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Magazines > MultiMedia Schools > January/February 2003
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Vol. 10 No. 1 — Jan/Feb 2003
NetWatch
by Kathie Felix, News Editor

News of the latest Net-related products and technology for K-12 may be sent directly to Kathie Felix at 5746 Union Mill Rd., PMB 605, Clifton, VA 20124 or to kfelix@infotoday.com.

Net News

Guidelines for Creating Accessible Online Learning Technologies

International members of the online learning community have collaborated on a set of guidelines to educate the e-learning world about the challenges individuals with disabilities face in accessing online education and to provide solutions and resources to solve these problems. The Guidelines have been published by the IMS Global Learning Consortium and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM). Titled "IMS Guidelines for Creating Accessible Learning Technologies," the publication is available online at no charge in a screen-reader format, as well as in PDF, at http://ncam.wgbh.org/salt/. The Guidelines cover principles for accessibility in online learning; accessible delivery of text, audio, images, and multimedia; using XML for accessibility; and legal issues for accessible distance learning. Major support for this effort comes from the Learning Anywhere Anytime Partnerships program of the U.S. Department of Education. NCAM/Media Access Group, http://access.wgbh.org/. WGBH, http://www.wgbh.org. IMS, http://www.imsglobal.org/.

NSBA Online Learning Guide

Virtual Realities: A School Leader's Guide to Online Education, published by the National School Boards Association (NSBA), provides information, data, and profiles of seven online—or virtual—schools. In the guide, the school leaders share the problems andobstacles they encountered (topping the list are initial and sustainable funding) and the strategies they used to meet the challenges and reap the benefits of online education. The profiled districts are Colorado Online School Consortium (Monte Vista, Colorado); eHigh School, Cobb County School District (Marietta, Georgia); Oakland Virtual Connection, Oakland Schools (Waterford, Michigan); Partners to Access Virtual Education, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit (East Petersburg, Pennsylvania); Plano ISD eSchool (Plano Independent School District, Plano, Texas); SK Online (Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Salem, Oregon); and Wichita eSchool (Wichita Public Schools Unified School District, Wichita, Kansas). Quantity discounts and NSBA member discounts are available. NSBA, 800/706-6722 or http://www.nsba.org/.

Net Tools

Gale Online Quizzes

A new monthly quiz on gale.com's School page [http://www.gale.com/schools/] allows students and schools to earn chances to win free books with every quiz submitted. The quizzes have monthly themes. Answers to the questions can be found by searching Gale resources such as Student Resource Center, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, Discovering Collection, and Junior Reference Collection. When students submit a correct quiz electronically, their school is entered into a monthly raffle for Gale print titles for their media center. The quizzes come in two versions—a five-question quiz for elementary school students and
a 10-question quiz for middle and high school students. A hint accompanies each question, directing students to databases that contain the answer. Gale Publishing/The Thomson Corporation, 800/877-4253 or http://www.gale.com/.

Net Libraries

WilsonWeb Revised

The new version of the WilsonWeb database includes a complete redesign, extensive integration with existing Web-based content and services, multiple search and display options, database-specific subject thesauri, customization options for administrators and users, and a simpler interface. The new edition features WilsonLink, SFX-powered software that provides access to full-text articles in addition to the full-text articles delivered by Wilson databases. If the full text of a cited article isn't available on WilsonWeb, users click on the WilsonLink icon for an automatic search of the library's other open-URL-compliant databases, regardless of vendor. Administrators and users can customize the way results are displayed. Records can be sorted by various criteria, the number of records displayed per screen can be adjusted, users can select what data to show in citations, and more. Librarians can set unique IP address ranges or user passwords for specific user groups and can track usage by standardized criteria, with usage statistics per ICOLC guidelines. Online review access is available at http://www.hwwilson.com/preview.htm/. H.W. Wilson Company, 800/367-6770 or http://www.hwwilson.com/.

