[NetWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
May/June 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 5746 Union Mill Rd., PMB 605, Clifton, VA 20124 or to kfelix@infotoday.com.

* Net News

Web-Based Education and Congress
The Web-Based Education Commission, an appointed panel of members of Congress and education experts, held its first public hearing on the potential of the Internet for education. The 2-day hearing, held in February, featured testimony from U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, Commerce Secretary William Daley, and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce Larry Irving, who is now president and CEO of UrbanMagic.com. Students from Hunterdon Central Regional High School in New Jersey presented a Web-tech demonstration. The Commission was formed to advise policymakers and educators on the use of the Internet and other technologies in education. The panel will present an official report of its findings to President Clinton and Congress by November 2000. Web-Based Education Commission, http://www.ed.gov/offices/AC/WBEC/.

Smaller Learning Communities Online
The Smaller Learning Communities Program has launched a Web site for its $45 million competitive federal grant program to develop, implement, or expand smaller learning communities in high schools. Local education agencies (LEAs) are eligible to apply on behalf of a large high school or a group of large high schools. The grants will provide LEAs with funds to plan, develop, implement, or expand smaller learning communities in large high schools of 1,000 students or more (the goal is no more than 600 students in a learning community). Strategies may include creating schools within schools, career academies, restructuring the school day, instituting personal adult advocates, or developing teacher advisory systems to create a more personalized high school experience for students and to improve student achievement and performance. Smaller Learning Communities/U.S. Department of Education, 800/USA-LEARN or http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SLCP/.

Online Guide to U.S. ED Funding
“Promising Initiatives to Improve Education in Your Community” is an online guide to selected U.S. Department of Education grant programs and funding opportunities. The guide provides detailed information on 19 Education Department programs, including the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology Program. The publication also is available online in portable document format (PDF) files that require an Adobe Acrobat reader or MS Word. U.S. Department of Education, 800/USA-LEARN or http://www.ed.gov/pubs/promisinginitiatives/.

* Net Tools

Web Design 101, an online course for teachers, provides curriculum materials and trial versions of Macromedia software designed to help educators teach their students professional Web design skills. The program includes 6 hours of course curriculum, example files, and 90-day trial versions of Macromedia’s Director, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, and FreeHand products for an entire classroom. In coordination with the online course, the company schedules a multi-city seminar series for educators. The online course kit is available for Mac and Win platforms at a cost of $25. The multi-city seminar series is free to all educators. Macromedia, 800/457-1774 or http://www.macromedia.com/.

Five new instructional models are now available at Training Cafe, an interactive, Web-based site developed to train teachers about computers and the Internet. The site’s initial 17 self-paced modules introduce basic Web technologies; the new modules build on that knowledge by focusing on features of Macromedia Web authoring software, including Director, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, and FreeHand. The cost is $120 per user, with discounts for volume purchases. Macromedia, 800/288-8108 or http://www.macromedia.com/ or http://www.trainingcafe.com/.

Microsoft E-Mail & Collaboration Forms provide free online templates for a collection of education-specific forms designed for teachers, students, administrators, and the community. The forms can be used to manage a wide range of information—including requests for maintenance service, absence reports, school facility scheduling, and substitute teachers—and can be downloaded with tips, requirements, and instructions for school customization. The templates are built on the Microsoft Outlook
messaging and collaboration software and Microsoft Exchange Server. Microsoft, http://www.microsoft.com/education/technical/network/edforms/.

* Net Awards

Internet Educator of the Year
Cheryl Vitali, a special education teacher at Alta Elementary School in Reedley, California, was named Classroom Connect Internet Educator of the Year 2000 for her successful work with Internet-integrated curriculum. Her prizes included a $5,000 cash award, $5,000 in Classroom Connect products, a trip for two with EF Educational Tours, a laptop Compaq computer, and Knowledge Adventure’s SiteCentral software. Classroom Connect, 800/638-1639 or http://www.classroom.com/.

eLearning Innovation Awards
The eLearning Innovation Awards program honors outstanding instructional content developed with Macromedia products such as Authorware, Director, and Flash. The program will run continuously in quarterly increments, beginning in April 2000. At the end of each quarter, the company will select and award winners in the categories of Best Student-Developed Content, Best Web-Based Instructional Product, and Best Corporate Training Application. Prizes include any two Macromedia products, a PalmPilot, and free registration to the next Macromedia user conference event. Winning entries will be showcased on Macromedia’s Web site, one of the top 20 visited Web sites in the world. Contest rules, regulations, and entry forms are available online. Macromedia, 650/622-2945 or http://www.macromedia.com/learning/innovation/.

* Net Libraries

*Wilson Biographies Plus Illustrated has been updated with the addition of more than 25,000 biographies licensed from leading print biography resources, including The Grove Dictionary of Art, 11 publications from Oryx Press, and new H.W. Wilson biographical print sources, including the Eighth Book of Junior Authors & Illustrators. The database now contains profiles of 72,000 figures from antiquity through the present, with links to full-text articles, article abstracts, and index citations from Wilson bibliographic databases. The profiles feature more than 26,000 images. More than 1,000 profiles are added in updates annually. The Wilson Biographies databases are available by subscription via the WilsonWeb server. H.W. Wilson, 800/367-6770 or http://www.hwwilson.com/.

