RFCs in HTML Format


RFC 1578

                      FYI on Questions and Answers
Answers to Commonly Asked "Primary and Secondary School Internet User"
                               Questions

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction................................................... 2
   2.  Acknowledgments................................................ 2
   3.  Questions About the Internet in an Educational Setting......... 3
   4.  Questions About School Support for an Internet Connection...... 5
   5.  Questions About Implementation and Technical Options.......... 10
   6.  Questions About Security and Ethics............................12
   7.  Questions About Educational Collaboration, Projects, and
       Resources..................................................... 15
   8.  Suggested Reading............................................. 18
   9.  Resources and Contacts........................................ 21
   10. References.................................................... 35
   11. Security Considerations....................................... 35
   12. Author's Address.............................................. 35
       Appendix A:  Examples of Projects Using the Internet.......... 36
       Appendix B:  How To Get Documents Electronically.............. 43
       Appendix C:  Glossary of Terms Used in This Document.......... 47




Sellers                                                         [Page 1]

RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 1. Introduction The elementary and secondary school community of teachers, media specialists, administrators, and students is a growing population on the Internet. In general, this group of users approaches the Internet with less experience in data network technology and fewer technical and user support resources than other Internet user groups. Many of their questions are related to the special needs of the community, while others are shared by any new user. This document attempts first to define the most frequently asked questions related to the use of the Internet in pre-university education and then to provide not only answers but also pointers to further information. For new user questions of a more general nature, the reader should get FYI 4, "FYI on Questions and Answers: Answers to Commonly Asked 'New Internet User' Questions" [1]. For information on how to get this document, see Appendix B. It is important to remember that the Internet is a volatile and changing virtual environment. I have tried to include only the most stable of network services when listing resources and groups for you to contact, which is a good solution to the problem of changing offerings on the Internet, but by no means a fool-proof one. This constant change also means that there is a lot out there that you will discover as you begin to explore on your own. Future updates of this document will be produced as Internet School Networking working group members are made aware of new questions and of insufficient or inaccurate information in the document. The RFC number of this document will change with each update, but the FYI number (22) will remain the same. 2. Acknowledgments The author wishes to thank for their help and contributions to this document the members of the Consortium for School Networking, Kidsphere, and Ednet electronic mailing lists, Ronald Elliott, Science and Technology Center; Klaus Fueller, Institute for Teacher Training of the German federal state of Hesia (HILF), and educator; Ellen Hoffman, Merit Network, Inc.; William Manning, Rice University; and Anthony Rutkowski, CNRI. Special thanks go to Raymond Harder, Microcomputer Consultant, and Michael Newell, NASA Advanced Network Applications, who not only made contributions but also kept a steady stream of feedback flowing. Extra special thanks go to the remarkable Ms. April Marine of the NASA Network Applications and Information Center for her contributions to the document, her expert advice, and her unparalleled support. Sellers [Page 2]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 3. Questions About the Internet in an Educational Setting 3.1 What is the Internet? The Internet is a collection of more than 10,000 interconnected computer networks around the world that make it possible to share information almost instantly. The networks are owned by countless commercial, research, governmental, and educational organizations and individuals. The Internet allows the more than 1.5 million computers and 10 millions users of the system to collaborate easily and quickly through messaging, discussion groups, and conferencing. Users are able to discover and access people and information, distribute information, and experiment with new technologies and services. The Internet has become a major global infrastructure for education, research, professional learning, public service, and business and is currently growing at the rate of about ten percent per month. The Internet Society serves as the international organization for Internet cooperation and coordination. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". For a more complete basic introduction to the Internet, see FYI 20, "What is the Internet?" [2]. Instructions on retrieving FYI documents can be found in Appendix B. 3.2 What are the benefits of using the Internet in the classroom? The Internet expands classroom resources dramatically by making many resources from all over the world available to students, teachers, and media specialists, including original source materials. It brings information, data, images, and even computer software into the classroom from places otherwise impossible to reach, and it does this almost instantly. Access to these resources can yield individual and group projects, collaboration, curriculum materials, and idea sharing not found in schools without Internet access. Internet access also makes contact with people all over the world possible, bringing into the classroom experts in every content area, new and old friends, and colleagues in education. With access to the Internet, your site can become a valuable source of information as well. Consider the expertise in your school which could be shared with others around the world. The isolation inherent in the teaching profession is well-known among educators. By having access to colleagues in other parts of the world, as well as to those who work outside of classrooms, Sellers [Page 3]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 educators able to reach the Internet are not as isolated. A hands-on classroom tool, the use of networks can be a motivator for students in and of itself, and their use encourages the kind of independence and autonomy that many educators agree is important for students to achieve in their learning process. Because class, race, ability, and disability are removed as factors in communication while using the Internet, it is a natural tool for addressing the needs of all students; exactly how this is done will vary from district to district as schools empower individual teachers and students. School reform, which is much on the minds of many educators today, can be supported by the use of the Internet as one of many educational tools. See the answer to Question 4.1 for more specifics. 