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The Interactivity Center


Featuring collaborative projects, virtual field trips, educational games, and other interactive activities.

 

Featured Interactivity

Name: EasyEssay.com

URL: http://www.theeasyessay.com/

Who It's For: Easy Essay can be used at any grade level to teach students how to write essays, speeches, reports, and more.

What It Costs: Free

Description:
Easy Essay can teach almost anyone how to logically organize a proof format (essay, speech, business memo) for any fact, concept or idea in 5 minutes." This online tool uses an automated, fill-in-the-blanks information organization program to help users of any age develop and write an essay, speech, or report in the Say it. Prove it. Say you have proven it." format. The tool can be used to create any written work from a basic 5-paragraph essay to a 17-page report.

Timeline: Ongoing

 

Additional Interactivities

Name: Sketchcast

URL: http://sketchcast.com/

Who It's For: Anyone can use it.

What It Costs: Free

Description:
Sketchcasting is a new browser-based tool that allows users to visually communicate an idea, concept, image -- drawing of any kind -- by recording the process of creating a sketch, with or without a voice-over. The sketch (and audio) then can be embedded on a blog, homepage, or Sketchcast page for play-back at any time. Using Sketchcast is as easy as drawing on a white board while explaining a concept. In the classroom, for example, Sketchcast can be used to create short video tutorials or for illustrating concepts in math or another topic area. The Sketchcast then becomes a scaffolding tool for students to use for homework help or to review for an upcoming test.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Interactive Periodic Table

URL: http://touchspin.touchspin.com/DisplayTable.php

Who It's For: Anyone with an interest in Chemistry

What It Costs: Free

Description:
According to the Touchspin (Design) Chemistry Web site, “Some other sites have more in depth information on chemistry, but I double-dog-dare-you to find anyplace with a better interactive periodic table. None other have the features and capabilities that this one offers.” You can check out those features at the tool’s FAQ page. When you’re done, check out the site’s new Biology area and find out what a horsefly’s eye – or a pig’s gall bladder -- look like under a microscope.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Languages of the World

URL: http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/index.html

Who It's For: Anyone with an interest in languages

What It Costs: Free

Description:
The main purpose of this website [from the National Virtual Translation Center*] is to provide information about the language families of the world and their most important and populous members, including their history, status, their linguistic characteristics, and their writing in as simple and concise a way as possible." This very comprehensive and easily navigable site includes a variety of brief articles on such topics as language origins, language families, endangered languages, writing systems, language instruction and study, careers in language, and much more; discussions about the history, status, sound system, grammar, vocabulary, and writing of most world languages; an interactive language map; and quizzes on several Indo-European language branches.

* The National Virtual Translation Center (NVTC) was established in February, 2003" for the purpose of providing timely and accurate translations of foreign intelligence for all elements of the Intelligence Community."

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Idea Locker, Powered by BKFK

URL: http://www.bkfk.com/

Who It's For: The sites target audience is young people ages 13-19, although the site does offer some activities for K-8 students as well.

What It Costs: All activities and resources on the Web site are free.

Description:
BKFK (By Kids For Kids) is a company dedicated to inspiring the innovative spirit within every teen by inspiring young innovators to create and share their ideas." The Idea Locker, powered by BKFK, is a private online space where teens can create, develop, store and share their ideas and, if they choose, collaborate and share ideas with other members. BKFK runs four quarterly competitions that teens can enter for a shot at winning $10,000 and meeting famous innovators. BKFK also transforms outstanding inventions into commercial products, allowing the young inventors to earn self esteem, business experience and royalties." The site also includes areas for parents and teachers, including lessons, activities, curriculum materials, and information. BKFK sponsors include Mattel, Xerox, Pearson Foundation, Tommy Hilfiger Studios, The Weather Channel, Newell Rubbermaid, and more. Alliances and partners include the National Education Association and the National Gallery for America's Young Inventors.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Free Rice

URL: http://www.freerice.com/

Who It's For: Anyone can play. The game contains thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty and automatically adjusts to each users vocabulary level.

What It Costs: Free

Description:
FreeRice, a sister site of Poverty.com, improves users vocabulary while helping to end world hunger. The sites vocabulary game asks users to choose the best definition for a series of words. For every word the user gets right, Free Rice donates 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Shape of Things

URL: http://theshapeofthings.pbwiki.com/Introduction

Who It's For: PreK-6 students worldwide are eligible to participate.

What It Costs: Free

Description: Students (assisted by teachers) will create an art project (selected from three possible options) based on the use of triangles, circles, and squares, and then share their projects online by uploading them to a Class Photo Album."

Timeline: April 14 to May 12, 2008

Name: Poem-a-Day

URL: http://www.poets.org/poemADay.php

Who It's For: Everyone

What It Costs: Free

Description: To celebrate National Poetry Month, the Academy of American Poets will e-mail registered users one poem a day during the month of April. Poems were selected from new books published this spring.

Timeline: April 1- 30

Name: Earth Day Groceries Project

URL: http://www.earthdaybags.org

Who It's For: Any group of students that wants to promote environmental awareness, including schools, classrooms, day care centers, Scout troops, 4-H Clubs, church groups, clubs…can participate.

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Earth Day Groceries Project is a cost-free environmental awareness project in which students decorate paper grocery bags with environmental messages for Earth Day. The students borrow paper bags from a local grocery store, decorate the bags with art and messages related to the environment, return the bags to the store for customer use, and then write an online report about the project. Timeline: The bags should be returned to the stores in time for distribution on Earth Day, which is April 22.

 

Name: Encyclopedia of Life

URL: http://www.eol.org/home.html

Who It's For: Anyone, anywhere in the world interested in life on Earth.

What It Costs: Free

Description: The goal of Encyclopedia of Life is to be a portal to information about all species of life on Earth. Ultimately, the Encyclopedia hopes to “serve as an online reference source and database for every one of the 1.8 million species that are named and known on this planet, as well as all those later discovered and described. Encyclopedia of Life will be used as both a teaching and a learning tool, helping scientists, educators, students, and the community at large gain a better understanding of this planet and all who inhabit it.” Many resources are available already, however, this site always will be a work in progress.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Boost

URL: http://www.boostup.org/

Who It's For: High-school students and educators

What It Costs: Free

Description: Boost, a new high school dropout prevention campaign supported by the Advertising Council and the U.S. Army, is designed to encourage students to graduate from high school by urging peers to give one another a boost" to stay in school. The Web site features the real stories of 10 teens and their struggles to stay in high school. It also features resources that parents and teachers can use to help motivate students. Beyond the Web site, the campaign extends to MySpace and Facebook, providing an opportunity to send boosts to profiled students or anyone struggling with the demands of high school life. A Countdown to Graduation" widget has been developed for the social networks to allow students to keep their eye on the goal of graduation and spread the word to their friends.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Horton Hears a Who! digital version

URL: http://www.kidthing.com/neasreadacrossamerica/

Who It's For: Anyone who loves Dr. Suess

What It Costs: Free

Description: This animated digital version of Horton Hears A Who! by Dr. Seuss has been released for NEA's Read Across America Day 2008. The Seuss classic, with animation, narration and sound effects, will be available for download on kidthing until March 31, 2008.

Timeline: The book will be available for download until March 31, 2008.

Name: SpellingCity.com

URL: http://www.spellingcity.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

Who It's For: Teachers, students, and parents

What It Costs: Free

Description: SpellingCity is an educational Web site designed to help children improve their spelling skills. The site contains more than 25,000 words, including plurals, contractions, future and past tenses. Users type in their spelling words and have a choice of three activities: In Teach Me," a real human voice says each word and uses the word in a sentence. In Play a Game," students can choose to practice their spelling words in such games as Word Search, Word Scramble, or Hang Mouse. In Test Me," students are tested on their spelling words and can print a certificate when they achieve mastery. Teachers and parents also can enter and save spelling lists, and a forum allows them to share lists and ideas.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Teacher Book Wizard

URL: http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/homePage.do

Who It's For: Teachers, librarians, parents, and even kids can use this versatile and easy-to-use tool.

