Education on the Internet
Number 7: 14th November, 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.
European Union Online: Nine in ten schools in the European Union now have Internet access, and pupils have access in eight in 10 of those, according to the European Commission. The average number of students per computer with Internet access is 24, while the average number of students per offline computer is 12. The level of Internet access in schools varies from country to country, however. The number of students per online computer is between three and 50, and the number per offline computer is between three and 25.
World Tests: This week saw the launch of the British government's world-class online tests for students. Developed by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, these online tests are aimed at the top 10 per cent of pupils. Pupils in the US, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong were also involved in this experiment but over 60 per cent of the children taking the tests were English. It is reported that only 27 schools in England took the maths and problem-solving exams for 9 and 13 year olds. However, the Department for Education and Skills claimed it was pleased with the mix of schools that volunteered for the tests.
ICT in State Schools: A report commissioned by the British Education Suppliers Association (Besa) was published online this week. Based on responses from more than 2,000 schools in the UK, the survey claims that schools have an average of 26 computers with Net access. However, the report points out that an average of just six students can use interactive websites at the same time. This figure drops even lower if the students are trying to access streaming video or audio. There are now almost one million PCs in schools, although up to 25 per cent are so old they are considered to be ineffective for Internet use. Ray Barker, director of Besa, argues that the high cost and availability of fast Internet access remains the main problem for teachers and students in British schools.
Creativity in Education Community: The Open University Creativity in Education Community encompasses a wide range of people across the spectrum of education. It aims to carry out a systematic programme of research on the nature and practice of creativity in educational contexts, to investigate the culture of educational systems and to explore the perspectives of learners and teachers with respect to creativity in teaching and learning. It organizes programmes of research seminars and conferences, circulate information and support creativity projects.
Teaching History with Technology: This journal is designed to help history teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. It attempts to fulfill this function by providing teachers with models that document how others have incorporated technology to enhance their students' learning experiences. New issues of the journal appear online twice each year. Past issues of the journal are indexed and archived. In each of the articles, the reader will find a short account of the objectives of the activity carried out in class. The underlying philosophy of this structure is that teachers can make most effective and innovative use of technology by learning how some of their colleagues have made good use of technology in their classroom.
24 Hour Museum: This critically-acclaimed website guide to UK museums and galleries, launched its newly designed site this week with a section dedicated to teachers, offering information and support for schools across the UK. The updated site offers teachers a curriculum navigator. The database allows them to enter information such as subject and key stage coding in order to supply them with suggested museums and galleries. The search also gives details of educational facilities and resources currently available. For example, if a teacher requests appropriate information for 9 year olds studying Tudor history in the North East region, the results will recommend relevant institutions.
Victorian Books: The 19th century witnessed the economic, social, political and cultural transformation of Britain. The printing and publishing industry was caught up in this transformation, benefiting from the application of power to the various stages of the manufacturing process, but also able to exploit developments in other technologies, most notably the railways and telegraphy. This website celebrates this process with sections on printing technology, illustrations, lithography, wood engraving, the novel, yellowbacks, penny dreadfuls and children's books.
GCSE English: GCSE Guide is a site developed specifically for students and for those wanting help with GCSE level exams. It has been created in a simple way, with a very wide range of content that enables quick and valuable usage. The site is wholly free to use and is frequently used by teachers, pupils, college students and professors from all around the world. The site includes an English section with every topic necessary for GCSE level exams, coursework advice and practise papers with answers. Finally there is also a Bookshop where carefully selected texts have been added to give that extra bit of help.
T. S. Eliot: Bruce Bong has produced a very personal view of the work of T. S. Eliot. Bong attempts to imitate the style of his other literary hero, Raymond Chandler. This is unsuccessful but Bong does supply a list of websites that are useful to anybody studying the work of T.S. Eliot. The website provides links to T. S. Eliot discussion groups, articles and other sites that contain biographical details of the writer. Bong also includes examples of poems where the writers have attempted to parody Eliot's style. The website also directly links you to websites where you can print out Eliot's poems.
Under5s is the site for everyone involved in pre-school education and childcare; teachers, nursery nurses, students, child minders, nannies, and of course, parents. The creators of this website believe that preschool is the most important stage for learning; positive experiences provided at this time having a lifelong influence. The authors also believe that education should be fun, and actively encourage learning through play. The site has free information and resources, including - topic webs, lesson plans, worksheets, colouring pages, activities and more. It is also an interactive site with message boards, feedback forms and polls.
