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Web Resources

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The need and challenge to properly use resources on the Web can be overwhelming. The amount of available information continues to grow with "Information Literacy," including the ability not only to find the information, but also to determine its relevance and synthesize it from a variety of resources into coherent ideas. In the past, teachers and students relied on "information deliverers," such as librarians, textbook publishers and personal contacts, for assistance. They now need new sets of skills.

A plethora of lists exist to help locate useful material, and are available without cost. To mention a few:

- A great many federal sites, which include organizations like NASA, the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior, list publications on a wide range of topics, including adult literacy, drug-free schools, and education statistics and analyses.

- MIT recently received $11 million from the Andrew M. Mellon Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlitt Foundation to fund the first phase of the MIT Open Courseware project, which makes its course material available for free on the Web.

- Classroom Connect provides a list of links to U.S. K-12 schools' Web sites, organized by state and school level (elementary, middle or secondary) at http://connectedteacher.classroom.com/library/states.asp.

- Many publisher sites contain general lesson plans, student activities, professional development information, links to other sites, etc. Some of these include: Holt, Reinhart and Winston (www.eduplace.com), Scholastic, Inc. (www.scholastic.com) and Glenc'e/McGraw Hill (www.glenc'e.com).

- The Lesson Plans Page is a collection of more than 1,100 lesson plans, primarily for the elementary grades, developed at the University of Missouri (www.lessonplanspage.com).

- Articles and topics on how to narrow the list of vendors for e-learning, and topics such as "What's Learning Like," "How to Choose and Take an Online Course" and others can be found at www.lguide.com.

- EduHound, a service of T.H.E. Journal, LLC operated by Judith Rajala, suggests many interesting Web sites and methods of presentation on topics studied in elementary school (www.eduhound.com).

- The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), through its program, "Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology" (PT3) helps teachers become better informed by providing access to activities, accomplishments, findings and other relevant information. Also, at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) held in Chicago in June 2001, a new Web-based project was introduced that helps educators with technology evaluation and research. The Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) selects and reviews research studies that address topics that can be helpful in making school planning decisions (www.iste.org).

At present, a great deal of information is free on the Web. But how long it remains free is in question. For example, a bill is now pending before the U.S. House of Representatives that could force the U.S. Department of Energy to end Pub Sciences, its Web database that allows scientists to search abstracts and citations from more than 1,000 scientific journals. Universities are now charging for the use of their resources. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is selling a program it developed to provide the school's faculty and senior students with Web-based access to financial data from such providers as Dow Jones and Co., Standard and Poor's and Thomson Financial Services. They claim 55 clients, including 21 of the top 25 ranked business schools.

It is almost universally recognized that the Internet is a vast resource, containing a great deal of appropriate and relevant information. H.N. Nelson, IBM director of Internet Technology, stated at a 2001 Business Week telecommunications summit that the amount of data on the Web should increase by a function of 1 million by 2010. However, at present, Internet traffic is not growing as fast as it once was. The following charts in the July 2, 2001 issue of The Industry Standard show its growth rate and utilization.

Perhaps the Web's usage has dropped due to the fact that finding good sites that are readable, interesting, accurate and informative is not easy. The amount of time needed for researching pertinent information is a factor. Also, many users have a deficiency in searching skills. We need to help teachers and students navigate their way through the seemingly boundless sea of information. Learning to use the Web properly requires time and expertise. I hope help is on the way.

X@XOpenTag000The need and challenge to properly use resources on the Web can be overwhelming. The amount of available information continues to grow with "Information Literacy," including the ability not only to find the information, but also to determine its relevance and synthesize it from a variety of resources into coherent ideas. In the past, teachers and students relied on "information deliverers," such as librarians, textbook publishers and personal contacts, for assistance. They now need new sets of skills.

A plethora of lists exist to help locate useful material, and are available without cost. To mention a few:

- A great many federal sites, which include organizations like NASA, the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior, list publications on a wide range of topics, including adult literacy, drug-free schools, and education statistics and analyses.

- MIT recently received $11 million from the Andrew M. Mellon Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlitt Foundation to fund the first phase of the MIT Open Courseware project, which makes its course material available for free on the Web.

- Classroom Connect provides a list of links to U.S. K-12 schools' Web sites, organized by state and school level (elementary, middle or secondary) at http://connectedteacher.classroom.com/library/states.asp.

- Many publisher sites contain general lesson plans, student activities, professional development information, links to other sites, etc. Some of these include: Holt, Reinhart and Winston (www.eduplace.com), Scholastic, Inc. (www.scholastic.com) and Glenc'e/McGraw Hill (www.glenc'e.com).

- The Lesson Plans Page is a collection of more than 1,100 lesson plans, primarily for the elementary grades, developed at the University of Missouri (www.lessonplanspage.com).

- Articles and topics on how to narrow the list of vendors for e-learning, and topics such as "What's Learning Like," "How to Choose and Take an Online Course" and others can be found at www.lguide.com.

- EduHound, a service of T.H.E. Journal, LLC operated by Judith Rajala, suggests many interesting Web sites and methods of presentation on topics studied in elementary school (www.eduhound.com).

- The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), through its program, "Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology" (PT3) helps teachers become better informed by providing access to activities, accomplishments, findings and other relevant information. Also, at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) held in Chicago in June 2001, a new Web-based project was introduced that helps educators with technology evaluation and research. The Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) selects and reviews research studies that address topics that can be helpful in making school planning decisions (www.iste.org).

At present, a great deal of information is free on the Web. But how long it remains free is in question. For example, a bill is now pending before the U.S. House of Representatives that could force the U.S. Department of Energy to end Pub Sciences, its Web database that allows scientists to search abstracts and citations from more than 1,000 scientific journals. Universities are now charging for the use of their resources. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is selling a program it developed to provide the school's faculty and senior students with Web-based access to financial data from such providers as Dow Jones and Co., Standard and Poor's and Thomson Financial Services. They claim 55 clients, including 21 of the top 25 ranked business schools.

It is almost universally recognized that the Internet is a vast resource, containing a great deal of appropriate and relevant information. H.N. Nelson, IBM director of Internet Technology, stated at a 2001 Business Week telecommunications summit that the amount of data on the Web should increase by a function of 1 million by 2010. However, at present, Internet traffic is not growing as fast as it once was. The following charts in the July 2, 2001 issue of The Industry Standard show its growth rate and utilization.

Perhaps the Web's usage has dropped due to the fact that finding good sites that are readable, interesting, accurate and informative is not easy. The amount of time needed for researching pertinent information is a factor. Also, many users have a deficiency in searching skills. We need to help teachers and students navigate their way through the seemingly boundless sea of information. Learning to use the Web properly requires time and expertise. I hope help is on the way.X@XCloseTag000

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2001 issue of THE Journal.

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