ERIC Identifier: ED456864
Publication Date: 2001-10-00
Author: Mardis, Marcia
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Information and Technology Syracuse NY.
Uncovering the Hidden Web, Part II: Resources for Your
Classroom. ERIC Digest.
The majority of teens in America say that they have used the Internet as a
major resource for a school project or report (Lenhart, Simon, and Graziano,
2001). Yet, directing these heavy Internet users to locate information with
traditional Web search tools is often inadequate; too often, search engines
don't see and directories can overlook clearinghouses, digital libraries,
full-text databases, and learning objects. In contrast, the hidden Web is rich
with these high quality and cutting-edge learning materials. By integrating
resources from the hidden Web into the classroom, educators extend their
instruction in new and valuable directions
But how does an educator make practical use of this wealth of information and
make it accessible to students? This Digest article will help teachers find key
resources-for themselves and their students-and develop techniques for keeping
track of the treasures they unearth on the hidden Web so that they can be
accessed quickly and easily every time.
Clearinghouses are focused web directories.
That is, editors select sites to populate hierarchically arranged categories.
Directories attempt to cover all topics; clearinghouses focus on a single topic
in depth. Many teachers are familiar with K-12 clearinghouses such as Kathy
Schrock's Guide for Educators (http://school.discovery.com/schrockguide/), but
sites such as the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC), Michigan Teacher
Network, and The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), may be less well known.
The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC) (http://www.enc.org/) is a
Collection of exemplary K-12 science and math teaching and learning resources
supported by the U.S. Department of Education. The collection includes ENC's
"Digital Dozen," a selection of particularly outstanding resources. Michigan
Teacher Network (http://mtn.merit.edu) is a collection of sites for teachers
selected by practicing media specialists in accordance with a thorough
collection policy. Where appropriate, resources are connected with specific
Michigan Curriculum Framework standards and benchmarks. Since teachers often
have to align their classroom activities with state mandated curricula,
clearinghouses like Michigan Teacher Network are setting the standard for
relevance and applicability for K-12 educators (Pittsley, 2001).
At the Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) (http://www.thegateway.org),
teachers can quickly search for high quality educational materials from the
sites of 420 GEM Consortium members, including the ENC, Michigan Teacher
Network, American Association of School Librarians, PBS Online, NASA Office of
Space Science, National Education Association, Smithsonian Office of Education,
to name just a few. GEM's more than 23,000 resources provide educators with
quick and easy access to the substantial, but un-cataloged, collections of
educational materials found on various federal, state, university, non-profit,
and commercial Internet sites. Teachers can search by subject, keyword, grade,
or education level to link to high-quality lesson plans, activities, and
projects. Each resource is directly accessible from this one Web site. VIRTUAL
Virtual libraries extend upon the clearinghouse concept to include elements
Of traditional libraries like digitized books, databases, newspapers,
bibliographies, and multimedia. Virtual libraries can also include mailing lists
and archives, educational software, electronic newsletters, datasets, links to
key organizations, and bibliographies (Bradley, 1999).Where appropriate, actual
items are included in the collection rather than just as links to the items' Web
sites. Another feature of virtual libraries is that they have mechanisms for
users to contribute to the collection; that is, users can rate and review
resources as well as recommend items for inclusion. The ability to participate
in the review of a resource as well as provide possible use applications is
truly the power of searching beyond the open Web.
Infomine Scholarly Internet Resource Collection (http://infomine.ucr.edu/) is
a reviewed and annotated group of resources arranged by topic. Infomine is
comprised of ten collections ranging from government information to K-12
instructional resources and from maps to Geographical Information System (GIS)
data. The collection is searchable and browsable. The Multimedia Education
Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) (http://www.merlot.org) uses
peer review and user feedback to help establish ratings and profiles of items in
its collection. MERLOT covers all instructional areas and is designed for
undergraduate educators, but middle school and high school teachers can find a
wealth of good resources here as well.
An advantage of virtual libraries and clearinghouses is that it is possible
to invest a lot of confidence in the material. Experts check each item in the
collection, and a description or summary is made available so that it is easy to
gauge appropriateness at a glance. This level of trust is very important since
anyone can write almost anything they wish to and publish it on the Internet
(Mardis, 2001). It is very useful to have an independent and authoritative view
of a site and the data provided.
Quality is often an issue on the Web.
