Technology By the Book - ISTE Publications Make It Easy
by Diane S. Kendall
The title of this column is Software Reviews, but sometimes it is better to go back to the books especially in the case of the publications of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). If you are not familiar with ISTE (http://www.iste.org) and you are interested in integrating more technology in your classroom then you definitely need to become acquainted with the many services and conferences they offer including the well regarded and attended National Educational Computing Conference held every year in June.
Two of the most recent publications of particular interest are The Best Web Sites for Teachers - Fifth Edition and Palm Handheld Computers - A Complete Resource for Classroom Teachers. Whether you are a beginner at computers or have been dabbling in technology for a long time, both publications offer some fresh ideas, approaches and are filled to the gills with solid, practical information.
Best Web Sites may sound like a book you may already have but this updated version is worth more than just a look especially if you are finding that many of the good sites you used to rely on are turning up as Page Missing errors these days. We are all looking for that "special " site to augment a specific assignment or lesson and in this book you might just find it or at least a link that will lead to something quite useful. The book covers 16 different subject areas and each area is divided into two kinds of sites - those that offer lesson plans and those that offer "other" resources. The citation for each site includes the URL (web address), grade level and a brief, but spot on, description with special asides on how to make the best use of the site. The sites that are included went through the fine filters and reliability screening of the ISTE author team to ensure that they meet the needs of busy educators who are short on time, so chances are you'll find quite a few listings that fit your needs. This fifth edition has 1,200 sites, half of which are new from the last edition. Be sure to also check out in the front matter the Tips for Netscape Communicator and Internet Explorer Users for ideas on how to make your time on the Internet more productive. Even better are the notions for how to harvest, store, and organize information from web sites once you have found them - a topic that isn't always discussed but is vital for today's busy teachers to understand and master. Five stars are awarded for the fifth edition!
The second book, Palm Handheld Computers includes everything you ever wanted to know about handhelds but were afraid to ask because your might have worried your questions were too basic. Palm, Inc., Handspring, Inc., and other handheld computer manufacturers are very interested in investigating how their devices might be used in the classroom and many teachers are taking up the challenge through grants. This book is based on the work of the Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education at the University of Michigan who, through a grant from the National Science Foundation have pioneered much of the educational programming for handhelds.
If you are interested in taking a similar plunge, this book is a complete resource that will get you up and running in no time. Basic information on the parts and operations of the handheld is included before moving on to first time set up and adding software. There's even a chapter that covers some of the predictable dilemmas, such as, explaining to others what you are doing or developing classroom policies that cover appropriate usage, gaming, and lost or missing devices. Lesson plans designed for getting started are featured in the last third of the book. These lessons seem a little flat compared to the well-thought out ideas in the rest of the book, but they will give you some ideas about the device's potential as a classroom tool. If you are interested in reading more about the potential of handheld computing visit the Palm, Inc. site at http://www.palm.com/education/programs.
The Best Web Sites for Teachers - Fifth Edition
Palm Handheld Computers - A Complete Resource for Classroom Teachers
$34.95 for non-members and $31.45 for ISTE members
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