Edison School Workshop: Educational Uses of the World Wide Web

September 1, 1995

  • The Web as an Information Resource: Content-Rich Sites for Subject Specific Information, Curricular Enhancement, and Professional Development.

    • AskERIC

      AskERIC provides a wealth of curriculum materials and extensive research on education contained in the ERIC database. Users of the site can also ask questions to researchers, hence the name: AskERIC. AskERIC also hosts resources, such as PBS's series Newton's Apple and the Discovery Learning Community that work to integrate the medium of the Internet and the medium of television to provide information rich educational materials. AskERIC is a valuable resource for educators both in and out of the classroom.

    • Department of Education

      The U.S. Department of Education's (ED) World Wide Web server. Provides useful and timely information about programs, policies, people, and practices that exist at the Department, in projects they fund, and elsewhere. The ED WWW server is a great entry point to the information not only at the U.S. Department of Education but also at other educational resources as well as the Department's Gopher server at, where additional files and databases are available.

    • Educational Technology Library

      TECFA, "Technologies de Formation et Apprentissage" ("Training Technologies and Learning"), is a teaching and research unit within the School of Psychology and Education (Faculte de psychologie et des sciences de l'education), University of Geneva. This site is devoted to educational technology. They also have a page on WWW and Internet Guides, Manuals & Help.

    • The Environmental Education Network

      An excellent electronic clearinghouse for environmental education information and materials. Students can explore the solar system, learn about deforestation in the world's rainforests, or poke around some old dinosaur bones in Honolulu. "Earth Viewer" generates instant real-time images of the Earth as seen from the vantage point of the Sun, the Moon, or a satellite in Earth orbit -- a virtual space shuttle for Web browsers! Teachers will find a wealth of K-12 resources, including air quality lesson plans designed to teach kids about acid rain, carbon monoxide and the ozone layer. EnviroLink, which sponsors the site, also offers links to a "Green" Market which promotes and sells eco-friendly products, and a huge library containing shelf after virtual shelf of "EnviroEvents," activist info, and government resources.

    • Judi Harris' Network-Based Educational Activity Collection

      This is a collection of 236 exemplary network-based educational activities, collected by Judi Harris, a columnist with The Computing Teacher. They are available through either an activity or content classification:
    • Library of Congress World Wide Web Home Page

      The Library of Congress is using the World Wide Web (WWW) to present information about and primary materials from its collections over the Internet. Perform a search, find out what's new on the Library's Web Site or access any of the following categories of information:

    • Pathways to School Improvement.

      Consider Pathways to School Improvement an online road map for enhancing America's educational system. The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL)'s Pathways project has developed a schemata of critical educational issues, organized into areas such as Professional Development, School to Work, Math, Science and Learning. Each area is broken down into "Critical Issues" and combined with links to other useful online resources. Click on "Assessment," for instance, and you find issues such as "Integrating Assessment and Instruction in Ways That Support Learning" and "Emerging Student Assessment Systems for School Reform" examined at length. Though seemingly comprehensive in its coverage of scientific academics, professional training and policy issues, a pothole seems to have swallowed up the arts and humanities. Still, Pathways to School Improvement lights the crossroads at which American education now stands, and offers suggested routes for the future.

    • Yahoo Directory: Education

      With over 50,000 entries, the Yahoo is a hierarchical, subject-oriented catalog of the World Wide Web. You select what you're looking for from categories that branch off into subcategories, until you have a listing of specific sites. For instance, to find Lollapalooza `95, choose Entertainment->Music->Events->Festivals->Lollapalooza `95. Given its size, Net users are fortunate that designers David Filo and Jerry Yang have created an index structure that is both easy and fun to browse. Aside from its subject listings, Yahoo features a search function and hotlists of "What's Cool" and "What's Popular" at the site.

  • The Web as a Forum for the Discussion of Ideas:

    Asynchronous Forums:
    • Complete Works of William Shakespeare

      A practical, searchable, on-line collection of Shakespeare's plays and poetry created by Jeremy Hylton, a graduate student with the Library 2000 project at MIT. Readers can browse through Shakespeare's works and do keyword searches for words or phrases that appear in the works (like "web," for example: "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together" -- All's Well that Ends Well, Act 4, Scene 3). There's also a hypertext glossary built into each work. Each work also has a newsgroup associated with it. The quality of the discussion around 'Hamlet' is exceptional.

