The Online Educator


The Online Educator
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 1994 19:16:37 -0500 (EST)
From: Ann Okerson <>
Subject: The Online Educator

Date: Sat, 3 Dec 1994 16:27:48 +0100
From: (Michael Uwe Moebius)
Subject: The Online Educator

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 12:20:14 -0500
Subject: Newsletter

The Online Educator
(Link inactive 7 October 2004)

New publication to help teachers use Internet The Online Educator focuses
on classroom cyberspace

[West Bloomfield, MI] --- A new monthly publication is now available to
teachers, home-based educators and others interested in accessible
information about using the Internet as a teaching aid.

The Online Educator attempts to bridge the gap between the rich world of
information and knowledge available on the global network of computers,
known as the Internet, and the nation's classrooms. The publication is
intended primarily for those who are new to the Internet, but also
contains valuable classroom ideas and lessons for educators with an
intermediate-level understanding of online computing.

The creators of the newsletter, two journalists with experience
translating complex material into useful, useable information,
recognized the enormous responsibility the nation's educators now have
to teach our children how to take advantage of the information
technology altering our lives. They also understood that there are few
places a teacher can turn for simple-to-understand information and
step-by-step advice on navigating the Internet. That is the basic
mission of The Online Educator: To provide practical ideas in an
understandable way.

The first issue features suggestions for using Internet e-mail
capabilities to teach lessons in geography; it also contains lesson
ideas that can teach language skills, science and the environment. It
includes news about online educational forums and inexpensive or free
information sources, and even offers contests and fun ways to engage
students in learning about their computers and the vast world now
available for them to explore.

Charter subscriptions are available from The Online Educator, Box
251141, West Bloomfield, MI 48325. Before Jan. 1, 1995, they are $15
for one year or $25 for two years. An e-mail version is available for
$12/year. Send two dollars to the above address for a sample copy.


The Online Educator....Volume 1, Number One.....November 1994

A worldly lesson

Geography can be a tough subject to teach. Sending a student to the
library for encyclopedia reports on the gross national product of
far-away countries is a sure way to turn kids off to geography forever.

It doesn't have to be that way. You can use your school's computer and
the Internet to bring the entire world right into your classroom.

Depending on the type of machine and software you have, you might be
able to receive color pictures, sounds and even full-motion videos of
the places you're studying. You may even be able to set up video
conferences between your students and kids on the other side of the

But even if all you can do is send and receive e-mail (electronic mail)
there are plenty of resources available on the Internet that you can
integrate into your geography lesson plans.

One project that has quickly become a favorite of teachers around the
world is finding student penpals for their classes. Teachers have found
this a great way to integrate geography, language skills, typing and
social studies lessons into a single project. Students enjoy the
excitement of exchanging letters, notes and messages with kids in
far-away places.

If you are studying a particular country or region, try connecting with
a class in that area of the world to exchange information. One of the
best ways to find that kind of long-distance learning partner is to send
out a request over the KIDLINK network. (See accompanying story on how
to connect to KIDLINK).

Another idea is to send out broad appeals over the Internet asking
people all over the world to drop your class a note. Ask respondents to
answer a couple of short, simple questions such as:

Where do you live? (city, state, country) How many people live there?
What do you like best about where you live?

Keep track of your responses with push pins on a large world map.

Some ideas for finding penpals:
Send a request via KIDNET
Post messages in newsgroups (discussion groups), such as
k12.ed.soc-studies. You'll find messages there from other teachers looking
for penpals for their students.
Send an e-mail message to: and ask for
Cruise the net to win

The Online Educator will award free subscriptions to the ten classes
that receive e-mail from the most locations (multiple messages from the
same person or place don't count). To enter, send an e-mail message by
January 1, 1995 to and include the following:

1. The number of locations (cities, states, countries, etc.) from which
your class received e-mail messages. (Please dont forward the messages

2. A brief description of how you used the e-mail project in your

3. Your name, a phone number you can be reached at during school hours,
and your schools address.

Winners will be announced in the February edition of The Online


Net Lessons
(Practical ideas for taking your classroom online.) ___________________________

Get linked to KIDLINK;
take your students global

You've heard about the wonderful Information Superhighway and you've
been itching to use your school's computers to get your students onto
it. But if you're like a lot of teachers, you're not sure where to

A good place to start is in the KIDLINK Gopher, an international,
multi-cultural project that takes full advantage of the vast power of
the Internet to bring the entire world into your classroom.

Headquartered in Norway, KIDLINK is a non-profit organization founded by
Odd de Presno, a 50-year-old writer and computer expert. De Presno, who
lives in a small town in southern Norway, designed KIDLINK primarily for
kids 10 to 15 years old, although teachers who've participated in
KIDLINK activities report there's a lot there for younger students, too.

De Presno's goal is to get kids from all over the world talking to one
another -- by electronic mail, by transmitting movies and photos over
the Internet, even by Ham radio. An international assortment of
educators oversee the process and develop in-class projects that use
computers to enhance lessons in other subjects.

