Monday, December 29, 2003

Changes to ERIC: In January 2004, the Department of Education will begin to implement a reengineering plan for ERIC. The new ERIC mission continues the core function of providing a centralized bibliographic database of journal articles and other published and unpublished education materials. It enhances the database by adding free full text and electronic links to commercial sources and by making it easy to use and up to date.

Beginning in January and until the new ERIC model for acquiring education literature is developed later in 2004, no new materials will be received and accepted for the database. However, the ERIC database will continue to grow, as thousands of documents selected by the ERIC clearinghouses throughout 2003 will be added. When the new model is ready later in 2004, the new ERIC contractor will communicate with publishers, education organizations, and other database contributors to add publications and materials released from January 2004 forward.

For now, users are directed to Other ERIC-related sites have new homes on the web. For instance, AskEric has become The Educator's Reference Desk. The Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication can now be found at

Friday, December 26, 2003

The Poetry Forge is an open source archive designed to help students and teachers create poetry online. The forge includes a variety of tools and students are encouraged to publish their work.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory offers an interactive online lesson planner intended to help teachers write focused lesson plans. The Planner addresses essential questions that are often overlooked when planning curriculum units. Teachers bring their own content and are guided through each section by answering specific questions. The result is a comprehensive lesson plan aligned with standards that addresses assessment, content, teaching strategies and use of technology.

Monday, December 22, 2003

The Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) will be a nationwide network of at least 7000 shaking measurement systems, both on the ground and in buildings that will make it possible to provide emergency response personnel with real-time earthquake information, provide engineers with information about building and site response, and provide scientists with high-quality data to understand earthquake processes and solid earth structure and dynamics. The website for ANSS includes recent earthquake data that can be downloaded into Excel and graphed.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, is the most recent entry in our Resources neighborhood. Wikipedia is a multilingual project to create a complete and accurate free content encyclopedia. They started in January 2001 and are currently working on 184248 articles in the English version. Anyone can edit pages and contribute new articles.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

In the December 2 post, I pointed you to the Smithsonian Institution's website including its Resource Library. Be sure to order their guides to both their websites and their publications. Organized by topics and including indexes, these helpful guides give you the Smithsonian at a glance and should be part of every school media center. While you're at the site, be sure to search on other publications. Prices range from free, web-based bibliographies to $5 teacher resource guides to $150 curriculum packages.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Today, of course, is the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' historic flight. Despite the rainy weather, thousands have gathered on the dunes in Kitty Hawk to watch a recreation of that first flight. Here are just a few websites from the VCOL database related to that day:

The Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company: This website from Dayton, Ohio bills itself as a virtual museum of aviation history.

National Historic Site: The National Park Service website

First Flight Centennial: The website of the organization responsible for the Centennial celebration

A new three-part series exploring the life of Charles Dickens premieres tonight on PBS. It promises to be a wonderful examination of both the man and his Victorian London. The website includes backgrouns information, a tour of London and other resources: Dickens

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Did a search on "holidays" in Virginia's Community of Learning database and found several excellent resources including this one: a compendium of resources for Foregin Lanugage teachers. Here's the description: Internet-based lesson plans were created for foreign language classes and were designed to be used as worksheets for the students to complete while accessing the corresponding reference web sites online. Teachers may print out the sheets, copy them, and distribute them to the students. There are also 480 links to authentic documents on the web which include Geography, Newspapers, Foods, Sports, Music, Literature, Museums, Artists, Leisure, History, Holidays/ Celebrations, Weather, Search Engines, and Comics.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Some kind user just added this website to the VCOL database. Here's the description: "EvaluTech, an initiative of the SREB Educational Technology Cooperative with evaluation support of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, provides reviewed and recommended instructional materials and up-to-date and reliable information about Web-based and other electronic instructional resources." I just spent a few minutes exploring and it looks like a great spot to find materials and other web resources. Have fun browsing! Evalutech

And don't forget to add your own favorite websites to the VCOL database. Who knows? Maybe your site will get blogged!

