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|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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Geographic Society has brought its map-making wizardry to the Web with a site that allows users to create, find, and download maps of every description. The interactive Web atlas provides updated, customizable information, access to an enormous (and growing) number of maps, imagery, and other geographic data. The site’s resources include maps and information on recent earthquakes, transportation density, political boundaries, ecological regions, land-use zones, and natural hazards. Users can pan and zoom from global to local scales and search an index of 2 million place names. Maps can be created and printed by choosing theme, scale, and area of coverage—and can be bookmarked and e-mailed to others—all without charge. National Geographic Society, 800/647-5463 or http://www.nationalgeographic.com/mapmachine/.
Students can take an interactive journey to the U.S. Southwest with AmericaQuest, an exploration of a 700-year-old mystery. The Quest will examine why the ancient Anasazi civilization collapsed around the year 1300. The online adventure will take a look at ancient mysteries and contemporary cultures in the Four Corners region of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. The project’s learning activities apply to social studies, mathematics, language arts, and science subject areas. In conjunction with the spring school portrait season, Lifetouch School Portraits will distribute AmericaQuest to nearly 200,000 classrooms nationwide. Classroom Connect, 800/638-1639 or http://quest.classroom.com/.
Go Fly a Kite!
For three weeks, beginning March 13, FreeZone Online will encourage students ages 8 to 14 to get some exercise outdoors by flying kites. The Web site will offer kite designs that youngsters can print out and assemble. A kite design contest will also be held. FreeZone Online, 312/573-3800 or http://www.freezone.com/.
AP Test Review
The AP (Advanced Placement) Exam Review Web site offers high school students single-stop access to AP content in a variety of subjects in preparation for the AP exams held in May of each year. The subscription site will be available beginning March 1 to provide students and educators with content, diagnostic tests, and chat areas where threaded discussions can be held. The subscription cost is $650 for a group of five students. Apex Learning, 800/453-1454 or http://www.apexlearning.com/.
NoveList provides students and teachers with access to full-text reviews and descriptions of more than 40,000 books. The database contains children’s and young adult fiction titles that have been reviewed since 1996 in Library Journal, School Library Journal, Publishers’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. Searches can be done among 17,000 subject headings for fiction, based on Hennepin County Public Library’s cataloging. The subscription cost for middle/elementary schools is $250; the cost for senior high schools is $350. EBSCO Publishing, 800/653-2726 or http://novelist.ep.net/.
Data Place, for students in grades 3-6, allows youngsters to work in small groups to collect and enter real-world data, build instant graphs, and analyze and compare the data with other groups in any city, state, or country. The site also provides teachers with support and ideas for cross-curricular connections. A 1-year subscription for one class is $13. A multi-class subscription is $60. Data Place is online at http://www.eduplace.com/dataplace/. Houghton Mifflin Co., http://www.hmco.com/.
TopTutors.com offers personalized, real-time online tutoring from certified teachers. The service is accessed by the student and tutor at a pre-scheduled time. The session fee includes an audio headset and Windows 95/98 software that allow the tutor and student to be in constant audio communication throughout the one-to-one tutoring session. Reading and Math tutoring for grades 2-6 are available; tutoring for grades 7-12 will be added this spring. A Mac version will be available some time this year. The cost is $39 for a 1-hour session. Users tend to average five to 10 sessions. TopTutors.com, 310/230-2020 or http://www.toptutors.com/.
Do You Know Where Your Kids Are...Online?
As might be expected, search portals are the number one destination for students online. A review of the top 300 Web destinations by N2H2 found that search portals like Yahoo, Netscape, and MSN catch nearly 36 percent of student hits. Second place was held by entertainment sites, with close to 21 percent of the hits, followed by education with 15 percent. The top 2,000 domains accounted for nearly 80 percent of student online activity. The top 100 saw approximately 50 percent of the action, while the next 200 domains saw only 12-13 percent. The next 1,700 domains on the list accounted for the remaining 20 percent. N2H2, 800/971-2622 or http://www.n2h2.com/.
