Netwatch: Curriculum
Best new instructional resources on the internet
eSchool News Staff Reports
December 1, 2000

�Youthline USA� gives students a pipeline to the world at large

Youthline USA is a daily internet news site, weekly newspaper, and monthly magazine, packed with educational and entertaining content and designed for kids ages eight to 14. The site provides daily news articles and curriculum-based activities that focus on strengthening reading excellence, while helping kids develop good habits such as checking eMail, stock portfolios, and daily news. The site helps teach students about the working habits that are required to succeed in business through an innovative stock market game, and it provides interactive activities linked to national standards and organized by grade level. Youthline USA allows for further research and background information using the news archive, and it keeps students coming back every day for daily puzzles and riddles, weekly polls, and interactive games. It�s a great site for use in early-grade social studies classes or for currents events lesson-planning.

�Xcursion Central� marks the spot for web-based learning

At SmartStuff Software�s Xcursion Central, educators will find a host of information about integrating the web into the classroom curriculum. They can also take their classes on an Xcursion, one of the site�s curriculum-rich, teacher-developed internet field trips. Each Xcursion links users to a number of web sites that are relevant to a specific subject or topic. Topics include animals, arts, environment, foreign languages, health and physical education, language arts and literature, mathematics, science, social studies, and technology. Teachers can also make an Xcursion of their own with the site�s exclusive Xcursion Editor�and don�t forget to browse the directories of educational web site links for research, reference, or for teacher use. SmartStuff Software says the site�s mission is to provide solutions that maintain and enhance the functionality of computers while providing simple, safe, and secure working environments for multiple users.

This stellar NASA site is a launching pad for space science resources

NASA�s Office of Space Science has unveiled the Space Science Education Resource Directory, an internet on-ramp to top-quality educational resources produced by NASA�s Space Science Education and public outreach programs. The web-based directory provides access to space science resources for teachers and students from kindergarten through high school. "Sharing the wonders of our universe with educators and the public is the responsibility of every space science endeavor funded by NASA," says Ed Weiler, NASA�s associate administrator for Space Science. This first release of the directory contains more than 100 electronic resources, including lesson plans, educator guides, student activities, web sites, and spectacular space science imagery such as auroras, comets, the birthplace of stars, and colliding galaxies. Educators, resource developers, and space scientists have worked together to design a system that is scientifically accurate and easy to use. Science educators can locate science lessons and activities for their classrooms by searching by keyword or browsing by subject, grade level, and topics that align with National Science Education Standards. According to developers, the directory will be updated continually with new top-quality resources. Future plans include providing access to printed materials, CD-ROMS, videos, and posters. The University of California at Berkeley, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Space Telescope Science Institute developed the resource directory in close consultation with the U.S. Department of Education�s Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM). The resulting directory is compatible with national educational databases that are familiar to, and widely used by, teachers.

�� promotes a student-centered approach to learning

Would your students like to chat with some ancient Egyptians about burial traditions? Have they ever considered how a drawing might look if Monet chose the color palette? And what really does distinguish one dinosaur from another? is a brand-new eLearning site, created to inspire these kinds of questions and help kids search for answers. The site helps kids create projects about topics they are interested in, and it helps them learn something new in the process. "Not nearly enough has been done to appeal to that super-savvy, technologically-brilliant generation now developing. I would like to see establish the standard for eLearning for younger kids," said Gary Kiliany, founder and creator of Inc. Sections of the site already online include the "Stickerbook," where pages of animated stickers detail ancient Egypt and dinosaurs with facts and images, and "Art," where kids can explore color palettes and artistic expression. The "Games" section offers activities such as "Order Up," where kids learn about velocity and gravity by launching food through space. Math, science, and phonics areas are in the beta stage of development and will be available over the next few months.

�Planet Project� provides a global perspective for class discussion

Are your students curious about how students in other cultures and countries live their lives? Can they even imagine a place where speaking three languages is not only normal, but expected? Or where elephants walk alongside traffic? Or where people are so used to the cold, they wear bathing suits when they play in the snow? In November, 3Com Corp. and the Planet Project invited students ages 13 to 20 from across the world to participate in an online poll. The Planet Project "Student Underground" poll is part of a larger international poll taking place at the same time, in which millions of people around the world are invited to answer a series of questions about what it�s like to be a human being at the beginning of the millennium. The "Student Underground" portion of the Planet Project consists of 20 questions, each written by a student hand-selected by 3Com and the Planet Project. The poll hopes to spur further discussion about how our communities can work together globally to provide internet access the classrooms everywhere. The results of this survey should provide a great jumping-off point for teachers interested in creating discussion about foreign cultures, world events, technology, and demographics.

