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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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Internet @ Schools

Jan/Feb 2008: Features

A LOOK AT ... Supplemental Classroom Electronics

Remember folder games and puzzles? Teachers have always used instructional aids of one kind or another to supplement instruction, such as calculators in Math class, games, puzzles, math aids, and other devices for small group or individual work. In recent years, computers and computer-related electronics such as MP3 players, hand-held devices, keyboards, projectors, whiteboards, and a diverse collection of additional electronic instructional aids have become available. Charlie Doe's Look At ... roundup this month sorts these supplemental electronics into categories and describes an array of them for your information.

Is That ReallyTrue? Urban Legends and Information Evaluation Skills

These days, students are inundated by information in all formats and from all corners of the world, and they are apt to believe what they see, hear, or read without carefully evaluating it. At her school, Debra Gniewek and her colleagues frequently review website evaluation strategies with students and even have some “quick and dirty” methods to help them develop information evaluation skills. Still, they find the students are sometimes too trusting of the information they find on the World Wide Web. To address the problem, they created a unit in which the students study urban legends, which has proven useful in helping them look at information with a more critical eye. The students are genuinely drawn to this modern folklore, one that illustrates the most profound fears of society.

The Power of RSS: Instant Information Updating Based on Quality Searches

RSS allows you to keep up with just about anything that you want to on the web. If you want to stay focused on the latest blog posts on the effect of global warming, RSS can help. If you just want to be updated whenever The New York Times publishes its latest book review, RSS can help. And, if you want to know when the next Dave Barry column appears, RSS can help. The greatest part of RSS is that it can do all of this in one place, without your needing to parade all over the web looking for the new content. RSS is a continuously updated customized online newspaper, and it can not only help you in locating new information (in fact, the content comes to you, not vice versa), but it can help you do it in a quarter of the time.

The Summer Travel Blog: A 2.0 Travelogue to Bridge Summer “Down Time” [Available Full-Text, Free]

Do you still remember the thrill of receiving a summer postcard from your teacher? How exciting it was to open the mailbox and find that personal piece of mail waiting—and to realize that your teacher was thinking of you. Perhaps the photograph on the face of the card led you to the encyclopedia to learn more about a particular place, while a handwritten line or two described a cultural experience, unusual food, or new language. Travel postcards, sent by thoughtful teachers over the years, have broadened the world of many a child. Yesterday’s postcards have gone high-tech. Weblogs, or blogs, enable today’s teachers to send a new kind of post, sharing their travel experiences as they unfold. Blogs provide an up-to-the-minute opportunity for teachers to continue to educate their students through semester breaks, to interact with their school communities, and to share experiences and locales that encourage understanding of the broader world. And those 21st century postcards come complete with the ability to upload and publish journal entries, photos, slideshows, audio, video, and educational links.

Jan/Feb 2008: Product Reviews

Fluent Reading Trainer (FLRT)

Charles Doe reviews Fluent Reading Trainer (FLRT), a Web-based program that helps students increase reading speed while improving or maintaining reading comprehension.

GeoSafari Quiz Bowl

Rhonda Clevenson reviews GeoSafari Quiz Bowl, an interactive electronic educational game that simulates a television game show in the classroom.

Knowledge Adventure Activity Builder

Susan Hixson reviews Knowledge Adventure Activity Builder, an online teacher tool.

Jan/Feb 2008: Columns

EDITOR'S NOTES: The Year Ahead, in Print and in Conference

CYBERBEE: Reading Reconnaissance

Finding just the right book that will grab a student's interest is like looking for Waldo. Tracking down books that correlate with specific curriculum areas and topics for study can be daunting. What is a library media specialist to do? Use every tool in your arsenal as well as lessons and booklists that have already been prepared and are just waiting to be uncovered by the savvy searcher. This collection of websites will serve as a starting point in your quest to recommend the best books to meet the needs of students and teachers.

THE PIPELINE: Did You Hear That? The Internet Firmament Is Shifting

Stephen Abram travels a lot. When he returned from several months of voyaging around the world in 2006, the internet looked the same as it had on his departure. The same could not be said upon his return from his fall 2007 travels, however. In this month's column, Abram recounts internet-related events from late last year that suggest things are changing ... a lot!

THE MEDIA CENTER: Staff Development--Still an Important Role

Technology staff development isn't receiving the attention it once did in professional journals or at professional conferences, but the need hasn't gone away; it has simply shifted along with technology and our roles. Staff development continues to be an important role for us because, as an Illinois language arts teacher explained, "not all teachers are on board with technology." She added that, to such teachers, "incorporating technology into instruction is someone else's job, and the skills are either not taught or [are] fragmented." Teachers are also now expected to use instructional management tools in more ways, such as understanding student assessment scores. Quite often if media specialists don't assume a leadership role in providing technology staff development, it simply doesn't get done.

BELLTONES: Celebrating Communicating--To Blog or Not to Blog?

Mary Ann started her own blog recently and since then she has seen some comments that suggest the blogosphere may be imploding, exploding, or otherwise meeting its demise. So this month, with survey results in hand, she explores the question "To Blog or Not to Blog?"

Jan/Feb 2008: In the Spotlight

Sally Ride Science K-12 Education Programs

Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, founded Sally Ride Science in 2001 to create programs and products designed to educate, entertain, engage, and inspire.
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