Online Resources Available to All Public Schools At No Cost


November 14, 2002
Further Information:

Two extensive sets of online resources are available at no cost to all Illinois public schools during the 2002-2003 school year, the State Board of Education has announced. Schools were recently sent instructions for setting up accounts with the two resource providers.

Classroom Connect, a division of Harcourt Education, and Encyclopedia Britannica were selected from a field of 15 proposals to provide online resources to schools this year.

Classroom Connect is making available the tools and resources in its ConnectedIllinois program, which includes Classroom Today and Connected University. Connected University is an online professional development community for educators that provides high quality professional development courses to help teachers successfully integrate technology into their instruction.

Connected University models best practices in teaching and learning, and uses ISTE/NCATE (International Society for Technology in Education/National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) Technology Standards as the basis for assessment of teacher technology skills and methodologies. Three courses will be offered through the program, each developed specifically to meet the needs of Illinois teachers. Connected University also features collaboration tools, message boards, resource collections, Web Drive file/project storage, and project galleries. In addition, online tutorials, a rich Web-link library and other resources are easily accessible within Connected University.

Classroom Today, an online curriculum and learning resource for students in grades K-12, combines curriculum topics, standards-aligned resources, and daily news and information in one place, saving teachers a tremendous amount of time researching and organizing classroom activities. Teachers can select from the more than 800 Classroom Today curriculum topics to meet their class' needs and schedules, and . easily track how their selected curriculum activities match Illinois' standards - all with a click of a mouse.

Encyclopedia Britannica online resources include access to three encyclopedias, Britannica's Internet Guide, videos, magazines and media. Search avenues include the Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia, created especially for intermediate readers at the elementary and middle school levels, the Britannica Student Encyclopedia, with references from elementary to high school levels, and the Encyclopedia Britannica, which contains the most extensive collection of advanced reference materials.

The Britannica Internet Guide sorts through thousands of quality web sites that have been reviewed by Britannica editors. Student researchers can also access an extensive collection of magazine articles related to their topic. Magazines are divided into K - 5 and 6 - 12 grade levels. The Video and Media section contains links to hundreds of video clips and media presentations. Also included in the Britannica online resources for schools is Merriam-Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus, containing more than 215,000 entries with definitions, pronunciation guides, word histories, synonyms, and antonyms.

To access these online resources, public schools need only contact the appropriate representatives and register. There is no limit to the number of teachers and students in the schools that may use the resources and no limit on the number of times they may be used.

Funding for providing access to online resources comes from state funding for Technology for Success, contained in the State Board of Education’s budget.