Follow these two female explorers as they ski across Antarctica .html

In November, world-famous polar explorers and former school teachers Ann Bancroft of the United State and Liv Arnesen of Norway began a trek that will culminate by skiing 2,400 miles across Antarctica, pulling 250-pound sleds loaded with food and supplies. They are the first women to ski across a continent with temperatures averaging minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit and winds gusting up to 100 miles per hour. The entire expedition is now available online, as part of the team�s mission to motivate and inspire students around the world. The team is leading a global education program from Antarctica during the 100-day trek, which is scheduled to end in February 2001. The program includes free curriculum developed by the National Center for Health Education on subjects such as science, nutrition, first aid, geography, history, and meteorology. The site also contains maps of the region, daily journal updates, online chats, and regular video and audio updates.

Leadership  Research and management resources for the K-12 decision maker

Discover free and discounted software at ��

Wondering where to find a listing of all the software educators can obtain at special discounts? A new internet software site,, promises to give you just that information. NPWare is a software resource site that caters to nonprofit organizations such as schools, churches, and charities. Here, administrators and procurement officials can find only links to free software or trial versions of software that offers discounts to nonprofits. Min Wu, webmaster of NPWare, sums up the goal of the new site: "Many nonprofits run on a very tight budget. We�re doing our part to help cut the costs for these organizations by providing information on affordable software." NPWare carries a multitude of software titles in the areas of business, education, the internet, programming, and utilities. Educators can choose from a number of educational titles to find the ones that best fit their classroom needs at the lowest cost to their district. Software vendors are encouraged to submit their free or discounted software for inclusion on the site.

Farm this web site for resources on rural schools

U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley recently joined several senators and the Congressional Rural Caucus in announcing a new online resource for and about rural schools. The web site, "Navigating Resources for Rural Schools," is designed especially for those concerned with education in remote or rural areas of the country. "People in rural communities, just as those living elsewhere, need information and resources they can rely on for making good decisions about the education of their children," Riley said. "This site provides them with immediate access to timely, research-based information." Developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the request of four senators, this site provides access to recent data collected by NCES, as well as access to resources available through selected contractors and grantees of the U.S. Department of Education. The web site provides links to data and information on current and changing conditions in education in rural America, including enrollment data, National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, course-taking, dropouts, transitions to college, availability of advanced course offerings and technology, teacher characteristics, class size, technology, discipline, and facilities. The new web site also has links to relevant department programs, research, and promising practices related to rural education.

Gain an edge on arts education with the Kennedy Center�s �ArtsEdge�

The Kennedy Center�s ArtsEdge web site, which acts as an international gateway to experiences with other societies, cultures, and their arts, has received many awards, notices, and accolades since its launch in 1991. The site functions as a clearinghouse for information on arts education. It is more than a repository, though, as it emphasizes interactivity. The web site not only connects educators to resources on curriculum development and educational research; it involves them in integrating these resources into field practice. ArtsEdge calls itself "a true community of learners and users," and its archives expand the base of arts education knowledge. According to the site, "Working with recent developments in knowledge representation and instructional strategy moves arts education toward the center of the curriculum. ArtsEdge advocates learning in, through, and about the arts by providing high-quality resources to educators." ArtsEdge encourages educators to become part of the ArtsEdge community by contributing curriculum, newsworthy items, and general resources for educators.

Get students thinking about high-tech careers with ��

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently unveiled the GetTech web site, a new public service campaign designed to encourage students to prepare for careers in science and technology. According to the site�s organizers, the GetTech program is a response to growing concern that too few young people recognize how studying math, science, and technology in junior high school can lead to rewarding careers. The site explains that many of the fastest growing and highest paying jobs in the future will be in science, manufacturing, and technology, but too often students opt out of those courses because of negative stereotypes and a lack of role models or career information. The GetTech campaign features a teen-friendly web site, public service announcements, and materials for teachers and students. The target audience is middle school students, ages 11 to 14. The web site also provides information about specific technology careers. For instance, kids can read about Rebecca, a cable technician at a local station. "Every time you tune in to MTV, I�m behind the scenes, taking the live feed via satellite," she says. Kids also learn other aspects of math and science careers. Biochemists, for example, "study the organic chemistry that sustains all life," and semiconductor technicians "test the material used to make microchips."