What It Costs: Free

Description: Scholoastics Teacher Book Wizard enables users to search a database of more than 50,000 childrens books to find appropriate reading material for individual students or classrooms based on reading level, interest, subject and genre. The BookAlike? feature offers book recommendations based on a title students already know and enjoy, and allows users to search for titles that are at, above, or below the original books reading level. Teacher Book Wizard offers a number of additional tools, including the ability to create and save customized childrens book lists and the ability to search by title, author or keyword to find book-specific teaching resources and books by topic. Free lesson plans related to specific books also are available at the site.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: MyBytes

URL: http://www.mybytes.com/

Who It's For: Students in grades 6-12.

What It Costs: Free

Description: MyBytes is the student Web site developed to reinforce and extend the lessons provided in the newly released Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Age curriculum program. The site includes a Music Mixer (where students can create their own ring tone to publish and share with other students), teen interviews, interviews with artists and professionals, and much more. MyBytes provides a venue for students to create and share their own content, offer their opinions and learn more.

IPR, sponsored by Microsoft, offers a comprehensive set of cross-curricular classroom activities designed for students in middle and high school and organized into thematic units. The units provide a variety of ways to engage students in this learning experience and span the following subject areas: Civics, Computer Science, Debate, Economics, Fine Arts, Government, Journalism, Language Arts, Technology, and Video Production.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Raptors in the City

URL: http://www.raptorsinthecity.org

Who It's For: Students ages 7-11

What It Costs: The cost is $50.00 for one classroom curriculum package.

Description: "Raptors in the City" is a real-time inquiry-based science and technology program starring the peregrine falcon. The online portion of Raptors in the City guides students through nesting season (roughly February to June) as they watch falcons live via cameras mounted on a skyscraper. The curriculum package supports one semester of study, during which students learn environmental, biological, and technological lessons, as well as research skills, tied to national science and technology standards. Additional curriculum materials and books for falcon study also are available. Visit the Web site to subscribe to the free "Falcon Flash" e-newsletter, weekly bulletins, and pictures from the program's study nest site during nesting season.

Timeline: Nesting season (and the latest Raptors in the City program) begins in February. 

Name: Make Beliefs Comix

URL: http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/

Who It's For: Anyone

What It Costs: Free

Description: “At this site, users of all ages can create their own comic strips. The site offers fun animal and human characters with different moods, thought and talk balloons to fill in with words, and story prompts. Teachers can use this comic strip game to encourage youngsters to improve language, reading, and creative skills. By writing dialogue for comic strips, students can practice using new vocabulary words, engage in make-believe conversations, practice writing sentences, hone storytelling skills, and work independently or collaboratively. Students in ESOL and literacy programs enjoy printing out the comics they create – doing so validates their hard-won efforts. And educational therapists who help deaf and autistic people, as well as trauma victims, can use the comics to create scripts to help their clients understand concepts and communicate thoughts. Creating comics also provides a thrilling activity for family literacy programs.”

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: TownConnect

URL: https://www.townconnect.com/login

Who It's For: Anyone

What It Costs: Free

Description: TownConnect is a private, members-only online community that uses social networking technology to provide a secure place online for families and relatives, teachers and classes, coaches and teams and other town groups." Educators, for example, might set up a secure, privateWeb site where they could connect teachers, students, and families with one another to share photos, class projects, school news and schedules, and more.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Intellectual Property Rights Education

URL: http://www.ipreducation.com

Who It's For: Educators in grades 8-10 are wanted to field test a new curriculum.

What It Costs: No payment is involved for the field testing and no fees will be charged for the completed curriculum.

Description: Topics Education, a developer of custom curriculum and education outreach campaigns, is seeking educators of students in grades 8-10 to participate in a field test of its brand new broad-based curriculum Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Age. Sponsored and made available to teachers for free by Microsoft, the curriculum will be a combination of content-rich web resources targeting middle-school and high-school students and case-study driven, experiential learning lesson plans for different subject areas. An interactive web site, MyBytes, will provide a venue for students to create and share their own content, offer their opinions and learn more." Interested educators are asked to sign up at the IPR Web site.

Timeline: Field testing will take place from mid-January through March of 2008.

Name: Science Explorations

URL: http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/explorations/

Who It's For: Resources are available for students in grades preeK-12 and their teachers.

What It Costs: Free

Description: These online science resources for students in preK-12 are part of The Scholastic/American Museum of Natural History Science Explorations program. Student resources include articles, photos, videos, and links; Exploration Exchange, where students can share thoughts, questions, and online scientific activities; a PowerPoint template and writing workshop; WebQuests; moderated chats with scientists; and more.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Inclusive Schools Week Celebration Kit

URL: http://www.inclusiveschools.org/celebrationkit.cfm

Who It's For: All U.S. educators interested in recognizing or promoting Inclusive Schools Week can download the materials.

What It Costs: Free

Description: The free, downloadable Inclusive Schools Week Celebration Kit is designed to help educators plan for Inclusive Schools Week, which takes place this year from April3-7. The kit includes publications that speak to the benefits of inclusive schools, a lengthy list of celebration ideas and lesson plans, and materials to use in promoting the week and inclusive practices in your community.

Timeline: Inclusive Schools Week is December 3-7, 2007.

Name: Google Docs for Educators

URL: http://www.google.com/educators/weeklyreader.html

Who It's For: The Google Docs and Spreadsheets tool allows sharing among students at all grade levels, between students and teacher, student and parent..

What It Costs: Free

Description: Google and Weekly Reader have teamed up to provide free tools and materials for educators to use to teach "digital buddy writing," in which two or more students work together from different computers to write and revise the same paper at the same time. The buddy writing lessons and activities utilize the sharing features of Google Docs and Spreadsheets, which enable teachers and students to determine who can access and edit documents. Google Docs helps promote group work and peer editing skills, and helps fulfill the stated goal of The National Council of Teachers of English, which espouses writing as a process and encourages multiple revisions and peer editing.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Investigating the First Thanksgiving

URL: http://www.plimoth.org/education/olc/index_js2.html

Who It's For: Grades 3-5 (adaptable for other grade levels)

What It Costs: Free

Description: In this virtual adventure, students become historians and determine what really happened at the first Thanksgiving. This component of the Plimoth Plantation Learning Center offers interesting and accurate historical information, as well as engaging learning and assessment activities. An extensive teacher's guide also is provided.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Planetfesto

URL: http://www.planetfesto.org/

Who It's For: Anyone can contribute a piece of the ribbon.

What It Costs: Free

Description: Created as a volunteer effort by a family in California, Planetfesto's purpose is to build an environmental educational and action movement that creates a virtual ribbon long enough to wrap around the earth." Anyone can visit the Web site and create his or her own piece of the ribbon: to do so, simply choose a photo on the site (or upload your own photo or drawing), say why you love the planet and what youre going to do to protect it. (ideas are provided on the site if you don't have your own). Some features of particular interest to schools include the ability to search the ribbon and view a custom subset of just one school or communitys contributions and the ability to rank individual pieces of the ribbon and view the most popular worldwide or by country.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: FlashMeeting

URL: http://flashmeeting.open.ac.uk/

Who It's For: Anyone interested in videoconferencing

What It Costs: Free

Description: FlashMeeting is an application based on the Adobe Flash 'plug in' and Flash Media Server. Running in a standard web browser window, it allows a dispersed group of people to meet from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Typically a meeting is pre-booked by a registered user, and a url containing a unique password for the meeting is returned by the FlashMeeting server. The 'booker' passes the URL on to the intended participants who simply click on the link to enter into the meeting at the arranged time. During the meeting one person speaks (broadcasts) at a time. Others can simultaneously contribute using text chat, the whiteboard, emoticons, and so on while waiting for their turn to speak. A replay of the meeting is instantly available to those with the replay url. FlashMeeting can be used for academic meetings, seminars presentations, and video conferencing between schools. It allows classes equipped with a computer and web cam to have face to face discussions.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Google Lit Trips

URL: http://www.googlelittrips.org/

Who It's For: Lit Trips are available for students in grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12, and higher ed.

