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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 5746 Union Mill Rd., PMB 605, Clifton, VA 20124 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CLU Builder toolset, available in early 2001, will allow K-12 teachers to create Collaborative Learning Units (CLUs)—Internet-based team projects—using activity templates and AHA! Interactive’s online teamwork tools (including notebooks and discussion and voting areas), as well as Web sites, expert interviews, and other resources. The resulting activities will be posted online, allowing educators from around the world to participate in teacher-created CLUs and to form mini-learning communities around local issues and other topics of interest. AHA! Interactive, http://www.ahainteractive.com/.
Training Cafe, the Web technology training site for educators, is now available online at no charge. The site offers interactive training on the use of Internet technology, as well as resources and activities for integrating the Web into the classroom. Teachers can choose the lessons they need, from basic instruction on how to use a Web browser to more advanced lessons on how to use multimedia design tools to build Web sites. The courses include 17 1-hour lessons on the Web and five new lessons on using Web authoring software, including Macromedia Flash, Dreamweaver, Director, Fireworks, and FreeHand. The instruction supports two of the new International Society for Education’s (ISTE) standards for teachers—professional development in the use of technology and methods and strategies for using technology in the classroom. The Training Cafe can be found online at http://www.trainingcafe.com/. Macromedia, http://www.macromedia.com/.
InternetBasics: Fundamentals for Teachers provides online training in four modules with approximately 3 hours of instruction in the complete program. The modules include an introduction to the structure of the Internet, a tutorial on finding information and educational resources on the Web, an explanation of printing and copying text and Web graphics within the parameters of copyright and citation issues, and a tutorial on using e-mail for communication and classroom projects. Each module includes hands-on activities to provide practice on the Internet. The online program features streaming audio and video tutorials accompanied by a text version of the tutorial. Teachers can choose their lessons, the order in which they will take them, and the amount of time spent to complete them. An individual user license is available for $29 per year. A building site license is available to school districts at a cost of $300 per year for unlimited users. Internet Basics, 612/279-1200 or http://www.wwwrrr.net/.
Macromedia University provides online training for Macromedia products to software users at every skill level. The courses are offered and priced on an annual subscription basis across three libraries—Basic, Complete, and Web Professional. Each is self-paced and includes 8-12 hours of instructional content. The Basic library provides the foundation to familiarize users with Macromedia Web authoring products. The Complete library adds advanced-level instruction. The Professional library covers a range of courses on topics from Java and Linux to HTML and database programming, as well as the Macromedia product courses at all skill levels. Macromedia University also provides instructor-led libraries of courseware, pre- and post-course assessment tests, localized courses, and online expert talks and chat sessions. The libraries can be purchased online, with subscriptions ranging from $99 for Basic libraries to $399 for the Professional set. Educational discounts are available through Macromedia resellers. Macromedia University, http://macromedia.elementk.com/.
Web-Based Education Report
The Web-Based Education Commission, chaired by Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, is scheduled to release its policy recommendations in a report to Congress by the end of November. The 16-member Commission was established by Congress to develop recommendations for policy geared toward maximizing the educational promise of the Internet for pre-K, elementary, middle, secondary, and post-secondary education. The Commission held its fifth public hearing during a 2-day session in September. The focus of that meeting was “The Promise of the Internet: Voices from the Field.” Among those testifying at the hearing were FCC Commissioner William Kennard, South Dakota Governor William Janklow, and Pearson Education CEO Peter Jovanovich. Panels convened over the course of the 2 days discussed state and local policy issues, research, special needs of rural populations, privacy and protection, online training issues, and new and emerging business models. The Web-Based Education Commission, 202/219-7045 or http://www.webcommission.org/.
Online Privacy Guide
The Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Online Privacy was designed to help everyone use the Internet safely. The guide was created as a starting point to teach kids how to be “cybersmart” so that they can understand for themselves how to control the use of their personal information and protect their privacy. Classroom Connect and TRUSTe, an independent nonprofit privacy initiative, co-developed the material. The document is available online at no charge as a PDF file at http://connectedteacher.classroom.com/privacy/privacyguide.asp/. Printed copies may be ordered by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope (at least 5” x 7” in size) to Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Online Privacy, TRUSTe, 1180 Coleman Avenue, Suite 202, San Jose, CA 95110. Classroom Connect, 650/351-5100 or http://www.classroom.com/.