To date, some 23,000 kids living in 64 countries have participated in
KIDLINK projects. Here are some of the projects KIDLINK is currently

Students from around the world are "drawing" their country's flags on
computers and sending them to other KIDLINK participants.

Every Saturday, students log onto their computers and "chat" with one
another over the Internet. Occasionally, guest speakers are invited to
join. Topics range from kids' views on education to marine biology and
the rise of neo-Naziism.

Students from Australia to Zimbabwe are spending their free study time
writing letters to one another and sending them electronically over the
Internet. Their teachers are happily reporting not only improved
writing and language skills, but increased interest in social studies,
current events and cultural activities.

Getting information about KIDLINK and becoming involved is very easy to
do. To get started, simply connect your computer to the KIDLINK gopher
server (a gopher server is a software program that displays information
in a menu form). The KIDLINK gopher is well designed with lots of
hand-holding features for first-timers.

Spend a half hour on the KIDLINK system and you'll come away with a
dozen good classroom projects and activities for your students.

How to connect to KIDLINK:

1. Log on to your Internet service.
2. At the Internet prompt, type: gopher and press ENTER.
3. You'll be connected to the KIDLINK gopher server, which will present you
with a menu of options. In addition to descriptions of classroom projects
and lessons, you'll find instructions on how to become active in the
KIDLINK organization.


Its potato time; science and French in one stop

Looking for innovative science experiment ideas? A potato-powered clock,
perhaps? Want some value-added in the form of a French lesson?

A computer located at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, contains
that project and others aimed at K-6 students. It is part of Canada's
national online educational effort, called Schoolnet.

Some of the experiments, such as the "spud watch," require adult help,
but they all make great classroom projects.

Have your students log onto the Internet and retrieve the experiment
directions themselves and you can incorporate a computer lesson into the
project. An added language-arts benefit to this project: Half of the
menu items and directions you'll see on your screen when you log onto
the Canadian computer will be in French!

How to connect to Schoolnet

1. Connect your classroom computer to your Internet host. 2. At the
Internet prompt, type: gopher and press ENTER. This will
connect you to the Schoolnet computer in Ottawa. 3. From the menu
presented, select: "Schoolnet gopher." 4. From the next menu presented,
select: "Kindergarten to Grade 6 Corner." 5. From the last menu, select
"Cool things to try."


Go fishing for a lesson
on the environment

The best teachers know the key to keeping students interested in their
school work is to make learning fun.

Wa-Tor for Windows is a game that is so much fun your students won't
realize they are learning science and environmental concepts, much less

In Wa-Tor, students create an undersea environment containing foraging
fish and predatory sharks. The students determine the number of fish in
each group and at what age they reproduce. After setting a couple of
other variables, the game is ready to begin.

The goal is to keep both fish populations alive as long as possible.
Choose too many sharks and they'll wipe out the other fish and die off
themselves from lack of food. Choose too many foraging fish and they'll
crowd out the sharks with the same effect.

Wa-Tor will display the fish populations in action and graph the
students' efforts. Some teachers divide their classes into teams and
set up competitions. Others allow students to use the program

You'll need Windows installed on your computer in order to use Wa-Tor.
You'll also need a copy of an "unzipping" program, such as PKUNZIP, to
make Wa-Tor usable.

How to receive Wa-Tor

1. Connect to your Internet host. 2. At the Internet prompt, type:
ftp and press RETURN. That will connect you to a
computer in Finland, where Wa-Tor is stored. 3. You will be asked to
supply your name. Type: anonymous. 4. You will be asked to supply a
password. Type your e-mail address. You are now logged onto the
computer as a guest, which will allow you to download Wa-Tor. 5. To
get into the directory containing programs for Windows, type: cd windows
and press RETURN. 6. To get into the subdirectory containing Wa-Tor,
type: cd educgames and press RETURN. 7. To transfer Wa-Tor to your
computer, type: get and press RETURN. The program will be
sent. 8. All you have to do use the program is unzip it, using a
utility program such as PKUNZKP, and load it on your computer using
Windows. Such utilities are widely available in the software libraries
of most commercial online services and bulletin boards for the cost of
the connect time needed to retrieve it.


EDNEWS on the net
(News & notes about educational resources on the Internet)

NOVAE>> GROUP>> is a listserv that provides timely news articles to
classroom teachers who really don't have time to drive the Information
Highway. Weekly postings from teachers and other educators like
yourself keep you abreast of the electronic world.

To subscribe, send email to with no subject and the
following message: subscribe novae full-email-address. To contribute
articles or ask questions, contact ______

EdWeb, an on-line tutorial on education reform and the Information
Highway, is now available at a temporary site:
(Link inactive 1 July 2004).
It has a large K through 12 online hypertext resource guide.

It was created by Andy Carvin ,, education
and information technology fellow, 901 E St. NW, The Corporation for
Public Broadcasting, Washington, DC 20004, 202-879-9600 ext. 9869.

