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“Making Best Use of the Internet For K-12 Instruction” Overview

A Workshop Outline By
Kelly VandenBerg kellylvandenberg@hotmail.com
Gustavus, Alaska


“Making Best Use of the Internet For K-12 Instruction” Overview

I.                    Course offered by Alaska Staff Development, Frank Odasz


II.                  Course Goals

A.      Master Self-Directed Learning

B.      Share to Help Others

C.       Take Action with Knowledge

D.      Learn to Earn for Self, Family, Community, and Cultural Sustainability


III.               Self-Directed Learning

A.      Search Engines

1.       The Big Four

-          Google

-          Yahoo

-          Bing

-          Ask

2.       Finding Information

-          AND, OR, and NOT

-          Capital sensitivity (China and not china dishes, china dolls)

-          Phrase searching – quotations (“gun control” – eliminates docs with the words gun and control, not necessarily in that order and docs that have both words but nothing to do with gun control).

   *For more go to:  www.learnthenet.com

                        B.   Web Authoring

                              1.   Selected Sites

                                        -    www.bluemountain.com (cards)

                                        -    www.thinkquest.org (create websites)

                                       -    www.blogspot.com (blogs)

                                                Example:  www.gustavus345.blogspot.com


                                     -    www.wikispaces.com (interactive web pages)

                                       -     www.google.com (list serves – google groups) – 

                                                Example:  http://groups.google.com/group/gustavus-school-athletics

                                                Example:  http://grousp.google.com/group/gustavus_girlscouts




2.        Electronic Portfolios (showcase student work)

-          http://electronicportfolios.com

-          http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/assess.html#portfolios


IV.               Sharing Knowledge/Project Based Learning

A.      Websites for teachers

1.       www.4teachers.org

A site that helps integrate technology in the classroom, helps locate and create

 Ready-to-use web lessons.  Includes resources for planning, grants, technology, webinars and contests.  A tab entitled “4 Teachers – Family of Tools” includes:

Quizstar, Rubistar, Assign-a-day.


Try this:  go to www.4teachers.org, go to the box entitled “4 Teachers – Family of Tools”, click on Assign-a-day, type in Calendar # 255898.  Scroll over the two assignments – notice the hyperlink.


2.       www.softschools.com

Free worksheets - vocabulary, word scrambles, quizzes, word searches.  A great resource for science, grammar, social studies, and math. 


Try this:  go to www.softschools.com, go to the sidebar and click on quizzes.  Choose a topic and take the quiz.  Spend a few minutes on this site exploring.


3.       www.thinkfinity.org

An amazing site!  You can begin with the self-guided overview and then search for lesson plans, videos, etc.  The site categorizes information into the following categories:  lessons, interactive, primary sources, worksheets, reference materials, media, and assessment.


Try this (Jessie):  go to www.thinkfinity.org, science 3-5, resource type – interactive, content – all, Insects and their Environment, watch movie and play game!


Try this (Ellie):  go to the sidebar “Interactive Games,” click on “A Touch of Class”  and play game!


Try this (Annie):  go to history 9-12, resource – interactive, content – all, click on a topic of interest.


Try this (Eric):  go to science 9-12, resource – interactive, content – all, click on

Artificial Anatomy:  Body Parts, play interactive learning game.



4.       www.thinkquest.org

Over 7000+ student created sites for students!  An amazing resource.  This site invites you to integrate projects into your classroom curriculum.  Choose topic, assign students, invite teachers, and collaborate with members around the world.  The site hosts an annual competition that allows students to use text, pictures, multimedia, votes, brainstorms, debates, messages and lots more!  Students develop skills such as, creative thinking, teamwork, communication, self-direction, technology, and cross cultural understanding.


Try this:  go to www.thinkquest.org, go to “Competition” tab, click on “2009 Winners.”  Check out a few student created sites.



5.       www.readwritethink.org

Sponsored by the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), this site promotes on-line literacy learning.  It provides interactive student lessons and teacher lesson plans.  A highlight is the “Parent and Afterschool Resources” tab.


