Does the very thought of posting lessons and information on the Web cause your heart to race and your palms to sweat? For many teachers, the reluctance to incorporate Internet elements into the curriculum comes from the lack of knowledge and the fear of the complexity of Web page creation. Don't feel that way; lots of help is available. Many sites on the Web offer free services that help teachers make the most of wired computers -- without knowing even one little piece of HTML code!
SchoolNotes.com is a site that offers many possibilities for teachers and students. Teachers can post homework assignments, upcoming projects, newsletters, schedules, Web site links of interest, lecture notes, or even flashcards for study and review. All that and more can be accomplished with a simple fill-in-the-blank form.
Having four children in elementary school led Ron Bocinsky to develop SchoolNotes.com as a means for teachers to easily convey information to students and parents.
"We would like all teachers and schools, both public and private, to be aware that the SchoolNotes.com service is available to help facilitate family-school-community partnerships that strengthen education by improving communication," said Bocinsky. "We continually strive to improve SchoolNotes.com with a primary focus on keeping it simple. Our goal is to complement school Web sites with a tool that teachers can use to add information at any time."
SchoolNotes.com is being used by teachers and students at all grade levels:
Teachers can also use SchoolNotes.com to post an Internet activity for their class. Internet activities are the simplest way to utilize in the classroom the fresh information resources found on the Net. Teachers can simply find a specific site or group of sites related to a topic and build an activity around the site or sites. Posting the activity on the Web makes it available to students 24 hours a day from any computer with Internet access, at school or at home. Check out a sample Endangered Animals Internet-based activity produced on SchoolNotes.
After you've taken a look at some of the ways teachers are using SchoolNotes.com, visit the Testimonials page to see what other SchoolNotes users are saying about the service. You'll find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the site too.
Filamentality, developed by the Pacific Bell Fellows, has been around for a while but is still a godsend for the busy teacher or the Internet newbie. With its fill-in-the-blank format, teachers can create treasure hunts, subject samplers, scrapbooks, hotlists, and WebQuests. Those activities can even be hosted on the Pacific Bell site as long as they're updated regularly. Just register and choose a password to begin your activity. It doesn't have to be completed in one session; it can be worked on over a period of time. The site also includes excellent guides for teachers, students, librarians, and trainers. Six Paths to China is an outstanding example of how the Internet can support learning in the classroom. It includes an example of each of the Filamentality formats.
TrackStar, a free service of the South Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium, helps educators easily create learning activities for their students. The created Track will guide the student through a set of URLs with annotations for exploration. You can make your own Track by completing the creation form. You can also edit and modify an existing track to make it fit your needs. If you'd like to browse what others have done, the Tracks are categorized by subject area, or you can search by keyword for Tracks on a specific subject. There is a complete Help section and a TrackStar Forum for sharing ideas about this tool with others. Browse through the following sites to see activities produced with TrackStar.
For interactive quizzes, Ed Tech Tools is the answer. If you answer a series of questions about the quiz design and enter certain information, the QuizCenter will generate your quiz. QuizCenter can score the quiz on-line, give your students feedback, and send you the results via e-mail. See how many of the dinosaurs you recognize in Dinosaur! The Quiz Menu provides a list of the QuizCenter topics available on-line.
The Quiz Lab, at Funbrain.com, is another quiz tool available free to teachers who register. Its simple format makes it easy for teachers to provide practice and review for students of all ages. Students can even make up their own quizzes for other students to use. Quiz lab will grade quizzes automatically and e-mail the scores to the teacher. It will also gather useful data about a class and track student performance throughout the year. Students can access the quizzes on-line at any time to review skills.
Article by Hazel Jobe
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