    • Mathematics: The Math Forum

      The best. In addition to having a area where students can compare solutions to problem sets (encouraging multiplicity of learning styles), there's also a downloadable geometry drawing instrument. Also, there are eight newsgroup forums just around geometry. This is the most conversational educational Web site of substance. Students can Ask Dr. Math (a group of students and world-famous mathematicians) math questions. They can also test their mathematics skills by answering the Problem of the Week or working in collaborative groups to solve math problems. The Forum provides valuable professional development materials for math teachers through its listservs and newsgroups, and a searchable database of mathematics resources. The Forum has set up an area where the questions of Union City Math teachers have been compiled.

    • New Jersey Online: Forums Index

      A collection of Forums on topics of interest to New Jersy residents.

    Synchronous Forums:
    • RoundTable. A Web-based chat site with whiteboard as well as a text-based chat area.

  • The Web as a Space for Building Collaborative Projects

    • Global Schoolhouse Project

      Here's interactivity on a global level. The GSP is a project funded in part by the National Science Foundation to show how high speed Internet connections could be put to use in public school classrooms. Global Schoolhouse linked kids around the world in eleven states and Australia. Once linked, students focused on four curriculum clusters: weather, "trash", energy and space. Students used Net resources to amass information, then shared ideas, learning experiences, and problem-solving with other kids across the countries. The actual project ended in early 1995, but you can still read all about it and, if you like, communicate with the participants. A super resource for teachers.

    • I*EARN

      I*EARN (The International Education and Resource Network) is a non-profit global network of primary and secondary schools in 32 countries. The purpose of I*EARN is to enable students and teachers to work collaboratively on projects that make a meaningful difference in the health and welfare of the planet and its people--as part of the educational process. Unlike other "networks" I*EARN is not simply a listserve. It provides a supportive structure and templates for on-line project work. It answers the question "Now what?" after a school is connected.

    • Live From Antarctica 2

      Now, in January and February 1997, students and teachers have the chance to voyage back to Antarctica -- this time to an entirely new site, Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula, perhaps the most interesting place to study marine mammals on Earth. You're invited to travel with us on LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA 2, using PTK's unique suite of multimedia resources:
      • live, interactive video and tape
      • on-line materials providing information, interaction and opportunities for collaboration
      • printed Teacher's Guide and Kits suggesting hands-on discovery activities for school and home, and
      • providing extensive background on the field trip
      • suggestions to customize the field trip for elementary, middle and high school students
      This integrated set of learning resources allows students to experience daily life on a scientific frontier, to interact with some of the planet's foremost experts on the creatures and locations they will see, and to simulate key aspects of the research in engaging and informative activities. If the link above is busy, try * Welcome to Live from Antarctica 2 */~nross

    • MayaQuest '97: Lost Cities of the Rainforest.

      In Spring 1995 and Spring 1996, a team of five explorers, led by Dan Buettner, bicycled to ruins in Mexico and Central America, met with on-site archaeologists, and attempted to unlock one of the most perplexing mysteries: the collapse of the ancient Maya civilization. But the team wasn't alone: over 1 million kids, teachers and others from around the globe helped to lead the expedition by way of the Internet. From March 3 to April 11, 1997, the same MayaQuest team members will assemble again for MayaQuest `97 and will bicycle through rainforests in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala in search of undocumented Maya cities. Armed with hi-tech team equipment, the explorers will link to classrooms and computers around the world, and will let followers lead the expedition, interact with online archaeologists and experts, view images from the journey, and learn about the ancient Maya and contemporary Central America. If you would like to actually vote on where the team goes and what they do, you can Join the Team today!

    • MidLink Magazine

      is a bimonthly on-line magazine created by and for children ages 10 to 15 to link middle schools around the world. Each magazine issue features student writing and electronic artwork organized around a new theme, encouraging readers around the world to submit their own work for publication. MidLink breaks free of the print paradigm with its innovative on-line educational projects that allow you to cruise the world's oceans learning about marine life and the scientists who study it, and take virtual tours of kids' home towns. MidLink Magazine is a collaborative project created by several middle schools and hosted by the University of Central, Florida.

    • Nicenet

      the Internet Classroom Assistant (ICA), a web-based communications tool designed for post-secondary classrooms and collaborative academic projects. The ICA requires only a regular web browser running on any platform and an Internet connection--no software needs to be downloaded and no server needs to be set up on your end. The ICA is available free to any interested party. Use class key y203c37 to enter an existing CCT class as a new member.

    • The Tree of Life.