Try this:  www.readwritethink.org, go to the “Parent and Afterschool Resources” tab, click on your grade level, click the “Games and Tools” tab, click “See All Games and Tools.”  Explore!  Annie should try “Bio Cube!”


6.       www.edsitement.neh.gov

Site for lesson plans and information about art and culture, literature and language arts, foreign language, history and social studies.  An amazing site!


7.       www.techlearning.com

One of the best tech sites out there on the web!  Just check it out when you have time.  Includes:  tabs for blogs, contests, resources, webinars, hot topics, and forums.  You can subscribe to the electronic magazine for free – highly recommended!


8.       www.questgarden.com

Uses the web to engage the learner.  All “quests” have the same format and are self-directed. 


Try this:  go to www.questgarden.com, click on “Search for Examples”tab, go to “Curriculum x Grade Level Matrix,” fill in subject and grade and launch search.  Explore!



9.       www.webquest.org

Same as above – great site!  Information is shared between these two sites.


10.   http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/

Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators is a categorized list of sites useful for enhancing curriculum and professional growth. It is updated often to include the best sites for teaching and learning.  A MUST SEE!




a.       http://dsc.discovery.com

This site takes you to:  TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, & Discovery Health!

Games, videos, quizzes, top 10 lists.  This site rocks!  Lots of info. – space, technology, geology, earth science, biology, etc.

b.       http://school.discoveryeducation.com

Awesome!  Contests, interactives, science fair, lesson plans, and lots more.  Don’t miss this one!

c.       www.nationalgeographic.com/education

Sponsor of the National Geography Bee!  Maps, music, science and space, history, environment, travel and cultures.  A must!


V.                  Building Learning Communities/Distance Learning

A.       Internet Collaboration, Mentoring, and Teaching

1.       http://emissary.wm.edu

This site connects students with mentors in their field of interest via telecommunication technology – email, chat, and telementoring.  Check out the site for a list of potential mentors (worldwide) or sign up to BE a mentor!


Try this:  go to http://emissary.wm.edu, go to “Teachers and Students,”

click on “Mentor Database, explore!


2.       www.epals.com

The largest global community of connected classrooms!


                                      Try this:  go to www.epals.com, click on “The Way We Are:  An Introduction to

                                       ePals.  Enjoy!


3.       VHS (Virtual High School)


B.      Entrepreneurship

1.       www.kauffman.org

Youth Entrepreneurship.  Includes articles, grants, education, and much more!  Click on the “Education” tab and explore!


2.       www.ja.org

JA Worldwide is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.



3.       www.teachingkidsbusiness.com

        Their motto is “Introducing, preparing, and launching kids into business!”


C.       Grant Writing

1.       www.grantsalert.com

Best free site for grants – corporate, private, and government.


VI.                The Power of Citizenship (Community Networking, Electronic Democracy, Citizen Role’s)


E-Portfolios Defined

When defining e-portfolio, one discovers that different definitions exist. For example, Helen Barrett, a famous supporter of the e-portfolio method, says:

e-portfolios could be defined as “a purposeful collection of student (or teacher) work that illustrates efforts, progress, and achievement in one or more areas over time. An electronic portfolio uses digital technologies, allowing the portfolio developer to collect and organize portfolio artifacts in many media types (audio, video, graphics, text). A standards-based portfolio uses a database or hypertext links to clearly show the relationship between standards or goals, artifacts, and reflections. The learner's reflections are the rationale that specific artifacts are evidence of achieving the stated standards or goals. An electronic portfolio is a reflective tool that demonstrates growth over time." (Barrett, 2004)

There are different purposes for e-portfolio, e.g. presenting achievement, a tool for active learning, a tool for professional or career development planning (PDP or CDP) or as an assessment tool (see Barrett, H. & Carney, J. (2005). Conflicting Paradigms and Competing Purposes in Electronic Portfolio Development , 2006-12-12):

Below you find an overview about different processes which Jeremy Hieberts extracts as important for portfolio work.

Several stages learners would need to go through if they were using an e-portfolio to help them. They would:


An outstanding image and chart on Personal Learning - Must See!