ERIC Identifier: ED433218
Publication Date: 1999-05-00
Author: Haury, David L. - Milbourne, Linda A.
Clearinghouse for Science Mathematics and Environmental Education Columbus OH.
Using the Internet To Enrich Science Teaching and Learning.
We are continually seeking new ways to capture the attention of students and
create active learning environments where minds are engaged and interests are
nurtured. The Internet is a powerful tool for engaging minds: school groups and
individual students can collaborate on projects; students can pursue individual
interests, taking responsibility for gathering their own information; and
everyone can communicate with peers and experts worldwide. For teachers, the
Internet is an electronic gateway to learning resources and experiences
otherwise unavailable; no matter how specialized an area of interest may be,
there is someone on the Internet who shares the interest and has identified or
developed useful resources. It is through interaction with other people, ideas,
and new experiences that we all construct new knowledge, and the power of the
Internet is in its capacity to enable interactions with people over great
distances and link people with distant informational resources. In essence, the
Internet provides a way to break out of the school walls and engage students
with people and resources scattered around the world.
The full potential of the Internet as a tool for learning is still being
explored, but one of the main limitations at the moment may be our imaginations.
We are still gaining the experiences that will enable us to envision the
possibilities. Here we offer some examples of ways in which the Internet can be
used as a tool for teaching and learning science.
FACILITATING PRODUCTIVE INTERACTIONS
can interact inexpensively without needing to coordinate the times or places of
their interaction, virtual conversations are possible between individuals with
very different schedules. Using electronic mail, a teacher can interact
individually with students or their parents, send informational messages over a
Listserv to a whole group, or provide assistance and access to electronic
resources through a personal website. With these Internet communication tools, a
teacher can actually provide increased individual attention while spending less
time in meetings, extended conversations, or talking on the telephone.
The Internet also makes it possible for a class or group to interact with
other school groups at great distances. For instance, one school coordinated an
experiment with 11 other class groups from as far away as Australia and Japan
(Lidbeck, 1996). The groups all measured the Earth's magnetic field and compared
their results. Without the Internet, costs and logistical problems would have
made such an experience impossible.
Finally, science related discussion groups on the World Wide Web enable
students and teachers to interact with others around the world that share
interests. Maintaining interest is key in science, so one way to encourage the
one or two students in a particular class who have unique interests is to foster
interactions with others who share the interest.
FINDING NEW SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Through the Internet,
students, parents, and teachers with limited resources can access an extensive
array of informational sources.
Kids Connect @ the Library
The Library of Congress
Library Resources on the Internet
Science Reference Shelf
Martindale's The Reference Desk
The On-Line Books Page: Science
engines and directories
Awesome Library (http://www.neat-schoolhouse.org/awesome.html)
The Virtual Library: Science
more ideas, see "The parent's guide to the information superhighway," online at
There are times when each of us needs
help finding specific information, learning new concepts, completing
assignments, or making plans. On the Web, personal assistance is only a click
the experts. This is a sampling of question answering services available.
Scientific American: Ask the Experts
Ask Jeeves for Kids
The Mad Scientist Network
Help & Tutoring
The CSMEE Homework Companion
The Biology Project
information Access to career information and first hand accounts from people who
have succeeded can help students know how to prepare. Here are samples of
ScienceWeb: Career Descriptions
People in Mathematics and the Sciences
One way to keep students interested in
science is to help them notice the science of daily life. Here are websites that
relate science to the news, daily events, issues, television and more.
Science in and "behind" the news.
The Why Files
Science in the Headlines
Science News Online
Scientific American Explorations
Sky & Telescope
and Radio. These web pages complement television and radio programming and can
help to enrich the viewing experience.
Nova Online (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/search.html)
Earth & Sky (http://www.earthsky.com)
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Scientific American Frontiers
A Science Odyssey
and Events of the Day. These sites focus on current issues and events relevant
to science and social perspectives.
EPA Global Warming Site
FEMA for Kids
Today's Earthquake Activity
EXTENDING CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION.
outside the classroom is nurtured at websites offering activities, information,
and media to promote interest and understanding.
Learning Centers. These interactive sites provide access to unique resources to
capture the attention of students.
The Learning Studio @ The Exploratorium
Thinking Fountain (http://www.sci.mus.mn.us/sln/tf/nav/tfatoz.html)
Explorer's Club (http://www.epa.gov/kids/)
Exploring the Environment (http://www.cotf.edu/ete/main.html)
Many websites offer simple activities that can enrich school instruction, home
instruction, or homework assignments.
learning experiences. These websites offer resources and activities that can
guide the whole family in creating a learning environment.
Too Cool For Grownups
Bird Conservation Initiatives
Helping Your Child Learn Science
The Global Schoolhouse
The Nation's K-12 Homepage
Courses. Online courses can be used to supplement classroom learning.
An Astronomy Course Using the Internet
The websites listed here represent the
opportunities available for engaging students in analyzing real-world data,
examining research findings, and exploring active research efforts. For more
ideas, see "Web Activities Using Scientific Data," online at
NOAA Server (http://www.esdim. noaa.gov/NOAAServer/)
National Geophysical Data Center
National Oceanographic Data Center
Water Resources of the United States
The Tree of Life (http://phylogeny.arizona.edu/tree/phylogeny.html)
Internet Resource Guide for Zoology
EPA's Surf Your Watershed
centers and facilities
Space Scientists Online (http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/sso/index.html)
EPA Acid Rain Program (http://www.epa.gov/docs/acidrain/ardhome.html)
GETTING INVOLVED IN PROJECTS
Though we all learn best by "doing," a major benefit of the Internet is the opportunity for individual
students, families, and classroom groups to actively participate in a rich
variety of projects that involve collecting and sharing data.
GLOBE Program (http://www.globe.gov/)
Journey North (http://www.learner.org/jnorth/)
FrogWatch USA (http://www.mp2-pwrc.usgs.gov/FrogWatch/)
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (http://birds.cornell.edu/)
Global Water Sampling Project
Houghton Mifflin Project Center
fairs and competitions
The CSMEE Science Fair Companion
Odyssey of the Mind
Science Project Guidelines
Experimental Science Projects
Amateur Scientist (http://earth.thesphere.com/SAS/SciAm/SciAm.html)
ENRICH PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
With the strong emphasis on
active learning in science, the range of experiences that a student brings to
the classroom will have an effect on the learning that occurs. Here is a
sampling of resources that can increase individual awareness of nature and the
world beyond one's direct experiences.
Virtual Tours (http://www.dreamscape.com/frankvad/museums.html)
The Jason Project
to zoos, museums, and centers
American Museum of Natural History
Zoo Links (http://www.ala-net.com/zoos.html)
The Virtual Cave (http://www.goodearth.com/virtcave.html)
The Nine Planets
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
cameras & robots
Animal Cams (http://biology.miningco. com/msub2.htm)
Bradford Robotic Telescope
Telerobot Controller (http://192.204. 241.187/cgi-win/telerobt.exe)
Global Online Adventure Learning Site
Lidbeck, G. (1996). Confessions of a fourth grade
newbie. In M. Shinohara, R. Wenn, & A. Sussman (Eds.). "Tales from the
electronic frontier." San Francisco: WestEd, pp. 42-48. (Available online at
Reasons for the Internet in K-12 Schools
Tales from the electronic frontier (http://www.wested.org/tales/)
Science and Math Initiatives (http://www.learner.org/sami/)
Ebenezer, J. V., & Lau, E. (1999). "Science on the Internet: A resource
for K-12 teachers." Columbus, OH: Merrill.