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Integrating IT Into Each Subject Area

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References (Annotated)

Integrating IT Into Each Subject Area

IT is now an important integral component of the content of each academic discipline.

Introduction to Integrating IT into Non-IT Disciplines

List of Disciplines Discussed on this Web Page

General References 

List of Disciplines Discussed on this Web Page

Arts and Graphics Arts

Computer & Information Science

Environmental Studies

ESOL

Foreign Languages

Geography and GIS

Health

International Studies and Collaborations

Journalism

Language Arts

Mathematics

Music

Physical Education

Science

Social Sciences

Special Education: See Sidebar

Talented & Gifted: See Sidebar

General References

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 Introduction 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.

When most teachers begin thinking about integrating IT into the courses or subjects they teach, they think in terms of use of IT to help present the material and use of IT for Computer-Assisted Learning. For example, they think of doing slide show presentations to the whole class and having individual students using the computer as an automated flash card machine. That is, of course, one way to look at the use of IT. That is NOT what this Web Page is about. The focus of this Web Page is on integrating IT as part of the content area of specific disciplines and specific courses.

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 discipline.

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 communication technology.

  • Many disciplines have goals and objectives (benchmarks) at the state level that help to define the K-12 curriculum for the discipline. Click here for Oregon's Standards. There you will find that in Computer Technology, Oregon has a set f Common Curriculum Goals that are based on the general goals specified by ISTE in its National Educatoinal Technology Standards for Students.

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.

Program Title:
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. 

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General References

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: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/.

Provides links to a large number of news sources.

Computational Science Educational Resource Desk [Online]. Accessed 3/8/02: http://www.shodor.org/cserd/
misc_desk/index.html. 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.

  1. Overall relevancy of listings
  2. Ability to find sites for a broad topic
  3. Ability to find sites for a specific topic
  4. Ability to find corporate sites
  5. Comprehensive of listings provided including freedom from search engine specific editing
  6. 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.
  7. Elimination of redundant listings
  8. Logical grouping of listings
  9. Overall speed with which gets you to relevant information/page

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 map.

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 2/27/02: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2002/
nsf02085/nsf02085.html. It provides a good overview of the goals for Global Digital Library.

I. xINTRODUCTION

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 challenges.

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 other limits;
  • 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 global marketplaces;
  • developing linked, compatible databases with inherently regional information, such as databases of geographic, botanic, agricultural, demographic or economic data;
  • reaching agreement on methods and standards for ensuring long-term sustainability and interoperability among distributed and separately administered databases; and,
  • 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 multimedia content.

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 or languages.

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 content,
  • multi-lingual information systems, cross-language retrieval systems, language translation, and language teaching software,
  • 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 such systems,
  • preservation and archiving of digital scholarly information, including technology and procedures for long-term information asset management and systems sustainability,
  • 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 testbed activities.

Handhelds in Education. SEIR*TEC. News Wire Volume Five • Number Two • 2002. Accessed 12/5/02: http://www.seirtec.org/publications/
NewsWire/Vol5.2.pdf.

A 32 page issue of the newsletter is devoted to handhelp computing devices for use in education.

Internet for Beginners [Online]. Accessed 7/21/01: http://www.learnthenet.com/english/index.html.

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 10/30/01: http://www.nwrel.org/msec/just_good/index.html#ld. 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 Mathematics Instruction
  • Engaging Families in Mathematics and Science Education
  • The Inclusive Classroom Series
  • Inquiry Strategies for Science and Mathematics Learning
  • Integrating Technology into Middle School Mathematics
  • Mathematics and Science Classrooms: Building a Community of Learners
  • Mathematics and Science Instruction for Students with Learning
  • Disabilities
  • Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students
  • Science and Mathematics for All Students
  • Science and Mathematics Standards in the Classroom
  • Teaching Mathematics and Science to English-Language Learners

Videos in the series:

  • Why Won't You Tell Me the Answer? Inquiry in the High School
  • Classroom
  • How Do You Spell Parallel? Visiting Middle School Mathematics

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 <krauss@lclark.edu>

Reply-To: macep@macep.net

To: macep@macep.net

Subject: [MACEP] Updated Internet teaching materials

Greetings,

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: http://www.ncsu.edu/midlink/mmania.how.html.

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 Programs.

News Around the Country [Online]. Accessed 12/6/01: http://www.ttsd.k12.or.us/District/curriculum/
elem/socstudies/states/statenews.html.

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: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiWiki. 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: http://vlib.org/. Quoting 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.

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