A World Wide Web of
Education Is FREE
are in and the United States Department of Education has a hit.
Now playing nightly (and daily) in a classroom, homeroom, living
room near you...wherever there is a computer connected to the Internet.
blockbuster is called FREE
and heres what a 5th grade science teacher from Durant, Oklahoma
says about it: "The absolute BEST web site for using technology
in the classroom." The Washington Post writer Karin Chenoweth
was no less enthusiastic: "A gold mine of information...an
amazing amount of resources. I want to tell students, teachers,
parents ---everyone, really -- all about it."
for Federal Resources for Educational Excellence. Forget all that.
Just remember FREE and bookmark it now. And do every kid you know
a favor and send them this address: www.ed.gov/free. When they arrive
at this launch-pad of a website, they can take off into links to:
Arts, Foreign Languages, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science,
Social Studies and Vocational Education. For openers.
FREE is a collaborative
effort of over 35 Federal agencies working in partnership with the
United States Department of Education and thousands of teachers
in America in developing online learning communities. Kirk Winters,
a policy analyst at USDE and part of the team that created the FREE
website, emphasizes that the cooperation of all the participating
agencies is key to the success of the project. "FREE is the
most popular Kindergarten-through-12th-Grade webpage on the Department
of Educations website because of what other Federal agencies
a former high school English teacher who taught in Shawnee Mission,
Kansas. While he misses the daily contact with his students, he
finds a satisfying substitute for the classroom experience in his
ability to distribute educational information to millions of American
Just of a few
of the agencies linked to FREE are: Library of Congress, National
Archives, Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art, Peace Corps, Park
Service, NASA, National Science Foundation, the National Endowment
for the Humanities and the Arts. Enough for a couple of lifetimes
in the operation of the site at USDE are Peter Kickbush who has
been gently ushering the web page along for seven years, more than
two years as the webmaster, and Keith Stubbs who put the Department
of Education on the internet map nine years ago back in the "gopher"
days before the web existed. In computer years, of course, this
qualifies them as elders in the worldwide cyber village. And like
most programming pros who have that need to tweak their showcase
every day toward that unknown virtual perfection, they have not
had time to hang the awards on the wall.
Government Executive magazine: "One Of The Best Federal Sites
on the Web". Discovery Channel: "Site of the School Day".
TeacherNet: "Web Site of the Week". SchoolPage: "Web
Site Excellence Award".
feedback the website receives testifies to the value placed on its
usefulness. Students, educators, and parents respond weekly to the
FREE site describing how they are using the multi-layers of links
available. Dr. Nancy Verber, a senior policy research analyst with
SERVE, a Regional Education Laboratory, volunteered a detailed description
of the exponential potential of the FREE homepage, describing an
academic relay system that spreads Amazon-like throughout the entire
state of Georgia.
why thousands of educators click on every day is the popular "Todays
New FREE Resource" which is highlighted on the home page with
a fascinating fact from one of the hundreds of areas connected to
the FREE page. New fun projects pop up nearly every weekday for
the teacher looking for new ideas to challenge their students.
Among the resources,
which are searchable, youll find hundreds of activities that
families can use to strengthen childrens language skills or
a math problem of the week where students can post answers that
are reviewed by graduate students. Another site presents soldiers
letters and diary entries from two communities, one in the North,
one in the South, during the Civil War and a walking tour through
the National Gallery of Art, where you can listen to a guide explain
works in the museum.
These and thousands
of other gateways to millions of bits and bytes of educational information
continue to attract hundreds of new regular visitors every week.
Its very popular, easy to use and
is a policy analyst at the United States Department of Education
in the Office of the Deputy Secretary. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
is a writer/editor at the Health Care Financing Administration in
Washington D.C. Currently writing for AccessAmerica
E-Gov E-Zine, he can be reached at HPetersen@HCFA.gov.