Creative Educational Use of the Internet: Educators Can Access Policies, Lesson Plans, and Resources Galore

Article excerpt

By the time you read this column, it's probably already cooled off where you are,a nd the leaves may be starting to turn. Here in Florida, we're riding out the end of hurricane season, which is officially over November 1. My favorite spot for keeping tabs on this stuff is the 1997 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season page -- http://www.met.fsu.edu/ explores/tropical.html -- a joint project of Florida State University's Department of Meteorology and its excellent Florida Explores! outreach weather education program for the state's K-12 community (http://www.met.fsu.edu/explores). Headed up by Paul Ruscher and his staff of "wild and crazy men and woman" (http://www.met.fsu.edu/explores/staffho me.html), it's sterling example of how the Internet can be integrated into today's classrooms.

Paul's award-winning program is real head-turner, but it's far from the only example of creative educational use of the Internet. Whereas such things as "porn," white supremacist ugliness, and recipes for making bombs grab media attention -- leading the clueless public to view the Internet as a cesspool -- literally thousands of educators all over the world, at all levels, are exploiting the Net on a daily bass for the valuable learning tool it can be. Just take a look at Teaching and Learning on the WWW (http://www. mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/tl), a project of the Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction (MCLI) of the Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona. You'll find a database containing almost 500 examples of how the Web is being used for learning, searchable both by subject area (from anthropology to zoology) and keyword.

K-12 Resources

Classroom Connect (http://www.class roomconnect.com), markets a variety of books and other materials to the wired K-12 community -- including the well-regarded monthly print publication of the same name. But in that grand old Internet tradition of providing valuable information and/or services gratis, these folks links, databases, and other resources for Net-head educators.

G.R.A.D.E.S. -- an acronym for Global Resources and Directory of Educational Sites (http://www2.class room.net/databases/grades/edufind.html) -- is a browsable and searchable database of more than 1,000 high-quality sites reviewed by professional educators. There's an "online infobot" (htpp://www. classroom.net/classroom/infobot.html) that will automatically e-mail you a variety of "educational Files for `Wired' K12 Staffers," including model Internet acceptable-use policies, lesson plans, and tutorials on a wide range of subjects. Teachers looking for peers who are interested in doing class "keypal" exchanges and other joint projects can make use of Classroom Connect's Teacher Contact Database (http://www.classroom.net/con tact). You'll also find a number of resources designed to help educators get their classes and schools up on the Web, and there's an ever-changing list of "fun a free daily e-mail digest -- Classroom Connect claims about 3,500 current subscribers -- containing pointers to quality Web sites an online projects.

The Global Schoolhouse (http:// www.gsh.org), maintained by the Global SchoolNet Foundation and sponsored by Microsoft, has three sections:

* The Connected Educator, which includes teacher activity guides, Encarta Schoolhouse, online software guides, Global SchoolNet projects, listservs, and "Internet training solutions"

* The Connected Classroom, in which you can see Internet projects from many schools, register your own projects, get help creating Web pages, and Download Microsoft Internet software

* The Connected Learning Community, Which allows you take a look at how a wide variety of schools are utilizing and maximizing technology

Education World (htpp://www.educa tion-world.com), which claims to be "the place where teachers go to learn," has a large keyword-searchable collection of articles, resources, and lesson plans. …