Students, Teachers Explore the World’s Knowledge Through Encarta Reference Products, Educational Internet Links, Expert Interviews and Timely Learning Activities

REDMOND, Wash. (June 4, 1996) – Classes are always open at the Encarta Schoolhouse, Microsoft Corporation’s dynamic new educational Internet site. This innovative Web site is a place for students and educators to inquire, discover, and explore the rich content of Microsoft®
Encarta Reference products, as well as access new online resources for an interactive learning experience. Encarta Schoolhouse includes the best educational Web sites, timely topics with experts, and engaging online learning activities available anytime of the year at school or at home.

Designed primarily for students and teachers in grades 6 to12, the innovative Encarta Schoolhouse ( filters information from Microsoft products such as the best-selling Encarta 96 Encyclopedia, Encarta 96 World Atlas, and Microsoft Bookshelf CD-ROM reference library and explores in-depth monthly topics such as the Olympics, the American Civil War, the environment, earthquakes and more. Each month, topical information is combined with outstanding educational Internet resources and a renowned academic expert in a multidisciplinary format that offers seven gateways to learning.

The learning gateways — Topic-of-the-Month, Schoolhouse Links, Ask an Expert, Topic Library, Learning Activities,
“Encarta On the Record”
Activities, and Suggestions – offer rich content and help students and teachers find relevant Internet information resources for homework, research projects, lesson plans and personal exploration, while encouraging collaborative, interactive learning. This online learning environment allows users to refine and target their Internet searches quickly and easily.

“The Encarta Schoolhouse showcases the outstanding learning tools that technology can bring to education – rich content, lively dialog with experts in their fields, interesting classroom and home activities to extend learning, and the vast information and communication resources available through the Internet,”
said Patty Stonesifer, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Media Division.
“The exciting interactive community created by the Encarta Schoolhouse vividly demonstrates to students just how dynamic learning can be.”

Each month at the Encarta Schoolhouse, students and teachers will find:

  • Topic-of-the-Month – A detailed examination of timely topics from the rich content in Encarta Reference products, such as May’s remembrance of the American Civil War to commemorate Memorial Day. Text, photos, maps graphics and hot links to other Encarta articles enrich the learning experience.

  • Schoolhouse Links — Learners can leap to engaging, teacher-approved Web sites that draw them even further into each topic. Learn about the hardship and disease in Union camps in letters from a real Civil War soldier from Iowa. Or, view renowned photographer Mathew Brady’s moving Civil War photos from the Library of Congress.

  • Ask an Expert – Users can satisfy their curiosity about a monthly topic by quizzing an expert, such as Jim Cullen, Ph.D., author of
    “The Civil War in Popular Culture,”
    — and get a reply within 72 hours.

  • Topic Library – For continued learning, an archive of all monthly topics, includes information on earthquakes, the environment and more.

  • Learning Activities – A growing, multidisciplinary collection of activities for school or home designed to help students age nine and older learn more about the monthly topics. For example, Civil War buffs might research a real person from the era and write an imaginative
    account of life during the war. Or, earthquake enthusiasts could map the country’s disaster-prone locations and recommend safe places to live.

  • Encarta On the Record

    – Teachers and students will find timely activities to coordinate with
    “Encarta On the Record,”
    an online talk show for learners age 14 and older. From May’s subject,
    “People or Profits: Which Is More Important?,”
    to shows on
    “Politics-As-Usual,” “Encarta On the Record”
    sets the stage for interaction on up-to-the-minute topics. Suggested activities range from learning how to conduct a popular opinion poll to researching and debating the limits of free speech on the Internet.
    “Encarta On the Record”
    can be accessed through a Web link on the Encarta Schoolhouse Learning Activities page.

  • Suggestions — Feedback, questions, suggestions: all are welcome through this area where students and teachers can express themselves and their views.

“The Internet has a wealth of educational resources to offer, but it’s a challenge for teachers to find and stay current on the best web sites,”
said Pam Berger, Byram Hills High School, Armonk, N.Y., media specialist and editor of
“Information Searcher”
“With Encarta Schoolhouse, educators can provide students with guided access to Internet resources that are interesting, timely and engaging for learning at school and at home.”

Encarta Schoolhouse is part of Microsoft’s continuing effort to help create a global
“Connected Learning Community”
in which all students and educators have access to technology and information online along with the tools and skills to use information effectively today and for a lifetime. Microsoft is committed to providing educators and students with the high-quality software and services needed to help them make the best use of technology.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ

MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Encarta and Bookshelf are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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