Use the Web to Tour Your Regional Educational Lab

Article excerpt

Whenever you seek research-based information for professional development, improving teaching and learning in your classroom, developing a new educational program, or preparing a grant proposal, you probably don't look first to your local federally funded Regional Educational Lab. In fact, most K-12 educators have little if any contact with the educational lab that serves the schools in their state, cannot describe the specific services and resources that it offers, and are unable to identify the related labs that stretch across the country.

Nevertheless, Regional Educational Laboratories are gold mines of professional information with benefits for every school. But the problem has always been that there was no convenient way to find out about and make use of such resources. That is, until recently. All of the Regional Educational Labs now have sites on the World Wide Web, and their resources are readily available to teachers, administrators and parents.

What is a Regional Educational Lab?

The Regional Educational Laboratories are research and development organizations supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov) and the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI; www.ed.gov/ offices/OERI/index.html). Each has the simple goal of applying research to improving schools. The ten labs serve specific states, but also emphasize one or more major research specialties, such as assessment, cultural diversity or urban education.

The Regional Labs offer educators a wide range of products and services through their Web sites, including publications, multimedia materials, workshops, seminar, tutorials, research reports, policy briefs, funding opportunities, and links to related resources such as the five regional R*TECs (Regional Technology in Education Consortia) dedicated to improving student achievement through technology.

Touring the Labs

What follows is a list of the Regional Educational Labs, their geographic regions, Web addresses, and major research specialties. While you should certainly get to know your local lab, you will be amazed by the wealth of professional resources at each location.

* Appalachian Region (Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia) AEL -- Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Inc. …