Friday, December 12, 2003

Attention English Teachers! Looking for some new ideas to brighten the winter months? This site is a collection of language arts related lesson plan ideas for K through 12 from Teachers Helping Teachers. Several are book related while others focus on writing skills. Just the spot to visit when you're staring at that blank lesson plan book, trying to come up with something a little different.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I'm working on transferring sites from Teaching the Virginia SOL and found this simple lesson plan idea in 5th grade English under 5.1. Students are directed to create a monument to commemorate an important person or event. The plan comes from Eduplace, the online home of Houghton Mifflin. Most textbook publishers have extensive websites and offer some content for free. In addition, take a look at your textbooks because more and more include a login and password that provides access to additional resources for both teachers and students.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

We were very happy to hear David Warlick talk about the Wayback Machine since we pointed it out in the post for November 19, 2004. Right now, we are using the machine to look at a website called Teaching the Virginia SOL, a website that was created in 1998 by Dr. Robert Hanny from the College of William and Mary. The site included web-based strategies and resources related to every single SOL. It was an incredibly rich resource for Virginia's teachers, but it had gotten a little out of date and was recently taken down from the DOE website. Click here if you want to see Teaching the Virginia SOL at the Wayback Machine. Since many of the resources are still active, we are transferring them into the VCOL database and will update you as we work through the content areas. Currently, we are working on English and Math.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

David Warlick was the keynote speaker for the conference. David has been part of the Internet educational community for a long time and his website is full of resources for educators. In addition, he sponsors the Global Grocery Project each year. His website is the newest addition to the Virginia Community of Learning:

Monday, December 08, 2003

Good morning! I am blogging from the 9th annual Technology Leadership Conference sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education. This conference is always held at the Hotel Roanoke in lovely Roanoke, Virginia, during December, and it brings together technology leaders from across the state. The DOE has an exceptional online presence as well and the Division of Instruction is constantly adding new resources to its SOL resource page so if you haven't visited in awhile, you might waht to check it out:

Friday, December 05, 2003

I'm busy cleaning up the database for the upcoming Technology Leadership Conference and found this very cute site about Abraham Lincoln. The Illustrated Timeline is the perfect mix of children's artwork and technology: Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Everyone has heard of No Child Left Behind, President Bush's major education initiative designed to help every child succeed. What about No Teacher Left Behind? It's a tough profession with a high drop out rate, especially among novice teachers. This website from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory focuses on the teachers with links to a variety of publications and reports about recruitment, retention, and teacher quality. Online Resources for Recruitment, Retention, and Quality Issues

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Two other blogs will be merging to form Virginia's Community of Learning blog. The first, Act2Online, was used to share elementary education related websites with a group of teachers involved in a PT3 grant at the College of William and Mary. You can learn more about the program at its website.

The second, the VITALblog, was used to share relevant websites with a group of administrators who were part of the Virginia Initiative for Technology and Administrative Leadership. This Gates-funded grant focused on helping building level adminsitrators learn how to facilitate technology integration in their buildings.

Both these programs are coming to an end and the blogs will probably not be maintained. But rather than lose the resource, we will make it part of the resources at Virginia's Community of Learning. Volunteers who help maintain the website will have access to the blog and be able to post new websites that are added to the database and share news and information of interest to the educational technology community.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

We are so lucky that James Smithson decided to endow the United States with his museum! The Smithsonian is such a great institution that has really exploited the Web to its fullest. You can search for educational resources at the Resource Library. I looked for Virtual Tours and found a really wonderful website for American history. Within These Walls is an online exploration of the five families that lived in a house and how they intersected with American history. It is really well done and brings history alive.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Several summers ago, my husband and I traveled across the United States, following the Lewis and Clark trail. The 200th anniversary began this year and there are lots of websites that tell the story of that great American adventure. Mapping the West focuses on the tools that the explorers used to create their well-known map. From the Smithsonian, this website focuses on the expedition's contribution to natural history. Ken Burns' series, The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, has a website. Finally, the trail itself is a National Historic Trail and the National Park Service has a website about it.