      A Web-based collaborative phylogeny project. The Tree of Life is a collection of World Wide Web pages that combined present information about the world's organisms. Each page presents information about a particular group. The beetle page, for example, shows pictures of beetles, introduces them, provides a description of the key characteristics. The tree on each page is linked to the trees on other pages, so that combined, the pages present current ideas about the entire evolutionary tree of living things (at least to the extent that the project is completed). The root page of the entire Tree is housed on the home computer in Tucson, Arizona. The project is distributed across various computers (Web sites), so that any one computer will house only a portion of the Tree's branches. Towards the tips of the tree we envisage many hundreds of sites maintaining phylogenetic and other information concerning specific groups of organisms. And throughout, there would be links to other information on the Internet for that group. The project has many contributors, with specialists on many groups working on the pages for the groups of their expertise

  • The Web as a Workshop for Experimenting & Playing with Ideas: Educational Activities & Games

    • Biology: Introduction to Virtual FlyLab

      Virtual FlyLab allows you play the role of a research geneticist. It is an educational application for learning the principles of genetic inheritance. You design matings between female and male fruit flies carrying one or a few genetic mutations. After selecting the mutations for the two parent flies and clicking the "Mate" button, you will be returned a document containing the images of the parent and offspring flies. Virtual FlyLab will apply the correct rules of genetic inheritance to these mutations to obtain the offspring. It is your job to determine these rules based on the "experimental" results.

    • Geology: VirtualEarthquake

      VirtualEarthquakeis an interactive computer program designed to introduce you to the concepts of how an earthquake EPICENTER is located and how the RICHTER MAGNITUDE of an earthquake is determined. The VirtualEarthquake computer program is running on a World Wide Web Server at California State University at Los Angeles. While you're here, be sure to check out the two "special topics" courses sponsored by the Electronic Desktop Project: Biological Resources on the Internet and Geological Resources on the Internet. Both courses covered: As a capstone project, students were asked to choose a topic in biology and geology and develop their own "home page." We have placed their projects on-line. Keep in mind that these students had never used the Internet before, had never heard of "html," and were given less than three weeks to develop their home pages. Nevertheless, many of these projects are excellent. Check out the WWW Student Project Catalog.

    • RealSpace, Inc

      dedicated to creating leading edge virtual reality technology to enhance the current Internet browsing experience. RealVRTM is RealSpace's virtual reality technology which combines panoramic viewing, VRML2.0 3D rendering, 2D and 3D graphics, video and audio playback to create an integrated environment for presenting and browsing multimedia and virtual reality information on the Internet.

  • The Web as a Support for InformalEducation

    • Go Ask Alice!

      An anonymous health and well-being support service for College Students maintained by the Columbia University Health Service. Students post questions anonymously that they would not ask their mothers and are answered authoritatively by health experts. All responses are archived and searchable by subject. The result is a publicly accessible body of information on matters close to the heart but rarely addressed.

  • The Web as a Publishing House: Power to the People

    • Arbor Heights Elementary School in Seattle, Washington

      was one of the first ten elementary schools with a WWW site. Student-generated publications like the Jr. Seahawk Student Newspaper, Cool Writers' Magazine, and Room 12's Top Ten list showcase students' creativity and achievements. Parents are also in on the publishing act with the PTSA Newsletter. Third-grade teacher Mark Ahlness sponsors the site on his own commercial Internet account.

    • Union City Online: Community Pages

      was one of the first ten elementary schools with a WWW site. Student-generated publications like the Jr. Seahawk Student Newspaper, Cool Writers' Magazine, and Room 12's Top Ten list showcase students' creativity and achievements. Parents are also in on the publishing act with the PTSA Newsletter. Third-grade teacher Mark Ahlness sponsors the site on his own commercial Internet account.

  • Additional Resources

    • National Information Infrastructure '96 Finalists

      This year's 60 Awards Finalists, selected from an initial pool of 850 self-nominated entrants, represent the very best in applications of the Internet and other networking technologies. The Finalists were judged in ten different categories, by judges who are recognized experts in their respective fields. The final round of judging narrowed the field down to one winner in each category. Click on each category to get a detailed listing of the Finalists with links to their websites:
    • Tales from the Electronic Frontier

      is a collection of nine teachers' stories, recounting actual experiences using the Internet in K-12 science and mathematics education. The stories illustrate how this technology can be used in different contexts and for different purposes, stimulating analysis and reflection about how the Internet can -- and cannot -- support teaching and learning. These stories were written for the many teachers, administrators, school board members and parents involved in state and local efforts to improve science and mathematics education.

    ©1995 Education Development Center, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Send questions about this workshop to: Nancy Ross or Han-hua Chang.