3.3 How can educators incorporate this resource into their busy schedules? Most educators learn about the Internet during the time they use to learn about any new teaching tool or resource. Realistically, of course, this means they "steal" time at lunch, on week-ends, and before and after school to explore resources and pursue relationships via the Internet. Those who do so feel that it is well worth the rich rewards. It's important that computers used to access the Internet are readily available and not so far away physically as to make using the resource impossible for educators and others. Many features of the Internet, such as the availability of online library catalogs and information articles, will actually end up saving considerable time once an instructor learns to use them, and there are new tools being developed all the time to make Internet resources more easily accessible. As the value of the Internet as an educational resource becomes more evident, school systems will need to look toward building the time to use it into educators' schedules. Sellers [Page 4]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 3.4 I'm already using the National Geographic Kids Network (or PBS Learning Link or FrEdMail or ______). Does this have anything to do with the Internet? Is the Internet different from what I'm already using? Since the Internet is a network of many different networks, you may be using one of the networks which is connected to the Internet. Some commercial programs for schools use networks and provide value-added service, such as curriculum software, technical support, project organization and coordination, etc. Some provide value-added service, but don't allow for all basic Internet services. Networks like FrEdMail (Free Educational Electronic Mail), FidoNet, and K12Net are bulletin board and conferencing systems linked via the Internet which provide inexpensive access to some Internet services. If you can use interactive computer access (Telnet) and electronic file transfer (FTP), as well as electronic mail, you are probably "on" the Internet. If you have questions about the specific service you're currently using, ask its support personnel if you have Internet access, or call the InterNIC. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts" for how to reach the InterNIC, FrEdMail, FidoNet, and K12Net. 4. Questions About School Support for an Internet Connection 4.1 Where does my school get the money for connecting to the Internet? Although school budgets are impossibly tight in most cases, the cost of an Internet connection can be squeezed from the budget when its value becomes apparent. Costs for a low end connection can be quite reasonable. (See the next question.) The challenge facing those advocating an Internet connection sometimes has less to do with the actual cost than it has with the difficulty of convincing administrators to spend money on an unfamiliar resource. In order to move the Internet connection closer to the top of your school's priority list, consider at least two possibilities. First, your school may be in the process of reform, as are many schools. Because use of the Internet shifts focus away from a teacher-as-expert model and toward one of shared responsibility for learning, it can be a vital part of school reform. Much of school reform attempts to move away from teacher isolation and toward teacher collaboration, away from learning in a school-only context and toward learning in a life context, away from an emphasis on knowing and toward an emphasis on learning, away from Sellers [Page 5]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 a focus on content and toward a focus on concepts [3]. The Internet can play an integral part in helping to achieve these shifts. Second, to demonstrate the value of a connection, actual Internet access is more useful than words. While this may sound like a chicken-and-egg situation (I have to have Internet access to get Internet access), some organizations will provide guest accounts on an Internet-connected computer for people in schools who are trying to convince others of the value of an Internet connection. Contact local colleges, universities, technology companies, service providers, community networks, and government agencies for both guest accounts and funding ideas. For alternatives to your own school's budget or for supplements to it, look for funding in federal, state, and district budgets as well as from private grants. Work with equipment vendors to provide the hardware needed at low or no cost to your school, and consider forming a School/Community Technology Committee, or a joint School District/School/Community Technology Committee. The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) has information on grants and funding. Ask for the AskERIC InfoGuide called "Grants and Funding Sources". Two network services, one maintained by the United States Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) and one maintained by the US National Science Foundation, also have information about grants and funding. Grants can be a way for you to acquire the initial money to demonstrate the value of telecommunications in the classroom, and since these monies are often awarded on a short-term basis, should probably be looked at as temporary means of funding your activities. For information on these organizations and their services, see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". (Note: The funding services mentioned are primarily US based.) 4.2 How much does it cost to connect to the Internet, and what kind of equipment (hardware, software, etc.) does my school need in order to support an Internet connection? The cost of an Internet connection varies tremendously with the location of your site and the kind of connection that is appropriate to your needs. In order to determine the cost to your school, you will need to answer a number of questions. For help in learning what the questions are and getting answers to them, begin asking at local colleges, universities, technology companies, government agencies, community networks (often called "freenets"), local electronic bulletin board systems (BBS), network access Sellers [Page 6]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 providers, or technology consultants. To give you an idea of possible equipment needs, here are three sample scenarios, based on possible solutions found in the United States. Keep in mind that these are very general examples and that there are many solutions at each level. See also the answer to Question 5.5. Low-end: You could subscribe to some kind of Internet dial-up service. This may be provided by a vendor at a cost, by a local university gratis, or as a part of a public access service like a community network. You will need a computer which allows terminal emulation, terminal emulation software, and a modem which is compatible with your dial-up service. The approximate cost, not including the PC or the cost of the phone call, is US $100 to US $800 plus a monthly fee of approximately US $30. Mid-range: You could subscribe to a dial-up service that provides Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) or Point to Point Protocol (PPP), allowing your computer to effectively become a host on the Internet. You will need a computer with SLIP or PPP software, telecommunications applications software (to allow you to use telnet and FTP - File Transfer Protocol), and a modem which is compatible with your dial-up service. The approximate cost, not including the PC or the cost of the phone call, is US $100 to US $800 plus a monthly fee of approximately US $60. High-end: Your school or department could