What It Costs: Free

Description: Developed as part of the Google Certified Teachers program by veteran high-school English teacher Jerome Burg, this site is an experiment in teaching great literature in a very different way. Using Google Earth [and great literature,] students discover where in the world the greatest road trip stories of all time took place... and so much more!"

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Milk Matters

URL: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/milk/teachers

Who It's For: Classroom resources are available for teachers in preK-12, however, most resources target teachers of tweens (ages 9-12) and teens.

What It Costs: Free

Description: Milk Matters online lesson resources are part of the NICHDs Milk Matters campaign to increase awareness about the importance of calcium in childrens and adolescents diets. The resources are designed to help students understand the importance of making smart food choices through calcium lessons, fact sheets, take-home assignments, and classroom discussion. In The Great Calcium Challenge, students learn to read nutrition labels and calculate their calcium intake. The Calcium Collector includes a game in which students choose a combination of foods that will provide 1,300 milligrams of calcium. The Smart Snack Cookbook gives students an opportunity to create a recipe book of simple, healthy snacks. All materials are consistent with National Health Education Standards. In addition to teacher materials, the Web site offers a variety of free materials for parents and health care providers, including a booklet, poster, fact sheets, a coloring book, and sticker. Many materials are available in English and Spanish.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Find a StoryMap a StoryTell a Story

URL: http://www.rebooting.ca/place/

Who It's For: This project is appropriate for all grades. For the lower grades, it might be done as a collaborative project; for Grades 4 and up, an independent project.

What It Costs: Free

Description: Find a Story... Map a Story... Tell a Story invites you to choose a story that matters to you and, using an online mapping tool such as Google Maps, Community Walk, or Wayfaring, create a StoryMap that will place your stories within a geographical context. Using one of those digital mapping tools, locate a geographical map from your story location, and add images, audio, and text memories to the place markers found on the mapping tool. This project will help you recover lost stories and save and share them so other can enjoy and learn from them. Completed StoryMaps will be posted on a student work page on the Find a Story... Map a Story... Tell a Story Web site.

Timeline: The project is ongoing for the 2007-2008 school year. Students projects will be posted as received.

Name: Star Count

URL: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/son/energy/starcount/index.html or http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/educators/resources/stars/default.asp

Who It's For: Grades K-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Star Count Project, an education collaboration by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will allow students to investigate the visual quality of the night sky and to help assess the extent of atmospheric light pollution. The project was suggested, and is being supported, by CSA astronaut Steve MacLean, a member of the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. MacLean will perform the Star Count experiment during the next Atlantis mission, uploading star observation information into a database via the Star Count Web site. Students will add to the database by entering their location, number of stars observed and information about their viewing conditions. The students then will be able to compare their observations with MacLean's and other observers. As part of the project, students also will learn how to estimate the number of stars observed based on random samples of sections of the sky.

Timeline: Atlantis Mission

Name: Classroom 2.0

URL: http://www.classroom20.com/

Who It's For: Educators

What It Costs: Free

Description: Classroom 2.0 is a “social networking site devoted to those interested in the practical application of computer technology (especially Web 2.0) in the classroom and in their own professional development. Especially we hope that those who feel they are "beginners" will find this a comfortable place to start being a part of the community dialog and to learn more.”

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: U.S. South Pole Station

URL: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/livingsouthpole/intro.jsp

Who It's For: Middle school and above

What It Costs: Free

Description: This National Science Foundation site offers visitors the opportunity to explore research underway at Antarcticas U.S. South Pole Station. The multimedia resources at the site can help students understand what makes the South Pole a unique place for studying astronomy, air and ozone, seismic science, and off-world simulations. Included are photographs, illustrations, maps, timelines, videos, and panoramic images, as well as facts about the south pole, stories from the stations crew, and information about the instruments they use. There's also a live webcam during the poles summer months.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Gotta Have IT

URL: http://www.ncwit.org/ghit

Who It's For: Grades K-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: Gotta Have IT, a project of the NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology) K-12 Alliance, is an online “all-in-one computing resource kit designed with educators' needs in mind. A select set of high-quality posters, computing and careers information, digital media and more, the resource kit builds awareness and inspires interest in computing. Gotta Have IT is for all students, but is especially inclusive of girls.” The NCWIT K-12 Alliance is a consortium of 19 corporations and organizations, including Apple Computer, Avaya, Bank of America, the Computer Science Teachers Association, Girl Scouts, and Girls Inc., whose goal is “to reverse the trend of fewer women entering computing fields.”

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Meteora

URL: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/outreach/sl

Who It's For: All ages

What It Costs: Free

Description: On Meteora, NOAA's “Second Life" island, visitors can “soar through a hurricane on the wing of a research aircraft, rise gently through the atmosphere atop a weather balloon, or search for a hidden underwater cave on a side trip from a NOAA submarine." NOAA's Earth System Research Lab (ESRL) developed the site so visitors can have experiences in a virtual world that they cannot have in the physical world, and learn about the cutting-edge science that NOAA conducts regularly.
NOAA's virtual world utilizes a platform known as Second Life, a 3-D online world in which virtual “residents" create and build their own communities.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Geosense

URL: http://www.geosense.net/

Who It's For: Grades 6-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: Visitors test their knowledge of world geography by playing an interactive game, either alone or against another player.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Great Plant Escape

URL: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/gpe.html

Who It's For: Grades 4-5

What It Costs: Free

Description: At this Web site, developed by the University of Illinois Extension, students learn about plants as they help Bud, Sprout, and Detective solve a variety of mysteries. Each of the six lessons is interdisciplinary, and “designed to introduce students to plant science and to increase their understanding of how foods grow.” A teacher’s guide also is provided.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: What Lived With Sue?

URL: http://www.fieldmuseum.org/sue/interactive1/sue-whatlivedV3_content.html

Who It's For: All ages

What It Costs: Free

Description: This interactive online exhibit from The Field Museum invites visitors to learn about Sue, “the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex fossil yet discovered“ by participating in a virtual “dig" at the site where Sue was found. Here visitors uncover fossils of plants and animals that inhabited Sue’s world and complete the puzzle of what her life might have been like. Students can then go on to other pages to continue their exploration of Sue, at the Field Museum.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: WhaleNet

URL: http://whale.wheelock.edu/Welcome.html

Who It's For: All grade levels

What It Costs: Free

Description: Sponsored by Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts, WhaleNet focuses on information and activities related to the school’s whales and marine research program. The site includes three separate areas -- for students, teachers, and parents. Each provides appropriate information, activities, maps, and so on related to whales, including satellite tagging programs, whale watch programs, “Bring a Whale to School,” “Adopt a Whale,” and much more. The site also provides complete lessons, teaching units, and related materials.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Hands Across the World

URL: http://www.technospudprojects.com/Projects/hands07/information.htm

Who It's For: Grades preK-8 are eligible.

What It Costs: Free

Description: In this project hosted by Imagiverse and TechnoSpud, participants decorate templates of their hands in ways that represent where they live and also provide written information about their homes. Participants then exchange information with one another through the project.

Timeline: Participants can sign up for either of two submission dates -- April 15 or May 6.

Name: World Wise Schools

URL: http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/correspond

Who It's For: Educators teaching at any type of school (public, private, home school), at any grade level (kindergarten, middle school, high school, college), in any setting (classroom, Scout group, after-school program) can participate in the Correspondence Match program.

