Teacher Education and the World Wide Web

Chauncy Rucker
Director, A. J. Pappanikou Center Technology Lab
University of Copnnecticut

The University of Connecticut is introducing undergraduate and graduate students in Education to Internet and the World Wide Web. The Chatback Foundation of England has been using this technology for eight years now, and in partnership with UConn, these organizations have refined some of the skills that teachers will find useful when venturing onto the Internet. We're attempting to train future teachers to go beyond the usual computer literacy and know how to use Internet and the World Wide Web for maximum benefitin their classrooms.

During the summer of 1995 the author presented a two week course on Internet. The students learned the basics of Internet, developed their own web home pages, explored WWW education sites, and developed several new projects to be incorporated into the Chatback format. Key features of successful work done in the USA and Chatback in the UK are detailed. Two of the new projects developed in the Internet course (Way Kool Software Reviews and Eco Surfers) and the Memories of 1944/45 Project are presented in greater detail.

Way Kool Software Reviews

This project teams up Juniors in the University of Connecticut's teacher training program who are enrolled in an educational technology module with youngsters, parents, and teachers in the U.S. and beyond. Children of any age, parents, and teachers are encouraged to submit reviews of software they are using at home or in school. Special evaluation forms will be available. The UConn students manage the collection and dissemination of the software reviews through a listserv and the World Wide Web.

Eco Surfers

This project consists of a series of recycling projects involving elementary and secondary students world wide and University of Connecticut prospective teachers. It is run on a listserv in which students are encouraged to report on successful and innovative recycling projects. In addition, there is an electronic recycling newsletter, and a poster contest on recycling available through the World Wide Web. Various social questions concerning the ethics and economics of recycling are posed to members of the listserv.

Memories of 1944/45

Since it's now 50 years since World War II, Chatback wanted young people to learn about that conflict from those who experienced it. "We are a living history book. We have passed beyond the hatreds that we suffered at the time. We tell our stories now in the hope that you will learn from it, and will realize that conflicts on this scale do not solve problems."

Chatback has assembled a group of 10 people who were around during the war years. These 10 people compose The Panel of Elders. Once the Memories of 1944 project was announced on the World Wide Web and through various listservs, students from all over the world began asking the Elders questions about the war years.

A history book or a movie or a videotape might be able to provide this information. However, Memories of 1944/95 is so current, so alive, so personal. There's nothing like it!