subscribe to a service that provides a full Internet connection to the school or department's local area network. This allows all the computers on the local area network access to the Internet. You will need a router and a connection to a network access provider's router. Typically the connection is a leased line with a CSU/DSU (Channel Service Unit/Data Service Unit). A leased line is a permanent high speed telephone connection between two points; this allows you to have a high quality permanent Internet connection at all times. A local area network, which may consist only of the router and a PC, Macintosh, or other computer system, is also needed, and your computer(s) will need some special software: a TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) stack, as well as TCP/IP based communications software such as Telnet and FTP. The approximate cost, not including the computers, is US $2,000 to US $3,000 plus a monthly fee of at least US $200. Sellers [Page 7]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 4.3 What is required in terms of personnel to support an Internet connection? (Will it require extra staff, training, more time of teachers and librarians?) Any plan for implementing technology in schools must consider staff development. Training is often the most neglected aspect of a technology plan, and a lack of training can lead to failure of the plan. In the case of the Internet, all users will need some kind of training, whether they are teachers, librarians, students, administrators, or people fulfilling other roles in the school. The train-the-trainer model, in which a group of people are trained in a subject or tool and each individual in turn trains other groups, is a good model for Internet training. A small group of motivated teachers can be provided with training and can then educate their colleagues. One advantage is that the initial group is able to target the specific needs of the other teachers in the school. Depending on the hardware involved, there may be a need for technical support. Finding this kind of support, which schools will certainly need because it is not usually in place, may be tricky. Some districts are beginning to provide it at the district level. Some schools are able to use volunteers from business, industry, or government agencies. Much of this type of support can be done over the network itself, which makes it possible for someone located off-site to maintain the equipment with only occasional trips to the school. Additionally, vendors often provide some support, perhaps a help desk for basic questions. 4.4 How do I convince the people who do the purchasing in our school system to spend money on this? Most people become convinced with exposure. One excited individual in the school who is able to show proof of concept by starting a pilot program can be the catalyst for a school or an entire district. If you can get an Internet account (as suggested above) and use it for instruction in your classroom, you can make presentations at faculty, school/community, and school board meetings. The National Center for Education Statistics in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement at the United States Department of Education has released a 17-minute video targeted at school administrators entitled "Experience the Power: Network Technology for Education". It uses interview clips of students, teachers, and policy makers in the United States to educate about Sellers [Page 8]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 what the Internet is and to encourage support for the use of telecommunications in primary and secondary schools. The NASA NREN (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration National Research and Education Network) K-12 Initiative has produced an 11-minute video describing the benefits to schools in using the Internet. The video is entitled, "Global Quest: The Internet in the Classroom", and it tells the story through interview clips with students and teachers who have experienced the power of computer networking. For further information on the two videos, see "National Center for Education Statistics", and "NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators" under "Organizations" in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". 4.5 Where do I go for technical support and training? Much technical support and training can be found by using the Internet itself. You can send questions to people in the know and join discussion lists and news groups that discuss and answer questions about support and training. One such list is Tipsheet, the Computer Help and Tip Exchange, the purpose of which is to provide a supportive setting where people can ask questions or discuss products. Other lists are the education-related lists mentioned in Question 7.2. All of these are listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". Network News, or Usenet News, is a world-wide bulletin board system with discussion groups on various topics, including computer science, general science, social and cultural themes, recreational interests, etc. By sending questions to an appropriate news group you can receive answers from people experienced with your particular problem. Specific news groups to look for are those beginning with "comp", for "computer", and followed by the type of operating system, hardware, or software you have a question about. For example, comp.os.unix or comp.os.msdos.apps. To understand the culture and etiquette of Usenet News, read the group news.announce.newusers. Your local community may also have resources that you can tap. These are again colleges and universities, businesses, computer clubs and user groups, technology consultants, and government agencies. Your network access provider may offer training and support for technical issues, and other groups also offer formal classes and seminars. For those schools who have designated technical people, they are good candidates for classes and seminars. There are some documents for further reading and exploration that Sellers [Page 9]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 you may want to peruse. See Section 8, "Suggested Reading". There are books on almost every specific subject in the computing world that may answer your questions. For new books, check your local library, bookstore, or booksellers' catalogs. 5. Questions About Implementation and Technical Options 5.1 How do I learn about options for getting my school connected? In the United States, there are a number of state-wide educational networks, most of them with access to the Internet. To find out if there is a state education network in your area which gives accounts to educators and/or students, contact the Consortium for School Networking. The InterNIC has a list of regional and national network providers. Both the Consortium for School Networking and the InterNIC are listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". The global regional NICs such as the RIPE NCC in Europe can also provide a list of service providers. The APNIC in the Pacific Rim will have a similar list in the near future. You can sometimes locate a person enthusiastic about the idea of using networks in schools and willing to help you who works as an independent consultant, in a local college or university, in a technology company, for a network access provider, at a community network, or in a government agency. There are a number of books about the Internet and how to get connected to it. A few are listed in Section 8, "Suggested Reading", and more are being published every month. Check libraries, bookstores, and booksellers' catalogs. 