[NetWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
May/June 2002
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

Senator Rockefeller Receives CoSN Award
The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) presented its Excellence in Public Service Award to Senator John "Jay" Rockefeller (D-WV) during the 2002 CoSN K-12 School Networking Conference in Washington, D.C. The award is the organization's highest honor for elected or appointed national, state, regional, or local officials for their achievements in promoting the use of information technologies and the Internet to improve K-12 learning. Senator Rockefeller was presented with the award in recognition of his vision in sponsoring the E-rate, as well as his continued leadership on national education technology policy. CoSN, 202/466-6296 or http://www.cosn.org/.

Digest of Education Statistics
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has published an online edition of the 2001 Digest of Education Statistics. The Digest provides a compilation of statistical information covering education from pre-K through graduate school. Topics include the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, graduates, educational attainment, finances, federal funds for education, employment and income of graduates, libraries, technology, and international comparisons. The Digest's technology statistics include the following: the average public school contained 110 computers in 2000, the proportion of instructional rooms with Internet access increased from 51 percent in 1998 to 77 percent in 2000, and nearly 98 percent of schools had access to the Internet in 2000. NCES, http://www.nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2002130/.

* Net Learning

The latest additions to the online Women of Valor exhibit featured on the Jewish Women's Archive are social reformer Gertrude Weil and dancer Anna Sokolow. The Women of Valor exhibit explores the lives of Jewish women of the 19th and 20th centuries who have made significant contributions to Jewish and American life. The mission of the Jewish Women's Archive is "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, http://www.jwa.org/.

At iKnowthat.com, students can create personalized pushpin maps by placing virtual pushpins on maps from around the world. The pushpins can represent people, places, and things—Grandma's town, a favorite beach, or a city they hope to visit. Students can label and write a travelogue entry for each pushpin they place. A zoom feature provides a close-up, detailed look at a particular place and allows the viewer to pull back to see how the location fits into the big picture. The maps include a compass and a measurement feature that shows the approximate straight-line distance between any two points. iKnowthat.com, http://www.iKnowthat.com/.

AOL@SCHOOL, version 2.0, features a new study kit, enhanced search and navigation tools, and a customized look for its six portals, each designed for a specific grade level. Study kits are available in the four student portals, providing guides to improving study skills, making flash cards, note taking, and tips on doing research online. Expanded educational resources in the Middle and High School portals include Advanced Placement (AP) test prep resources from Apex Learning and common elective categories like food and nutrition, physical education, health, auto mechanics, and enhanced foreign language offerings. A Library & Media category available through the Administrator portal includes information on educational software and tips for integrating computers into the classroom. AOL@SCHOOL is a free online service. America Online, http://www.aolatschool.com/.

Scholastic's Internet-based reading assessment program, iReAch, is available at no cost for a limited time. The literature-driven program, designed to help students in grades 2-8 prepare for state and national standardized tests, uses full-length award-winning books to assess student comprehension and vocabulary. A diagnostic test provides immediate feedback on student performance, helping educators to build instruction around students' weakest skills. The program also provides schools and administrators with overviews of improvement in student reading achievement. Until August 31, an iReAch site license can be placed in schools without cost or obligation to subscribe. At the end of the limited-time offer, schools may continue to use iReAch by purchasing an annual subscription. Scholastic, 877/268-6871 or http://www.scholastic.com/ireach/.

* Net Libraries

The World Book Research Libraries offer an online database of primary source materials in eight separate topic areas: World History, U.S. History, Political Science & Law, Social Sciences, Literature, Science & Mathematics, Language, and Philosophy & Religion. At launch, the libraries contained more than 4,700 complete books and 174,000 documents. Each month, the libraries are scheduled to expand by more than 1,000 original source documents and at least 30 major books.

The online material includes search, browse, and update features, as well as a document information feature that helps orient the reader and provides citation details. A Topic of the Day feature is available for subscribers to all eight Research Libraries. World Book, 800/967-5325 or http://www.worldbook.com/.

Factiva.com provides the content of Dow Jones Interactive and Reuters Business Briefing in a universally indexed global content collection of nearly 8,000 sources in 22 languages from 118 countries. Factiva's global content collection includes the Dow Jones and Reuters Newswires, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, South China Morning Post, Reuters Pictures, key industry and trade publications, and more than 8,500 business-oriented Web sites. For the library and school market, ProQuest Information and Learning has an exclusive marketing agreement to distribute Factiva.com in the Americas, U.K., Ireland, Central Europe, and Middle East. ProQuest Information and Learning, 800/521-0600 or http://www.il.proquest.com/.

* Net Tools

The latest version of Microsoft Class Server, the Web-based teacher tool, includes a number of new features—as well as a new name. The product, formerly known as Encarta Class Server, was renamed to avoid confusion with the well-known Encarta reference software. The new Class Server features include the ability to link learning and assessment to specific regional curriculum standards; to access lessons, create new products, and share best practices; customize instruction for individual students due to flexible technology; and increase parental involvement with a digital window into the classroom. The new edition includes a link to a searchable learning database of more than 5,000 lessons, tests, and assignments from national and international publishers that teachers can download, edit, and assign to students. A Microsoft partnership with McREL (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning), the provider of a comprehensive guide to assessment standards and benchmarks for state and local educators, allows teachersto determine online if lessons from the product's learning resource database meet both federal and state curriculum standards. At http://www.microsoft.com/education/?ID=ClassServer, educators can find an online product demo; sample content; a full directory of Class Server content, hardware and services, and software and tools partners; free professional development resources; and an opportunity to sign up for a free evaluation copy. Microsoft, http://www.microsoft.com/education/.

* Net Teaching

Authors and Books is the latest addition to the Scholastic.com Web site. The new section combines a database of more than 2,000 pre-K through 8th grade children's titles with grade-appropriate teaching materials. Authors and Books provides access to award-winning children's authors such as Lois Lowry, Virginia Hamilton, and J.K. Rowling through online interviews, biographies, Q&As, book-by-book discussion guides, teaching strategies, and other resources. The materials and resources are available at no cost online. Scholastic.com, http://www.scholastic.com/authors/.

The Administrator's Guide to Technology Leadership, a nine-module series of online courses for school and district leaders, is available from the Institute for the Advancement of Emerging Technologies in Education (IAETE), in partnership with the T.H.E. Institute. The series is designed to help school and district administrators integrate technology into teaching, learning, and school management. Administrators use their own data and experiences as they learn to plan and budget for technology incorporation, increase access to existing technologies, and deal with ethical and legal concerns surrounding technology in the school. Modules help leaders create and implement their vision for technology to enhance learning. Topics include student assessment, community building, and professional development. The modules are priced at $159 each or $279 for two. The complete series is available for $1,200. Participants completing two or more modules may be eligible for Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Volume discounts are available. IAETE, 800/624-9120 or http://www.iaete.org/.

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