A+ Math is an interactive educational math web site that includes games, flashcards, worksheets and homework helper sections. Teachers, parents and students can use the web site to print flashcards or worksheets, either custom or automatically generated. Students can practice problems by solving worksheets or flashcards online and A+ Math will determine how many they got correct.
Discovery School WebMath: Discovery School provides educational content and tools for teachers, students and parents. For teachers, the site has over 300 comprehensive lesson plans supported by Discovery Channel School video and an array of teacher tools. As well as Maths students can find tools and information in the areas of English, Social Studies and Science. Parents can also find information on educational products and articles for helping their students in school on the site.
Footee: The website, aimed at 7-11 year olds, contains football related educational games and movies (tutorials). Offline materials include free teaching pack for teachers including lesson plans, activity sheets, poster and teaching video. Footee combines fun, football and education and aims to motivate children to learn through their love of football and interactive gaming.
Design & Technology
Buckminster Fuller: In this new addition to the Design and Technology Department concerns the life and work of the engineer Buckminster Fuller. A visionary who amongst other things gave us 'Geodesic Dome Structures' and the futuristic 'Dymaxion car'. The invention of the geodesic dome was a solution to the pressing housing problem at the time. Buckminster Fuller also developed the first mass produced, prefabricated plastic and duralumin houses. Buckminster Fuller was the first person to coin the phrase 'Spaceship Earth'. He strongly believed that the creative abilities of mankind were unlimited and that the use and development of technology and design-led solutions would create a positive future.
German Design Project: Busstops is part of the five-year 'Art in the Public Sphere' project in Lower Saxony, Germany, that was funded by the state lottery (Toto-Lotto). Nine designers from all over the world were given the task of designing a bus stop waiting room. The designers from America, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy and Spain, selected their sites from among a pre-selected list of bus stops. Each site created problems that the designers had to solve. For example, Alessandro Mendini from Milan had the problem of designing a street-car stop at Steintor/Kurt Schumacher Strabe, an area that has two extremely narrow, 50-yard-long boarding areas. The finished bus stop waiting rooms, plus comments from the designers concerned, are now available from this website and could be used as a good starting point for a design & technology project.
Response and Restoration: The website for the Office of Response and Restoration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a US government agency. Staff members respond to oil spills and hazardous materials accidents, and aid in the cleanup of hazardous wastesites in the coastal zone. The website offers software, training materials, photos, and information to emergency responders, students and teachers, and other interested people.
Einstein Revealed: This website produced by the WGBH radio and television station, illustrates Einstein's revision of Newtonian physics through a series of illustrated articles, a timeline and interactive games. 'The Time Traveller Game' needs a shockwave plug-in and a compatible browser. There is also a Teacher's Guide available that suggests ways that the material can be used in the classroom. The notes also include a series of experiments that can be used to explain some of Einstein's ideas.
National Library of Medicine: The U.S. National Library of Medicine web site provides free access to a wide variety of health information for both health professional and the public. MEDLINE is the database with 11 million easily searchable references and abstracts to the scientific literature for covering the past 40 years. MEDLINEplus has health information for the public, including useful information on 500 "health topics," an illustrated medical encyclopedia, information about prescription and nonprescription drugs, and tutorials for patients on specific conditions. Students will especially want to visit "The Visible Humans" - detailed computerized anatomical data derived from cadavers, and "Profiles in Science," which has extensive information about prominent 20th Century medical scientists, including photographs, correspondence, and lab notes.
HungerWeb: A website sponsored by the World Hunger Program and produced by Brown University. The authors point out that the main "aim of the site is to help prevent and eradicate hunger by facilitating the free exchange of ideas and information regarding the causes of, and solutions to, hunger." The information is organized under: Research, Field Work, Advocacy & Policy and Education & Training. As well as the World Hunger Education Service, the material is supplied by Food First Information and Action Network and Hunger Notes, an online journal. There is also a clear and concise introduction, explaining the issues of hunger and malnutrition.
Sociology Online is a website that carries essays, interactive quizzes/crosswords and slideshows on subjects within the domains of criminology, politics and sociology. It also carries a regularly updated SocioNews page from which students and teachers can link to other relevant materials on the Internet. The website is intended primarily for A Level and undergraduate students and their teachers/lecturers.
Do you want to have your website listed in our web directory? If so, send a brief description (about 150 words) and the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.