NoveList K-8

With content and an interface tailored specifically to support media centers, libraries, classrooms, and students in K-8 schools, NoveList K-8 builds on the content and subject headings of the original version of NoveList. The database helps librarians and teachers select the right book for each student by matching criteria such as the Lexile readability measure, a plot description, a favorite author, an award, or a book similar to one already read and enjoyed based on theme, setting, or other features. NoveList K-8 can also be used to find appropriate fiction to support particular teaching units and classroom themes. Included are more than 35,000 fiction titles for K-8 readers, thousands of subject headings, full-text reviews from sources such as School LibraryJournal and Booklist, and a Teacher Resources page designed to guide faculty to new titles and new ways of translating curriculum standards into classroom activities. EBSCO Publishing, 800/653-2726 or http://www.ebsco.com/.

Net Teaching

ISTE Best Web Sites for Teachers

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has published the fifth edition of The Best Web Sites for Teachers. Listing more than 1,200 currently active Web sites, the book points to Web sites that are reliable, safe, and educationally rich. The latest edition includes more than 600 new sites, many of which include lesson plans. In addition, all Web sites and their URLs were verified just before press time, browser information was updated, and new lists were added for multicultural and special needs students. Also included are forms for evaluating and creating customized Web site lists and an explanation of how to use the two most popular Web browsers to their best advantage. Sites are categorized by content area and, within each area, information indicates which sites have lesson plans, exhibits and museums, and other resources. The cost is $31.45 for ISTE members and $34.95 for non-members. ISTE, 800/336-5191 or http://www.iste.org/.

New Attendance Modules for Classroom Wizard

The Classroom Wizard system, designed to use hand-held computers or a portable scanner to quickly quiz, grade, and report scores in the classroom, now includes two new attendance modules. The Instructor Attendance Module allows teachers to mark students present, tardy, or absent on a handheld; this information is then synchronized with attendance records in the Classroom Wizard Web-based application. The module also provides teachers with an attendance summary that can be edited by date or student name. The Student Attendance module allows students to sign in and enter a student identification number to use the test system. When finished, they use the handheld's infrared capability to beam the information to the Classroom Wizard online application. Scantron Corporation, 800/722-6876 or http://www.scantron.com/.

Net Learning

Expanded AP Exam Review

Three additional subjects have been added to the online Apex Learning 2003 AP Exam Review—AP Biology, AP French Language, and AP Psychology. In addition to the new subjects, students can also use the test preparation product to study for AP exams in Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, U.S. Government and Politics, Calculus AB, Chemistry, English Literature, English Language, Physics B, Statistics, U.S. History, and Spanish Language. The 2003 subjects are available beginning March 1. Registered students receive unlimited access to AP Exam Review from their date of enrollment until June 1, 2003. Site license pricing based on school or district enrollment begins at $975 per year. Special site license pricing is available for purchases before March 31. Schools and districts that purchase the review before January 15 will receive unlimited access to Apex Learning's Evaluation Tools, a set of online diagnostic sets for 14 AP subjects. Teachers can use these tools throughout the year to prepare students for the AP Exams. The product is also available for individual purchase for $59. Apex Learning, 800/453-1454 or http://www.apexlearning.com/.

Raptors in the City

Raptors in the City is an inquiry-based science and technology program for grades 4-6 that stars the peregrine falcon, a species that recoveredfrom near extinction and was removed from the List of Endangered Species in 1999. The online portion guides students through nesting season (approximately February to June) as they watch the still rare falcons live via cameras mounted on skyscrapers. The curriculum, designed to support one semester of study, helps students learn environmental, biological, and technological lessons, as well as research skills. The program is based on national science and technology standards. A complete study package for peregrine research is available in print form or on CD. The package includes assignments, resource lists, rewards, evaluation tools, a reference book, and an e-newsletter. Nesting season and the program begin in February 2003. Raptors in the City, 203/831-0855, raptors@optonline.net, or http://www.raptorsinthecity.org/.

 


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