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January 1993


Cynthia Lanius

The use of the Internet has increased dramatically in K-12 education in recent months, partially because of training programs offered by the CRPC and other research groups, educational institutions, and computer training facilities throughout the country. Teachers and students are now taking advantage of the vast amount of educational information available over the Web, and at the same time becoming more confident in the use of computers. The CRPC is showing its commitment to increasing teacher and student exposure to the Internet by holding workshops and training programs and distributing informative materials on an ongoing basis.

For those not familiar with the Internet, it is an international network of networks that allows users all over the world to share their work and ideas through communication channels like email. Some of the computers on the Internet have special software installed that allows them to share pictures and movie clips; these computers make up the World Wide Web. To visit the computers on the World Wide Web, you need a Web browser like Netscape or Mosaic.

Last June, the GirlTECH program, a collaboration between the CRPC and the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP), trained 20 teachers extensively on the use of the Internet. This group of teachers has subsequently trained approximately 500 additional teachers to date, who have in turn impacted thousands of young students. In addition, the original 20 teachers learned how to create their own home pages, complete with lesson plans. To access these pages and obtain more information about GirlTECH, visit http://teachertech.rice.edu/ .

The 1995 Mathematics and Computational Sciences Awareness Workshop held at Rice University last March included Internet training, with an emphasis on how to use email. Participating teachers who did not have email accounts had the opportunity to sign up for accounts through TENET, a Texas educators' network.

This October, CRPC Executive Director Linda Torczon gave a presentation entitled "Computation: A Critical Tool for Future Scientists and Engineers" to approximately 100 K-12 mathematics teachers at the RUSMP fall workshop. After the talk, teachers attended presentations about the Internet. One teacher commented, "The home page information was very interesting. I will be making a home page for my school, as well as searching the World Wide Web for lesson plans and ideas."

As attendees discovered, the Internet is a gold mine of K-12 resources. One useful starting point is the Armadillo's K-12 WWW Resources page, the server for the Houston Independent School District, at http://www.rice.edu/armadillo/Rice/Resources/reshome.html . Another is the Tech Corps page at http://www.ustc.org/. Schoolchildren will enjoy and learn from the interesting subject matter available on Kids Web at http://old-npac.ucs.indiana.edu/textbook/kidsweb (see article on page 12).

To determine what teachers know and/or would like to know about the Internet, I would like to initiate an informal survey of K-12 teachers and their use of the Internet. Please help us out by completing the accompanying survey form and returning it to the CRPC. If you know other K-12 teachers who do not receive this newsletter, please forward copies of this survey to them. I will compile the results and report them back in a future "Spotlight on Teachers" column. I look forward to hearing from you.

Cynthia Lanius is GirlTECH Project Manager, RUSMP Associate Director, mathematics teacher, mathematics support teacher for the Houston Independent School District, and is an active collaborator in CRPC education outreach programs. To submit contributions and ideas for future columns, contact her at (713) 527-6076, or send email to lanius@rice.edu . For more information on the CRPC's educational outreach programs, contact http://www.crpc.rice.edu/CRPC/.

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