What It Costs: Free

Description: World Wise Schools matches up Peace Corps Volunteers in the field with U.S. classroom teachers for a two-year exchange of ideas, stories, pictures, and artifacts designed to help students learn about the people, geography, environment, and culture of the world from the direct experience of Volunteers living in other countries. Teachers can choose any region of the world, any kind of program (e.g., agriculture, business, education, health, environment), and even a specific volunteer. To assist in the correspondence, World Wise Schools provides participants with a handbook of ideas on how to foster an exchange that is rewarding for both students and the Volunteer. The handbook also contains all the details necessary for signing up and maintaining the correspondence relationship.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Challenge 20/20

URL: http://www.nais.org/resources/index.cfm?ItemNumber=147262

Who It's For: Grades preK-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: : Organized by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Challenge 20/20 encourages teams of students from different countries to reflect on 20 urgent global issues -- and then find local ways to address those issues. The issues are taken from the list outlined in Jean-François Rischard’s book, "High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them." The project involves chat, teleconferencing, listservs, and Web site creation, as well as collaboration, research, critical thinking, decision-making, and social action.

Timeline: Registration for this year’s challenge opens in March of 2007.

Name: Connect with the Troops World’s Largest and Greatest Scrapbook Project

URL: http://www.connectwiththetroops.com/

Who It's For: U.S. students and teachers at all grade levels

What It Costs: Free

Description: : In this project, sponsored by Connect and Join, teachers and students from across the United States create and submit hand-made scrapbook pages with special messages to the American men and women troops serving our country. Pages are then scanned and digitized, and will be archived at The Library of Congress -- Veteran's History Project. The Connect with the Troops portal offers free tools that allow teachers and students to communicate with and express support for U.S. troops or individual soldiers, while tying patriotism into the curriculum. The tools include scrapbooking instructions, as well as lesson plans and suggestions on how teachers can make an archival activity into a standards-aligned learning experience for students. Lesson plans include a virtual visit to the Library of Congress, A Road Trip visiting our nation’s monuments, the United States Flag, a Hometown Brochure activity and more.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Lucy Gray’s Teacher Meme

URL: http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php?
Cat=0&Board=myplaces&Number=740005&fpart=&PHPSESSID=

Who It's For: Anyone

What It Costs: Free

Description: :

meme: (pron. 'meem') A contagious idea that replicates like a virus, passed on from mind to mind. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

Lucy Gray, a teacher in Chicago, Illinois, started this Google Earth meme as a way to pay tribute to teachers who have made a difference in the lives of others and to share memorable learning experiences around the world. Participants write a blurb about a teacher who influenced their lives and/or a favorite learning moment. They then create a placemark in Google Earth and enter their blurb in the placemark’s descriptive field. Finally, participants tap others to join the meme. The project is designed to offer participants a chance to recognize and celebrate people, and to encourage them to explore Google Earth and learn how to add placemarks and e-mail files. For further instructions on how to participate, visit Gray’s blog. For more about memes, visit Answers.com.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: : Reach the World

URL: http://www.reachtheworld.org/index.htm

Who It's For: Any classroom can participate

What It Costs: Free

Description: On November 19, 2006, the 43-foot Nautor, Aldebaran, will set sail from North Core Marina on a 30,000-mile journey around the world. During the journey, crewmembers, teachers, and students will develop online resources that will be posted at the Reach the World Web site, where students and teachers can use them to augment social studies, science and literacy curricula. Reach the World, the trip’s sponsor, was established in New York City in 1998. It is the nation’s only not-for-profit organization to use technology and travel to bring the world into underprivileged schools in New York City and nationwide. Although Reach the World’s online journeys primarily serve students and teachers in New York City and Chicago, any classroom can participate. During the past eight years, Reach the World has sponsored three previous round-the-world online journeys through the voyages of Makulu, a 43-foot ketch: the first took place from 1997 to 1999; the second concluded in May 2004; and the third will conclude in June 2007.

Timeline:The current trip began on November 19, 2006 and will last three years

Name: : My School Journalism

URL: http://www.myhighschooljournalism.org

Who It's For: All U.S. elementary, middle, and high schools

What It Costs:$50.00 sign-up fee; no additional fees

Description: The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) is the creator and sponsor of My.SchoolJournalism.org, a service for hosting school newspapers online. For a sign-up fee of $50, the site supplies the Web space and software for newspaper creation. The individual schools supply the content. Schools are asked only to update their sites at least once a month during the academic year. To sign up for the service, a school official (teacher or administrator) needs to complete a registration form and mail it along with an official school check. For the price of registration, ASNE also provides each school with The Associated Press Stylebook, the Principal's Guide to Scholastic Journalism, and a guide to scholastic press law. A companion site offers additional resources, including lesson plans and tips for getting started. Despite its URL, this site can be used by elementary and middle schools as well as high schools.

Timeline:Ongoing.

Name: : The Intercultural Cross Cultural Teaching Portal

URL: http://www.icctp.net

Who It's For: PreK-16 educators

What It Costs: Free.

Description:“The Intercultural Cross Cultural Teaching Portal aims to establish communities of diverse PreK-16 educators, service professionals and students who are learning, working, teaching or preparing to teach in a professional educational environment.” The four main interactive features of ICCTP are the animated vignettes, caucus group discussion forums, 'Ask a Professional' interface, and site survey. The portal’s highlight is the vignettes, which depict “problematic in-class situations developed from real-life events and provide an opportunity for educators and students to witness, respond to and discuss potentially difficult issues” that might arise in the classroom.

Timeline:Ongoing.

Name: OnlineProjects4Teachers

URL: http://www.onlineprojects4teachers.com

Who It's For: Teachers at all grade levels

What It Costs: Free*

Description: Jennifer Wagner, the creator of TechnoSpud Online Projects has created this site to offer educators a place where they can find online projects to join or promote their own online projects.

*The site also will offer low cost Web site hosting for teachers who wish to host an online project. Tools included will be chat rooms, bulletin boards, data collection service, mailing lists, and more.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: WikiMapia

URL: http://www.wikimapia.org

Who It's For: Students and Adults

What It Costs: Free

Description: "WikiMapia is an online map resource that combines Google Maps with a wiki system, allowing users to add information (in the form of a note) to any location on the globe." (See Wikipedia) The project intends "to describe the whole Earth." Click a location to read about it -- or add a location or tag of your own!

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Clover

URL: http://www.icctp.net/interact.php

Who It's For: Students and Adults

What It Costs: Free

Description: Clover, an authoring tool developed by the IntraCultural and Cross-Cultural Teaching Portal (See below), "engages students and teachers in a technology-rich design process to construct animated narrative vignettes (simulations) that deal with school interactions. The tool leads students through the process of constructing a vignette -- writing a narrative, writing a script, sketching characters and scenes, animating scenes, and responding to vignettes created by other students.Clover executes on a PC and can be used with a digitizing pad or mouse device for drawing."

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Desktop News

URL: http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/news/desktop.asp

Who It's For: All grade levels

What It Costs: Free

Description: "To help kids develop an interest in current events and a better understanding of the world around them," Scholastic News Online has launched Desktop News, an interactive application that downloads news directly onto any computer. Desktop News, available for both Macs and PCs, operates as a homepage that delivers news to a computer's desktop, automatically checking for new content every five minutes. In addition to breaking news articles, Desktop News also delivers such educational content as Special Reports and regular news polls.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: VisibleProofs: Forensic Views of the Body

URL: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/visibleproofs/index.html

Who It's For: Grades 6-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Education section of this site on the history of forensics (developed by the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health), offers three online activities and three lesson plans designed to introduce to students the subjects of forensic medicine, anthropology, technology, and history. Designed specifically for students and educators, the lesson plans provide educators with ready-made resources for the classroom and the online activities promote active learning for students.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Wired Safety

URL: http://www.wiredsafety.com/wiredlearning/

Who It's For: Students and adults.