The hidden Web is able to offer Enhanced quality through topic-specific search
tools and dedicated databases. With clear author, date, and publication, full
text databases offer quality that often surpasses that of Web pages and can be
an effective supplement to a meager periodicals collection. MagPortal
(http://www.magportal.com) allows users access to free full-text articles and
news feeds. FindArticles (http://www.findarticles.com) is an archive of free
published articles from more than 300 magazines and journals. The database,
which is continuously updated, contains articles on topics such as business,
health, society, entertainment, and sports. Newspaper archives can be searched
in full text with NewsDirectory (http://www.ecola.com/archive/press/).
Many reference and literary works are available online as well. Project
Bartleby (http://www.bartleby.com) is a large collection of complete reference,
verse, fiction, and nonfiction works in English. LiTgloss
(http://wings.buffalo.edu/litgloss) is a collection of literatures in languages
other than English annotated for English speakers. Users can click on a phrase
in the full text and receive an immediate translation
One of the Web's strengths is that it
allows users to go beyond text to bring various media types into the classroom.
Although some solutions have been wrought to deal with locating audio and video,
the Web is rich with online tools that help teach complex concepts in authentic
ways. Due to the limitations of popular search tools, learning objects can be
difficult to locate and thus reside in the hidden Web.
A new way of thinking about learning content, learning objects are small
units of learning, with lengths of use ranging from minutes to a class period.
Each learning object can be taken independently and can be used in multiple
contexts for multiple purposes (Wiley, 2000). They often work from within
browser, but occasionally, they require browser plug-ins. Examples of learning
objects are Java applets, interactive simulations, short video and audio
segments, printable course supplements, and Web-based tutorials and assessments.
Teachers may already be familiar with a popular web-based learning object,
Filamentality (http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/). Filamentality is a
fill-in-the-blank interactive Web site that guides teachers and students through
picking a topic, searching the Web, gathering good sites, and transforming
collected resources into learning activities. The site offers helpful
development tips throughout the process as well as helps users share their
The National Institutes of Health's Office of Science Education
(http://science-education.nih.gov/homepage.nsf) offers a variety of
science-related learning objects. Modeling And Simulation Tools for Education
Reform (MASTER) Tools (http://www.shodor.org/master/) is a collection of
interactive tools and simulation environments that facilitates observation,
conjecture, and modeling activities. Activities include physics, chemistry,
medicine, biosciences, and environmental science. The Apple Learning Interchange
(ALI) also contains a wealth of applets in their searchable database
MANAGING HIDDEN WEB FINDS
Good bookmarking skills are an
important part of every teacher's Internet toolkit. The ability to add, delete,
organize, and transfer bookmarks can maximize a browser's usefulness. Although
some bookmark management commands are obvious in the browser's menus, some
skills are less obvious. Good bookmark files can also form the basis for Web
site hotlists on a particular topic. InfoPeople
(http://www.infopeople.org/howto) has excellent handouts and helpers on bookmark
management. The limitations of bookmark files, however, are that they are easy
to alter and they reside on a single computer. And, not all schools allow
teachers to upload hotlists to their servers.
Web logging combines the best of bookmarking with the best of Web page
creation in a single easy, Web-accessible step. Sign up with a free Web log
service, cruise the hidden Web, and with one click, save and annotate a site to
a publicly accessible Web page. Blogspot (http://www.blogspot.com) offers free
Web logs and Web page hosting. Web logs can even be file transferred to another
The hidden Web has a wealth of resources and information for the K-12
classroom. By taking advantage of these unusual finds, teachers can enrich their
instruction. Since the hidden Web thrives on user participation, educators have
the ability to contribute to the review and use of learning resources. Learning
objects allow teachers to go beyond text to communicate concepts in effective
and new ways. By adopting effective management techniques, these sites can be
quickly and easily integrated into Classroom activities.
Bradley, P. (1999). Virtual libraries and
Internet searching. "Online & CD-ROM Review," 23, 353-355.
Lenhart, A., Simon, M., & Graziano, M. (2001). "The Internet and
education: Findings of the Pew Internet & American Life Project."
Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Mardis, M. (2001, Winter). Accessing the deep Web: Finding what the search
engines don't. "Media Spectrum," 11-15.
Pittsley, K. (2001, Winter). Michigan Teacher Network expands. "Media
Wiley, D. (2000). "Connecting learning objects to instructional design
theory: A definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy." Logan, UT: Digital Learning
Environments Research Group,The Edumetrics Institute.