EBSCO has recently licensed full text for several sources, including National Geographic, National Geographic World, The World Almanac and Book of Facts, The Los Angeles Times, The Hutchinson Biography database, and encyclopedias from Helicon Publishing, Ltd., one of the largest international reference book publishers in the world. EBSCO, 800/653-2726 or http://www.ebsco.com/.

EBSCONET, version 3.2, the online serials management service, has been enhanced to allow users to browse EBSCO’s database of more than 260,000 titles, claim missing issues, and communicate with EBSCO customer service representatives. The EBSCO Missing Copy Bank can be accessed to order replacement issues and renew subscription orders online. The Monthly Claim Checker report allows customers to review online claims and verify their resolution. The report can be downloaded as a text file that can be saved or e-mailed to others. EBSCO Subscription Services, 205/991-6600 or http://www.ebsco.com/.

* Net Teaching

National Geographic’s Online Resources include six areas designed to help teachers bring interactive adventures, virtual expeditions, lesson plans, and maps into the classroom. Maps & Geography provides thousands of interactive printable maps. Online Adventures offers virtual interactive expeditions for students to use at home or in the classroom. The Teacher Community provides an online idea exchange, event listings, lists of state-specific geography alliances, contests, conferences, and information on applying for National Geographic Education Fund grants. Lesson plans, a teacher store, and links to other resources are also included at the site. National Geographic Society, 800/647-5463 or http://www.nationalgeographic.com/.

The Gateway to Educational Materials is one of the Education Department’s responses to President Clinton’s call for federal agencies to improve and expand access to Internet teaching and learning resources. At The Gateway, teachers can search by topic, grade level, and other information for lesson plans, instructional units, and free educational materials from more than 140 Web sites. The site is spearheaded by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology with support from the National Library of Education in the U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Department of Education, 800/USA-LEARN or http://www.ed.gov/.

The Apple Learning Interchange (ALI) presents an online resource for teaching, learning, research, and collaboration. The extensive site features sections on resources, units of practice, members, news and events, forums, projects, and professional development. Also included are electronic field trips, technology demonstrations, and special presentations by education experts. Users can sign on as ALI members to access special tools and opportunities, including online forums, live events, online projects, staff development courses, newsletters, and a customized ALI front page with information related to interests in curriculum, tips, forums, and more. Apple, http://www.apple.com/ali/.

Bigchalk.com now offers the Electric Library online research service with eLibrary PLUS, an expanded research collection, and eLibrary NEWS, with a specialized interface for 180 newspaper and wire services. Additional new product offerings include Retriever, an integrated library search engine; Classmate, a curriculum integration tool for teachers; and Assessment, a tool for parents, students, and educators. The company also has acquired Homeworkcentral.com. Bigchalk.com, 800/860-9228 or http://www.bigchalk.com/.

Lightspan offers separate channels online for teachers, parents, and students. The sites include more than 1,000 lesson plans and search engine access to more than 115,000 educator-reviewed Web links categorized by subject area and grade level. Your Class Online allows teachers to create a customized Web site for their classroom; Your School Online allows schools to create sites that communicate news, events, and programs to families and the community. Also included are the Global Schoolhouse online community and Lightspan.com’s Online Community Channel. The Lightspan Partnership, Inc., 888/4-ALL-KIDS or http://www.lightspan.com/.

* Net Learning

The Yahoo! News Election 2000 coverage provides comprehensive news content, a forum for discussing opinions, and links to Web sites presenting all sides of campaign issues. The site includes print, audio, and video content from more than 25 leading news bureaus, including the Associated Press, and CNET’s News.com. News reports can be personalized, received by e-mail, or highlighted by breaking news alerts on specific topics. Yahoo! News, 408/731-3300 or http://fullcoverage.yahoo.com/.

The University Libraries Community Project brings artwork from museums and collections around the world into Indiana K-12 classrooms. The unique program funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services is a collaboration of central Indiana schools, museums, and public libraries. Schools in the nine-county central Indiana area have free access to databases that include thousands of digitized art images and numerous lesson plans. CD-ROMs containing similar information are available to Indiana schools outside of the nine counties. Lesson plans and information about the project are available to the general public at http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/imls/. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 317/274-1257 or http://www.iupui.edu/.

The FreeZone online network, designed for youngsters aged 8-14, will focus on back-to-school issues from August 10 - September 7. Among the questions on the site’s “I Survived” bulletin boards and themed chats are: What will other kids be wearing this fall? Should I get a new haircut? What supplies will I need? Additional online activities include New School Year Resolutions bulletin boards and a series of games, including Sowpoppy High, Picture Day Fizmo, and the kid-written tongue-in-cheek Advice-O-Matic, Excuse-O-Matic, and Teacher’s Pet-O-Matic. FreeZone, 312/573-3800 or http://www.freezone.com/.

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