FAQ: IT in Education
Integrating IT Into Each
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Integrating IT Into Each Subject
IT is now an important integral component of the
content of each academic discipline.
List of Disciplines
Discussed on this Web Page
to Integrating IT into Non-IT Disciplines
The field of IT in education has a number of different
components. For example, one can think of IT as curriculum
content, IT as an instructional aid, IT as an aid to
assessment, and IT as an aid to the other professional work
of teachers such as communication with other educators and
communicating with parents. Each of these is an important
aspect of use of IT in education.
However, this specific Web Page focuses mainly on the
first of the uses--integration of IT into the content of
specific disciplines and courses.
The focus of this Web Page is on integrating IT as part of
the content area of specific disciplines and specific
Science and its specific courses and subject areas helps to illustrate this. Since approximately 1980, a number of the sciences have been making use of three general methodologies: 1) Experimental; 2) Theoretical; and 3) Computational. In 1998, for example, one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry was honored for 15 years of work in Computational Chemistry in which he developed computer models of molecules and chemical reactions. Computational modeling and simulation is now an integral component of each of the major academic disciplines.
An academic discipline is defined by the types of problems that it addresses, the special tools and methodologies it uses to address these problems, and the results it has achieved. It is not enough to say that physics studies physics problems, while economics studies economic problems and music studies music problems. One must provide more detail of the nature of the problems, the methodologies and tools used to work on these problems, and the results that have been achieved in order to provide clear distinctions between different disciplines. The research and other scholarly literature of a discipline helps to define the discipline. Click
here to see an example of how one might define the
discipline of mathematics.
At the middle school and secondary school level most teachers focus on only a very small number of academic disciplines. For example, a language arts teacher might teach literature and writing, while a social science teacher might teach several different history and current events classes, and an economics or psychology class. At the elementary school level a teacher is responsible for a quite wide range of disciplines.
For each specific discipline a teacher teaches, the
teacher should have an understanding of the general types of
problems that the discipline addresses, the general types of
tools and methodologies that are used to address these
problems, and some of the general results that have been
achieved. The teacher should know a range of the lower-order
skills and higher-order skills that students need to gain as
they progress toward increasing understanding of the
discipline and expertise in addressing the problems in the
Some tools and methodologies cut across many disciplines,
but with modifications to fit specific disciplines. Reading
and writing provide good examples. Reading a math or a
science book is quite a bit different than reading a novel,
a play, or a poem. Scientific writing or mathematical
writing are quite a bit different than the writing that one
does in a literature course. Many colleges and universities
offer courses in technical writing, and technical writing is
different than writing in other areas.
IT provides a variety of tools that cut across many disciplines. Each discipline has developed its own specific ideas on what constitutes appropriate and effective use of IT tools. One of the goals in integrating IT into a specific discipline is to help students learn to make discipline-specific use of IT in representing and solving the problems of that discipline. A foreign language teacher will want his or her students to use a word processor that provides the full alphabet and/or character set of the language being taught. Similarly, a math teacher will want his or her students to learn to use a word processor that contains the commonly used math symbols. The foreign language teacher wants his or her students to learn to write the foreign language being taught, while the math teacher wants his or her students to learn to write math. In both cases, a computer is a useful tool to facilitate process writing within the discipline. Such a word processor is part of the content of the discipline.
The teacher of each discipline has a responsibility of helping his or her students learn to retrieve, interpret, and use information specific to that discipline. Such information retrieval is an integral component of each discipline, and some aspects of it are very discipline specific.
Here are three general places to search for information
that helps to define a discipline. Each of these general
resources can be examined from the emphasis (or, lack
thereof) that is placed on roles of information and
We conclude this section by quoting a November 2003 National Science Foundation call for proposals. It illustrates the emphasis now being places on the "computational" aspects of research. Accessed 11/1/03: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2004/nsf04514/nsf04514.htm.
Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS)
Innovative Approaches to Science and Engineering Research on Brain Function
Synopsis of Program:
The most exciting and difficult challenge facing neuroscientists is to understand the functions of complex neurobiological systems. Computational neuroscience provides a theoretical foundation and set of technological approaches that may enhance our understanding of nervous system function by providing analytical and modeling tools that describe, traverse and integrate different levels of organization, spanning vast temporal and spatial scales and levels of abstraction. Computational approaches are needed in the study of neuroscience as the requirement for comprehensive analysis and interpretation of complex data sets becomes increasingly important. Collaborations among computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, statisticians, theoreticians and experimental neuroscientists, are imperative to advance our understanding of the nervous system and mechanisms underlying brain disorders. Computational understanding of the nervous systemmay also have a significant impact on the theory and design of engineered systems.
