Education on the Internet
Number 118: 28th April, 2004
Education on the Internet is published by Spartacus Educational every week. The newsletter includes news, reviews of websites and articles on using ICT in the classroom. Members of the mailing list are invited to submit information for inclusion in future newsletters. In this way we hope to create a community of people involved in using the Internet in education. Currently there are 49,580 subscribers to the newsletter.
All reviews are added to our web directory. There are sections on Internet Services, Online Seminars, Primary Education, English, Mathematics, Science, Modern Languages, History, Geography, Design & Technology, Business Studies, Special Needs, Media Studies, ICT, Sociology, Music, Politics, Economics, Photography, Art & Design, Theatre Studies, Physical Education and Religious Studies.
News and Articles
Education Survey: Bliss, the magazine for teenagers, claims it has just carried out the most comprehensive study to date of teenagers' views on their own education. Maths teachers were labelled as the "most evil" with a quarter of all votes, followed by science teachers (20%) and language teachers (17%). Overall, only three in ten secondary school pupils think they are getting a "very good" education while science, maths and languages are singled out as the "worst taught subjects", according to this survey of 2,000 students.
Schemes of Work: This the Department for Education and Skills website has a brand new look. As well as updating the original design that had been in service since 1999, the DfES have reorganised the content and improved the way you move around the units and supporting information. Three new sections have been introduced as well: information on planning how to use the schemes; examples of adaptations teachers have made to unit to better suit their particular teaching needs; and information on combining units practically.
New Economics Foundation: According to a study carried out by the New Economics Foundation, primary schoolchildren are a lot happier than their secondary counterparts. The study looked at two measures of well-being in more than 1,000 youngsters aged 7 to 19 attending Nottingham schools. The study claims that the well-being and overall happiness of young people drops drastically when they switch from primary to secondary school, with significant effects on their personal development. It finds that a third of children are so badly affected by the transition that they become vulnerable to mental illness.
Special Relationship: In this article Charles Wheeler looks at the so-called special relationship between Britain and the United States. Wheeler argues that this special relationship has been the foundation of Britain's foreign policy for over 60 years. Wheeler claims that there have only been two examples when the British government refused to accept the policies being pursued by the American government. The first occasion was in 1954 when the government refused to agree to an Anglo-American military intervention in Vietnam. The second was in the 1960s when Harold Wilson repeatedly rejected President Johnson's demand that he support America's war in Vietnam by sending out a contingent of ground troops.
Scotlands People: Containing nearly 40 million records, the Scotlands People database is one of the worlds largest resources of genealogical information and one of the largest single information resources on the Web. It provides a fully searchable index of Scottish births from 1553-1903, marriages from 1553 to 1928 and deaths from 1855 to 1953. In addition, indexed census data is available from 1881 to 1901. To respect privacy of living people, internet access has been limited to birth records over 100 years old, marriage records over 75 years, and death records over 50 years. From the results of an index search made on this site you may view, save and print images of many of the original documents, and order extracts of any register entries of interest.
Ask a Librarian: Public libraries in the UK run reference and information services staffed by librarians who are experts at finding information for you. Public libraries throughout the UK are working together to provide Ask a Librarian. When you ask a question on the enquiry page it is automatically routed to one of the participating reference libraries which receives it as an email message. Using their skill and experience the librarians will identify the best sources, print or electronic, for discovering the answer. They will send you an email message as soon as possible with their response to your enquiry.
ICT English Survey: The Fischer Family Trust carries out surveys into ICT use in schools. Surveys conducted between 2000 and 2003 generated responses from 179 English departments in secondary schools. The report summarises details of the ICT resources used in English. The most popular websites were Teach It (21/179), Bytesize (18/179) and Learn (13/179). Other materials used extensively in English departments include Microsoft Word, Successmaker, Excel, and Microsoft Publisher.
On the Edge: This PBS website looks at the stories of the Aids researcher Dr David Ho; the developers of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin; the work of the astronomer Jocelyn Bell, and the discovers of the early tranquilliser chlooropromazine, Henri Laborit and Pierre Deniker. There are two versions of this material. This includes a series of colourful cartoons.
Antonine Education: James Irvine has created a website for Post 16 students in the following subjects: AS electronics, AS ICT and AS Physics. It is designed for students doing the AQA syllabuses in these subjects. The notes are based on Irvine's student handouts, but they also include interactive questions. The students can attempt the questions, then click on a hyperlink to get a model answer. The website also includes some PowerPoint demonstrations.
CIA for Kids: The CIA has launched a website for children, guiding potential future spies through the world of covert operations under the guidance of a cartoon bear named Ginger. A large section of the site is dedicated to the war on drugs. It urges its visitors to shun illegal substances and instead to "get high on intelligence". It also claims that drug cultivation causes global warming. Potential recruits are warned that mandatory medical and polygraph tests for all CIA personnel will root out those who experiment with drugs.
Smart Mobs: Howard Rheingold is the author of Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Rheingold claims that the Smart Mob is a group of people who use the Internet and/or mobile communications to organize collective action. Rheingold argues: "I wrote the book to try to educate people because the people who make the laws listen to the people who pay them a lot of money to make them. They're not listening to the citizens. We're not powerless; the more we know, the more influence we will have. This website allows you to debate the ideas included in Smart Mobs.
Art and Design
Royal Academy. This organization has been involved in the cultural life in Britain for over 200 years. Its famous Summer Exhibition has been held every year since 1769. The Royal Academy is governed by the Royal Academicians, who are all eminent practising painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects. There are 80 Academicians, who are elected to one of the following categories: painting, sculpture and architecture. Its new website is under the creative direction of two notable Royal Academicians (Tom Phillips and Ian Ritchie) and allows you to look at the work of its members.
Victorian and Albert Museum: Which museum can you find graffiti, Medici and Gucci, stained glass and fibre glass? Where else but the V&A, the worlds greatest museum of applied and decorative arts. The V&A is home to amazing artefacts from the worlds richest cultures, the V&As unsurpassable collection has inspired and informed for over 150 years. The V&A aims to help teachers to use the Museum independently with their classes. To achieve this, we offer an annual programme of professional development for teachers, a range of publications both printed and digital as well as occasional taught programmes for schools.
Half-Baked Software: To celebrate the fifth birthday of the company, Half-baked Software has decided that for the whole of the month of May 2004, it will give all the income received from purchases of Hot Potatoes and Quandary licences directly to charity. Therefore, if you buy a $50 licence during May, Half-baked Software will give $50 to charity. So if you've been thinking about buying a licence in the next little while, May is the time to do it! If you really should have purchased a licence before, but you just haven't got around to it, do it in May! If you're a Hot Potatoes user but you haven't yet tried Quandary, give it a try now!
Factiva: Mike Davies, senior research analyst at Butler Group, says: "The free Internet model - back to the idea of the egalitarian, hippy web - is gone. It's a business environment now. If you want high-value services, you pay for them." Clare Hart, CEO of the giant news retrieval service Factiva, agrees: "People are sick of wasting their time when about 50% of web searches turn up unsatisfactory results... 60% of the information on Factiva is not available for free anywhere on the web."
Internet Art: When the Internet emerged as a mass global communication network in the mid-1990s, artists immediately recognized the exciting possibilities for creative innovation that came with it. This groundbreaking book considers the many diverse forms of Internet art and the tools and equipment used to create them, while discussing the wider cultural context and historical importance of the work. The book covers email art, websites, artist-designed software, and projects that blur the boundaries between art and design, political activism and communication. (Rachel Greene, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0 500 20376 8, £8.95)