[NetWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
May/June 2001
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

ALA Works Against Federally Mandated Filtering
The American Library Association (ALA) is working to combat the negative effects of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Internet Protection Act (NCIPA). The acts were passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in December 2000. These laws place restrictions on the use of funding available through the Library Services and Technology Act, Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and on the E-Rate Universal Service discount program. The restrictions take the form of requirements for Internet safety policies and technology that block or filter certain material from online access. As this issue went to press, the next steps for ALA included filing suit against the acts, participating in FCC rulemaking on implementation of the new laws, providing guidance for librarians in ways to participate in the FCC rule-making, and continuing to provide information on the status and application of CIPA and NCIPA, as well as on the progress of legal action against the measures. A Web site has been built to provide information on ALA activity on this issue. American Library Association, 800/545-2433 or http://www.ala.org/cipa/.

Online Technology Resources
NetDay Compass offers a Web-based directory of education technology resources for decision makers in K-12 schools. The directory lists more than 400 sites in five sections: technology planning, infrastructure, grants and funding, classroom support, and best practices and real stories. Each section includes resources from industry, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, government agencies, media, universities, and K-12 schools. NetDay Compass, http://www.NetDayCompass.org/.

* Net Teaching

Project-Based Web Design
Macromedia has launched a new Web design book series with a curriculum guide for middle school and high school teachers. Project-Based Multimedia: Step-by-Step Projects for Integrating Multimedia into Your Classroom is the first volume in the series designed to make it easier for teachers to use multimedia in academic disciplines, including writing, social studies, and earth sciences. The book series was developed in response to teacher requests for cross-curricular instructional materials and project ideas that teach Web design skills. $20—print curriculum guide and accompanying CD-ROM (Mac and Win). Macromedia, 415/252-2000 or http://www.macromedia.com/.education/.

Online Professional Development from WNET
The Concept to Classroom series from WNET New York offers 11 free online workshops designed for K-12 pre-service and in-service educators at all levels of Internet proficiency. Each workshop has online tools available to help participants acquire professional development credit. The newest title is After-School Programs: From Vision to Reality. The series is a production of NetSchool, Thirteen's Web service for teachers. Funding is provided by the Disney Learning Partnership, a philanthropic initiative of The Walt Disney Company. Thirteen/WNET New York, http://www.thirteen.org/.

Scholastic's New Home Page
The updated Scholastic home page has added time-saving shortcuts to grade-appropriate lesson plans and online activities, grade-specific gateway pages, and a new search mechanism. Shortcuts on the page take users to a Teacher Toolkit (a free home page builder), Lesson Plans & Reproducibles (standards-based lesson plans accessible by grade, teaching topic, state standards, and popular theme), Professional Resources (planning tools, strategies, and expert advice on classroom management, assessment, and teaching with technology), Authors & Books (access to well-known authors, writing workshops, author studies, and extension lessons), Online Activities (learning modules based on themes, subject areas, and popular topics), and the News Zone (daily Internet news written specifically for students). Scholastic, http://www.scholastic.com/.

* Net Learning

Women of Valor
The Jewish Women's Archive has named three new Women of Valor: "Madame" Beatrice Alexander, one of the foremost female entrepreneurs of the 20th century and founder of the Alexander Doll Company; Gertrude Elion, chemist and winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Medicine; and Ray Frank, the first Jewish woman to preach from a pulpit in the United States. The Women of Valor project is an education outreach program that provides online resources, print resource guides, and posters as part of the Archive's mission to "uncover, chronicle, and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to our families and communities, to our people, and our world." Jewish Women's Archive, 617/232-2258 or http://www.jwa.org/.

Treasures of a Lost Civilization
A collaboration between the state of Washington and the People's Republic of China brings to the Seattle Art Museum some of the most unusual and spectacular artwork ever produced in the ancient world. Treasures from a Lost Civilization: Ancient Chinese Art from Sichuan features 175 works of bronze, jade, and clay—most on view in the U.S. for the first time. The museum has developed a related interactive Web site to accompany the exhibit. The artwork will be on display in Seattle May 10-August 12 before moving to other museums, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Seattle Art Museum, 206/654-3158 or http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/.

Wild World Interactive Atlas
The National Geographic Society and the World Wildlife Fund have pooled their expertise and resources to develop an online interactive atlas. The atlas allows users to zoom in on hundreds of eco-regions—areas that share distinct ecological features—and learn about the plant and animal life, climate, and conservation issues that make them unique. Scalable maps link to eco-region descriptions, photographs, facts and figures, educational resources, and activity ideas. The Terrestrial Eco-Regions of the World map features images and information for nearly 900 land-based areas of the planet. The Global 200 map highlights more than 200 outstanding terrestrial, marine, and freshwater areas that have been selected by World Wildlife Fund scientists and their partners as priority areas for conservation. The National Geographic Society and the World Wildlife Fund, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wildworld or http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/.

