Education on the Internet
Number 3: 17th October, 2001
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 14,697 subscribers to the newsletter.
Helping Children Cope With Tragedy: Many people turned to the Internet for help after the events in the United States on 11th September. One of the most popular websites was Helping Children Cope With Tragedy. Produced by the US Parent-Teacher Association it has a range of resources that help young people understand and cope with the ongoing repercussions of events such as the destruction of the World Trade Centre.
Education Online : During a debate held at the Royal Institution in London last week, Professor Richard Dawkins of Oxford University argued that the internet heralded the "most radical shift in educational epidemiology since the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, and probably since the origin of language itself". He added: "The best experts I can find all expect the exponential increase in computer power per unit cost to continue at the present rate (doubling almost every 18 months) for at least another 10 years. This is amply long enough to ensure that access to the Internet will be virtually free to anyone who can afford the electricity."
Digital Curriculum: The British government is about to announce details of its plans for a digital curriculum. Over the next five years the government plans to spend £500 million in public money developing resources for schools. It claims that by 2006 every teacher in Britain will be able to select and download high-quality teaching aids and use them on a computer, television screen or interactive whiteboard. In an article in this week's Times Educational Supplement, Jeremy Sutcliffe points out that these plans have led to the government being threatened with legal action by companies who believe that they are not getting a fair chance to compete for the government contracts available to provide this content. Sutcliffe points out that the "upholders of the free market, who believe that the innovative, flexible resources can only be achieved through competition" is in conflict with the "public-service BBC, which argued that the stakes for the nation were too high to leave development of new learning aids to chance and market forces."
St Paul's Cathedral: An impressive website that enables you to take a virtual tour of some of the amazing architecture of St Paul's Cathedral. This includes six 360° panoramas: the High Alter and Quire, Centre of the Cathedral, Chapel of St Michael and St George, the OBE Chapel, Nelson's Tomb and the Great West Entrance. There is also a detailed timeline of the history of the cathedral.
Royal Genealogical Data: A database compiled by Brian Tompsett of the University of Hull that contains the genealogy of the British Royal family and those linked to it via blood or marriage relationships. As Brian Tompsett points out in the introduction, this means it is "the genealogy of almost every ruling house in the western world because of the intermarriage that took place between them at some time or another." The database includes details of over 21,000 individuals. The data is ordered alphabetically, by dates, by ruling house and title.
US Civil War Factbook: This website produced by Marcus Wendel includes a chronology of the US Civil War, as well as information on casualties, generals killed in battle, alternate names of the war, Confederate States of America, reviews of books on the topic and a message forum for discussions on the war.
TeachIt: Stuck for inspiration with teaching or studying English, Drama or Media? Need help planning next terms scheme of work or tomorrows first lesson? Help is available at TeachIt, the UK's biggest (& fastest growing) free online library of teaching resources for English teaching and learning. This NGfL approved site offers over 1500 pages of high quality photocopiable and downloadable teaching resources for Secondary level, plus online lessons, NLS resources, revision aids, teaching tools, a Drama library, a Media Studies Library and loads of useful links. Teachit is built by teachers for teachers and is dedicated to giving teachers a focused one stop shop for teaching ideas and materials.
Stories from Rainbow's Edge: Designed to brighten KS2 Literacy Hour, Rainbow's Edge is a small village which contains most of the Nursery Rhyme characters that you have heard about. They spend their time wandering through the village telling their stories. But these stories are not their usual stories. They try to answer some unasked questions and are designed to make you think!
Charlotte Bronte: One of the many websites produced by George Landow and his team at Brown University. The Biographical section includes a 'A Brief Biography', 'Autobiographical Elements in Jane Eyre', 'Charlotte Bronte Chronology' and on a website in Japan, an 'E-text version of Elizabeth Gaskell's 'The Life of Charlotte Bronte'. The 'Political and Social Contexts of Jane Eyre' is particularly interesting with information on 'The Governess and Class Prejudice', 'Class Attitudes in Jane Eyre', 'Age Difference in Victorian Marriages', 'The Position of Middle Class Women' and 'Is Jane Eyre a Feminist Novel?'
