“Pulling Together” is a new quarterly journal published by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL). The journal identifies technology-based resources available to help rural schools improve educational opportunities. In its first issue, the journal includes the following web-based resources of significance to rural districts:
1. Affordable Access, Rural Online (http://www.itc.org/aaron). A database of practical advice and policy recommendations designed to help rural schools meet the National Information Infrastructure (NII) guidelines.
2. Distance Learning Resource Network (http://www.dlrn.org). Created through the Education Department’s Star Schools program, this site offers instructional modules, enrichment activities, and courses in science, mathematics, foreign languages, workplace skills, and more.
3. Guiding Questions for Technology Planning (http://www.ncrtec.org/capacity/guidewww/gqhome.htm). School district administrators can use this site as a roadmap for planning technology purchases and integration. Includes models of successful programs across the United States.
4. Learning With Technology Course Resources (http://www.ncrtec.org/pd/lwtres/resource.htm). Created by the North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium, this site has 13 online courses about using software in the classroom, evaluating the effectiveness of various programs, and creating courses on specific topics.
5. National Staff Development Council Home Page (http://www.nsdc.org). This site provides valuable information on professional development techniques, including tech-related articles and tips.
6. Organizations Concerned About Rural Education (http://www.ruralschools.org). OCRE is a coalition of organizationssuch as the American Association of School Administrators, American Library Association, National Association of Counties, Natural Rural Electric Cooperative, and companies such as US West and SBC Telecommunicationsfocused on improving rural education. One of the best features on the site is a section on grant and loan availability.
7. Pathways to School Improvement: Critical Issues in Technology (http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/te0cont.htm). Created by NCREL, this site provides a roadmap for working through the School Improvement Cycle program for creating systemic change. It also includes news items on improving education through technology and other methods.
8. Putting Technology into the Classroom: A Guide for Rural Decision Makers (http://www.sedl.org/pubs/tec24). This web site, sponsored by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, focuses on effectively using the technology that schools and districts have obtained.