This program solicitation is a continuation of NSF 02-018, released in November 2001. The overwhelming response to that solicitation brought about this logical follow-up and expansion of the program. This solicitation shall be in effect for a period of three years.
Participating Directorates of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) listed on the cover page of this solicitation, plan to support innovative interdisciplinary research in computational neuroscience. Both agencies recognize the need for research that focuses on integrating computational models and methods with neuroscience. This program is designed to encourage new collaborations at this interface.
This section contains a few information sources that may
be useful to teachers in many different disciplines.
ABYZ News Links [Online]. Accessed 12/4/01:
Provides links to a large number of news
Computational Science Educational Resource Desk
[Online]. Accessed 3/8/02: http://www.shodor.org/cserd/
Quoting from the Website:
The first question usually asked by people who
first hear of Computational Science is, "What is it?".
Put simply, it is using computers to do science.
Computational Science involves the appropriate use of
a computational architecture (possibly a computer,
calculator, abacus, dice, poker chips, etc.) to apply
some algorithm, or method, to solve some scientific
application, or problem. This combination of Application,
Algorithm, and Architecture results in a model, which can
be used as a scientific tool.
Directory of Search Engines and Search Databases
[Online]. Accessed 10/28/01: http://www.zdnet.com/searchiq/.
Quoting from the Website:
SearchIQ provides independent reviews and
rankings to help you make informed choices in selecting
search tools. SearchIQ objective is to help you find what
you are looking for quickly and effectively. Save
yourself hours of time and read the reviews and resources
on this site. SearchIQ operates independently from any of
the search engines and directories.
We regularly visit each of the search engines,
directories and meta search engines included in our
review section. In ranking the search engines we conduct
a minimum of 10 searches using a variety of terms from
specific to general. In evaluating performance we look at
each of the following criteria.
- Overall relevancy of listings
- Ability to find sites for a broad topic
- Ability to find sites for a specific topic
- Ability to find corporate sites
- Comprehensive of listings provided including
freedom from search engine specific editing
- Listings organized by relevancy, i.e. for online
investing schwab should show up prior to a harry's
bogus investor newsletter and the site's homepage
prior to a copyright or order page.
- Elimination of redundant listings
- Logical grouping of listings
- Overall speed with which gets you to relevant
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)
[Online]. Accessed 1/17/02: http://www.ed.gov/free/.
Quoting from the Website:
More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working
group in 1997 to make hundreds of Federally supported
teaching and learning resources easier to find. The
result of that work is the FREE web site. For an overview
of what's available here at FREE, please visit the site
Each month we add new teaching and learning resources.
Please let us know what you think. If you like this site,
you may be interested also in the...
- FREE brochure, which you can use to help others
learn about the FREE website.
- Gateway to Educational Materials, which offers a
database of more than 17,000 education resources
across more than 100 web sites. This database is made
possible by the Federally supported GEM Consortium, a
group of non-federal organizations and Federal
agencies that have developed an education-specific
metadata profile, controlled vocabularies, and tools
for using the profile and vocabularies.
Global Digital Library.
The Web can be considered as the beginnings of a
Global Digital Library. It continues to grow quite
rapidly, and is gradually becoming more international in
scope. The National Science Foundation in the US is
supporting this international effort. The following
material is quoted from an RFP [Online}. Accessed
It provides a good overview of the goals for Global
This activity is supported by the Division of
Information and Intelligent Systems in the Directorate
for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. It
builds on and extends prior Foundation efforts in digital
libraries research and applications.
International digital libraries research is intended
to contribute to the fundamental knowledge required to
create information systems that can operate in multiple
languages, formats, media, and social and organizational
contexts. International collaborative research can bring
complementary approaches, resources and perspectives to
bear on common needs and information technology research
International digital libraries applications testbeds
are intended to build operational prototypes for globally
distributed, internet-based resources, and to implement
these in a variety of applications contexts. The testbeds
are expected to advance technologies across the digital
libraries life cycle, focus collective work on organizing
domain-specific content, and engage researchers,
scholars, students and teachers in enhancing research and
knowledge resources in a variety of subject domains.