What It Costs: Free

Description: The goal of WiredSafety Learning is to help teachers guide students toward "Cyber Safety through Information Literacy" by providing lessons and learning objects that can serve as professional development and effective teaching and learning tools. As teachers use these activities, they focus on building critical thinking and problem solving skills with students. The cyber safety messages are either built into the activities or incorporated into the debriefing process. Currently, six lessons are available for teachers and students at a variety of grade levels.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Explore Your Earth

URL: http://www.teacher.scholastic.com/lessonplans/exploreyourearth/

Who It's For: Grades 6-8

What It Costs: Free

Description: Both teacher.scholastic.com/lessonplans/exploreyourearth Scholastic and earth.google.com/scholastic/index.html Google host "Explore Your Earth" Web pages. The cross-curricular language arts, geography, and science program and contest is designed to help students learn about local and worldwide environmental issues. Google Earth guides students as they explore the globe, communicate with other classrooms, and learn how their everyday decisions affect the environment. Scholastic provides three lesson plans to help teachers focus the exploration.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Whyville

URL: http://b.whyville.net/smmk/top/index

Who It's For: Ages 8-15

What It Costs: Free

Description: Whyville is a virtual city, in which preteens and young teens learn by participating in constructive educational activities that also promote socially responsible behavior. In Whyville, students can visit the airfield, the newspaper, the center for disease control, City Hall and many more locations to learn about topics related to art history, science, journalism, civics, economics, nutrition, and more. At Whyville, students can finance a virtual car, correct a virtual vitamin deficiency, design a new dance, race robot cars, trace the spread of an infectious disease, and much more. Whyville creators work directly with such organizations as the Getty, NASA, the School Nutrition Association, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to produce valid educational content presented in an engaging manner.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: SchoolNotes

URL: http://www.schoolnotes.com

Who It's For: Educators can use SchoolNotes to set up their own Web pages. Parents and students can use SchoolNotes to access the information on those pages.

What It Costs: Free

Description: SchoolNotes is a simple-to-use tool that allows individuals (teachers and leaders of school organizations) who have no knowledge of programming to place information on the Internet. SchoolNotes does not provide the capability to create school Web sites; it complements school Web sites by providing individual teachers -- "techies" and "non-techies" alike -- the ability to independently post information on the Web.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The U-505 Submarine

URL: http://www.msichicago.org/exhibit/U505/index.html

Who It's For: Grades 5-8

What It Costs: Free

Description: "On June 4, 1944, a German submarine known as U-505 was prowling on the coast of West Africa on a hunt for American and Allied ships, when depth charges from the USS Chatelain blasted the dreaded U-boat out of hiding. It was the end of a violent run for U-505, which had terrorized the Atlantic Ocean as part of a massive U-boat campaign that almost altered the outcome of World War II. The Museum of Science and Industry invites you to step inside the real 505 -- the only German submarine in the United States and, now, a national memorial to the 55,000 American sailors who gave their lives on the high seas in WWI and WWII." The site includes WWII history, a virtual tour of U-505, as well as several online activities.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Ocean Explorer

URL: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/explorations.html

Who It's For: Grades 6-12 through adult

What It Costs: Free

Description: The NOAA Ocean Exploration program strives to engage broad audiences to enhance America's environmental literacy through the excitement of ocean discovery. This Web site provides an innovative way for students of all ages to learn about the oceans by offering near real-time access to a series of multidisciplinary ocean explorations. It also provides compelling imagery, video, and topical essays related to the ocean. This education section of the site includes 165 hands-on and standards-based lesson plans, a curriculum for teachers of Grades 6-12 that presents lesson plans in a comprehensive scope and sequence through subject area categories that cut across individual expeditions, an opportunity for live webchats, interactive video webcasts, and text-based forums with ocean explorers, and more.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Virtual Fish Tank

URL: http://www.virtualfishtank.com/main.html

Who It's For: All ages

What It Costs: Free

Description: VirtualFishtank.com, a Web site built by Nearlife, Inc., enables visitors from anywhere in the world to experience the Virtual FishTank(TM) exhibit at Boston's Museum of Science. The exhibit located at the Massachusetts Museum -- and the accompanying Web site -- allow users to build their own fish, release it into a gigantic 24,000 "gallon" virtual tank, and watch it interact with the other fish in the tank. The Virtual FishTank(TM) exhibit and Web site teach lessons about emergent behavior, group behavior and modeling.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Quest Garden

URL: http://questgarden.com/

Who It's For: Access to QuestGarden is open to any educator.

What It Costs: Membership is $20 for a 2-year subscription.

Description: "QuestGarden is an online authoring tool, community and hosting service that is designed to make it easier and quicker to create a high quality WebQuest. No knowledge of web editing or uploading is required. Prompts, guides and examples are provided for each step of the process. Images, worksheets and other documents can easily be attached or embedded in the WebQuest, and users have complete control over the appearance of the final lesson. QuestGarden is modeled after a community garden with all the resources needed to bring great WebQuests to life. Users are encouraged to comment on each others' work, to share links and images, and to build new WebQuests on existing ones. Rather than starting from scratch, users can bring a WebQuest written by another member of the community into their workspace, modify the content or appearance to suit their needs, and use it with their own students. Attribution to the first author is maintained, and authors are notified when another member of the community makes an improved or modified version of their work.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Rainforest Alliance

URL: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/programs/education/teachers/curriculu...

Who It's For: K-8 Teachers

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Rainforest Alliance's multidisciplinary curriculum for grades K-8 includes complete lessons based on national standards, as well as all the resources needed to complete and extend those lessons, including stories (in English, Spanish and Portuguese), presentations, articles, posters and background descriptions of species and on-the-ground conservation projects. The free resources, which can be downloaded or viewed on screen, present information on forests, wildlife and local communities, and provide a global perspective on the importance of protecting the world's natural resources, while giving students opportunities for direct action. Note: The site also includes an area especially for kids.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Wikispaces for Educators

URL: http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers

Who It's For: K-12 educators

What It Costs: Free

Description: To encourage the use of wikis in education, Tangent, a San Francisco, has decided to offer free wikis to K-12 educators. These wikis, which can be public or private, have no advertising on them, provide unlimited usage, and are completely free. (Normally, free wikispaces contain advertising, and private spaces cost $5 a month.) Wikispaces is a tool that allows users (families, classrooms, sports teams, community groups, book clubs, fan clubs, party organizers...) to easily build Web pages that can be shared with all members of the group or organization.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Beyond the Fire: Teen Experiences in War

URL: http://www.itvs.org/beyondthefire/master.html

Who It's For: Middle- and high-school students

What It Costs: Free

Description: Beyond the Fire: Teen Experiences in War introduces the real-life stories of 15 teenagers, now living in the United States, who have survived war. Each visitor to the site, designed to provide teens with an experience that is unique, interactive, and educational, receives a passport that is customized and retrievable with each visit. Site visitors store their responses to the refugee stories in their passports. Each visitor also is provided with an online travelog. After each teen story is finished, the travelog provides a thought-provoking question about that refugee. Students record their answers to the questions in the travelogs. When a student has explored all 15 teen stories, his or her responses are reviewed by a moderator and posted on the site. (A printable version of the travelog questions also is available.) The site includes 15 teen refugee stories, timelines, photographs, movies, country facts, an interactive world map, lesson plans and other resources, a teacher message board, and more.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War

URL: http://valley.vcdh.virginia.edu/

Who It's For: Adults and students in middle school and above

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Valley of the Shadow is a digital archive of primary sources documenting the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War. Here visitors can explore thousands of original documents showing what life was like during the Civil War for the men and women of Augusta and Franklin. The site, part of the University of Virginia's Virginia Center for Digital History contains thousands of letters and diaries, census and government records, newspapers and speeches, all recording different aspects of daily life in those two counties at the time of the Civil War.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Civil Rights Documentation Project