5.2 How many of our computers should we put on the Internet? You will probably want to make Internet *access* possible for as many of your school's computers as possible. If you are using a dial-up service, you may want a number of shared accounts throughout the school. If your school has a Local Area Network (LAN) with several computers on it, one dedicated Internet connection should be able to serve the whole school. If you are going to connect a lot of computers to the network, you will need to make sure your line speed is adequate. Most dial-up systems available today support speeds up to 14.4 Kbs (kilobits per second), which is adequate for no more than a couple of network users, depending upon the network utilities (FTP, etc.) they are using. If you are planning to connect a large number of Sellers [Page 10]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 users, you should probably consider a dedicated line of 56 Kbs or higher. 5.3 Should we set up a telecommunications lab or put networked computers in each classroom? A computer lab is an easier maintenance set-up for the person in charge of keeping the equipment running and allows each individual (or pair) in an entire class to be using a computer at the same time; a computer located in the classroom is more convenient for both the teacher and the class. If you choose the lab option, you will probably want to get a commitment from specific teachers or media specialists to use the lab in the course of their teaching. You might also consider the other labs located throughout your school. For example, if you have a science or language lab, it may be the best place for your school to begin to use the Internet. And finally, remember that the library is a natural place for people to access network resources! Networking all computers campus-wide can be expensive. You will need to consider the options--dial-up access, a dedicated line, or some other possibility--and weigh them against your school's needs and priorities. You may want to investigate having one lab, the library, and a few classrooms with modem access, assuming phone lines are available. As use of the Internet catches on, it will be more effective to create a campus-wide local area network that is routed to the Internet through a dedicated line than to keep adding modems in classrooms. Or you may want to consider the other options discussed in question 5.5 below. 5.4 Can people get on the Internet from home? This depends on your network access provider. It is certainly a possibility and is probably desirable for the educators at your school if they happen to have the necessary equipment at home. You will need to discuss whether you want to make this option available to students even if it is possible technically. This is best discussed with the community your school serves in a public forum such as a school/community meeting. At issue is the shared responsibility of educators and parents to monitor student Internet use. (See also Question 6.2.) 5.5 What are some of the options for using Internet services without paying for a full, dedicated-line Internet connection? It is possible to create a local, store-and-forward network using various implementations of the Unix to Unix Copy (UUCP) software suite, available as public domain (free) or shareware (small fee Sellers [Page 11]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 which is often optional) software, which can run on many different platforms including Amiga, IBM, and Macintosh. The connections are via dial-up phone lines using local phone numbers. Usenet News and email are "stored" on a computer until the time appointed for that computer to contact the next one along the path to the final destination, at which time it is "forwarded" along its way. Most computers are set up to process outgoing requests at least every 30 minutes. With this type of system you will have access to as many Usenet News groups as your site agrees to carry, as well as email, which includes access to mailing lists and listservs such as those listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". Many file servers also offer file transfer and other services via email. There are a couple of important advantages to such a system. First, it is much more affordable since such networks provide more efficient use of telephone lines, making a connection only while data is actually being transferred. Second, it allows for filtering, which gives a school some control over what kind of information is available to its students. The disadvantage to this type of Internet access is that you may be limited regarding the range of Internet applications you can use. FrEdMail, FidoNet, and K12Net are store-and-forward systems. FidoNet, for example, is a network of amateurs and hobbyists which operates on personal computers and is publicly accessible by anyone with a microcomputer and a modem. Contact information for all three organizations can be found in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". 6. Questions About Security and Ethics 6.1 Who should have access in the school, the teachers or the students? Clearly the answer is that all educators, including administrators and media specialists or librarians, AND students should have access to the Internet. There's no reason why support staff should not also have access. In elementary schools, access for students may be more supervised than in the upper grades. Sellers [Page 12]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 6.2 I've heard that there are files on the Internet that parents would not like their children to get. How can students be kept from accessing this objectionable material? If your school has a direct Internet connection, and often even if it doesn't, it is not possible to use a technical solution to prevent students from accessing objectionable material. Everyone on the network, including students, is able to download files from public electronic repositories, some of which contain materials that just about anyone would consider objectionable for school-age children. The store-and-forward scenario described in Question 5.5 is one solution to filtering the information to which students have access, but if students are allowed to use email then it is possible for someone to send them objectionable material. For this reason, it is important that schools develop clear policies to guide students' use of the Internet and establish rules, and consequences for breaking them, that govern behavior on the Internet. Additionally, schools should consider integrating issues around technology and ethics into the curriculum [4]. Another possibility is to control the times and opportunities that students have to access the Internet, and only allow access under supervision. This is a less desirable option than teaching the ethics of Internet access as a matter of course, but may be used in combination with other methods to ensure the integrity of the school, its students, and its educators. In any case, schools need to exercise reasonable oversight while realizing that it is almost impossible to absolutely guarantee that students will not be able to access objectionable material. 