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Computers in the Classroom

Compiled by Karen Work Richardson (
April 2002

 This Month:

Discovery School

This month, the newsletter explores just one website: It is filled with lesson plans, links to web resources, tools for teachers and much more. I did some exploring and want to highlight some specific features I think you'll find useful.

1. Lesson Plans: Completely searchable with plans for all grade levels and curriculum areas.

2. Sites of the School Day: Kathy Schrock highlights websites for teachers each month. The sites can be delivered via email but you can also visit the list online and explore the archives. The first link each month is a review of upcoming holidays from the popular to the obscure.

3. On TV: Discovery Channel produces two documentary series just for classroom use: Assignment Discovery and TLC Elementary School. Both are commercial-free and free to tape. You can use them for two years. The site also includes short clips from most of the videos for sale in the Discovery store.

4. Conversations: Want to talk to other teachers or read conversations with guest experts? This is the place. You can subscribe to an email newsletter, become part of a discussion groups with other teachers, and, coming soon, join in online chat with teaching colleagues around the world.

5. Science Fair Central: Even if you aren't planning a science fair, this website has great tips for designing, implementing and presenting experiments. Reviews the scientific method and gives examples of creating a central question.

6. Brain Boosters: These short but challenging puzzles make perfect class openers.

7. Animal Cams: Part of the Student Guide at Discovery School, this page features a variety of animal cams so students can "spy" on alligators, lions, and penguins.

For more animal webcams, visit the National Zoo:

8. Geogame: Interactive geography game that leads students from continent to country to capital. This game is part of the Student Guide.

9. Parent's Guide: is rich with features that are helpful for parents and students as well as teachers from product reviews and educational advice to study tools and homeschooling resources. Teachers might want to print some of the articles about homework and conferences to share with their parents.

10. BJ Pinchbeck's Homework Helper: A collection of web links organized by curriculum area. Includes a good list of news outlets and reference sites. BTW, BJ is a real kid!


Feature Web:

The Blackout History Project

In 1965, a major blackout swept the northeast United States. In 1977, a more localized blackout led to looting in New York City. The Blackout History Project seeks to reconstruct these two dramatic social responses to large-scale technological failure by using the World Wide Web as a research platform and historical forum. The site encourages visitors to post their own memories and includes interviews with power engineers who were working for the utilities at the time.

This site is a member of Science and Technology in the Making (STIM), a web-based research project for the recent history of science and technology funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and is affiliated with the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. For the first year of its existence the Blackout site was hosted by the Scholarly Technology Group (STG) at Brown University.

Very exciting and interesting use of the World Wide Web that could provide a model to teachers who aren't sure how to use the web as more than an online encyclopedia.