URL: http://www.congresslink.org/civilrights/index.htm

Who It's For: Teachers and students

What It Costs: Free

Description: Created and maintained by the Dirksen Congressional Center, the Civil Rights Documentation Project is an interactive, Web-based presentation with links to digitized historical materials and other Internet-based resources about civil rights legislation created by museums, historical societies, and government agencies. The project is intended to provide resources teachers can use to create lesson plans and materials to supplement their teaching of the legislative process, of recent American history, and of the civil rights movement, among other social studies topics.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Windward

URL: www.ciconline.org/windward

Who It's For: Students in middle school and above; adults

What It Costs: Free

Description: In this free online weather simulation/game, students attempt to outsmart the weather in a sailing race around the world. Created in cooperation with Discovery Education, The Weather Channel and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the game targets middle-school science students, but will appeal to older students and adults as well. Windward offers students a combination of unique resources and expertise from Discovery Education and The Weather Channel, NASA, and weather expert Bill Biewenga; a range of multi-sensory content-video clips, music, text, and excellent graphics; and a meaningful, interactive and self-paced way to learn important science concepts.Extensive teacher and parent sections offer ideas for using Windward at school and at home. The game also provides accessibility for players with disabilities, including functionality to support screen readers, alternative text formats, and captioning of embedded video. Note: Windward requires a broadband cable connection and Macromedia Flash plug-in.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Amazon Interactive

URL: http://www.eduweb.com/amazon.html

Who It's For: Grades 4-8

What It Costs: Free

Description: At this site, developed by Educational Web Adventures, students can explore the geography of the Ecuadorian Amazon; learn about the rainforest and the Quichua people who call it home; discover how the Quichua live off the land; and run a community-based ecotourism project along the Ro Napo. Or they can try one of the site's many similar educational Adventures for students in grades K-12 and above.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: NEA Jazz in the Schools

URL: http://www.neajazzintheschools.org/home.php

Who It's For: High-school teachers of social studies, history, and music

What It Costs: Free

Description: NEA Jazz in the Schools is a web-based curriculum and DVD toolkit that explores jazz as an indigenous American art form and as a means to understanding American history. Provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Verizon Foundation, the completed resource will include a teacher's guide of five curricular units with teacher tips, cross-curricular activities, and assessment methods. Each kit also will include student materials, a timeline poster, and audio and video resources. Lesson One, The Advent of Jazz: The Dawn of the Twentieth Century, now is available online.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Educational Jargon Generator

URL: http://www.sciencegeek.net/lingo.html

Who It's For: Educators

What It Costs: Free

Description: According to the site's host, a California chemistry teacher, "This fine academic tool was designed to assist in the writing of reports, grant applications, and other documents related to public schools Amaze your colleagues with finely crafted phrases of educational nonsense!"

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Number2 Free Online Test Prep

URL: http://www.number2.com

Who It's For: High-school students

What It Costs: Free

Description: Students create a free account to access customized SAT, ACT, or GRE courses that include tutorials, practice sessions that adapt to each student's ability level, a vocabulary builder, and more.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: SURWEB

URL: http://www.surweb.org/default.asp

Who It's For: Students and Teachers

What It Costs: Free

Description: SURWEB allows visitors, even those with minimal technology experience, to create multimedia presentations in minutes using images, sounds, and movies provided by SURWEB or other digital sources. Established in 1995 by the Southeastern Education Service Center using a DOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant, SURWEB now has more than 180 online image collections, containing more than 38,000 images. The site provides a tutorial on how to create multimedia presentations and projects using SURWEB resources.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: ePals Book Club

URL: http://www.epals.com/projects/book_club/

Who It's For: Grades 1-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: ePALS Online Book Club, sponsored by Harper Collins Children's Books and Random House Children's Books, provides students from around the world the opportunity to talk about their favorite books and authors. Students can post their comments, writings, surveys, and reviews to a moderated discussion board, or share their views via e-mail. Teachers can post their own tips to the discussion board and find classrooms interested in participating in collaborative activities.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Adopt a Class

URL: http://www.technospudprojects.com/Projects/hurricanehelp/hurricanehelp.htm

Who It's For: All grade levels can participate.

What It Costs: Cost of donated supplies.

Description: Classrooms around the world are looking for ways to reach out and help students and teachers who have been affected by the devastation caused by of Hurricane Katrina. When you "Adopt a Class," you will be matched with a class and/or teacher in need of help, and a simple supply list will be provided to you with ideas of items to send to your "adopted" class.

Timeline: Undetermined. Note: Initial registration is now closed. The project expects to begin registering additional participants in mid September.

Name: Kids' Internet Radio Project

URL: http://www.projectkir.org

Who It's For: Grades 7-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Kids' Internet Radio Project is a streaming broadcast that allows students and teachers to produce and broadcast their own Internet radio shows. The project provides the software, tutorials, facilities, and production support; all students and teachers need is a computer, microphone, and Internet connection. Shows, which currently include storytelling, reporting, music, poetry, and discussions of social issues, are live in the sense that KIRP introduces pre-produced material and over the air -- not in the sense that youth producers are actually connected to the airwaves -- thus ensuring that the material aired is appropriate for teen audiences. Shows also are archived for future listeners, and feedback mechanisms let listeners provide with comments and suggestions about the shows.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Pearl World Youth News

URL: http://www.iearn.org/pearlproject/index.html

Who It's For: High-school students around the world with English proficiency and Internet access can participate.

What It Costs: Free

Description: In this project offered by iEarn, in collaboration with the Daniel Pearl Foundation, students complete a free online accreditation program designed to teach the ins, outs, and ethics of contemporary journalism -- covering everything "from writing leads (opening sentences) to finding sources and conducting interviews." After completing the accreditation program, students have the opportunity to become international correspondents for PEARL World Youth News.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Project Based Learning Checklists

URL: http://pblchecklist.4teachers.org/

Who It's For: Grades K-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: 4Teacher's Project Based Checklists are a great compliment to your next major project, such as Science Fair or a unit culminating activity. The tool generates printable checklists (self-evaluation rubrics) that students complete before turning in their work. Users can choose a checklists for writing, science, oral presentations, or multimedia; templates are available for grades K-12, and English and Spanish versions are included. After choosing a checklist template -- a lab report for grades 5-8, for example -- users then choose items from the Suggestion Menu and type in criteria for evaluating each item (such as "I wrote down where I got the information" under Background Research). Criteria can be adjusted to fit your curriculum and students' reading level. Information on involving students in the creation of those checklists also is included.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Panda Cam

URL: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/default.cfm

Who It's For: Children and adults of all ages

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Smithsonian's National Zoological Park's new panda cams provide an online glimpse into the lives of the National Zoo's giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. The pandas, on loan from the China Wildlife Conservation Association, can be seen playing, sitting upright crunching on fresh bamboo, and catching up on their sleep both indoors and out. Observors say the best times to view the pandas are at 8:30 a.m., noon, and 3:30 p.m. Scientists are using the panda cam images to monitor and record the animals' behavior.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Create a Graph

URL: http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph

Who It's For: Grades 5-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: Create a Graph is a free online graphing tool provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. With a few instructions, students in grades 5-12 can use the program to create bar, line, pie, area, and xy graphs. Easy-to-use tabs separate the process into steps, including design, data, label, preview, and print/save. Moreover, the example graphs -- containing statistics ranging from fun to educational -- can be used by teachers in whole class discussions. Once completed, online graphs can be printed or saved to a computer as .pdf, .svg, .png, .jpg, .emf (used in Microsoft Office programs), or .eps files!