6.3 How do we keep our own and other people's computers safe from student "hackers"? In the language of computer folks, a "hacker" is someone who is excellent at understanding and manipulating computer systems. A "cracker" is someone who maliciously and/or illegally enters or attempts to enter someone else's computer system. Computer security is unquestionably important, both in maintaining the security of the school's computers and in ensuring the proper behavior of the school's students (and others who use the network). In this area, not only school policy, but also state and national laws may apply. Two sources of information which you can read to help you sort through security issues are: Sellers [Page 13]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 "Site Security Handbook" (FYI 8) "Ethical Uses of Information Technologies in Education" (Sivin & Bialo) The full references for these documents can be found in Section 8, "Suggested Reading". The pamphlet "Ethical Uses of Information Technologies in Education" is more applicable to the laws of the United States than to those of other countries, but several of the ideas are shared in various cultures. 6.4 How do we keep viruses from attacking all our computers if we get connected to the Internet? If you use the Internet to exchange data (such as text or pictures), virus infection is generally not a problem. The real concern is when you download software programs and run them on your own computer. Any program you download over the network and run could have a virus. For that matter, any program, whether on tape or a disk, even commercial software still in its original packaging, might possibly have a virus. For this reason, all computers should have virus protection software running on them. Virus checking software is available free over the Internet via Anonymous FTP from the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which is run by the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The Anonymous FTP host computer is ftp.cert.org. (For information on using Anonymous FTP, see Appendix B.) Your hardware or software vendor, your network access provider, your technical support resources, or your colleagues on network mailing lists should be able to provide more specific information applicable to your site. To help reduce the risk of downloading a virus with your program, try to use trusted sources. Ask someone you know or send the question to a mailing list or news group to find the most reliable sites for software access. 6.5 What are the rules for using the Internet? When your Internet connection is established, your access provider should acquaint you with their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). This policy explains the acceptable and non-acceptable uses for your connection. For example, it is in all cases unacceptable to use the network for illegal purposes. It may, in some cases, be unacceptable to use the network for commercial purposes. If such a policy is not mentioned, ask for it. All users are expected to know what the acceptable and unacceptable uses of their network Sellers [Page 14]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 are. Remember that it is essential to establish a school-wide policy in addition to the provider's AUP. 7. Questions About Educational Collaboration, Projects, and Resources 7.1 How can I find specific projects using the Internet that are already developed? There are a several resources on the Internet that are directed specifically at the primary and secondary school communities, and the number is growing. The InterNIC gopher server has a section on K-12 (Kindergarten through 12th grade) Education, the Consortium for School Networking maintains a gopher server, and NASA's Spacelink is directed at primary and secondary school educators. NYSERNet's Empire Internet Schoolhouse is an extension of its Bridging the Gap program. For access to these and others, see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". Many people on electronic mailing lists such as Ednet, Kidsphere, and the Consortium for School Networking Discussion List (cosndisc) post their projects and ask for partners and collaborators. The K12 hierarchy of Usenet News has several groups where educators post these invitations as well. For subscription to these and other electronic lists and for names of news groups, see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". For news groups and mailing lists of special interest to educators, see the "Ednet Guide to Usenet Newsgroups" and "An Educator's Guide to E- Mail Lists", both of which are listed in Section 8, "Suggested Reading". As you explore the Internet, there are some tools that will help you find projects that are already developed. A good overview of many of these resource discovery tools is the "Guide to Network Resource Tools" written by the European Academic Research Networks (EARN) Association. It explains the basics of tools such as Gopher, Veronica, WAIS, Archie, and the World Wide Web, as well as others, and provides pointers for finding out more about these useful tools. It is listed in Section 8, "Suggested Reading". 7.2 Where do I go to find colleagues who support networking and schools willing to participate in projects? The electronic mailing lists and Usenet News groups in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts" are rich with people who want to collaborate on projects involving use of the Internet. There are also a number of conferences you may want to look in to. The National Education Computing Conference (NECC) is held Sellers [Page 15]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 annually, as is Tel-Ed, a conference sponsored by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). ISTE maintains an online server which has a calendar of conferences all over the world in telecommunications for education. The INET conference is the annual conference for the Internet Society. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts", for contact information for these organizations and for information on access to ISTE's online server. 7.3 What are some examples of how the Internet is being used in classrooms now? Projects which use the Internet sometimes request sites from all over the world to contribute data from the local area then compile that data for use by all. Weather patterns, pollutants in water or air, and Monarch butterfly migration are some of the data that has been collected over the Internet. In Appendix A you will find several examples from the Kidsphere electronic mailing list, each from a different content area and representing different ways of using the Internet. There are a number of specific projects you may find interesting. KIDS-94 (and subsequent years), managed by the non-profit KIDLINK Society, is one. It currently includes ten discussion lists and services, some of them only for people who are ten through fifteen years old. Another place to look is Academy One of the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN), which usually has between 5 and 10 projects running at a time. The International Education and Research Network (I*EARN), a project of the non-profit Copen Family Fund, facilitates telecommunications in schools around the world. Chatback Trust, initiated to provide email for schools in the United Kingdom and around the world with students who have mental or physical difficulty with communicating, and Chatback International, directed at any school on the Internet, maintain a network server that you may want to investigate. The European Schools Project involves approximately 200 schools in 20 countries and has as its goal building a support system for secondary school educators. For contact information on these groups and server access, refer to Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". 