SAT Prep @ AOL
America Online and online test preparation provider TestU will deliver free online SAT preparation courses through the AOL@SCHOOL service. The SAT "Crunch" Course, a customized online preparation course, is based on individual student strengths and weaknesses. The course features 4 weeks of interactive test preparation, including a diagnostic test, a personalized curriculum, learning units, four practice tests, and a full-length proctored SAT exam with authentic test content. Students also can take a rapid feedback test where they instantly receive a general range of scores based on their current knowledge. AOL@SCHOOL is a free online learning tool. AOL@SCHOOL, http://www.school.aol.com/.

* Net Tools

Online Reader
The Online Reader 2001- Complete Edition contains 3,000 articles and tests appropriate for grades 4-12. The new features in this program update include hundreds of images, the ability to customize assessments, and updated articles. Teachers can write their own questions for each assigned reading comprehension test, including multiple-choice questions that compare and contrast several articles or specific questions geared toward individual students. The program allows teachers to browse a list of nonfiction articles selected from popular magazines and assign these articles to individual students or an entire class. Each article is accompanied by reading comprehension tests that include literal, interpretive, and critical-thinking questions. Students retrieve assignments, read articles, and complete the multiple-choice tests. The tests are self-correcting; results are automatically transferred into a grade book. EBSCO Web 4 School, 800/653-2726 or http://www.web4school.com/.

Finding Video and Film Online
DocuSeek offers a search engine that can access the combined collections of four leading distributors of independent documentary film and video, representing more than 1,800 independent, documentary, educational, and social issue video and films. Searches can be performed by grade level, length, filmmaker, and other characteristics. Finds include complete title information, description, reviews, and awards. The four distributors involved in the project are Bullfrog Films (environmental videos), Fanlight Productions (healthcare, aging, mental health, disabilities, ethics, family, and gender issues), First Run/Icarus Films (700 productions examining the rapidly changing world and the largest collection of award-winning theatrically released documentaries), and New Day Films (social issue media). DocuSeek, http://www.docuseek.com/.

African-American History Online
African-American History & Culture: An On-line Encyclopedia has been updated. The new additions include 225 new biographies, 25 new historical documents, and 30 new photographs of contemporary African Americans. The online database now features an updated interface with new search screens and a new record format, a "How to Cite This Resource Page," two new timelines detailing the history of slavery and the civil rights movement, new maps from the Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage, and a bibliography section. Facts On File, 800/322-8755 or http://www.factsonfile.com/.

SIRS Researcher Adds George W. Bush
Understanding the Bush Agenda, a new study guide, is now part of the SIRS Researcher online reference database. The material was developed to help students analyze and understand the ideology and goals of the current presidential administration. The guide reviews Bush's election campaign, campaign pledges, confirmation hearings, and proposed policies. The study guide is accessed from Issues in Government, a new additional content database available from the online version
of SIRS Researcher. SIRS Mandarin Inc., 800/232-7477 or http://www.sirs.com/.

Biography References Online
The Biography Reference Bank, the largest biographical database offered by H. W. Wilson, covers more than 195,000 figures from antiquity through today. The online resource features comprehensive profiles, full-text articles and article abstracts,
book review excerpts from Book Review Digest, images of many biographical subjects, links to information on Internet sites, and select profiles from biographical sources from other leading publishers. The material includes the profiles database Wilson Biographies Plus Illustrated and the periodicals and book coverage of Biography Index Plus, as well as links to full-text articles and article abstracts from more than 4,000 magazines and journals. The Reference Bank is updated four times a week on WilsonWeb. Free 30-day trial subscriptions are available. H. W. Wilson Co., 800/367-6770 or http://www.hwwilson.com/.

Gale Brings More Periodicals Online
The Gale Group has acquired online rights to several major magazine and newspaper publishing groups, including the University of Chicago Press and Business News Publishing. Since January 2000, Gale has added more than 600 new newspapers and magazines to its online roster. More than 6,400 periodicals are now available, nearly 3,000 of which are full text. The Gale Group, 800/877-GALE or http://www.galegroup.com/.

SIRS Adds Maps, Subject-Heading Searches
World maps in PDF format and a subject-headings search have been added to the SIRS NetSelect database of online resources. PDF versions of nearly 300 detailed, colorful maps of the U.S., Canada, and other nations, regions, and time zones of the world are now available from the SIRS Researcher and SIRS Discoverer general- reference online databases. In addition, SIRS NetSelect has added a subject-headings search that allows users to individually or simultaneously search by subject heading in SIRS NetSelect Web sites and SIRS full-text databases. Searches are returned with graphical icons that indicate whether the subject includes sites, articles, or both. All NetSelect Internet sites and database articles are indexed by SIRS staff using Library of Congress subject headings. SIRS Mandarin Inc., 800/232-7477 or http://www.sirs.com/.

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