RFCs in HTML Format

RFC 1941

                 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction...................................................  2
   2. Acknowledgments................................................  3
   3. Questions About the Internet in an Educational Setting.........  3
   4. Questions About Getting the Internet into the School...........  7
   5. Questions About Using Internet Services........................ 17
   6. Questions About Classroom Resources, Projects, & Collaboration. 21
   7. Questions About Security and Ethics............................ 25
   8. Suggested Reading.............................................. 29
   9. Resources and Contacts......................................... 31
   10. References.................................................... 50
   11. Security Considerations....................................... 51
   12. Authors' Addresses............................................ 51
   Appendix A: Glossary of Terms Used in this Document............... 52
   Appendix B: Ways to Get Requests for Comments (RFCs).............. 60
   Appendix C: Examples of Educational Projects Using the Internet... 61

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RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 1. Introduction As more and more schools begin using technology to achieve educational goals, access to the worldwide network of computer networks known as the Internet is expanding. Help for schools in the form of printed materials, electronic resources, and people is also expanding. The Internet School Networking (ISN) group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) remains committed to articulating the advantages of Internet connections for schools and providing solutions to the challenges schools face in getting connected. The FYI (For Your Information) series, which is a subset of the IETF- produced RFCs (Requests for Comments) is one way to achieve these goals. (See Appendix A, "Glossary of Terms Used in This Document" for further explanation of "FYI" and "RFC.") While the IETF and ISN are international groups, the authors of this document are experienced only in bringing the Internet to schools in the United States. We are aware that culture and the national economy effect how one views the issues surrounding school networking. (To give just one example, in the United States, educational reform is an important reason for schools to get connected to the Internet. Other countries may not have the same incentive to transform the teacher's role to more of a guide toward knowledge and less of a sole provider of information.) So, while this document may have a U.S. flavor, we feel that the focus will not prevent it from being useful to those in other countries! Some of the questions educators have about the Internet are of a more general nature, and for those we recommend reading FYI 4, "Answers to Commonly Asked 'New Internet User' Questions." (For information on how to get this and other IETF documents of interest to the general Internet user, See Appendix B, "Ways to Get RFCs.") Remember that the Internet is a changing environment. Although we have tried to include only the most stable of network services and contacts, you may still find that something listed is unavailable or has changed. The positive side of this constant change is that you will discover much on your own, and some of what you discover will be new since the writing of this document. This is an update of an earlier document (FYI 22/RFC 1578, "Answers to Commonly Asked 'Primary and Secondary School Internet User' Questions"), and renders that document obsolete. If future updates are produced, the RFC number will change again, and the FYI number (22) will remain the same. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 2]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 2. Acknowledgments In addition to Ronald Elliott, Klaus Fueller, Raymond Harder, Ellen Hoffman, William Manning, April Marine, Michael Newell, and Anthony Rutkowski, all of whom contributed to the first version of this document, we would like to thank Sepideh Boroumand, Sandy Dueck, Jeff Gong, Bill Grenoble, Pat Kaspar, Ed Klein, Yermo Lamers, Gary Malkin, April Marine, Michael Newell, and Jan Wee for their invaluable suggestions and contributions to this version. Thanks also to Nathan Hickson for checking each of the entries in the formidable Section 9. 3. Questions About the Internet in an Educational Setting 3.1 What is the Internet? The Internet is a large and rapidly growing worldwide network comprised of smaller computer networks, all linked by a common protocol, that enables computers of different types to exchange information. The networks are owned by countless commercial, research, government, and education organizations and individuals. The Internet allows the almost 5 million computers [1] and countless users of the system to collaborate easily and quickly either in pairs or in groups. 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 used for education, research, professional learning, public service, and business. There is a confusing variety of types of Internet access. These types of access are distinguished either by the services one can use (telnet, Gopher, FTP or File Transfer Protocol, World Wide Web) or by the technology underlying the access (the protocol, or rules the computers must follow in order to communicate with one another). The Internet is most clearly defined by its technology, but other technologies now offer access to many of the same Internet services, most notably electronic mail and the World Wide Web. The most important question for a user today is probably not "Am I on the Internet?" but "Do I have access to the Internet services I want?" See Section 5, "Questions About Using Internet Services," for further discussion of telnet, Gopher, FTP, the World Wide Web, and electronic mail. While there is no official governing body of the Internet, the Internet Society serves as the international organization for Internet cooperation and coordination. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts" for Internet Society contact information. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 3]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 For a more complete basic introduction to the Internet, see FYI 20, "What is the Internet?" cited in Section 8, "Suggested Reading." For information on how to retrieve FYI documents produced by the Internet Engineering Task Force, see Appendix B, "Ways to Get RFCs." 3.2 What are the benefits of using the Internet in the classroom? The Internet is an exciting classroom resource. It expands the classroom dramatically by delivering information, data, images, and even computer software from places otherwise impossible to reach, and it does this almost instantly. This access to up-to-the-minute information can make a student's education more relevant. Some of these materials are original sources which are too expensive or in other ways difficult for schools to own. Some information is news unfiltered by mass media, requiring students to critically assess its content and value. But the Internet is not strictly a place from which to gather something. It is also a place to communicate, to make contact with people all over the world. The Internet brings into the classroom experts in every content area, new and old friends, and colleagues in education. And it allows students and teachers to leave the classroom by sharing ideas with people far away. The isolation inherent in the teaching profession is well-known among educators. By having Internet access to colleagues in other parts of the world, as well as to those who work outside of classrooms, educators are not as isolated. 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. For guidance in finding schools with a presence on the Internet, see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts." Use of the Internet shifts focus away from a teacher-as-expert model and toward one of shared responsibility for learning, making it a vital part of school reform. Many reform efforts attempt 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 a focus on content and toward a focus on concepts [2]. The Internet can play an integral part in helping to achieve these shifts, since it is well-suited for use as a project resource. Information on the Internet, as in the rest of the world outside the classroom, is not divided into separate disciplines such as geometry, writing, geography, or painting. As a hands-on classroom tool, the use of the Internet encourages the kind of independence and autonomy that many educators agree is important to the learning process. Internet use itself can also be a Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 4]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 motivator for students. Additionally, 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. There are a number of resources you can use to convince others of the benefits of the Internet in the classroom. The NASA IITA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Information Infrastructure Technology and Applications) K-12 Internet Initiative has produced an 11-minute video describing the benefits to schools in using the Internet. Its title is "Global Quest: The Internet in the Classroom." Another video appropriate for a mixed audience of stakeholders is "Experience the Power: Network Technology for Education," produced by the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education. Several articles appearing in various periodicals make a strong case for using the Internet in the classroom. A particularly good one by Al Rogers of the Global SchoolNet Foundation is called, "Global Literacy in a Gutenberg Culture." Student essays can also give compelling testimony. For information on the Rogers article, see Section 8, "Suggested Reading." Some student essays can be found on NASA's Quest server listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," as can information on the videos. 3.3 Will using the Internet replace teachers? Just as textbooks, periodicals, videos, guest speakers, and field trips are often used to support a curriculum, the Internet can be used as a tool for teaching and learning. This does not mean that it must be the sole instructional method in a classroom. Teachers will remain responsible for making educated and informed decisions about the best way to use the Internet as a tool, just as they do with other materials used in the classroom. They can also use the Internet to individualize student learning, making a student's classroom experiences more relevant. 3.4 Will this technology replace books? There is room in any school for all kinds of materials and resources. Books and other print materials will certainly continue to be important. Internet resources have the advantage of tying together information from all over the globe, making them useful research tools. As mentioned before, they can also provide up-to-the-minute information and are therefore particularly relevant. In addition, you may be able to engage an expert in a dialog that clarifies or updates what you find in published materials. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 5]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 One factor to consider is that much of the material published on the Internet lacks the authority imputed by an established publishing house or a reputable author, and may therefore be viewed as less reliable than books. For example, an encyclopedia or almanac found in a school library might reasonably be accepted as valid without question, while a source found on the Internet may require a more critical look. However, lack of authority is not always a negative. Reading an account of the fall of the Berlin Wall by a student in the local region the day it happened can be valuable even if the student is not a reputable author. Moreover, while it's true that with Internet materials it becomes increasingly important to evaluate where they came from, one of the hallmarks of a good education is the ability to assess information critically, whether the source be print, television, or some other media. 3.5 How can use of the Internet be integrated into the existing curriculum? This is a key question. In order for the Internet to be used successfully in schools, it must be employed as a tool to teach content and to reach educational goals that have already been established. It cannot be seen as an end in itself. Individual teachers will first need to become familiar enough with the Internet to know how to do at least two things: find information on topics they consider important and locate people with like educational goals. Sections 5 and 6, "Questions About Using Internet Services" and "Questions About Classroom Resources, Projects, and Collaboration" will give you some ideas about how to begin. Once they are familiar with how to find content on the Internet, most teachers can decide how to use Internet resources to help their students meet goals. For example, science teachers often teach about hurricanes and other weather phenomena in the normal course of instruction. With Internet access they can use information and satellite data pertaining to the most recent storm to make their points, rather than outdated examples from textbooks. When teachers become familiar with finding other people on the Internet, some of them already grouped into network "communities" of interest, they can gain experience in using the Internet from educators who have been using it longer; they can join existing projects, contribute to the evolution of proposed projects, and propose their own projects; and they can ask for and give help to solve problems in the classroom ranging from the content they teach, to addressing students as individuals, to mastering effective discipline. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 6]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Internet access supports project-based learning. A teacher in an individual classroom can use the data and information available on the Internet as a resource for classroom projects, and there are also a variety of projects which take place over the Internet in more than one classroom at a time. A project may be initiated by any educator with an idea. A popular example of an educator-initiated project is one which requires data to be collected from diverse sites around the world or at least around the country. For example, together students in various locations have tracked butterfly and bird migrations, compared bodies of water, and measured the north-south circumference of the Earth. Various organizations also run projects in which schools can participate. Among the many groups which have invited schools to participate in projects with a focus on a specific topic are the Global SchoolNet Foundation, The European Schools Project, the International Educational and Research Network (I*EARN), and groups associated with such federal agencies as the Department of Energy, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Internet can also be used for peer review of student materials; as a medium for publishing student newspapers, art exhibits, and science fairs; and in a global email pen-pal program for the discussion of classroom topics. It cannot be stressed enough that the key factor these Internet uses have in common is that they are supporting classroom curriculum, not defining it. Learning about the Internet and how to use it is an important goal for any school's Internet program, but in the classroom, the message needs to be emphasized over the medium. There are several sources of material for discussing curriculum infusion, including mailing lists, World Wide Web sites, and archives of sample lesson plans. Most of the mail lists, Internet computers, and organizations in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," address infusion of technology into the curriculum. See also Appendix C, "Examples of Educational Projects Using the Internet." 4. Questions About Getting the Internet into the School 4.1 How much does it cost to connect to the Internet, and what kind of equipment does my school need to support the 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 Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 7]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 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), Internet access providers, or technology consultants. See also Question 4.6. To give you an idea of possible cost and equipment needs, think of four groups of Internet users. We will call them basic individual users, advanced individual users, school networks, and school district networks. How you approach acquiring service depends on which category you feel best describes your needs. This discussion is based on experiences in the United States. (For more information on the Internet services you'll be reading about in this section, see Section 5, "Questions About Using Internet Services.") Basic users are individuals who want to access common Internet services such as the World Wide Web, Gopher, and email. There are two types of basic users: those who plan to be online for a few hours per week, and those who plan to be online for many hours per day. Basic individual users who require access to common Internet services such as Web pages, FTP sites, and email for only a few hours per week may be best served by one of the nationwide online services such as America Online, CompuServe, or Prodigy. These services have the advantage of providing the user with a simple setup and easy, graphics-based access screens which hide the complex commands required by some Internet services. They also provide value-added services not available via the general Internet, such as access to news magazines and encyclopedias. Hardware required is generally a standard Windows-based PC or Macintosh and a 14.4 kilobits per second (Kbs) or higher modem. At the time of this writing, prices typically run around $10 per month for the first 5 hours of connect time, and $2-4 per hour thereafter. Basic individual users who access common Internet services for many hours per day should consider a "shell" account from a local Internet Service Provider (ISP). Shell accounts generally provide access to a Unix computer which is connected to the Internet, so those choosing this option should be prepared to learn a few Unix commands. Shell account users will get all the standard Internet services but at a cheaper rate, generally in the $30 per month range for 6 hours per day access plus $1-2 per hour for extra hours. Most shell account vendors do not provide nationwide access, and shell accounts do not have graphical user interfaces, so you cannot use Web browsers such as Netscape and Mosaic. While you may be able to use Lynx, a text- based browser, some ISPs do not install it on their computer servers. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 8]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Many FreeNets also offer shell account access gratis, but they may not be able to offer much support. In the United States, there are a number of statewide 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 basic user accounts to educators and/or students, contact the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) or consult the document "Getting US Educators Online" by Linda Conrad, listed in Section 8, "Suggested Reading." Advanced individual users are those who want graphical user interfaces to Internet services and who may want to use their computers to offer services to other Internet users. For example, they may want to create Web pages for others to access or put files online for others to retrieve. If you are an advanced user, you might consider getting a Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) or Point to Point Protocol (PPP) account from an Internet Service Provider. The interface is similar to that of nationwide online services available to basic users, but the performance is better and the cost is less for someone who wants to use the service for more than just a few hours per week. Setting up a SLIP or PPP account requires configuration and installation of Internet and SLIP/PPP software. Some ISPs only provide the software, some will install the software for you, and some preconfigure the software and send it on disk, with instructions to the user, via postal mail. Again, hardware required is generally a standard Windows-based PC or Macintosh and a 14.4 Kbs or higher modem. Costs are generally comparable to basic shell accounts, but for 24-hour connections expect to pay $100 or more per month. If in your school you plan to have more than a few individual Internet users, you will need to consider a network with a high-speed dedicated line connected to the Internet. This school network is probably a small- or medium-sized network in a single building or a very few geographically close buildings. It may include only one or several LANs. Most high speed connectivity is provided through a dedicated leased line, which is a permanent connection between two points. This allows you to have a high quality permanent Internet connection at all times. Most leased lines are provided by a telephone company, a cable television company, or a private network provider and cost $200 per month or more. Typically the connection from your LAN or LANs is a digital leased line with a Channel Service Unit/Data Service Unit (CSU/DSU) which costs between $600 and $1000. Less frequently, the connection is an analog leased line with a modem which costs between Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 9]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 $200 and $800. You will also need a router which costs roughly $1500. This is a substantially more difficult setup to manage. After you have determined the ways in which you believe you will use Internet access, you should contact several ISPs in your area and compare prices and services. School district networks are even more complex. If you have several locations which require connectivity, you should contact several ISPs and get bids for the service. The ISP world is changing very rapidly, especially at the low end. At the time of the first edition of this document, local ISPs were rare, small, and fairly expensive. At the time of this writing ISPs abound, offering a wide variety of services at reasonable prices. Additionally, several groups are working on low-cost solutions to school networking. Subscribe to the mail lists in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," to keep abreast of new developments. "Getting US Educators Online" and "Connecting to the Internet: An O'Reilly Buyer's Guide" by Susan Estrada are both listed in Section 8, "Suggested Reading." Other books about the Internet and how to get connected to it are available and new ones are being published. Check libraries, bookstores, and booksellers' catalogs. Two lists of Internet providers available via the World Wide Web can be found in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts" along with the Consortium for School Networking. The global regional Network Information Centers (NICs) such as the Reseaux IP Europeens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) in Europe can also provide a list of service providers. The Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) in the Pacific Rim will have a similar list in the near future. These two NICs are listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts." 4.2 What are the other costs associated with having Internet access? When budgeting for your school's Internet connection there are a number of factors to consider that might not seem immediately obvious. Technical support and training will incur additional ongoing costs, even if those costs show up only as someone's time. Equipment will need to be maintained and upgraded as time passes, and even when all teachers have received basic Internet training, they will most likely have questions as they explore and learn more on their own. A general rule for budget planning is this: for every dollar you spend on hardware and software, plan to spend three dollars to support the technology and those using it. It will be necessary for your school to have some technical expertise on-site. (See also Question 4.4.) Your network access provider may offer training and support for technical issues, and other groups Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 10]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 also offer formal classes and seminars. If your school has designated technical personnel, they will be good candidates for such classes and seminars. If your school does not have designated technical personnel, a teacher or other staff member with a strong interest may take on the task of becoming the local expert, but a better solution is to have someone dedicated to this at least part time. Students can help local experts maintain equipment and do other tasks, which allows them to learn new skills at the same time. Training is an equally significant component to deployment of the Internet in schools. Most teachers learn about the Internet during the time they use to learn about any new teaching tool, which often means they "steal" time at lunch, on weekends, and before and after school to explore resources and pursue relationships via the Internet. When a school is committed to providing the Internet as an educational resource, the administration will make in-service time available. It will also ensure that someone at the school is sufficiently knowledgeable to field questions and help people as they risk trying new ways of teaching using Internet resources. Again, some students make excellent tutors. Some technical support and a variety of training materials 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. The Edtech mail list is one such list. Some World Wide Web sites offer technical support information. Videos also help bridge the information gap. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," for a preliminary listing of these resources. Your local community may also have resources. These include colleges and universities, businesses, computer clubs and user groups, technology consultants, and government agencies. 4.3 How can my school afford access 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 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. As mentioned earlier, use of the Internet supports reform efforts, so framing Internet access as a component to systemic reform may help to persuade some people. Second, to convince people of the value of a Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 11]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 connection, an actual Internet demonstration can be more useful than words. While this may sound like a chicken-and-egg situation (I need 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. Another way to begin using Internet services is to sign up for one of the popular online services such as America Online, CompuServe, or Prodigy. Once subscribed, you can use these services either from home or from school. This method is recommended only as way to introduce yourself and others in your school community to the value of the Internet. It is not a good long-term solution to providing Internet access for a lot of users at one site such as a school. 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. Also investigate the possibility of a back-door connection to a local college or university. Service providers often allow schools to connect to higher education sites at a lower cost. A number of sites on the Internet provide more information about grants and organizations that offer them. Two in particular that you may find useful are Grants Web, for grant information of all kinds, and the Foundation Center, for information on private and nonprofit organizations. For information on where to find these sites on the Internet, see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts." 4.4 What organizational structure needs to be in place in order for my school to have Internet access? Schools and school districts have devised structures that vary widely, depending on a school's particular requirements. In many schools, the librarians/media specialists guide the development of the network and policies on its use and serve as the top of the structure within the school. In other schools, an interested teacher becomes the driving force behind getting the Internet into the school and may be the most appropriate person to see the project through. The school administration, if not the guiding force, needs to be behind the plan to bring the Internet into the school. And all other parties who might have a stake in the development should be brought in as early as possible, whether or not they are knowledgeable about the Internet. These might include area businesses, community leaders, Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 12]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 teachers with Internet access at home, the librarian or media specialist, parents, and anyone in the school who finds the idea of bringing the Internet into the school appealing. In short, any organizational structure will do as long as it is clear and simple and includes the people who might have a stake in the process of bringing the Internet into the school. One way to ensure that an organizational structure develops and that the right people become involved is to invite a wide variety of people to create a technology plan for the school. The by-product of technology planning can be the development of an organizational structure, but of course the planning is useful in itself to help your school define and meet goals for Internet and other technology use. The National Center for Technology Planning hosts a collection of technology plans and planning aids for people who need help, new ideas, or solutions as they tackle technology planning in their schools or districts. Information on the National Center for Technology Planning can be found in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts." No matter what the structure, there should be someone at the school who can take the lead in working with vendors and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This person should be knowledgeable about - or willing to learn about - the technical aspects of connecting to the Internet, including knowledge about any networks the school already has in place. The lead person should have an alternate so that the school is not completely dependent on one person. If your school hires an independent consultant, someone at the school should be aware of everything the consultant does and should receive at least some training in the areas of the consultant's work. Another role that must be filled is that of in-house network administrator. Having an already busy teacher take on this role as an extra duty is a bad idea; a greater time commitment is needed. 4.5 What questions do I need to ask people who are selling network services? There are a number of questions you should ask. Anything you hear that you don't understand must be questioned. If a vendor knows the product and the process well, he or she should be able to explain in terms you can understand. You should also ask any kind of vendor how available they are and at what point they either stop helping you or begin charging by the hour. Get references from other customers, preferably including at least one school which has requirements similar to yours. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 13]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Questions for LAN vendors: If the school has not yet purchased a Local Area Network (LAN), ask the LAN vendor how the product will interact with TCP/IP. (TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, the technology which forms the basis of the Internet.) If necessary, arrange a meeting with the LAN vendor, the ISP, and any consultants that may be involved. Make a list of the school's requirements, including security, the number of computers on the LAN which will have Internet access, and the Internet services you want students and teachers to be able to use. (See Section 5, "Questions About Using Internet Services," for an introduction to the services.) Ask the vendors if they can provide services that will meet your requirements. Questions for Internet Service Providers: In general, ask the ISP what services are included with your purchase of Internet connectivity. Will they terminate the circuit in a router and leave you to your own resources to take care of the "LAN side" of the connection? Will they provide a primary domain name server for you? Will they register your domain name with the InterNIC? Are they providing you with all the IP addresses you need? Will they help you with security issues? Do they provide a newsfeed or a newsreading service? (Do you know the difference?) If they agree to do some work on the LAN side, what is the extent of that work? (Configure individual computers? Handle subnetting and routing issues?) Will they answer questions from your network administrator? Will a dedicated computer be needed as an Internet server for such things as domain name service, the World Wide Web, Gopher, and FTP? Do they provide any training sessions for your staff and are these sessions included in the connectivity price? Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 14]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Do they offer any other classes or seminars and are these included in the connectivity price? Does the ISP do their own training or do they contract to someone else, and if the latter, who is it? Check references on any contractors. Questions for Internet Service Providers furnishing dial-in service: There are some specific questions you should ask of an ISP who is providing dial-in connections. (See Question 4.7 for a further discussion on dialing in from home.) What is the charge per minute for connectivity? Is SLIP or PPP connectivity available? Will the ISP be providing software which allows you to use Internet services such as email and the World Wide Web or will they help you obtain it? Will they help you install it? Ask for references of other clients using dial-in service and when you check them, one of the questions to ask other customers is if they encounter lots of busy signals. (You can also check this yourself by trying the access provider's dial-in number at various times during the day. Just dial it by phone and see how many busy signals you get.) 4.6 How many of our computers should have Internet access and where in the school should they be located? You should make Internet access possible for as many of your school's computers as possible. Ideally, you have computers located throughout the school - in classrooms, the library, and laboratories - and they are all connected together with printers and other peripherals in one or more LANs. In that case, you acquire one dedicated Internet connection of 56 Kbs (Kilobits per second) or higher to serve the whole school. If your budget and existing computer equipment are both limited, you can use a dial-up service and a modem to access the Internet, but in most cases that will only be viable for one computer at a time. As use of the Internet catches on in your school, it will eventually be more effective for you to create the LAN with Internet access mentioned above than to keep adding modems in classrooms. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 15]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 If you must choose between Internet access in one lab in the school or Internet access for the same number of computers throughout the school, in order to get teachers to use the access you must make it available where they can most easily take advantage of it. This usually means that you make access available throughout the school. Although 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. Internet resources can be more easily integrated into a classroom lesson, and the emphasis remains on using the Internet as an instructional tool. Since only one or two computers can usually be placed in each classroom, teachers will learn to allocate computer time creatively. And if you are able to provide only a few computers throughout the school, make sure that at least one of them is in the library where all students will have the chance to be exposed to the Internet as a resource. Networking all computers campus-wide can be expensive. You may want to investigate initially giving one lab, the library, and a few classrooms dial-up access, assuming phone lines are available. Even a connection to only one classroom as a demonstration may help you to garner more support for creating a campus-wide local area network that is routed to the Internet through a dedicated line. 4.7 Can people get on the Internet from home? This depends on your network access provider. It is certainly a possibility and is definitely desirable for the educators at your school. To make it possible for teachers and other staff to dial in to the school network (and then out to the Internet) from home, you will need to employ, at the least, multiple phone lines and modems. Talk to your service provider about other technical requirements. Many teachers like to be able to learn at home as well as on school grounds, and having the ability to explore when they have the time is invaluable. One school district we know of made low-interest loans available to teachers so that they could buy home computers. When the technology was later made available in their classrooms, they already had some experience and were comfortable beginning to use it in day- to-day instruction. The question of whether or not to make the option to dial in from home available to students is more difficult. On one hand, a school may not be able to escape the idea that it is responsible for how students use the Internet access it provides, even though the school has no control over the home environment. On the other hand, particularly in high school, much schoolwork is done at home. Since Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 16]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 most classrooms don't have enough computers for all students to access the Internet at once, it is even more likely that work will not be completed during class time. Having Internet access from home becomes more important. Discussion of whether or not you want to make this option available to students - even if it is technically possible - should involve as many school partners as possible, including faculty, administration, parents, and other community members. It might take place in a public forum such as a school/community meeting. 5. Questions About Using Internet Services The way to find people, information, software, and anything else on the Internet is generally to use either printed or electronic guides and Internet services. In this section we will concentrate on the services. (See Section 6, "Questions about Classroom Resources, Projects, and Collaboration," for information on guides.) We answer more questions about the World Wide Web than about other online services for three reasons. First, the World Wide Web is the Internet tool coming into most prominence at the time of this writing. Second, many (if not all) of the other services are included seamlessly in the Web; that is, they're there, but you may or may not realize you're using them. Third, making your way around the Internet using the World Wide Web is easy; for people not interested in computers, access to the Internet and has become less frustrating. This is not to say that finding what you want is always simple. The Internet is like a vast library without a comprehensive card catalog. New ways to do indexing and searching are being devised and employed, and you'll need some time to learn how to use them. 5.1 What is the World Wide Web? The World Wide Web (WWW) is a project initiated by the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) located in Geneva, Switzerland and currently driven by the World Wide Web Consortium. When exploring the World Wide Web, users navigate through documents by selecting highlighted text that leads to another document or location. The highlighted text can be called a "pointer," a "link," or an "anchor." This navigation results in a three-dimensional exploration of documents instead of a flat text document. The World Wide Web incorporates different media into its documents, including text, sound, graphics, and moving images. The World Wide Web presents either a graphical or a text interface to numerous Internet resources. Not only can users access documents specifically designed for the Web, they can also view documents on Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 17]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Gopher servers, use FTP to download files, and launch a telnet session. Some World Wide Web clients also allow for the use of email and Usenet news. This is an easy-to-use, nonthreatening way to approach the Internet, and does not require in-depth technical knowledge. (See Question 5.5 for a discussion of these other services.) 5.2 How do I connect to the World Wide Web? First, you will need at least a SLIP or PPP connection. (See Question 4.1 for more information; SLIP or PPP is the "advanced individual user" solution described there.) Accessing the Web is like using any other service on the Internet: you run a client on your computer which accesses a server, in this case a Web server, running on another computer. In Web terms, the client is called a browser. The browser retrieves and reads documents from Web servers. Information providers establish Web servers for use by network users, and when you become proficient at using the Internet, you may want to become exactly that kind of information provider. Most Web browsers share common features. One feature is the hotlist, or bookmark. This allows you to mark your favorite sites. Your browser will store these sites and their addresses and allow you to revisit them later by simply selecting the name of a site from a menu. Another feature common to most browsers allows you to save the current file to your local disk. Some browsers keep a tally of the sites you've visited recently and allow you to revisit them without typing in the location again. Every browser is different, so it pays to explore your own client software and learn its features through practice. Most people, even those with little computer experience, find that it's easy to learn to use a browser just by exploring on their own. Each document contained on Web servers across the Internet has a unique address. This is called a URL, a uniform resource locator. Browsers negotiate URLs just like mail software negotiates email addresses. Users can type in the URL for the browser to access. URLs are also embedded in a Web document's text, providing a seamless link to another location or document. 5.3 How is the World Wide Web linked? The Web functions as a distributed hypermedia system. The purpose of this system is to allow the exchange of information across the Internet in the form of hypertext documents called Web pages or home pages. Hypertext is text with pointers or links to further information in various formats (text, graphic, video), allowing you to branch off to another document for more information on a given Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 18]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 topic, and then return to the same location in the original document with ease. Pointers in a Web document are analogous to HyperCard stacks or Microsoft help files in which you click on an option (a pointer or a link) and the program moves you to another document, or location. Documents published on the Web are constructed in hypertext markup language, or HTML. This is a simple language that allows you to format text, insert images and sound, and create links in a document. Tutorials on creating Web services are available at the NCSA Mosaic Home Page, the automatic starting place for Web exploration when using the Mosaic client. There are also Web page creation resources listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts." 5.4 Where do I get a World Wide Web browser? The two most common graphical Web browsers at the time of this writing are Netscape and Mosaic. Netscape is a commercial product but is currently free for educational use. Mosaic is free. Both of these packages are available for Macintosh, PC, and Unix platforms through the Internet. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," for details. For those users with lower-speed connections that cannot accommodate full graphical browsers, there is a text-based browser available for Unix systems called Lynx. A public-access Lynx client is accessible through telnet at the server of the World Wide Web Consortium, which is listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts." Many commercial online services, such as CompuServe, Prodigy, and America Online, include a Web browser as part of their offerings. More and more often, Web browsers are being included as part of the standard connection software provided by the Internet Service Provider. 5.5 What are the other services on the Internet? There are a number of other services to help you get around on the Internet. The most common ones are described here. For more information, see "EFF's (Extended) Guide to the Internet" by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and "The Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog" by Ed Krol, both of which are listed in Section 8, "Suggested Reading," in addition to the Glossary entries mentioned for each tool. Email. Email is probably the most basic tool on the Internet. It is short for electronic mail and may be used in a couple of ways. You can send messages back and forth with just one person, or you can participate with a group of people who discuss topics of common Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 19]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 interest. These groups are called mail lists. You join and leave the lists by sending email to one address, and you post messages to all the people on the list by sending email to a slightly different address. Sometimes a human does the list registration and sometimes a software program does it. For more information see the entries for email and mailing lists in the Glossary. A list of mail lists related to primary and secondary education can be found in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts." Network News. Also known as Usenet News or Net News. Reading news is similar to joining an email list, but instead of the messages coming to your mailbox, you use news reader software to read messages on a computer where they are accumulated. For more information see the entry for Usenet News in the Glossary. FTP. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and just as the name implies, it allows you to transfer files from one computer to another. It is the name for both the protocol and the program. A special kind of FTP, Anonymous FTP, allows you to access the many public archives on the Internet. FTP is not used by itself as much as it used to be, since people often use Web browsers and Gopher clients which incorporate FTP when they want to retrieve files. For more information see the entries for Anonymous FTP and FTP in the Glossary. Telnet. Telnet allows you to log into a computer somewhere else on the Internet and use the services there. For example, if you don't have a Gopher client or a Web browser, there are some public access sites that you can telnet to in order to use a Gopher client or a text-based Web browser. Gopher. Gopher is a tool that lets you browse for information on the Internet using menus. If you know what you're looking for and have an idea about where to find it, Gopher can make your search easier. And when you have located something of interest, whether it's a document, a data set, or a picture, Gopher will retrieve it for you. For more information see the entry for Gopher in the Glossary. Searching and Indexing Tools. Archie is a tool for searching FTP sites; Veronica (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Network Index to Computerized Archives, which works the same way Archie does) is a tool for searching Gopherspace; WAIS (Wide Area Information Service; pronounced "wayz") is a tool for searching indexed databases, whether the databases are full of numbers, text, or graphics files; and Yahoo, Lycos, and WebCrawler are some of the many searching and indexing tools available on and for the World Wide Web. For more information see the entries for Archie, Gopher, WAIS, WWW, and Veronica in the Glossary. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 20]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Videoconferencing. At the time of this writing, schools are beginning to participate in conferences, meetings, and collaborative activities via video. The two services or applications used are Multicast Backbone (MBONE) and CU-SeeMe, both of which allow for desktop videoconferencing, or videoconferencing via computer. MBONE is an option for videoconferencing using several operating systems at the time of this writing: Unix, Windows NT, Windows 95, and Mac Operating System 7.5.2. It requires that your Internet service provider be a part of the MBONE, which depends on a specialized routing strategy. Ask your service provider if they are equipped to support MBONE traffic. If so, you will need to work fairly closely with your provider to establish working configurations for your network. More information on MBONE is available at the MBONE Information Web. (See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts.") CU-SeeMe, developed by Cornell University, also presents conferencing capabilities over an IP network. You may participate in a CU-SeeMe videoconference as a sender, a recipient, or both. Through use of reflectors, multiple sites may participate in any given conference. For any of these activities, you'll need a PC or a Macintosh with a connection to the Internet and CU-SeeMe software. Additionally, if you'd like to send video and audio, you will need a video camera and a video board in your computer. Full information on the hardware requirements is available at the CU-SeeMe Web site; there is also a mailing list for CU-SeeMe information. For guidance and discussion about using CU-SeeMe as an instructional tool, the Global SchoolNet Foundation hosts a mail list called cu-seeme-schools which announces opportunities for participation in CU-SeeMe events. For information on the Web site and mailing lists, see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts." 6. Questions About Classroom Resources, Projects, and Collaboration 6.1 How can I find specific projects using the Internet that are already developed? When you have learned to use some of the Internet services discussed in Section 5, "Questions About Using Internet Services," particularly the search tools, you will be able to answer that question more fully for yourself. In the meantime, since there are several resources on the Internet that are directed specifically at the primary and secondary school communities, here are some ideas to get you started. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 21]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Computer Information Servers: Global SchoolNet. The Global SchoolNet Foundation's World Wide Web site contains a wealth of valuable information and materials, including help setting up projects by learning what has worked best based on others' experience. The GSN site also contains a landmark registry of projects in which schools can participate. EdWeb. Andy Carvin's EdWeb is an excellent source of K-12 information. CoSN. The Consortium for School Networking maintains an Internet server. NASA. NASA's Spacelink and Quest are directed at primary and secondary school educators, and both house lesson plans, Internet-based curriculum units, and interactive projects and activities. Many NASA projects also maintain computer information servers. Empire Internet Schoolhouse. The New York State Education and Research Network (NYSERNet) hosts the Empire Internet Schoolhouse, an extension of its Bridging the Gap program. K-12 Schools on the Internet. Gleason Sackman of North Dakota's SENDIT network for K-12 educators maintains an active list of K-12 schools on the Internet. National School Network Testbed. The Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) project called the National School Network Testbed provides links to numerous schools and projects. Internet School Networking. The Web pages for the group which brings you this paper contain a collection of documents and case studies on projects. Mail lists: Many people on electronic mailing lists such as Ednet, Kidsphere, and the Consortium for School Networking Discussion List post their projects and ask for partners and collaborators. News groups: 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." Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 22]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 provided to help like-minded teachers connect with each another to pursue collaborative projects of their own. Other than your own time, there is no cost to get involved. Please consider joining us on this learning adventure. To participate, you must sign up for the ONLINE FROM JUPITER maillist. To do this, send an email message to listmanager@quest.arc.nasa.gov. In the message body, write only these words: subscribe updates-jup For more information, make a webstop at our "continuous construction" site: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/jupiter.html These projects are part of the "Sharing NASA with the Classroom" series. They are made possible by funding from the NASA Information Infrastructure Technology and Applications (IITA) program. IITA is part of the High Performance Computing and Communications program authorized by Federal legislation passed in December 1991. ------------------------------------------------------ Example Three: MathMagic; Math at Various Grade Levels ------------------------------------------------------ [Note: The MathMagic World Wide Web home page is located at http://forum.swarthmore.edu/mathmagic/] What is MathMagic? MathMagic is a K-12 telecommunications project developed in El Paso, Texas. It provides strong motivation for students to use computer technology while increasing problem-solving strategies and communications skills. MathMagic posts challenges in each of four categories (k-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12) to trigger each registered team to pair up with another team and engage in a problem-solving dialog. When an agreement has been reached, one solution is posted for every pair. MathMagic has received wide ideological acceptance by hundreds of past FidoNet users because it addresses most of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards. A modified format has now expanded into the Internet and is available via regular e-mail or via the World Wide Web (WWW). Who can participate? K-12 teachers and students, but higher education teachers, librarians, technology coordinators, computer teachers, and even home-schoolers are joining to act as facilitators. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 63]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 What is needed? Any teacher with access to electronic mail via the Internet can participate. Several net service providers and most of the commercial boards (America Online, Genie, CompuServe, Delphi, The Well, etc.) now offer e-mail gateways and other Internet services. MathMagic is best suited to schools that use computers with modems and have direct Internet access. In some areas, a local Bulletin Board System (BBS) or a Net user (such as a parent with net access) may have to act as a go-between. Please ask about special arrangements. [Example challenge for grades 10-12:] *************************************** MathMagic Cycle 18: Level 10-12 Regular *************************************** Using the numbers 1 9 9 2 in a "locked" position, can you develop a 31 day calendar for the month of October? You can use addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), division (/) exponents (^) factorial (!) square root (sqrt) and, naturally, parenthesis ( ). Example: Friday the 13th could be: (1+sqrt(9))!-9-2 (Scary, isn't it?) (Notice that the numbers appear in the "locked" sequence) **************************************** MathMagic Cycle 18: Level 10-12 Advanced **************************************** What 6 digit number, with 6 different digits, when multiplied by all integers up to 6, circulates its digits through all 6 possible positions, as follows: ABCDEF * 1 - ABCDEF ABCDEF * 3 - BCDEFA ABCDEF * 2 - CDEFAB ABCDEF * 6 - DEFABC ABCDEF * 4 - EFABCD ABCDEF * 5 - FABCDE Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 64]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 ********* Good luck MrH [Example challenges for grades K-3:] ************************************* MathMagic Cycle 16: Level K-3 Regular ************************************* When two straight lines meet, they form an angle. Some angles are easy to recognize. For instance, a RIGHT ANGLE is any of the four angles formed by a piece of paper (like typing or computer paper) that has sharp corners. Using a clock and "talking" with your partners, try to figure out how many times in a day (24 hours) the hour hand and the minute hand form a right angle. You may want to do a chart and watch the hour hand move between the numbers, as you move the minute hand... ************************************** MathMagic Cycle 16: Level K-3 Advanced ************************************** One of the better known works of architecture of the Roman Empire was the Coliseum. For a few months, at its maximum splendor (before the senate began cutting its funding... yes, old problem) there stood an Imperial Roman Guard in each of its 1000 arches. Imagine the splendor! (Not too cool if you were the entertainment.) The first budget conscious cut called for the removal of every other Imperial Guard. Imagine, one stayed, the next went. The second senate cut called for the removal of every third guard (from the original count). So, the order went out that guards of gate 1 and gate 2 (if there was one) could stay, while guard of gate 3 (and every other third one) had to go... Naturally, what the senate was doing was getting rid of some guards, but also getting the credit for a lot of "cuts" of gates that had no guard. The "cuts" continued number after number, until a diligent member of the opposition party cried foul. He said, "Only some of the cuts are actually getting rid of guards. A lot of them are not!" Can you build an argument for this senator? Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 65]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Also, if you were a Roman Imperial Guard that every week had to choose a different gate you had to look after (and run the risk of loosing your job), which gates would be your choice? ------------------ Good luck MrH ------------------------------------------------------------ Example Four: Various Projects Announced by Global SchoolNet ------------------------------------------------------------ Hi, Our teachers have been doing K12 projects over the Internet for the past 12 years. There is NO CHARGE for schools to participate in the projects. Global SchoolNet organizes, manages, and facilitates collaborative learning projects for schools with any level of connectivity . . . from email only . . . to desktop videoconferencing. To access these projects go to: http://gsn.org/gsn/gsn.projects.html Sample of Projects you will find --------------------------------- The Global Schoolhouse (Featuring Desktop Video-Conferencing) Today's "school of the future" uses the most powerful Internet tools, including live video, to link K12 classrooms to their communities and to other children around the world. CALREN: Building the California Global Schoolhouse Education leader (Global SchoolNet) partners with business leader (Aldea Communications) to discover and document how schools, businesses, and the community can network to share resources. CyberStars: Number Ones of Tomorrow For the first time ever, children around the globe can share their musical talents with the world via the Internet. PAACE: Personal Achievement And Career Awareness Students learn and practice important career skills, including those dealing with education, attitude, manners, grooming, and fashion. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 66]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Scientist-on-Tap Scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory demonstrate the power of distance learning, by interacting with students around world, from the comfort of their own offices! Projects that Require Email Access Only -------------------------------------- Ask a Geologist (AAG) Have you ever wondered about why California has so many earthquakes and New York does not? Why is there so much oil in Texas but not in Wisconsin? What are the deepest canyons in the United States? (The answer might surprise you!) While the answers to many of these questions might be as close as an encyclopedia, some questions are difficult to answer without checking many sources. Beginning Monday, October 3, 1994, the USGS will offer a new, experimental Internet service - Ask-A-Geologist. General questions on earth sciences may be sent by electronic mail Family Tree-Mail: Language Translation In this pilot project, children use Globalink's language translation software to share family histories via email in their native languages of Spanish, French, German, and Italian. Field Trips Join other classes on their live field trips. In turn, you take other classes with you when you visit local places of interest. Our FIELDTRIPS-L mailing list manages this "exchange" of classroom field trips and excursions. Geogame This perennially favorite project will excite your students as they immerse themselves in atlases, maps, almanacs, and other references in order to solve a geography puzzle. Your students help create the puzzle by answering 8 questions about your community: latitude, typical weather, land formations, time zone, points of interest, etc. We combine their responses with other classes to create a geography puzzle your students will love to solve. A simple first project for beginning telecommunicators. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 67]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 Global Grocery List Your students visit their local grocery stores and record the prices of items on the grocery list, then share their prices with other participating classes all over the world. The result is a growing table of current, peer-collected data that can be used in math, social studies, science, and health classes (and others). This project is especially good for telecomputing beginners: it has very little structure and no timeline. Jane Goodall Institute Students learn about the interconnectedness of all life on earth as they observe the world around them and become involved in environmental and humanitarian issues. Explore Gombe and Kibira National Parks, ChimpanZoo, and the Roots & Shoots Program. The Jason Project The Jason Project brings the thrill of exploration and discovery live to students around the world as they participate in an amazing electronic field trip. In 1995 they trekked to Hawaii to study volcanoes. The Global SchoolNet Foundation manages the Jason Project Listservs and features them in our Global SCHLnet Newsgroup Service. LOGO Foundation The Logo Foundation, in cooperation with the Global SchoolNet Foundation, is now managing a Logo listserv discussion group available to anybody on the Internet. Newsday Your students write articles and post them on the Newsday Newswire for the whole world to see! Then they read and choose articles from other schools to download and include in their own newspaper! Finally... you share your newspaper with other classes... and they in turn share theirs with you. Your students' reading and writing skills will improve while they learn about current local, national, and global issues. Where on the Globe is Roger? Children are invited to learn about history, culture, geography, and the environment, while they electronically travel around the world with Roger Williams - in his quest to promote world peace! Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 68]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 -------------------------------------- Example Five: Professional Development -------------------------------------- THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND ANNOUNCES "DISASTER IN THE CLASSROOM" A *LIVE* TELEVISION PROGRAM TO ILLUSTRATE USES OF REAL-TIME WEATHER AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMAGERY IN K-12 EDUCATION Beginning in September 1995, Professor Perry Samson, University of Michigan professor and Director of the Weather Underground, will host an innovative, biweekly series of live, interactive, television shows aimed at teachers, administrators, and parents interested in K-12 education, Internet resources, and the use of real-time weather information in science. Aimed specifically at the professional development of teachers, the programs create a model for teachers to carry back into their classroom, a model that promotes project-based student centered learning environments using new technology and science ideas creatively. The programs, interactive in design, allow participants to ask questions and respond to information through a simultaneous e-mail dialogue. A strength in the design of this series is its ability to allow an interactive discussion of environmental issues (severe weather, snowstorms, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic activity , El Nino, etc.) in a timely manner, matching current news items to science activities. The programs in the virtual classroom series are uplinked to a satellite from the University of Michigan. Teachers, administrators, parents or students can view the class either on their own or in groups. Participants will be encouraged to use their computer and modem to log into our server during the show. This interactive virtual classroom will allow participants to pose or answer questions live (or after the show). Navigation on the Internet and pointers to information specific to the science curriculum ideas presented on the show are emphasized and made available to teachers for use in their classrooms. Participants are shown where on the Internet to find imagery and activities relevant to the topics discussed and are lead through a discussion of new methods to utilize these data in their classroom activities. Example activities utilizing current weather, climate and environmental conditions are demonstrated. Sellers & Robichaux Informational [Page 69]
RFC 1941 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools May 1996 If you are interested in participating in this series from your home or school and would like to receive graduate credit for it, please contact: The Weather Underground URL: http://groundhog.sprl.umich.edu

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