7.4 Is there a manual that lists sites on the Internet particularly useful for class exploration? There are a number of resource guides, and so far only a couple are directed specifically at an education audience. "An Incomplete Guide to the Internet and Other Telecommunications Opportunities Especially for Teachers and Students K-12" is compiled by the NCSA Education Group and is available online. The Sellers [Page 16]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 "Internet Resource Directory for Educators, Version 2" is also available online. It was prepared by a team of 46 teachers in Nebraska and Texas who were enrolled in telecomputing courses at two universities in 1992 and 1993. Ednet's "Educator's Guide to Email Lists" is available electronically, as is the "Ednet Guide to Usenet News Groups". ERIC offers several documents relating to telecommunications and education, including the ERIC Digest "Internet Basics", the ERIC Review "K-12 Networking", "Instructional Development for Distance Education", and "Strategies for Teaching at a Distance". Complete bibliographic information for these documents is listed in Section 8, "Suggested Reading". For help in retrieving the documents electronically, see Appendix B. There are also printed guides to the Internet appearing along with the new books on the Internet. The problem with paper resource guides is that the Internet is a changing environment, so they become outdated quickly. Check libraries, bookstores, and booksellers' catalogs for these guides. One answer to the problem of printed Internet guides is the newsletter. NetTEACH NEWS is a newsletter specifically for primary and secondary school educators interested in networking. It contains information on new services on the Internet that are of interest to educators, projects for collaboration, conferences, new books and publications, and includes "The Instruction Corner", which gives practical tutorials on using network tools and services. NetTEACH NEWS is published ten times a year, and is available both hardcopy and via email. Subscription information can be found in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts". 7.5 How can I add my own contributions to the Internet? The network server operated by the Consortium for School Networking exists expressly for the sharing of ideas by the elementary and secondary school community. Educators are encouraged to submit projects, lesson plans, and ideas. A gopher server maintained by PSGnet and RAINet also accepts educator submissions for addition to the many sections of its menu tree devoted to elementary and secondary school interests. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts" for information on reaching CoSN or submitting materials, and for access to the server maintained by PSGnet and RAINet. It is important to remember that anything you create should be updated for others as you make changes yourself in the course of your learning by experience. The electronic mail lists and news groups mentioned are also places to share your knowledge and yourself as a resource, and as Sellers [Page 17]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 APPENDIX B: HOW TO GET DOCUMENTS ELECTRONICALLY The traditional way to access files available online on the Internet is via a program based on the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Many information sites have hosts that allow "anonymous" FTP, meaning you don't need to already have an account on the host in order to access the files it makes public. This appendix will describe obtaining files via anonymous FTP and describe obtaining files via the Internet Gopher program. The online files sited in Suggested Reading can all be retrieved via anonymous FTP. (Most can also be retrieved via Gopher.) In most cases, when you see a reference to a file available for FTP, the reference will give you both a computer hostname and a pathname. So, for example, the ASCII text version of the EARN Resource Tool Guide is on the host naic.nasa.gov in the /files/general_info directory as earn-resource-tool-guide.txt. Many online files are mirrored on more than one host. RFC files, for example, are so popular that several hosts act as repositories for them; so, when they are cited, rarely is a hostname given. To find out all about getting RFCs and FYIs, send a message to rfc- info@isi.edu and in the body of the message, type 'help: ways_to_get_rfcs'. RFCs are available both via electronic mail and via Anonymous FTP, as well as via many Gophers. Anonymous FTP Some of this information about transferring files based on text from the access.guide file referenced in FYI 19 [5] and written by Ellen Hoffman and Lenore Jackson. If you are on a computer connected to the Internet and can use FTP, you can access files online. If your VM/CMS, VAX/VMS, UNIX, DOS, Macintosh, or other computer system has FTP capability, you can probably use the sample commands as they are listed. If your computer doesn't work using the sample commands, you may still have FTP access. You will need to ask your system administrator or local network consultant. If you don't have FTP, you may be able to get files via electronic mail. If you are using a UNIX machine, you can use FTP directly from a system prompt. For other computers, there are commercial and public domain programs that will allow you to use FTP. (For example, there is a very easy-to-use shareware program called "Fetch" for the Macintosh.) Sellers [Page 43]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 Once you establish that you have FTP access, you will need to send a series of commands to reach the host computer with the file you want, connect to the appropriate directory, and have the file transferred to your computer. A typical FTP session is described here, but not all software is exactly alike. If you have problems, check your software's documentation ('man' page) or contact your local help-desk. This session uses the EARN Guide to Network Resource Tools in its naic.nasa.gov home as an example file to be transferred. Here's what you can do: (1) Tell your computer what host you are trying to reach: ftp naic.nasa.gov (2) Log in to the computer with the username "anonymous". You will be prompted for a password; most often it is preferred that you use your complete email address as your password. (3) Navigate through the directory to find the file you need. Two useful commands for doing so are the one to change directories ('cd'), which you can use to step through more than one directory at a time: cd files/general_info and the command which shows you the files and subdirectories within a directory: dir (4) Give a command to have the file sent to your computer: get earn-resource-tools.txt (5) Quit FTP: quit RFC Repositories: Following is a list of hosts that are primary repositories for RFCs, and, for each host, the pathname to the directory that houses these files: - ds.internic.net rfc - nis.nsf.net internet/documents/rfc - nisc.jvnc.net rfc - venera.isi.edu in-notes Sellers [Page 44]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 - wuarchive.wustl.edu info/rfc - src.doc.ic.ac.uk rfc - ftp.concert.net /rfc RFCs are in the file format you see in the Suggested Readings section, e.g., rfc####.txt, with #### being the number of the RFC. To