Planetqhe: Probability Theory is an area of mathematics that attempts to deal with the concepts of chance and random behaviour; to measure levels of predictability and unpredictability. Planetqhe is designed as a teaching tool with which students form judgements by use of the experiments - applets and spreadsheets - on the site. They collect data to investigate their judgements, perhaps alter their judgements before finally subjecting them to proof using the methods of mathematics. The author, David Harris, hopes this paradigm will prove to be an application of technology that will
enable us to give students an enhanced and authentic learning experience with probability.
Numberwork: A series of games produced by the BBC which gives children the chance to test their mathematical abilities with fun games. When the children successfully complete all the games they will be able to discover the secret code which allows Zack needs help to complete his journey from Acapulco to Chihuahua. There is a Parents section which gives you tips on how to use the site with your child.
Maths Lessons: Susan Boone teaches at Saint Agnes Academy, Houston. Her website has been developed as part of a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Boone's lessons involve the students using the Internet to solve mathematical problems. This includes making calculations to decide the best place to buy pizzas and the mean and median speed for the Indianapolis 500. Another activity involves the gathering of data to make predictions about the future population size of different countries.
Design & Technology
Resistant Materials: This new addition to Design and Technology Department was developed to help GCSE students study for their Resistant Materials examination paper. It offers a revision guide on Health and Safety including Finishes, Ergonomics and Anthropometrics, Scale of Production, One-off production, Batch production, Mass-production, Flow or continuous production, Injection moulding, Vacuum forming, Jigs, Moulds, Thermoplastic, Thermosetting plastics, Hardwoods, Softwoods and Performance Specification. This is a must for any student revising for a GCSE or As/A level in Product Design or Resistant Materials.
Technology at GCSE: The author of this website points out that the main reason for students choosing Technology at GCSE is that they think it is easy. "Think again!" he tells his visitors, "it is time consuming and demanding". However, the author attempts to help by providing resources on Drawing Techniques, Anthropometry, Materials, Mechanisms, Fixtures and Fittings. There is also a picture gallery and advice on written work.
Science Active: This award winning site for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 students is easy to navigate and has appropriate, accurate content. The emphasis is chemistry within the curriculum. Key stage 3 builds on the investigation work students see at KS 2 and explores solids, liquids and gases and changing states. Key Stage 4 has as its focus atomic structure and bonding. On line style lesson and downloadable multimedia features make this a complete package. Support materials for AS and A2 Chemistry are identified. Most usefully these are related to specific topic areas. In addition to this resources and download pages provide access to games, quizzes and other interactive learning experiences.
Chemistry for AS and A level: This website is written by a Chief Examiner from his teaching and examining experience. Hints and tips for exam technique; Learning to Learn; Reaction Catalogues for organic and inorganic chemistry; spectra; analytical reactions; worksheets; articles and comment on much-misunderstood Chemistry; biographies; and much more on the whole range of Chemistry. Rod Beavon is Head of Science at Westminster School, Chief Examiner in Chemistry for Edexcel Foundation, and author of several books on AS and A level chemistry for Nelson Thornes and Philip Allan.
The Ocean Planet: This website is managed by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The Ocean Planet is a virtual reality tour of the successful exhibition held at the National Museum of Natural History in 1995-6. The original exhibition attracted nearly two million visitors and now it has been made available to the rest of the world. The design of the website lets you click the floor plan to navigate, or you can search the site by subject. Most of the educational materials available here were developed specifically for the Ocean Planet Exhibition. These are in electronic form and can be retrieved for use in the classroom. Other organisations such as the University of Kansas and the New England Aquarium have also developed materials that link with the exhibition and these are also available from this website. There are also nine free fact-sheets that relate to the exhibition. A splendid website that is well worth the visit.