Sunburst Titles Online
Sunburst Technology software titles will be available on demand online as a result of a partnership with Into Networks, developer of streaming technology for broadband networks. The online platform provides click-and-play access to traditionally CD-ROM-based software and other media without time-consuming downloads or software installation. The streaming delivery model allows users to try software for free, rent it for a few days, or subscribe to channels of software on a monthly basis. The Sunburst titles will be available on the PlayNow.com Kids Channel. The Into Networks server network and technology are currently available to more than 750,000 broadband subscribers and 15 million homes in 45 U.S. markets through service providers including Road Runner, Excite@Home, MediaOne, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, NorthPoint, and U.S. West. Sunburst Technology, 800/338-3457 or http://www.sunburst.com/.
The Plato Simulated Test System, a Web-based assessment tool, integrates state standards practice tests and skills assessments that can be linked directly to individual student instruction. The system provides information on student, class, school, and district-wide test readiness. Teachers have full control of the timing and frequency of practice tests so that students can be periodically reassessed to determine their readiness. Students can take the practice tests from any computer equipped with a browser, including their home computer. The system scores the practice test and provides instant feedback. Graphical and text reports are created for every student. Students and parents can review individual student reports online. Educators can view individual student reports and class performance data. Administrators can view data by class, school, or district. The system automatically creates an individualized learning path to fill in learning gaps for students enrolled in schools using PLATO software on a local area network or the Internet. Available in 10 states, the system is sold on an annual subscription basis. PLATO Learning, 800/869-2000 or http://www.plato.com/.
Chancery Goes ASP
Chancery Software is offering its Open District student information system in an application service provider (ASP) bundle that includes hosting both the application and the student data on Chancery’s own secure servers. The hosted option enables districts to put student data in a secured online environment maintained by Chancery that can be accessed at any time by district or school staff using an Internet connection. The ASP option frees districts from installing, maintaining, and upgrading software and purchasing and dedicating equipment to the system. The hosted bundle expands the range of implementation options currently available to Open District users to include locally hosted, remotely hosted, or a combination of the two. Open District consolidates into a central district database all of the site-based student data captured by Chancery’s student information systems, Win School and Mac School. District staff can manipulate the data or generate reports using built-in tools and can make the information available to other administrative software applications. Open District 2.0 features a choice of Oracle or Microsoft SQL server relational database management and industry standard Open Database Connectivity (ODBC). Chancery Software Ltd., 800/999-9931 or http://www.chancery.com/.
The ERIC Slide Show offers a virtual tour of the U.S. Department of Education’s Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC). Librarians, teachers, and other educators can use the material for updates and to teach others about the publications, products, and services of the ERIC program. The presentation can be viewed on the Web or downloaded as a Microsoft PowerPoint or HTML file. The slide show includes information about how to search the ERIC database using basic and more advanced search strategies; ways to obtain ERIC documents, digests, journal articles, and other ERIC publications, including lesson plans; and access to the AskERIC Q&A service for education-related questions, ERIC listservs, and ERIC Clearinghouse Web sites. The material includes a downloadable script that can be used as an oral presentation. Free handouts to accompany presentations and workshops on the ERIC materials are available by calling or sending an e-mail to Access Eric. The slide show can be found at http://www.accesseric.org/resources/eric_slides.html/. The script is located at http://www.accesseric.org/resources/script.html/. Access ERIC, 800/538-3742, email@example.com or http://www.accesseric.org/.
World Book on bigchalk
bigchalk.com, provider of both subscription-based and free online learning tools, has added content from World Book Online to its extensive site. The World Book content will be integrated into eLibrary, the site’s subscription Web reference tool. eLibrary handles general searches, as well as targeted research through a collection of newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and government transcripts, books, photographs, and maps. In addition, Homework Central, the site’s free homework help area, will include selected World Book articles. bigchalk.com, http://www.bigchalk.com/.
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