The program's goal is to advance the creation and
access to internet-based digital content, regardless of
location, information content or form, and thus enable
broad use for research, education, commerce and other
societal purposes. Developing global information
environments requires international collaborative efforts
in many areas:
- identifying collections of information which is
not accessible or usable because of technical
barriers, distance, size, system fragmentation or
- creating interoperable technologies for federation
and retrieval of many kinds of information;
- understanding and developing new technologies to
make it possible for such information to be organized
and delivered to and/or exploited by a distributed
sets of users in collaborative settings;
- building testbeds to evaluate new technology in
international contexts and to measure the benefits
gained along various dimensions;
- resolving intellectual property issues in complex
- developing linked, compatible databases with
inherently regional information, such as databases of
geographic, botanic, agricultural, demographic or
- reaching agreement on methods and standards for
ensuring long-term sustainability and interoperability
among distributed and separately administered
- implementing preservation and archiving practices
for domain-specific and other content.
While there are now uncoordinated efforts in many
countries to build digital libraries, cooperative
research and testbed activities can help avoid
duplication of effort, prevent the development of
non-interoperable digital systems, and encourage
productive interchange of scientific knowledge and
scholarly data around the world.
This NSF effort will fund the U. S. portion of
collaborative digital library projects among
investigators from different countries to foster
long-term, sustainable relationships between U.S. and
non-U.S. researchers and research organizations.
Cooperating groups in supported projects are expected to
be balanced in terms of level of effort and expertise,
and demonstrate the benefits obtainable from
complementary international research. The research
strengths and unique resources of organizations in
different countries should be combined to facilitate work
on complex multifaceted problems relating to the access
and use of internationally distributed, multilingual and
II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The new program seeks to fund projects that
demonstrate how modern information and communications
technologies can fundamentally change the way in which
topical material is represented and delivered to diverse
communities of users. Projects are expected to
disseminate findings widely and serve as exemplars for
the international digital libraries community.
Proposals should have the overall goals of advancing
digital libraries research and infrastructure needs and
enable users to access and exploit information in new and
productive ways. Research issues include information
structure, organization, access, scalability and security
techniques for worldwide data systems, and tools to
search, store, and deliver information in different media
Specific research areas in this program are:
- creation of multinational digital libraries which
include text, sound, scientific data, images,
multimedia, software tools, and other kinds of
- multi-lingual information systems, cross-language
retrieval systems, language translation, and language
- interoperability and scalability technology to
permit extremely large World-Wide collections,
- metadata techniques and tools and data structuring
approaches and consensus building,
- geospatial, environmental, biological, historical
and other information systems in which location is
highly relevant, including novel organizations for
- preservation and archiving of digital scholarly
information, including technology and procedures for
long-term information asset management and systems
- utilization of digital libraries in educational
technology at all levels of instruction,
- economic and copyright issues: authentication,
payment, rights formalism, trust and fair use,
- electronic publishing and scholarly communication
technology, including collaboratories, online
repositories, and new methods of organizing scientific
knowledge distribution, and
- measurement of effectiveness of resource
deployment in applications contexts and broader
social, cultural and economic impacts.
This topic list is not intended to be entirely
inclusive, but to illustrate and encourage research which
opens exciting new areas, and gives promise of user
benefits from coordinated international research and
Handhelds in Education. SEIR*TEC. News Wire Volume Five
Number Two 2002. Accessed 12/5/02: http://www.seirtec.org/publications/
A 32 page issue of the newsletter is devoted to
handhelp computing devices for use in education.
Internet for Beginners [Online]. Accessed
This site is a rich source of information, and
it includes an extensive glossary of IT terms. Quoting
from the Website:
Learn the Net.com is a privately-held company
based in San Francisco, California. The company
focuses on delivering high quality educational
products and services in print, CD-ROM and to the
desktop, via the Internet and intranets.
Learn the Net.com's Website went online in April,
1996. Since its launch, thousands of businesses,
Internet service providers, schools, libraries, and
community organizations from around the world have
linked to the site as a way of providing
comprehensive, user-friendly Internet training. Our
field-test products have garnered numerous industry
awards. Yahoo!Internet Life has ranked Learn the Net
among the Top 100 Sites in 1999 and 2000.