St. Louis Science Centre: St. Louis Science Centre is a museum that is experimenting with new and more interactive ways of displaying their exhibits. Their first online gallery is 'Ecology and Environment Past'. This gallery enables the user to explore 300 pages of photographs, animation, videos, drawings and text. 'Ecology and Environment Past' includes Dinosaur animations, a robotic T-Rex, Mississippian and Pennsylvanian dioramas and a Triceratops excavation. There is also an exhibition on the St. Louis area that explains how the region has changed through geological time, which creatures have lived there in the past, and what its current earthquake and tornado risks are. 'Science Adventures' is another popular part of the site. St. Louis Science Centre describe their science adventures as "pre-visit treasure maps that lead your class to the excitement of learning". Titles include: 'Struggle in the Steamy Swamp', 'The Talking Rock', 'Marooned on the Moon', and 'Alien Report'.
GeoResources: This website is authored by David Rayner, Head of Geography at Rainham Mark Grammar School in Kent. The website started as a school resource and has now grown to include over 1000 carefully categorised links for Keystage 3, G.C.S.E. and 'AS/A2' Level. There is also a special page for teachers with links to exam boards, publishers, etc. Other sections in GeoResources provide weather data and outline maps to include in homeworks or projects, detailed case studies e.g. Kobe earthquake, UK National Parks and oil spills, Virtual Fieldwork (so that can you can visit sites and stay dry!), a photo gallery and a weekly GeoQuiz.
CIA World Factbook: The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been collecting and evaluating information on foreign countries since 1947. Now the CIA has agreed to make this information available to the world. Just choose a country from a menu of 262 countries and the CIA will give you several pages (United Kingdom has eleven) of detailed information. At the beginning you are supplied with a map and flag. The rest of the information is listed under: 'Geography'; 'People'; 'Government'; 'Economy'; 'Transportation'; 'Communications' and 'Defence'. The section on Geography includes location, co-ordinates, area, land boundaries, coastline, climate, terrain, natural resources, land use, irrigated land and environment. Constantly updated this is one of the most important educational sites on the Internet.
Exploring the Environment: This website is being developed by Wheeling Jesuit University as part of the NASA Classroom of the Future Project. Supported by NASA's Information Infrastructure Technology and Applications Program, Exploring the Environment is a series of interdisciplinary, problem-based leading modules for students. The project enables students to address real-world problems related to weather, population growth, biodiversity, land use patterns, volcanoes, water pollution and global warming. Excellent section for teachers which provides module notes and advice on planning, facilitating and assessing.
Oxford School of Learning: This site contains resources for Teachers of Business Studies and Economics including: Notes, e-book full of model essays, Teach-in (Critical Path Analysis etc.), Book reviews, Scores of Comprehension Questions and Applied Questions that require an Internet trawl. The Oxford School of Learning also provides revision conferences on school premises. The Conference fee goes to charity - the Dystonia Society.
Business Education on the Internet: Bix/ed is based at Bristol University and is a dedicated business economics information gateway for students, teachers and lecturers. Sections include Company Facts where top companies answer questions and offer case studies to help students with their coursework. BP and Unilever have provided material and Virgin Atlantic and the Meat and Livestock Commission have also promised to join the scheme. Another feature of the website is Extel Data where students can look at key features of the accounts of 500 major companies. These companies can be compared by using the Company Report Profiler. This excellent site also has a Tutor Support area where teachers can obtain classroom support materials to help them use business information on the Internet.
ICT GCSE: A web site designed to support ICT GCSE students with both their coursework and theoretical understanding. The coursework guides give step by step pointers on how to gain a good pass grade. There are also beautiful animations in Flash that are used in a constructive way to support learning, look at the "network topologies" section in theory for good examples. The randomly generated quiz is very challenging, whilst the whole site is being
expanded all the time on a regular basis. In short, probably the key reference point on the net for Key Stage 4 ICT students.
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