Best new instructional resources on the internet

Bring literacy to life with the “English Companion”

Created by teacher and author Jim Burke, this site is designed to help English teachers find materials and ideas they can use in the classroom. English Companion included news articles relevant to teaching K-12 English and direct links to daily poems, daily words, literary resources, grant opportunities, conversation sites for English teachers, and other teaching tools. Also included are copies of various sabbatical projects, including those on test-taking skills, traits of effective readers, and state standards. The site’s Booktalk section allows students to rate and comment on specific books they have read and post their comments for others to read. Burke’s site also includes an interesting link to the Library of Congress’s Today in History page.

“Encyclopedia Britannica” is now free on the web

The Encyclopedia Britannica recently made its 32-volume set available for free on the internet. The 231-year-old company stopped door-to-door sales three years ago and now hopes to make money selling advertising on its site. The move might have been inevitable in an era when students doing homework are more likely to get their information from a computer than from a book. The web site also will offer current information from newspapers, news agencies, and 70 magazines—as well as eMail, weather forecasts, and financial market reports. The site’s considerable resources are laid out under fifteen categories—from Arts to World Issues—with appropriate subtitles under each. The research section of the site takes users directly to the best web sites related to a particular subject, plus related books, selections from magazines, and, of course, the complete Encyclopedia Britannica.

“Educational CyberPlayGround” makes learning (and playing) safe and easy

Despite all the resources and opportunities for education that the internet can provide, cyberspace can be a confusing place for new learners, parents, educators, and particularly teachers who have little experience on the rapidly growing world wide web. What do you do when a simple search can bring thousands of sites to evaluate? The main purpose of the Educational CyberPlayGround is to help all teachers, parents, librarians, homeschoolers, and regular folks—even those with little or no online experience—to use the internet effectively to aid teaching. The site provides easy-to-access links to educational sites and allows users to customize resources to fit their specific needs. In “The Education Vendor Directory,” users can find a unique database offering services available to internet travelers with an interest in education.

“Science Fair Central” is more than a fair site, the Discovery Channel’s award-winning educational web site, has launched a new feature designed to encourage interest and participation in science fair competitions across the country. One feature of the new site is its Science Fair Studio—the ultimate guide to science fair preparation for students, parents, and teachers. The Studio contains a comprehensive, step-by-step handbook for students, lists of great science fair project ideas, and links to online resources. It also features a bulletin board hosted by science fair expert, Janice VanCleave, author of more than 20 books on science projects and fairs. Science Fair Central also features Jake’s Attic, a special section for fun, try-at-home science projects that are safe for students to attempt.

Scholastic’s “Teacher’s Place in Cyberspace” is now free as well

Scholastic Inc. has re-launched its “Teacher’s Place in Cyberspace” at Formerly a subscription-based service, the new site now offers completely free resources for teachers. There are more web field trips than ever, thousands of classroom-tested lessons, age-appropriate news for kids, and unmatched author chats—including chats with J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. Offering more than 12,000 pages of rich curriculum content, is ideal for both the internet novice or the web-savvy educator. Other resources on the teachers’ page include tips on teaching with technology, classroom management, assessment, conference planning, and obtaining grants and funding.

Democracy and the digital age merge at “”

Created by social studies teachers, this free new web site offers schools a wide range of election features. Teachers can use the site to make a “mock” election that simulates the real election process. Another type of election, similar to a survey, allows the user to set up a ballot for the public. This election service is available for anyone to use. Searchable results of elections are posted on the site, or users can also request automatic eMail messages containing the results. Creating an election takes just a few minutes—you simply create a free account and set up the election to include as many ballot items as needed. says it is the only web site that offers free mock elections for schools.