The Hampton Press has announced a 3 book set: Computer-Mediated
Communication and the Online Classroom, edited by Zane L. Berge and
Mauri P. Collins.

These books are intended for the practitioner and many chapters are case
studies, providing the reader with models to use in practice.

The introductory chapter for each of these books is available online.
Each of the introductions describes the scope of the book, lists the
authors, and describes briefly each of the chapters. Prices and
ordering information is included.

To obtain the introductory chapter(s), send the following command(s) to GET intro1.ham GET intro2.ham GET


A free training seminar is being offered that includes 12 weeks of
lessons focused on how to teach people to use new technologies. The
lessons will be delivered via the Internet to more than 4,000
participants worldwide.

To enroll, free of charge, send an email to:

In the text area of the message, type the following: SUBSCRIBE TRAINING
firstname lastname

When the server receives the message, you will be enrolled.

Online basics
(Vocabulary and other essentials)

E-MAIL: Electronic mail. One of the most widely used communication
tools on the Internet and other computer services, such as America
Online, CompuServe and Delphi.

E-MAIL ADDRESS: An electronic address consisting of a user's personal ID
plus the "domain" or "location" of the user's computer. The two
elements of an e-mail address are connected with the "@" symbol, which
is pronounced "at." E-mail addresses end with domain designations that
indicate with increasing generality, where the user is. You read an
e-mail address from left to right, pronouncing the periods that separate
elements of the address by saying "dot." ie: is
pronounced "john doe at x-y-z dot com.

GOPHER: A system of locating and retrieving documents and information
from remote computers and presenting it in an easy-to-use (menu) form to
a user. Gopher software was developed at the University of Minnesota,
home of the Golden Gophers.

INTERNET: A global network of computers that includes huge machines at
universities, businesses, military bases and government locations as
well as small PCs in schools and homes. No one "owns" the Internet and
no one is "in charge" of it. Order is maintained through the voluntary
cooperation of the people who use it. (See "netiquette.")

NETIQUETTE: Network etiquette, or behavior that is socially acceptable
while online and communicating with others over computer networks.

Whats new at the commercial services

The major commercial services, America Online, CompuServe, Prodigy
andDelphi, offer varying degrees of access to the Internet through their
easy to use networks. For monthly fees and hourly charges, they also
provide a wealth of news and bulletin boards aimed at educators and

Here are some places you or your students might visit and explore.
Contact each of the services for membership and pricing information.

America Online (800.827.6364): Teachers Information Network provides
information pertaining to education along with a gathering place where
teachers can come to exchange ideas and discuss educational issues such
as Merit Pay, Children at Risk, and Team Teaching. Features include a
conference and message board where a variety of educational issues are
discussed live, a newsstand containing articles from magazine such as
Scholastic's Electronic Learning and the NSBA's American School Board
Journal, and a searchable database.

One innovative feature is the Electronic Schoolhouse, where a variety of
innovative telecommunication projects are planned or unfolding, and
where you can arrange for joint connects with other schools or with
homeschooling students.

American Federation of Teachers' forum area on AOL provides members with
AFT President Shanker's latest weekly column, "Where We Stand, news of
AFT activities around the nation, AFT studies, reports, and policy
papers on key education, labor, and health issues.

ASCD's online brings the resources of the Association to members and the
general public. Featured are articles from Educational Leadership,
ASCD's flagship publication, catalogs of information about new ASCD
products and services, support for ASCD products and services, articles
from ASCD Update and the Curriculum/Technology Quarterly, and an
opportunity to discuss curriculum issues on the message board.

CompuServe (800.848.8199): Student forums get postings from faraway
places such as Japan and Mozambique. The postings are usually from K
through 12 students eager to receive e-mail from other kids or otherwise
enlisting help with research projects. The Kids Club is a great place
for students to meet others who share their interests, by writing
letters and responding to letters written by others their age.

The Educator Forums are a rich throve of specialized information and
discussion groups on topics that include: attention deficit disorder,
computer training, disabled students, educational research, French
language studies, math and science, and even space. The forum recently
held an online conference: How to start a telecommunications project in
your school. The discussion was to center on how to identify other
classrooms that are online and how to use the Internet to reach them.

The Homeschoolers Conference holds a lively discussion every Thursday at
9:00 p.m. Eastern time for parents and others interested in this
growing trend. ___________________________

Subscribe to The Online Educator

The Online Educator is published monthly during the school year by Hass
Associates, and can be delivered by traditional mail or e-mail.

Via traditional mail: One year, $15. Two years, $25. Via e-mail: One
year, $12. Two years, $20.

Send checks, money orders or school purchase orders, along with your
mailing and e-mail address, to:

The Online Educator, P.O. Box 251141, West Bloomfield, Michigan 48325.

Questions, comments and news items should be directed to the above address
or via e-mail to

Original posting date: 
Sunday, July 30, 1995
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