Its Just Good Teaching [Online]. Accessed
Here is a list of titles in this series of books, booklets,
and other publications from the Northwest Regional
Educational Laboratory, located in Portland, Oregon:
Titles in the series:
- Assessment Strategies to Inform Science and
- Engaging Families in Mathematics and Science
- The Inclusive Classroom Series
- Inquiry Strategies for Science and Mathematics
- Integrating Technology into Middle School
- Mathematics and Science Classrooms: Building a
Community of Learners
- Mathematics and Science Instruction for Students
- Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students
- Science and Mathematics for All Students
- Science and Mathematics Standards in the
- Teaching Mathematics and Science to
Videos in the series:
- Why Won't You Tell Me the Answer? Inquiry in the
- How Do You Spell Parallel? Visiting Middle School
Krause, Michael D. Integrating the Internet Into the
Classroom. Accessed 1/16/03: http://www.lclark.edu/~krauss/usia/home.html.
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 08:59:21 -0800
From: Michael Krauss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [MACEP] Updated Internet teaching
I have updated materials that are useful for teachers
who want to learn more about using Internet resources in
the classroom. Topics covered include strategies for
incorporating online content, improving Web searching
techniques, learning to evaluate (and helping students
learn to evaluate) Web content, creating online
activities using 'click 'n build' resources, and creating
collaborative student projects. In addition to materials
(collections of Web resources and lesson plans), there
are hands-on activities that can be used by teachers or
with students. Though these materials were designed for
use in a graduate course offered online, they are
available to all who would like to make use of them.
Multimedia Mania [Online]. Accessed 1/16/02:
For a number of years, ISTE's SIGHyper has run a
multimedia contest for students and their teachers. The
rubrics used in this contest are useful to any teacher
who has students doing hypermedia. They are available
[Online. Accessed 1/16/01: http://www.ncsu.edu/midlink/rub.multi.htm.
The contest itself may well interest some of your
students. Moreover, the Contest Website offers access to
trail versions of good software. Quoting from the
Multimedia Mania Website:
This awards program is for students and
teachers who use multimedia to teach and learn in a
specific content area (e.g., math, science, social
studies, language arts, art, music, physical
education, ESL, etc.) Students are invited to share
their work with an international audience by creating
dynamic multimedia projects related to any class or
coursework. Multimedia Mania winners usually come from
classrooms in which technology is used as a tool to
teach and learn any standard curriculum. Teachers may
coach and advise, but work must be completed by
students in grades K-12.
Newton BBS [Online]. Accessed 1/17/02: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/.
This Website contains answers to over 11,000
questions submitted by teachers and others during 1991 to
the present. On the topic of Environment, for example,
there are more than 400 questions and answers. Quoting
from the Website:
The NEWTON BBS, operated by the Division of
Educational Programs (DEP) of Argonne National
Laboratory [Argonne, Illinois which is located
about 40 km (25 miles) southwest of downtown
Chicago]. NEWTON BBS was started in November of
1991 to provide K-12 science, math and computer
teachers (and their students) a place to practice
telecommunications, to retrieve useful information in
a wide variety of subjects, to contact research
scientists from all over the world and to open
communications between classroom teachers. NEWTON is
associated with the Argonne Community of Teachers
(ACT), the Educational Networking Consortium and
operated by the staff at the Division of Educational
News Around the Country [Online]. Accessed
An easy to use site developed for use by 4th and
5th grade students. Contains links to a newspapers
throughout the country and links to other news resources.
Newspapers -- USA and Worldwide [Online].
Accessed 12/4/01: http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html.
This site provides links to the Websites of a
very large number of newspapers in the USA and worldwide.
WikiWiki. The free encyclopedia. Accessed 1/12/02:
Quoting from the Website:
The term WikiWiki ("wiki wiki" means "quick" in
the Hawaiian language; "wee kee wee kee") can be used to
identify either a type of hypertext document or the
software used to write it. Often called "wiki" for short,
the collaborative software application enables web
documents to be authored collectively using a simple
markup scheme and without the content being reviewed
prior to its acceptance. The resulting collaborative
hypertext document, also called either "wiki" or
"WikiWikiWeb," is typically produced by a community of
users. Many wikis are immediately identifiable by their
use of CamelCase, produced by capitalizing words in a
phrase and removing the spaces between them; this turns
the phrase into an automatic link. The world's largest
WikiWiki is Wikipedia whose goal is to produce a complete
encyclopedia from scratch.
WWW Virtual Library [Online]. Accessed 10/25/01:
from the Website:
The VL is the oldest catalog of the web, started
by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of html and the web
itself. Unlike commercial catalogs, it is run by a loose
confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key
links for particular areas in which they are expert; even
though it isn't the biggest index of the web, the VL
pages are widely recognized as being amongst the
highest-quality guides to particular sections of the web.