Research and management resources for the K-12 decision maker

Find loads of resources inside the “teacherzone”

This web-based news and information service for elementary school teachers and principals is all about technology in education: how to get it, use it, cope with it if you don’t like it, advance it if you’re in love with it, and integrate it into the learning process. At the site, teachers will find resources for using the internet in the classroom, lesson plans for incorporating technology, and job search resources, among other things. Principals can find useful information in the Principal Vision section. There are also special reports, such as the one on the Y2K glitch, and hundreds of links to elementary schools, as well as sites for and by kids.

“Looking at Student Work” seeks to improve education

Hosted by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, this web site is offered as a resource for teachers, administrators, staff developers, and others in education. The site is the result of a 1998 meeting held by the institute and the Chicago Learning Collaborative, in which a group of educators devised a set of practices they called “looking at student work.” The resulting web site provides ideas and resources regarding these practices. According to the site, the practices for looking at student work reflect three common principles: that students’ work in schools is serious work; that students’ work provides key data about the life of the school; and that the work of children and adults in school should be made public. Practices for looking at student work must be connected to serious changes in curriculum, instruction, and professional development, the site’s creators argue.

Glean ideas for your schools using Pennsylvania’s “Educational Technology Impact Analysis”

This new web site from the Pennsylvania Department of Education features best practice school districts that use technology effectively in the state. The project, known as the Educational Technology Impact Analysis, Objective 2, “Case Studies Documenting the Use of Technology In Pennsylvania Education,” presents 14 case studies of schools across Pennsylvania. The case studies profile technology projects in different educational settings, links to technology resources, and other information on the uses, evaluation, and growth of technology in education. The studies emphasize technology’s integration into the curriculum and how technology is being used as a tool to solve educational problems. The information presented on the site is derived from data collected between January and July of this year. The site is one of several research projects funded by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge last year that are investigating how technology is impacting education and student achievement.

CEO Forum expands its resources on the ‘net

The CEO Forum on Education and Technology has announced the availability of a new interactive resource on its revamped website, which allows anyone to determine the degree to which their school supports technology in the classroom. In 1997, the CEO Forum established a baseline measure for tracking the progress of American schools in integrating technology into classrooms nationwide. This School Technology and Readiness (STaR) Chart offered a snapshot of where the nation stood in its effort to integrate technology to improve academic standards and student achievement. This information was placed into an easily understandable chart which is updated annually. While this guide was developed in 1997, the interactive, self-assessment component was just recently created and posted on the Forum’s web site for all to use. The chart measures four variables: hardware and connectivity, content, professional development, and integration and use. Once the user completes 18 multiple choice questions, a score is given that indicates his or her school’s technology readiness on a scale of Low, Mid, High, or Target Tech.

Find answers to your computing and technology questions at CNET’s “”

Got computing or technology questions? CNET’s, a free new service, likely has your answers. At, you can find hundreds of thousands of computer and technology questions and answers, culled from Usenet newsgroups and submitted by users around the world. The best part is, it’s all free. Users can search a database of questions and answers or submit their own questions to the site’s worldwide community of computing experts. (Most questions are answered within 24 hours, CNET claims.) Or, you can browse the site’s directory of thousands of tips and how-tos, written by CNET editors, for more help with the hardware and software products you use every day in your schools. You can also find more resources on your favorite tech topics with the site’s Help Centers, where you’ll find everything from books to online classes to assisted tech support.

Proxima presents a new site for all your projector needs

Proxima Corp., a world leader in the multimedia projection industry, has launched a brand new eCommerce store—and the first site of its kind specifically designed to service the needs of presenters, according to the company. The goal of the site is to provide presenters with all the solutions and advice they need to perfect their presentations. The site offers the world’s best presentation products, online leasing programs, advice on how to keep presentations on track and audiences interested, news and stories from seasoned pros, free downloads to make presenting easier, and technical product evaluations from experts in their respective fields. The site’s GEC (Government, Education, and Corporate) Center offers the complete range of Proxima products and, based on the customer’s purchasing requirements, directs buyers to Proxima’s Reseller Channel. In addition to, Proxima continues to promote, the industry’s first presentation portal and resource center.