retrieve an RFC, then, you would FTP to a host above, log in as anonymous, cd to the directory noted, and retrieve the RFC you want. The file ways_to_get_rfcs, mentioned above, explains which sites make RFCs available for electronic mail retrieval, and provides directions for doing so. Remember that FYI documents, such as this one, are also RFCs, so the information about RFCs applies to FYIs as well. You can usually retrieve FYIs either by their RFC number, or by their FYI number. FYI numbers are in the format fyi##.txt, where ## is the number of the FYI. Gopher A relatively new method of viewing and retrieving information is the Internet Gopher. A Gopher server presents information to a users via a series of menus. By choosing menu items, the user is led to files or to other services available on the Internet. Gopher can also retrieve files for the user because it has an interface to the File Transfer Protocol. So you can use Gopher to obtain files rather than FTP. Once you have located a file you want, you also have the option of mailing it electronically. Several Gopher servers are listed in the Network Servers portion of Section 9 "Resources and Contacts". The InterNIC gopher, for example, is one that provides access to the RFCs. Normally, the best way to access a Gopher server is by running a Gopher client on your own host or network. However, if you do not have that software, many Gophers are accessible via Telnet (see the addresses in Section 9). To Telnet to a host, most often you would give the command "telnet" and the hostname, for example: telnet naic.nasa.gov. Unlike FTP repositories, which are accessible over the network but which you have to access one at a time, many Gophers are linked together over the Internet. Therefore, if you have access to one Gopher, you usually have access to hundreds more. This huge network of gophers and the vast amount of information they serve is referred to as "gopherspace". You can use a service within Gopher called "Veronica" to search gopherspace to see if there is more information out there of a particular type you are interested Sellers [Page 45]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 in finding. From within Gopher, look for a menu item such as "Search Gopherspace Using Veronica" to find out more information about using the Veronica service. Sellers [Page 46]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 APPENDIX C: GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN THIS DOCUMENT The following is a short glossary of terms used in this document. For a more complete glossary of Internet terms, refer to FYI 18 (RFC 1392), "Internet Users' Glossary". These definitions are largely excerpted from that glossary. (See Section 8, "Suggested Reading", above.) Anonymous FTP Accessing data via the File Transfer Protocol using the special username "anonymous". This was devised as a method to provide a relatively secure way of providing restricted access to public data. Users who wish to acquire data from a public source may use FTP to connect to the source, then use the special username "anonymous" and their email address as the password to log into a public data area. Cracker A person who uses computer knowledge to attempt to gain access to computer systems and/or maliciously damage those systems or data. Dial-in (also dial-up) A connection, usually made via modems, between two computers (or servers) over standard voice grade telephone lines. Download To copy data from a remote computer to a local computer. The opposite of upload. DSU/CSU (Data Service Unit/Channel Service Unit) The digital equivalent of a modem. A Channel Service Unit connects to a telephone company-provided digital data circuit, and a Data Service Unit provides the electronics required to connect digital equipment to the CSU. Paired together a DSU/CSU allows computer equipment to be connected into the telephone digital service for highly conditioned, high speed data communications. Electronic Bulletin Board System (BBS) A computer, and associated software, which typically provides electronic messaging services, archives of files, and any other services or activities of interest to the bulletin board system's operator. Although BBSs have traditionally been the domain of Sellers [Page 47]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 hobbyists, an increasing number of BBSs are connected directly to the Internet, and many BBSs are currently operated by government, educational, and research institutions. EMail (Electronic Mail) A system whereby a computer user can exchange messages with other computer users (or groups of users) via a communications network. FidoNet A network of computers interconnected using the FIDO dial-up protocols. The FIDO protocol provides a means of "store and forward" file transfer similar to UUCP. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) A protocol which allows a user on one host to access, and transfer files to and from, another host over a network. Also, FTP is usually the name of the program the user invokes to execute the protocol. FYI (For Your Information) A subseries of RFCs that are not technical standards or descriptions of protocols. FYIs convey general information about topics related to TCP/IP or the Internet. See also: RFC (Request for Comments). Gopher A distributed information service that links many types of information from all around the Internet and presents it to the user in a series of menus. Because hundreds of Gopher servers cooperate in providing access to information and services, the user sees a single, uniform interface to information that actually resides on different host computers. The Gopher interface is very easy to use, and public domain versions of the clients and servers are available. Hacker A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular. The popular media has corrupted this term to give it the pejorative connotation of a person who maliciously uses computer knowledge to cause damage to computers and data. The proper term for this type of person is "cracker". Sellers [Page 48]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) The IETF is a large, open community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers whose purpose is to coordinate the operation, management and evolution of the Internet, and to resolve short-range and mid-range protocol and architectural issues. It is a major source of protocol proposals and standards. InterNIC A Network Information Center (NIC), funded by the National Science foundation, that provides information about the Internet. The InterNIC is a team of three contractors, each of which focuses on a particular network support task. The three tasks are: Information Services (the task most often cited in this document), Registration Services, and Directory and Database Services. Kbs (Kilo-Bits per Second) A data transmission rate expressed in 1000 bit per second units. For example, 56Kbs is 56*1000=56,000 bits per second. LAN (Local Area Network) A data network intended to serve an area of only a few square kilometers or less. Since such are networks relatively small they can usually be directly controlled by the users and operate at relatively high speeds (up to 100Mb/s [10 million bits per second]) over inexpensive wiring. Leased line A leased line is a special phone company permanent connection between two locations. Leased lines are generally used where high-speed data (usually 960 characters per second and higher) is continually