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Casa Notes

URL: http://casanotes.4teachers.org

Who It's For: K-12 teachers

What It Costs: Free

Description: The next time you want to recognize a student's accomplishments, check out Casa Notes, a free online tool from 4Teachers.org. In six easy steps, you can choose from such note templates as "On Target!" "Thank You!" and "Well Done!," select graphics and colors, and then customize the note for your own students. The result is a printable note that even can be translated into Spanish. If you prefer to print your notes in black and white (color ink can be expensive!), remember to choose white background and black text. Also, although Casa Notes also offers a number of additional templates, such as medication and field trip permission forms, most schools and districts require the use of their own forms for those purposes, so be sure to check with your school system before using them.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: BookCrossing

URL: http://www.bookcrossing.com/

Who It's For: Students in grades 2-12, and adults

What It Costs: Free, except for the cost of books

Description: Encourage students to share the books they love -- and what they love about those books -- by participating in the BookCrossing project. Have students, individually or as a class, select a book, read it, post their comments about it at the BookCrossing Web site, and then leave the book (bearing a special BookCrossing label) in a public place for another book lover to find. The person who discovers the book is asked to read it and post his or her remarks to the Web site as well. (The entire process is anonymous.) Perhaps even more fun is the Go Hunting link, at which potential readers can search for the locations of books left in their area. Not specifically an educational project, BookCrossing can be enjoyed by students, teachers, parents, classrooms, and families.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Answers.com

URL: http://www.answers.com/

Who It's For: Students in grades 3-12, teachers, and other adults

What It Costs: Free

Description: Answers.com is a free download that allows users to highlight any word on a Web site and instantly get a definition of, or other relevant information about, that word or concept. Students reading an online news article, for example, might highlight the word "Khartoum" and press ALT (or Command Option G on Mac), to see a new window pop up displaying four lines of quick facts on the capital of Sudan. The Answers.com software is easy to install on any computer --Windows or Mac. Software reference tools include a dictionary, an encyclopedia, nutritional facts, geography, weather, and much more. This is a great tool for students as well as for parents and teachers!

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Babel Fish

URL: http://babelfish.yahoo.com/

Who It's For: Students in grades 6-12 or adults

What It Costs: Free

Description: Do you have students whose families are not native English speakers? Translate notes home with this free and easy-to-use tool from Alta Vista. Simply type the message into the blank, select the languages you want to translate to and from, and then click Translate. The translated text appears in another blank; you can highlight, copy, and paste that into a Word file or other document, print the Web page, or handwrite the translation to give to parents. Because the translator is quite literal, messages should be short and direct. Note: Use this tool only for languages, such as Spanish, French, and Italian, that use the Roman alphabet. Many Asian or other languages won't appear correctly due to limited language installations on some class or home computers.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: A Journey to a New Land

URL: http://www.sfu.museum/journey

Who It's For: K-12, post secondary

What It Costs: Free

Description: This interactive exhibit from the Virtual Museum of Canada explores the Ice Age and the arrival of the first people in North America. Separate text and detailed illustrations are provided for several different academic levels -- from primary to post secondary. Also included are interactive games, simulations, parent/teacher resources, and an interactive timeline.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Goodnight Stories

URL: http://goodnightstories.com/stories.htm

Who It's For: Grades 1-4

What It Costs: Free

Description: Goodnight Stories is an interactive Web site where students can write endings to stories, choose different directions within a story, and fill in a "mad lib" structure to make a silly story. Student stories are published here as well, as are additions to the "Decide a Story" activity. Elementary students love displaying their creative energies, and are proud to see their writing published at this site. Don't miss it!

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Make a Christmas Tree Maze

URL: http://hereandabove.com/maze/mazetree.form.html

Who It's For: Grades 3-6

What It Costs: Free

Description: Generate a Christmas tree maze to print and complete.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Traveling Kids

URL: http://www.comsewogue.k12.ny.us/~csinger/travelingkids/

Who It's For: Kids aged 6-10

What It Costs: Free (requires student access to KidPix and teacher access to an e-mail account)

Description: Where in your state would your students most like to visit? Share their picks with others across the United States in this telecollaborative project. Students research their state online, use KidPix to draw a picture of their favorite vacation spot, then explain their reasons for choosing that spot. Teachers then e-mail the pictures to the project coordinator for uploading onto the Web site. Be sure to click the bus icon to see samples of previous submissions. Join schools from almost 12 states in this easy and engaging project!

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Knowing Me Is Knowing You

URL: http://www.geocities.com/optionalcourse7a191/aboutourproject.htm

Who It's For: Students in grades 5-8

What It Costs: Free (minimal cost for postage and classroom materials)

Description: Join classrooms in almost a dozen countries as they share information on their communities and themselves. Knowing you Is Knowing Me offers seven collaborative projects for middle school students. In My Souvenir, 7th graders take photos of favorite souvenirs, write a paragraph about where the souvenirs came from and why they're important to them, and then exchange their photos and essays with a class in another country. In the other projects, students exchange information on celebrations, mascots, national symbols, famous countrymen, and more. Through these projects, students have an opportunity to learn about other cultures and see commonalities while building writing skills.

Timeline: Each project has its own timeline; see the site for specific dates.

Name: Power Politics III

URL: http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/decision2004/
powerpolitics/index.html?s=mesde

Who It's For: Grades 9-12

What It Costs: Free (A deluxe edition is available for purchase.)

Description: Make civics come alive by downloading Power Politics III and letting your high school students manage a presidential election campaign, past or present. Sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor and Rock the Vote, this free software informs and engages students as they create ads, speeches, and travel itineraries while tracking the polls for their specific candidate. The award-winning software is informative, robust, and relevant for any high school classroom discussing the election process.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: How Far Is it?

URL: http://www.indo.com/distance/index.html

Who It's For: Grades K-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: Is your class studying Chile and students want to know how far away Santiago is? Have you ever wondered how far it is to Katmandu? Check out this easy-to-use tool that calculates the distance between any two places in the world. Even smaller U.S. towns are listed, so most classrooms should be able to use this tool to measure the distance from their locale to anywhere else. Because the distance calculated is the shortest possible (as the crow flies), however, you also might want students to determine the distance one must actually travel to get from one place to another.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Playwriting in the Round: A Collaborative Playwriting Experience

URL: http://telecollaborate.net/education/pir/

Who It's For: Students in grades 6-8, and 9-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: In this round robin playwriting activity, classes work in groups of three to produce three one-act plays. Each week, each class writes one scene of a one-act mystery play and then passes the developing play on to the next class in the group. At the end of six weeks, each class will have co-written three plays it can perform, critique, and share with others! An online expert is available to conference with students about playwriting terms, challenges, and ideas.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Web Poster Wizard

URL: http://poster.4teachers.org/

Who It's For: Grades K-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: Web Poster Wizard, a free tool developed by the High Plains Research in Technology Consortium, allows students to display a project, such as a book report or science fair demonstration, online. Students gather their research and pre-write before using the tool. Then, they work through three steps to complete the online project; adding a page title, pictures, text, and links to more information or sources they've cited. Most project posters can be completed in one class period; when done, students have a URL to the site where their project is displayed. (Note: Students are not allowed to put last names, e-mail addresses, or other identifying information on their projects.) This tool is great for many grades, especially 4-12.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Power Proofreading

URL: http://www.eduplace.com/kids/hme/k_5/proofread

Who It's For: Grades 2-8

What It Costs: Free

Description: Improve students' proofing skills and knowledge of grammar with this fun and easy-to-use site. After a short animated video introduces Power Proofreading, students click the folder for their grade level and select a passage to proof. Each passage's errors focus on a specific skill, so why not preview the passages before class, and pick out the ones you want your class to practice based on your current grammar unit? Then, students simply click to delete, add, or edit as needed to correct grammatical and spelling mistakes. Unlike sites that have students correct grammar in a sentence or by question and answer format, this is one of the few at which students work within a paragraph, a valuable skill for success in standardized testing. Kids need more practice? Try some of Education World's Every-Day Edits.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: ThinkTank

URL: http://thinktank.4teachers.org

Who It's For: Grades 3-8

What It Costs: Free

Description: Do your students struggle to break down a research topic into manageable subtopics? ThinkTank, a free tool from 4Teachers, helps students organize and refine a topic for research. Students click through six easy steps during which they define their topic, list several subtopics, and print a research organizer in outline form. ThinkTank is a great starting point for research for any major project, such as a biographical report, Science Fair, or unit project. Additionally, students can send their organizers to NoteStar, a free online note-taking interactivity from 4Teachers, making it even easier to accurately and quickly research any topic.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Comic Creator

