Information, please

With all the cool stuff on the internet these days, it’s sometimes easy to forget that, first and foremost, the web is about plain old information. That might not sound very exciting in a world of Flash and Javascript, but it’s just as true today as it was in the early days of the World Wide Web more than a decade ago. You remember those days, when everyone still called it the Information Superhighway?

According to the ranking of the most popular web sites, two of the top three sites are Google and Yahoo! Now, the last time I checked, these weren’t exactly visually stimulating places to surf, at least not on the front end. On the other hand, their back-end power is massive, and it’s all dedicated to helping people find information they already know they are seeking by the time they arrive at these sites.

The best web sites–the ones you remember and revisit–are not the ones with all the bells and whistles. Like Google and Yahoo!, they’re sites that offer valuable information you were already looking for–or, in some cases, you were looking for but didn’t know it yet.

Having spoken with educators at several major ed-tech conferences so far this year, I have a pretty good sense of what eSchool News readers are looking for when they go online and, in particular, when they come to our site. If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’d like to explain the ways eSchool News Online meets these daily informational needs.

Grants and funding information

If there’s one thing that draws tech-savvy educators to the internet, it’s a ravenous hunger for information about funding. In fact, one of the things that has helped make eSN Online the No. 1 ed-tech publication site on the internet (according to those rankings) is a commitment to providing school technology funding news and information. That commitment is alive and well in our recently redesigned Grants & Funding section, which you’ll find here:

If you can’t find enough grant opportunities on our funding page, you can easily extend your quest by signing up for our eSN Grants & Funding newsletter. Twice a month, you’ll get a slew of new grants delivered right to your eMail in-box. Look for the link to the newsletter subscription form on the main Grants & Funding page mentioned above.

Speaking of an extended eSN Online experience, there’s even more great information waiting for you in our new Technology Solutions Center (TSC). Earlier this year, we merged content from our popular Grants & Funding section into the TSC, and if you haven’t checked it out, now is the time. You’ll also find white papers describing effective uses of educational technology, product showcases, and a complete guide to thousands of technology vendors that market to schools. You’re one click away at:

Resources, resources, resources

When it comes to information, educators want to know what makes technology work in schools. Virtually every session at the major ed-tech conferences is dedicated to this topic in one form or another, and here eSN Online is on the cutting edge in two respects.

First, there is our long-standing Educator’s Resource Center (ERC), where we bring together years of exclusive content about technology challenges only educators truly appreciate. This month, we have added two more topics to an already impressive lineup.

One is an entire ERC section devoted to math instruction and boosting math scores. Sponsored by Hotmath, a strong performer in this month’s Readers’ Choice Awards (see page 31), this section allows educators to see how various districts are using technology to improve math instruction and also includes links to stories about research on the topic. For example, did you know that one of the most effective ways to improve math scores is through the use of streaming video clips? You can find that story and more at:

The other ERC newcomer focuses on how schools deal with tech support issues. As technology becomes more and more integral to education, it is especially important to employ people who are capable of handling the changing hardware and software. This ERC section, sponsored by Ardence Inc., will help you and your IT staff identify and solve your toughest tech-support challenges. Peruse it now at:

Second, there is one more critical source of insight. It’s the eSN Conference Information Center (CIC), which includes reviews of more than 250 sessions from national and state ed-tech conferences–with many more in the pipeline, including some from this month’s Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) conference in Orlando. You’ll find these reviews linked from our CIC home page:

So, if you’re serious about learning with technology, the information you’re looking for is already at eSN Online. Thanks for indulging me, and I hope you’ll take the extra step and visit the web pages mentioned here. Consider it a homework assignment.

There’s nothing wrong with homework, is there?

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