ED Guide to Partnerships
Investing in Partnerships for Student Success, published by the U.S. Department of Education, offers a nine-step continuous improvement process model for developing partnerships among education, business, family, and community stakeholders. The report, by Susan D. Otterbourg, Ed.D., is available online. U.S. Department of Education, 800/USA-LEARN or http://www.ed.gov/pubs/investpartner/.
Earth Day 2000
April 22, 2000, marks the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. Related lesson plan ideas can be found at the Earth Day Network site among pages on environmental news, the history of Earth Day, an Earth Day archive, a list of ongoing Earth Day Network partner projects, and a schedule of worldwide Earth Day events. Earth Day Network, 206/876-2000 or http://www.earthday.net/.
The Full Coverage Yahoo! News Web site presents up-to-date stories, information, and data on topics in nine categories from general news to science. The site includes material from newspapers, magazines, broadcast outlets, and more. Full Coverage Science offers a Top Stories section focusing on global warming, biotechnology and genetics, environment and nature news, and more. Coverage of specific scientific subjects ranges from earthquakes and seismology, to cancer research, black holes, and UFOs. The site also includes links to pages that can help teachers build lesson plans, such as NASA’s Thursday’s Classroom (http://www.thursdaysclassroom.com/). Yahoo! News, http://fullcoverage.yahoo.com/.
The War on Drugs
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has released an online teacher’s guide with lesson plans, teaching tips, and discussion guides. Also included are classroom activities that show teachers how to incorporate anti-drug messages into a range of subjects, including art, language, science, and social studies. The guide is a companion to a site for students—http://www.freevibe.com/—that provides drug-use prevention content, encourages students to understand the real and serious consequences of drug use, and offers teenage lifestyle tips, entertainment news, searchable drug databases, and links to other drug-use prevention Web sites. Office of National Drug Control Policy, http://www.TeachersGuide.org/.
Instructor-led, project-centered courses and other tools designed to help teachers improve their classroom application of technology skills are offered online at Connected University. The professional development courses can be taken at any time, eliminating the need to hire substitutes for the classroom. Educators can log onto online classes, collaborate with other educators worldwide, and earn Continuing Education Units (CEU) through partnerships with Pepperdine University and others. Classroom Connect, 800/638-1639 or http://cu.classroom.com/.
Nueva Enciclopedia Cumbre en Linea offers online access to a complete encyclopedia database for Spanish-speaking students from middle school through more advanced grades. Built from the ground up with a Latin American perspective, the encyclopedia includes more than 15,000 articles and 7,500 illustrations, fact boxes, tables, maps, and flags. The online database includes pre-screened links to more than 15,000 Web sites related to the articles, all with titles and brief annotations in Spanish. Grolier Educational, 203/797-3500 or http://www.grolier.com/.
SIRS Online Additions
SIRS Researcher will offer the additional database Campaign 2000, with daily updates providing full-text articles covering the primary and general elections, as well as articles profiling the candidates for the presidency. The SIRS Discoverer database for youngsters adds a Current Events database, with daily updates of full-text articles and graphics covering domestic and international current events. SIRS Mandarin, Inc., 800/232-SIRS or http://www.sirs.com/.
The Winnebago Web Resource Library provides an up-to-date cataloged database of educational Web sites through the Winnebago Spectrum online catalog. The sites cover curriculum areas such as science, math, language arts, social studies, geography, and the arts. The library initially will contain more than 1,500 sites; quarterly updates will include more than 1,000 new sites. Access to the Web Resource Library requires Winnebago Spectrum 4.x. The annual subscription cost is $395. Winnebago has merged with Sagebrush Corporation; the combined entity operates as Sagebrush Corporation, with headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota. Winnebago, 800/533-5430 or http://www.winnebago.com/.
The OCLC FirstSearch Electronic Collections Online service has added 145 new journals from 17 publishers, bringing the total to 2,106 journals now online. WorldCat, the OCLC Online Union Catalog, now contains more than 43 million bibliographic records for items held in libraries around the world. On average, libraries contribute a new record to WorldCat every 15 seconds (more than 2 million a year). More than 400 languages are represented in the collection. OCLC Online Computer Library Center, 800/848-5878 or http://www.oclc.org/.
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