exchanged between two computers (in the Internet, generally between routers). A leased line is billed at the same rate per month independent of how much the line is used and can be cheaper than using dial modems depending on the usage. Leased lines may also be used where higher data rates are needed beyond what a dial modem can provide. Listserv (mailing list server) An automated program that accepts mail messages from users and performs basic operations on mailing lists for those users. In the Internet, listservs are usually accessed as "listname@host"; for example, the list server for the hypothetical list Sellers [Page 49]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 "newsreports@acme.org" would be called "listserv@acme.org". Sending email to "newsreports@acme.org" causes the message to be sent to all the list subscribers, while sending a message (to subscribe or unsubscribe, for example) to "listserv@acme.org" sends the message only to the list server. Not all mailing lists use list servers to handle list administration duties. Mailing Lists A list of email addresses. Generally, a mailing list is used to discuss certain set of topics, and different mailing lists discuss different topics. A mailing list may be moderated, that is messages sent to the list are actually sent to a moderator who determines whether or not to send the messages on to everyone else. Many mailing lists are maintained by a "listserv" (list server) program that automatically handles operations such as adding new people to the list. (See above.) In the Internet, for those mailing lists maintained by a human, rather than by a listserv, you can generally subscribe to a list by sending a mail message to: "listname-REQUEST@host" and in the body of the message enter a request to subscribe. To send messages to other subscribers, you will then use the address "listname@host". Modem (MODulator/DEModulator) A device that converts the digital signals used by computers into analog signals needed by voice telephone systems. Modems can be "dial" or "leased line" type. Dial type modems are used on normal telephone lines to call remote computers, and usually operate at speeds between 120 to 1,920 characters per second. Network Access Provider (Network Service Provider) Any organization that provides network connectivity or dial-up access. Service providers may be corporations, government agencies, universities, or other organizations. Network News Another name for "Usenet News". Sellers [Page 50]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 NIC (Network Information Center) A central place where information about a network within the Internet is maintained. Usually NICs are staffed by personnel who answer user telephone calls and electronic mail, and provide general network usage information and referrals, among other possible tasks. Most network service providers also provide a NIC for their users. Port TCP/IP assigns at least one address to a host computer, but applications such as FTP must talk to a corresponding server application on the host. The "port" is the way TCP/IP designates the remote application. Most common Internet servers have specific port numbers associated with them. For example, Telnet uses port number 23. These are known as "well known ports" and allow application programmers to write standard applications (such as Telnet, FTP, etc.) that "know" where the corresponding server is on a particular host. PPP (Point to Point Protocol) A protocol used to establish TCP/IP connections using serial lines such as dial-up telephone lines. Similar to SLIP (see below), PPP is a later standard that includes features such as demand dial-up, compression, better flow control, etc. Protocol A formal description of message formats and the rules two computers must follow to exchange those messages. Protocols can describe low-level details of machine-to-machine interfaces (e.g., the order in which bits and bytes are sent across a wire) or high-level exchanges between allocation programs (e.g., the way in which two programs transfer a file across the Internet). Protocol Stack A series of protocols linked together to provide an end-to-end service. For example, the File Transfer Protocol uses the Transmission Control Protocol, which uses the Internet Protocol, which may use the Point to Point protocol, to transfer a file from one computer to another. The series FTP->TCP->IP->PPP is called a protocol stack. Sellers [Page 51]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 RFC (Request for Comments) The document series, begun in 1969, which describes the Internet suite of protocols and related experiments. Not all (in fact very few) RFCs describe Internet standards, but all Internet standards are written up as RFCs. The RFCs include the documentary record of the Internet standards process. Router A computer which forwards traffic between networks. The forwarding decision is based on network layer information and routing tables, often constructed by routing protocols. SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) A protocol used to establish TCP/IP connections using serial lines such as dial-up telephone lines. Small computers, such as PCs and Macintoshes, can use SLIP to dial up to servers, which then allow the computer to act as a full Internet node. SLIP is generally used at sites with a few users as a cheaper alternative than a full Internet connection. SLIP is being replaced by PPP at many sites. TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) TCP/IP is named for two of the major communications protocols used within the Internet (TCP and IP). These protocols (along with several others) provide the basic foundation for communications between hosts in the Internet. All of the service protocols, such as FTP, Telnet, Gopher, use TCP/IP to transfer information. Telnet Telnet is the Internet standard protocol for remote terminal connection service. The name "telnet" also is used to refer to programs that allow interactive access to remote computers, as well as the action of using said programs. For example, the phrase "Telnet to host xyzzy." means to interactively log into host "xyzzy" from some other host in the Internet. Upload To copy data from a local computer to a remote computer. The opposite of download. Sellers [Page 52]
RFC 1578 FYI Q/A - for Schools February 1994 Usenet News An electronic bulletin board system created originally by the Unix community and which is accessible via the Internet. Usenet News forms a discussion forum accessible by millions of users in almost every country in the world. Usenet News consists of thousands of topics arranged in a heirarchical form. Major topics include "comp" for computer topics, "rec" for recreational topics, "soc" for social topics, "sci" for science topics, etc. Within the major topics are subtopics, such as "rec.music.classical" for classical music, or "sci.med.physics" for discussions relating to the physics of medical science. UUCP (Unix-to-Unix CoPy) This was initially a program run under the UNIX operating system that allowed one UNIX system to send files to another UNIX system via dial-up phone lines. Today, the term is more commonly used to describe the large international network which uses the UUCP protocol to pass news and electronic mail. Virus A program which replicates itself on computer systems by incorporating itself into other programs which are shared among computer systems.



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