Technology guru Kathy Schrock explores the Net to find the best sites for educators. In this exclusive Education World interview, Schrock talks about how she got started, and about the books and the Web site that she has created to help teachers work the Internet into their lessons.
Looking for a list of sites on the Internet that might improve your curriculum and contribute to your professional growth? Check out Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators!
Kathleen Beck Schrock is in charge of technology for the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Much of her job involves integrating technology into all curriculum areas and grade levels. She also maintains an extensive online "Guide for Educators" -- a virtual one-stop encyclopedia for educators!
"I had collected many index cards of Gopher sites from 1993-1995, and, once I learned HTML, I decided to share my card box with the world," says Schrock, explaining how the Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators Web page was launched.
A portion of the Web page is organized by subject. The site includes pages such as Art & Architecture, Education Resources, History & Social Studies, Hobbies, Mathematics, Science & Technology, Special Education Resources, Sports, and Weather. There are extensive links for each subject. The page also includes a great deal of information about search strategies and the Internet -- for example, "Assessment Rubrics and the World Wide Web," and slide shows titled "How to Find It and What to Do With It When You Do" and "Creating a Content-Rich Homepage for Your School."
In addition to the Web page, Schrock has written or collaborated on three books: Evaluating Internet Web Sites: An Educator's Guide; Beginner's Handbook: Developing Web Pages for School and Classroom (with Susan Hixson); and Microsoft Publisherä for Every Day of the School Year (with Midge Frazel), which will be available this fall.
EVALUATING A WEB PAGE
As author of Evaluating Web Sites, Education World asked Schrock What are the most critical elements for teachers and students to look for in evaluating a Web page?
"The main characteristic" of an excellent site for educators, Schrock says, "is that it meets the need of the educator looking for information. Besides that, it should be authoritative, contain information about the author, and provide a bibliography of sources used if it is an informational page."
In her book, Schrock encourages teachers and students to think critically about the Web. She provides a Web Site Rating Form, a basic checklist for teachers to use in evaluating Web sites. Also included is a set of Web site evaluation sheets for students at the elementary, middle, and secondary grade levels. The book even has lesson plans and transparencies for teaching students how to evaluate Web sites.
"Learning how to use the Internet is not difficult;" she writes in the book, but "learning to separate the quality information from the mis- and disinformation is the hard part."
EXPLORING SCHROCK'S GUIDE
"Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators" has garnered many awards. It was selected as one of the Top Ten Sites for Educators by Electronic Learning in the fall of 1996 and as an outstanding education-related site by Education Index for November 1997. A tour of the site clearly demonstrates why the in-depth, diverse site has won so many honors.
The Art & Architecture page, for example, provides many links. Just one of them, @rt Junction features activities, projects, and resources for students and teachers. And, under Science and Technology, there is an extensive list of Environmental Science Sites, including a site with a library of links to environmental information on the Net.
Available at the Literature and ELA page are links to sites ranging from a database of favorite mystery writers, characters, novels, films, or TV shows to a site with links to information about hundreds of contemporary authors.
Whatever grade or subject you teach, whatever your areas of personal interest, there is bound to be a wealth of information for you in this guide. So wade into this online ocean of information (electronically, that is), get your feet wet, and before you know it, you'll be swimming in a sea of pertinent Web sites.
BOOKS BY KATHY SCHROCK
To order any of the books by Kathy Schrock, including those listed below, go to Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators and click Kathy's Books: