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Kevin R. Crotchett

- About the Book

by Kevin R. Crotchett
Published by Heinemann

Imagine journeying with your students to a far-off museum. Discussing what you see with artists and museum staff. Creating your own artworks. Sharing them with children from schools around the world. And never leaving the confines of your own classroom.

Learning adventures like these are already a reality for members of the global community known as the Internet. But too many teachers have been denied access to this rich and important world due to lack of time, resources, or expert guidance. This book provides all three.

Written *by* a teacher, *for* teachers, "A Teacher's Project Guide to the Internet" walks readers through the Internet step-by-step, suggesting a host of creative and exciting classroom projects along the way. The book comes with a companion disk (IBM and Mac 7.5 compatible) that gives you instant access to all the sites mentioned through Netscape, Internet Explorer, or other web browsing software.

Both experienced "Internauts" and teachers just getting on- line will appreciate the book's straightforward organization. Crotchett begins with one of the easiest and most commonly used tools -- e-mail -- then gradually progresses to more sophisticated Internet applications, such as newsgroups, file transfer protocol, Gopher space, and creating a web presence for your classroom. At each level of technology, the author offers a series of suggested projects that have already been tested in a classroom setting.

While aspects of these subjects have been dealt with in periodical articles and general how-to books, until now there has been no comprehensive book specifically written for K-12 teachers that combines Internet basics, specifically- identified Web sites, and well thought out Internet projects. Considering that most educators already have more to do than time allows, "A Teacher's Project Guide to the Internet" will prove immensely useful.

The excerpts, below, illustrate one or two projects from each of the major sections of the book. The book itself is crammed with project ideas and the site references necessary to carry them out. For more information about ordering "A Teacher's Project Guide to the Internet," please see the end of this file.

Copyright ©1997 by Kevin R. Crotchett and Heinemann Publishing. Please request permission from the publisher before duplicating or distributing this file. Thank You!


- Excerpt



by Kevin R. Crotchett


23) EMAIL: Keypals Through the International Email Classroom Connection (IECC)

Classroom keypal projects are a great way to get a whole classroom involved with the Internet. Keypals not only demonstrate the efficiency of the Internet to children, they also allow students to work on their writing and personal skills as they communicate with others from around the world.

Finding keypals through email access would be challenging without the help of the International Email Classroom Connection (IECC) list. This list makes getting a classroom keypal situation setup as easy as sending an email message. Once you have submitted to the list address, you are sent instructions on how to submit for classroom keypals. By simply filling out a provided form and sending it back to the list, your search for a group of children from somewhere in the world is under way. You can also read keypal requests from other list members.

I have been using keypals through the Internet for the past two years and have found that the children gain many skills from such a project. In my classroom, where I have twenty- eight students and three computers, we first respond to our keypal letters on paper. Once these letters are edited, students take turns typing them into the computer. When all the letters have been entered and copied to a single file, they are emailed to our corresponding classroom.

This experience has given my students -- from a Portland, Oregon, inner-city school -- the chance to write and become friends with people their own age from a private school on the east coast of the United States. Students have gained not only friendships, but also writing and communication skills while they continue to develop their typing skills and experiences with technology.

IECC has subscribers from all over the world and is not limited to keypals in the United States.

Server Address: List Address:


One question that often arises with regard to the Internet and classroom use is in the primary classroom. Even the youngest elementary students can become familiar with the Internet. The World Wide Web, discussed in Chapter Six of my book, is one way to engage the six-year-old with visual and audio effects, but it can lack the personal interaction that makes the global community such a powerful tool. One way to enhance Internet interaction in the primary classroom and throughout the grades is through newsgroup surveys.

Many primary classes work with a curriculum that deals with the community, people, and cultures around them. This often inspires surveys done by primary students on opinions about sports or weather, for example. On any given day you will likely find a clipboard-carrying five-year-old walking the halls of my school asking adults whether they prefer rain or snow. This survey information is then brought back to the kindergarten classroom and shared with members of the class in the form of a very basic data study.

Newsgroups can be used in the same manner. Younger students can formulate a survey question that interests them while at the same time think about questions that would interest others from many different parts of the state, country, and the world. After selecting the appropriate newsgroup, such as "k12.elementary.chat" for elementary students or "clari.news.weather" or a local weather newsgroup for the weather enthusiast, the question can be posted to the group, asking for replies to be either emailed to the classroom or posted back to the newsgroup.

Over the next few days replies will be coming in, many or few, depending on the newsgroup and the question posed. Replies can then be recorded, charted, or mapped. Writing skills can be practiced by writing thank-you notes and emailing them to respondents, thus increasing a student's email experiences. Survey data and findings can be looked at on a local, state, or global level, all depending on the question posed and the newsgroup it was posted to.

The natural extension of surveying into the upper grades is also a great way to introduce students to the uses of Usenet. As a whole class or small group, students can survey and poll others their age or target a specific group of people, as well as a specific area of the world. Students work through the scientific process, formulating a question, writing a hypothesis, gathering and analyzing data, and proposing a conclusion. The results of the survey can then be shared with the class, the survey respondents, and the newsgroup.


File Transfer Protocol (FTP) allows you to obtain computer programs and large text documents. While this is not likely to become a largely used protocol by the average Internet user, it can at times be very helpful. One of the uses I have found to be very helpful for my fifth graders is retrieving unabridged copies of famous speeches.

Be it the birthday of John F. Kennedy or a unit on civil rights, FTP can bring to the classroom a library of enrichment. From President Kennedy's speech of the first man on the moon to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, "I have a dream" speech, FTP can deliver unabridged copies to the classroom, allowing them to be read, reviewed, analyzed, and studied in detail. By logging on to the FTP site "ftp.msstate.edu" and moving to the "pub/docs/history" directory, you will find literally hundreds of speeches and text-based documents at your fingertips. Whether you are looking for a printed copy of the U.S. Constitution, a transcript of the Japanese surrender during World War II, or one of many other nationally and internationally known speeches, this site is there to help.

54) GOPHER: Lesson Plans and Teaching Aids

Regardless of years of experience or filing cabinets filled with lesson plans and ideas, teachers are always on the lookout for new plans, new ideas, and new ways to teach the same concepts. Prior to the technology of the Internet, teachers had quenched this thirst by sharing ideas with others in their own buildings or seeking out colleagues at conferences or districtwide meetings, but these outlets provided only a handful of resources. The Internet allows us to share ideas with teachers from across the country and throughout the world. Gopher allows teachers to find and gain new and refreshing ideas and lesson plans.

The BigSky Telegraph and the AskERIC archives are two places that can be found via Gopher menus and that contain a large number of creative and useful lesson plans. BigSky (bvsd.k12.co.us) is one of the more useful lesson-plan sites I have come across. Once connected to this Gopher site, you are presented with a menu of five choices. Each choice is a subject, such as math or science. It is within these menus that you will find some great ideas to enhance and enrich your curriculum.

The AskERIC archive is another fantastic place to find lesson plans, ideas, and teaching aids. Maintained at the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), a federally funded information center for educational resources, the Eric archive provides educators with valuable professional information. At the same time, it allows teachers to submit their lesson plans to the archive, expanding their ability to share and communicate with other educators.

To access the ERIC archive, go to their Gopher site "ericir.syr.edu". Once connected, you will be presented with a menu of educational resources. One choice among many is "Lesson Plans". It is within this menu choice that you will find the AskERIC lesson archive. Do not let your journey end there. ERIC offers teachers and others interested in education many resources for professional development and improvement.

After searching these two lesson-plan archives with the resources available to you through the Veronica and Jughead search engines discussed in my book, it is an easy task to search for other lesson plans on the Internet. By surfing to the Gopher site at the University of Minnesota (k12.ucs.umass.edu) and entering the key words "lesson plan" into the Veronica search engine, I was able to obtain a list of over one hundred Gopher sites, all of which contain lesson plans for K-12 educators.

79) WEB: Welcome to Our Classroom

As schools get connected to the Internet, the ability to develop classroom Web pages becomes available, and schools and classrooms are taking advantage. With every classroom, regardless of the level, comes a different group of children, a different group of teachers, and a dynamic of personalities, thoughts, ideas, and projects that are truly unique. The Web gives each of our schools and classrooms the chance to share their uniqueness and to learn about others, like ourselves, in a way that has never before been possible.

Finding schools and classrooms online has become as easy as finding the White House online, through WWW search engines. Yahoo maintains a page of hundreds of schools and classrooms at "http://www.yahoo.com/Education/K-12/". "The HotList of K- 12 Internet School Sites" (http://www.sendit.nodak.edu/k12) and the "Web66 International Registry of School Web Sites" (http://Web66.coled.umn.edu/schools.html) are search sites that are dedicated to schools and classrooms. At these sites you will find links to schools and classrooms throughout the United States and the world, often categorized by state and country to make your search that much easier.

Many educators will want to create a Web site for their school or classroom. This can be a richly rewarding learning experience, but the mechanics and issues involved are too much to delve into in this excerpt. I devote two chapters of "A Teacher's Project Guide to the Internet" to the World Wide Web, including a summary of my own classroom's year-long Web site project. If you're interested in building a home page for your home room, you might want to consult Chapters Six and Seven in my book.

Copyright ©1997 by Kevin R. Crotchett and Heinemann Publishing. Please request permission from the publisher before duplicating or distributing this file. Thank You!

About the Author

Kevin R. Crotchett teaches in the Portland Public School district in Portland, Oregon. He has been introducing his classes to the uses and resources of the Internet for several years, having integrated Internet technology into all aspects of the curriculum.

Copyright ©1997 by Kevin R. Crotchett and Heinemann Publishing. Please request permission from the publisher before duplicating or distributing this file. Thank You!

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