Best new instructional resources on the internet

Dive into undersea exploration with “Ocean Futures Online”

Would you believe the killer whale made famous by the children’s movie Free Willy actually will be freed? “Ocean Futures” is a great site supporting the nonprofit organization of the same name that resulted from a merger of the Jean Michel-Cousteau Institute and the Free Willy Keiko Foundation. The mission of Ocean Futures is to provide the global community with a forum for exploring issues affecting the ocean, its inhabitants, and its habitats. A great resource for science teachers, ocean lovers, and aquatic enthusiasts, this site offers kids free eMail updates on what Kieko, the whale who played Willy in the movie, is doing now, as well as current and future projects and interesting updates about life under the sea. Ocean Futures is hoping to be the first organization to reintroduce a captured Orca to its natural environment successfully. Kids will love checking their daily eMail for their “Keiko Watch” bulletins.

Strap on your pith helmet for an “African Edventure”

Joining “edventurers” Dennis and Aaron on their 6-month, 18,000 mile expedition across Africa to England, students can find details of their progress with an online diary, pictures, a timeline, and digitized videos. Students are able to follow their trek with the route map and even communicate with them through the discussion board and direct eMail. This expedition was set up as an online project for schools. Classes can take part in projects and challenges, learn about conservation biology, and explore the dawn of humans in the “Ed Activities” section. Be sure to visit the “Edvents” section, where kids can learn about the world’s highest bungy jump, done to illustrate gravity and acceleration. The site’s stars, who communicate with schools via eMail using a satphone and laptop, also climbed Mt. Kilmanjaro as a geography lesson. One of the best things about this site is that the African expedition is actually going on now, so there are always new highlights and adventures right around the bend.

“” is calculated to enrich your lesson plans

This interesting site provides lessons and resources for math teachers, parents, and students of all ages. The references are very useful, such as English-Spanish math translations and the glossary of math terms. Kids can use the site to get homework help; play games; do practice worksheets; find tables, formulas, and resources; and generally get past the reservations some students have about learning math. Users can also generate algebra worksheets online and prepare for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Teachers can use the site to create lesson plans, locate useful resources, find ways to address state math standards, and assess career information. Parents can even use to find ways to help their kids with their lessons. The site also highlights some of the practical day-to-day uses for math in the “Everyone” section, which includes calculations and formulas for figuring basic problems around the house.

“” lends a voice to young people on the web, a new nonprofit group, has launched a web site enabling young people nationwide to choose their own public policy agenda democratically, while joining together to campaign for changes on the policy issues they choose. “ is a powerful new voice for young people in America,” said Peter Schurman, the group’s executive director. “For the first time,young people throughout the country can come together on the net, decide for themselves what changes they want, and work together to hold politicians accountable for results.” is a nonpartisan, web-based advocacy group for young people. Although it sets no age boundaries for membership, it appeals to those born after the baby boom, generations known as “X” and “Y.”

Explore hundreds of resources at “” is a useful resource for teachers and students of American history, geography, demographics, topography, and popular culture. This site is not glossy, but it is easy to navigate and offers a complete and interesting list of links to just about every aspect of all fifty states. Users can find the answers to just about every question regarding each state. How long is South Carolina’s coastline? What does to California state flag look like? How many people live in New Mexico? What’s the link to the Idaho governor’s office? What are the words to the Illinois state song? What is the main export of Texas? Where can one find links to private colleges in Delaware? If the site does not directly answer any basic question you have about a state, it provides a link to another site that can. It’s a very navigable and useful site.

Brighten your curriculum with “A Lifetime of Color”

What is cubism? Which civilization invented paper? What is the difference between analogous colors and complementary colors? “A Lifetime of Color,” from art supply company Sanford, is an art education page that includes an interactive timeline and glossary, color wheel, and information about the elements and the principles of art. Students, teachers, and lovers of art will find this site useful as a basic reference to almost every aspect of the visual arts. In the “Timeline of Art,” users can read about the progression of art from primitive to post-modern, complete with illustrations. They can also read about many different artists, styles, media, art concepts, and elements and principles of art. The “Create Art” section allows students to try hands-on activities and techniques, or browse the site’s online galleries of student and professional artwork. Teachers of art will find the site invaluable for its activities, lesson plans, teaching tips, and technique practice. This site is a great way to integrate technology into non-traditional courses.


Research and management resources for the K-12 decision maker

Give this phys ed resource a tryout

PE Central calls itself the ultimate web site for health and physical education teachers, parents, and students. The site’s goal is to provide the latest information about contemporary, developmentally appropriate physical education programs for children and youth. Included on the site are assessments, health and physical education lesson ideas, job announcements, links to the top sport and instructional sites on the web, wellness tips, and instant activities that change on a weekly basis. Lesson plans include ideas for instant activities to get classes off to a good start. For example, PE teachers can start with a game of bean bag freeze, alphabet tag, frogs and lily pads, or dribble tag. More advanced students can learn skills such as Olympic sprint training, cooperative handball, basketball golf, and parachute volleyball. Educators can also use the site for reference in teaching health, as it includes lessons on nutrition, hygiene, growth and development, environmental health, and first aid.

“Kidz Privacy” offers advice on safeguarding students online

Are you aware of the new Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was created to protect the privacy of children under 13 who use the internet and went into effect April 21? If you are, do you understand the law? Teachers, parents, and administrators are familiar with the issue of online safety for students, but the actual laws that protect children online might be a mystery to some. Find out all about COPPA and learn tips for safeguarding children’s using the internet at this Federal Trade Commission web site, which features “Adults Only,” “Just for Kids,” “Media,” and “Business Buzz” sections. The site encourages parents and teachers to look for privacy policies on any web site directed at children, decide whether to give consent, decide whether to approve information collection for their kids, ask to view the information that the child submits, and understand that consent may be revoked at any time.

“The Knowledge Loom” weaves education research and best practices

The Knowledge Loom is a place for educators worldwide to view research that identifies best practices related to various educational themes, read stories about the implementation of such practices in real schools and districts, learn to replicate the success of these practices in their own schools, and add their own stories, knowledge, or questions to the collections. Users of the Knowledge Loom can also participate in online events and discussions, discover supporting organizations and resources, and become part of an active online teaching and learning community. The site presents a growing searchable database of best practices in subject areas such as professional development, safe schools, literacy, math, adult learning, and urban learning. The regularly updated spotlight sections highlight the latest thoughts and findings on subjects such as teacher development and early literacy. The Knowledge Loom is a great way to share ideas and get advice from other educators who are going through the same experiences with using technology in education.

Check out this first-rate primer on school networking

Need help with the basics of school computer networks? Not sure what it takes to become a fully integrated or networked school? This online tutorial on computer networks was produced under a grant from the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology and the Florida Information Resource Network. This bare-bones site is plain, but it gets the job done admirably, with easy navigation and topics clearly outlined so as not to confuse technology novices. Chapter 1 covers “What is a Network?” and addresses local area networks, metropolitan area networks, and wide area networks and their advantages and disadvantages to schools. The Protocol section discusses ethernets, gigabit ethernets, and token rings, among other topics, and the hardware section tackles every subject from servers to workstations to routers. With chapters on cabling, topology, and software, as well as a comprehensive glossary for reference, the Educator’s Guide is a great starting place for the wary technophobe, or a helpful reference for the most experienced network administrator.