URL: http://www.readwritethink.org/student_mat/student_material
.asp?id=21 Who

It's For: Grades K-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: Are you teaching about dialogue, narrative writing, or storyboarding? Check out this online tool from Read, Write, Think, a site sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the International Reading Association (IRA), and the MarcoPolo Foundation. Students can create one, two, three, or six panels of a comic strip, add characters, props, dialogue and background, and then print the entire project. Comic Creator can be completed in mere minutes, making it a good choice for illustrating student work or developing ideas when time is short. Nine lesson plans for grades 3-12, as well as a printable PDF worksheet to help students preplan their comics, also are included.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Great Plant Escape

URL: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/

Who It's For: Grades 4-5

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Great Plant Escape, created by the University of Illinois Extension, teaches upper elementary students about basic botany concepts. Students join a carrot and pea pod named Bud and Sprout as they help Detective LeFleur solve any of six plant-related mysteries. Students first read through a case to learn basic facts about the topic; they then complete a variety of interactive activities to show their understanding of the concepts involved. Some pen-and-paper activities also are included. All content is available in Spanish, and an extensive Teacher's Guide is provided to assist with pre-activity questioning and extension activities. Students can complete each case in 25-40 minutes.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Art Zone

URL: http://www.nga.gov/kids/zone/zone.htm

Who It's For: Grades K-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: NGA Kids from the National Gallery of Art provides several tools that allow kids to create art interactively. The site includes a Collage Machine; PixelFace, an interactive portrait maker and drawing board; Cubits, a geometric sculpture maker; 3-d Twirler, for designing and texturizing three-dimensional shapes; Diamonds; and RiverRun, where "young children orchestrate a flowing array of colorful shapes and patterns." A (free) Shockwave player is required. The Art Zone also provides non-interactive resources, including a Children's Guide to The Art of Romare Bearden.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Cool Science for Curious Kids

URL: http://www.hhmi.org/coolscience

Who It's For: Grades K-5

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Howard Hughes Medical Institute offers this highly interactive science site that also contains a number of "real" science adventures. For example, in Plant-Parts Salad, kids match a plant part with its name to create a virtual salad, and then create a real salad. In Air Junk, they listen to discover that there's more to air than oxygen, make a cardboard "air junk collector," and then use a virtual "microscope" to look closely at the junk they collect. In fact, each of the area's five sections combines real and virtual activities designed to both engage and instruct.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Underground Railroad

URL: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/railroad/index.html

Who It's For: Grades K-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: At this National Geographic site, students follow a route to freedom based on the actual journeys of runaway slaves during the second half of the 19th century. Decisions must be made along the route and as they relive the experiences of the Underground Railroad, students also learn the consequences of those choices. In addition to the information provided about the journey itself, the site also provides a timeline, a map of Underground Railroad routes, photographs and brief biographies of those who worked to free the slaves, lessons and activities for classroom use, and links to many additional resources.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: ExplorA-Pond

URL: http://www.uen.org/utahlink/pond/

Who It's For: Grades K-6

What It Costs: Free

Description: In this online collaborative project, students adopt a nearby pond, learn about pond ecology, and collaborate with students around the world to solve mathematical and scientific problems related to what they learn. Students who don't live near an actual pond can create a virtual one by completing the online simulation. The site provides many math and science lesson plans and activities as well as links to additional resources. Also included are a pond ecology discussion board and a virtual tour of the project's "outdoor classroom." Utah Education Network, which sponsors the pond activity, also offers additional online projects, including Shadow a Swan and Weather Report.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Pizza Explorer

URL: http://www.accessexcellence.org/pizza

Who It's For: Grades 9-12

What It Costs: Free

Description: The Pizza Explorer from Purdue University's Institute of Food Technologists was created to teach students about food science and the chemistry of food components through hands-on interactive activities. Students explore information about eight common ingredients of pizza to learn about each food's history, chemistry, processing, nutritional composition, and more. Each section also includes a quiz, game, and "hot topics" about that ingredient.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: The Flat Stanley Project

URL: http://www.flatstanleyproject.com/

Who It's For: Adults and students of all ages can participate -- provided they are associated with an accredited institution.

What It Costs: Free

Description: In this, the original Flat Stanley project, students read the book "Flat Stanley," by Jeff Brown, make their own paper Flat Stanleys, and begin writing a journal about their experiences with Flat Stanley. They then send Flat Stanley and the journal to another participating school -- either by snail mail or e-mail. The students at that school complete the journal and return Flat Stanley to the original class. The site includes a list of participating schools, curriculum connections, sample journal entries, sample letters, a Flat Stanley template, and more.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: GeoGame

URL: http://www.globalschoolhouse.org/project/gg

Who It's For: Grades K-12 (although most appropriate for upper elementary and middle school grades)

What It Costs: Free

Description: Students use maps, atlases, and other reference materials to match descriptions of a variety of locations to the names of the corresponding cities. They also can research information about their own community and submit the information to be used in another GeoGame.

Timeline: Three sessions a year. Check the Web site for dates.

Name: Windows on the World

URL: http://www.tramline.com/cross/world

Who It's For: Grades 7-12

What It Costs: The field trips already on the site are free, you can purchase a tool to create your own trips. Description: Windows on the World -- one of 39 virtual field trips already at the Tramline site -- provides a framework for a study of other countries and cultures from a personal perspective, while incorporating such subject areas as reading, writing, math, geography, history, economics, and more. The tour utilizes a wide variety of online resources, including maps, photos, interactive activities, and audio and video clips. The teacher resource page provides additional activities that can be used to support the virtual field trip experience.

Timeline: Permanent resource

Name: Interactive Web Applications

URL: http://www.mrsbogucki.com/aemes/resource/default.htm

Who It's For: Grades 2-5

What It Costs: Free

Description: Mrs. Bogucki's Third Grade Class Home Page (Anne E. Moncure Elementary School, Stafford, Virginia) provides a number of interactive curriculum-related practice activities in Math (basic math skills, money, graphing, measurement, math terms, place value) and Language Arts (word search, word scramble, fill in the missing letters, alphabetizing). In addition, the site offers 28 interactive quizzes in History and Social Studies, Math and Science, and Language Arts. These are skill activities with clearly identifiable academic purpose: the learning isn't hidden behind flashy graphics or gimmicky games. Kids will enjoy them -- and learn from them -- nonetheless.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: EasyTech

URL: http://www.learning.com/easytech/index.htm

Who It's For: Grades K-8

What It Costs: $12.00 per student per year (although the company says discounts are available)

Description: EasyTech, developed by Learning.com, is an interactive instructional program that integrates technology skills with the curriculum. The program includes technology lessons for students that are fun, colorful, and complete; lesson plans for integrating each technology lesson with your curriculum, and student assessment activities. Learning.com also promises to provide teacher training and technical support. Sample lessons and activities are available online (At the home page, click Learn More), as is a free 30-day trial.

Timeline: Ongoing

Name: Building Homes of Our Own

URL: http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?
sectionID=184&genericContentID=356

Who It's For: Grade 6-Adult

What It Costs: A free copy can be obtained from the National Association of Home Builders at http://www.homesofourown.org.

Description: The National Association of Home Builders offers this free CD-Rom based game designed to simulate the entire home-building experience, from site selection to final sale. Players collect information, make choices, and solve problems as they deal with zoning requirements, loan limits, environmental concerns, and more, to build and sell a 3-D home. The CD comes (very quickly!) with a printed User Guide and a nearly 200-page .pdf Teacher Guide. ( See http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?
sectionID=184&genericContentID=356
for more information and contacts.)

Timeline: None, although according to the NAHB, "quantities are limited."

 

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2005 Education World
 

 

 

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