enabling teachers to purchase books, software, and professional resources online. Scholastic, http://www.scholastic.com/.

Teachersplanet.com combines a retail store with education news and curriculum resources. The site helps teachers find lesson plans, conduct research, review continuing education opportunities, share successes, and buy classroom supplies. Included are a page that honors Excellence in Teaching nominees, as well as a catalog of more than 5,700 teaching supplies. Teachersplanet.com, http://www.teachersplanet.com/.

* Net Tools

Leonardo’s Multimedia Toolbox
The research, authoring, and creativity tool Leonardo’s Multimedia Toolbox is available to teachers at the iMind online education hub. The toolbox promotes project-based learning by integrating spreadsheet, charting, geometry tools, and video and sound editing tools directly into the curriculum across multiple platforms. The iMind site was developed to unite students, educators, and parents in an online community. iMind, 415/380-4660 or http://www.imind.com/.

Music Dictionary Online
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, will be available online for the first time in the year 2000, as well as in the customary print edition.

The dictionary is an encyclopedia of nearly 30,000 articles on musical scholarship. The online edition includes the complete text of the 29 print volumes, notated music examples, search functions, and links to images, sound, and related sites. An online subscription for an individual user is priced at $650.00 annually; library subscriptions begin at $1,200 per year, with pricing plans for multi-year commitments and multi-user networks. Special pricing is available for schools and school systems. The print edition is priced at $4,850, with discounts available for purchases before December 31, 2000. Grove’s Dictionaries, 800/221-2123 or http://www.grovemusic.com/.

Teacher Learning Station
Teacher Learning Station, a Web-based educational solutions and software package, combines a variety of online software programs designed to incorporate Internet resources into the classroom. The Classroom Planner enables educators to digitize classroom elements, such as lesson plans, calendars, seating charts, and grade books. ActionProfiler provides an assessment tool designed to profile learners’ abilities in various subject areas, producing a learning blueprint that allows each student to work at their own pace and level. ExploraSource provides teachers with access to grade-level learning objectives and state standards. The Teacher Reference Center provides an online library with resources such as news archives, dictionaries, and thesauruses. An e-mail option and tools for professional development and continuing education are also available. Learningstation.com, 704/509-6608 or http://www.learningstation.com/.

* Net Libraries

*Webivore Makes Its MARC
Both Sagebrush Technologies and Chancery Software are offering education-related MARC records from Webivore Knowledge Systems. WebMarc from Sagebrush Technologies allows libraries to download education-related MARC records and import them into any library automation system. Records can be selected by subject area or as a collection of elementary, junior high, or high school sites. A 1-year subscription includes quarterly updates of the MARC records. Sagebrush Technologies, 800/642-4648 or http://www.sagebrush-tech.com/.

Chancery Software is offering its Library Pro 2 customers Chancery Webivore MARC Records that can be directly downloaded from Chancery’s Web site and imported into their Library Pro database. The three curriculum-based sets of URLs in MARC record format are designed to help students in elementary, middle, and high schools access useful Web sites for research projects. The annual subscriptions to the MARC collections include monthly additions and updates. Chancery Software, 800/999-9931 or http://www.chancery.com/.

* Net Learning

Advanced Placement (AP) Test Prep Online
AP Test Online offers test preparation courses for Advanced Placement (AP) exams in U.S. Government & Politics, Statistics, Calculus AB, Macroeconomics, and Microeconomics. The site is a partnership between Kaplan Education Centers and APEX Online Learning. The cost is $249 for the first course, with discounts for students taking multiple review courses. APEX Online Learning, 800/453-1454 or http://www.kaptest.com/.

Carmen Sandiego Is Somewhere Online
Where on the Web Is Carmen Sandiego? is a new, free online adventure for grades 4-8. The program begins in February 2000 and is designed to challenge students as it builds their reading comprehension and critical-thinking skills. During the 6-week adventure, student teams will have an opportunity to complete one cross-curricular misson per week. Every class that completes four of the six missions will be eligible to win a computer loaded with educational software. Teams can save games for later completion, making the mission adaptable as a classroom project, lunchtime break, or after-school activity. The Learning Company School Division, 415/382-4400 or http://www.learningcompanyschool.com/.

DotCom Kids
The DotCom Kids book series, written for students in grades 3-6, is designed to get students excited about learning on the Internet. The two mystery books in the series, DotCom Kids: The Search for the Missing Keys and DotCom Kids: Stranded, offer mystery adventures that serve as a guided tour of the Internet and its multimedia component, the World Wide Web. The stories also teach young readers about online safety and the importance of family safety rules and parental monitoring of computer and Internet use. A teacher’s guide is available to accompany the books. Curriculum Associates, 800/225-0248 or http://www.curriculumassociates.com/.

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