REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 22, 1996 — Cheers echoed through the halls of West Junior High School in Lawrence, Kansas, when the principal interrupted class to announce that the Computer Programming Club had won the $20,000 Grand Prize for classrooms in the national Schools on the Web contest sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. At Groveland Elementary School in Minnetonka, Minn., students celebrated with cake when they learned they were the school site Grand Prize winner.
The West Junior High Webmasters and Groveland Elementary, home of the international “Amazing Insects on the Internet” project, are two of eight winners selected from more than 2,000 U.S. schools and classrooms that registered Web sites in the contest on the Global Schoolhouse Web site . Winning schools receive technology grants totaling $100,000 for hardware, software, installation, training or support. Sites were evaluated on creativity, organization, educational content and support of parent and community involvement.
“We found many innovative and information rich Web sites among the entries,” said Kathryn Yates, director of K-12 program, Microsoft. “These eight illustrate just how rich a resource a Web site can be for a classroom, a school and a community. We encourage schools to continue to create and register sites in the Schools on the Web program so everyone can see the great work going on in America’s K-12 schools.”
The West Junior High’s Computer Programming Club site (http://www.idir.net/~wjhlib/cpc/index.html) gives visitors a very personal look at the students who formed the club last school year. With a detailed history of the club, background on its 33 members, goals and even an invitation for donations, the young Webmasters communicate to their school and community their intense desire to learn how to write “industrial strength” software, increase technology resources at their school and help teachers and students become computer-literate.
“We must be the only junior high in America that has held a pep assembly for a computer club, complete with the cheerleading squad,” said West Principal Michael Lowe. “Winning the contest is more than just winning the technology grant. This gives us an opportunity to spotlight our school as a place of excellence and to emphasize the importance of students having the technology needed to prepare for life in a global society.”
What’s for lunch? How can I become a school volunteer? What will my third grader study? Groveland Elementary School’s Web site (http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/groveland/gr.html) answers theses questions and much more. The site involves the entire community, posting a parents’ handbook and volunteer guide and providing links to the public library. The school’s insect project, which includes an insect songbook, compiles information from students around the world, provides lesson plans and year-round activities.
“The global contacts our students have made through our Web site are important educational resources whether for sharing e-mail information about insects with students in Australia or researching other Web sites,” said Groveland Principal Judy Betty. “We like the power our Web page gives us to make information about our school accessible to parents and the community.”
Other winners in the Schools on the Web Contest are:
$15,000 First Prize
Classroom — Mrs. Canada’s Kindergarten, Stanfield Elementary School, Snyder, Texas (http://www.gsh.org/schools/USA/TX/SE2839) — Betsy Bear invites visitors to click on crayons to learn more about the classroom, teacher and town.
School — Cheshire High School, Cheshire, Conn. (http://www.pcnet.com/~cheshigh/) – Four seniors maintain a Web site rich in school information as well as links to college information, a directory of alumni e-mail addresses and links to local media, government information and weather forecasts.
$10,000 Second Prize
Classroom — Mrs. Dary’s Fourth Grade Class, Jefferson Elementary School, Beaver Dam, Wis. (http://www.peoples.net/~bdusjeff/) — Students invite visitors to participate in their learning projects, from gathering information about immigrants to entrepreneurs.
School — Birdneck Elementary School, Virginia Beach, Va. (http://pen.k12.va.us/Anthology/Div/VaBeach/Schools/ES/bes/bird.html) – Visitors can sign a guest book, and students and parents can find enrichment activities in science, social studies and language arts.
$5,000 Third Prize
Classroom – Mrs. Parker’s Classroom, Gulf Breeze Middle School, Gulf Breeze, Fla. (http://www.uwf.edu/~stankuli/gbm/cparker/parker.htm) – Students share science projects and issue a challenge for the Math Science Olympiad, a weekly after-school club to build of enthusiasm for learning.
School — Doss Elementary School, Austin, Texas (http://www.gsh.org/schools/USA/TX/LDE2108) – The PTA newsletter, a gallery of student art and writing and a full calendar of special events and fund raisers helps connect this school to its community.
“These Web sites and all the ones registered on the Global Schoolhouse illustrate how the Internet can improve teaching and learning in our schools,” said Al Rogers, executive director of the Global SchoolNet Foundation. “Because their excellent work is accessible through the Web, the students who helped develop these sites already are making important contributions to their schools, their community, and to the world at large. When you browse these sites, you’ll see learning and achievement at its best, at all ages.”
The contest is part of the Schools on the Web program, sponsored by Microsoft and MCI, which provides every K-12 school in the U.S. the opportunity to have a presence on the Internet at no cost. MCI provides 10 megabytes of space on the Global Schoolhouse Web site for any school that wants to put up information about its activities and programs but doesn’t have a server or a local Internet Service Provider. The only requirement is that the school have an Internet connection and an e-mail account. Schools that already have a Web site can register in the Schools on the Web database on the Global Schoolhouse.
In the past year, Microsoft and the Global SchoolNet Foundation have worked together to expand and enhance the educational resources and activities available to educators through the popular Global Schoolhouse. In a new “Connected Educator” area, a resource center provides educators information on teaching standards, curriculum and other educational material from partners such as the National Science Teacher’s Association and the International Reading Association. Soon, teachers, school administrators, parents and others will be able to write about technology in education and join on-line discussions through a new publishing forum.
In the “Connected Classroom,” educators will find a project directory of more than 60 current Internet-based learning projects that classrooms can join in and as well as complete tutorials for exploring and publishing on the Internet. From the “Connected Community,” visitors can read profiles of “21st Century Schools” using technology to transform their classrooms and their communities. A calendar lists special events with the learning community with links for more information, such as the National PTA’s 100th anniversary.
“The Global SchoolNet Foundation is pleased to be a partner with Microsoft in building the Global Schoolhouse,” Rogers said. “Our mutual goal is to assemble the best resources, activities, ideas and projects to help America’s schools meet the challenges of the 21st century and to help make Microsoft’s vision of a ‘Connected Learning Community’ a reality.”
In addition to working with the Global SchoolNet Foundation, Microsoft and the Internet Company have helped build and host World Wide Web sites for a number of nonprofit organizations, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, Corporate Council for the Arts, Laubach Literacy, National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, Northwest AIDS Foundation and the United Negro College Fund.
Initiatives to help schools have a presence on the Web and to build rich educational content on the Internet are part of Microsoft’s continuing efforts to help create a global “Connected Learning Community” in which all students and educators have access to technology and information online to support learning today and for a lifetime.
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.
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