This project was established in 2001 by the Annenberg Foundation to advance public understanding of and appreciation for democracy and to address current affairs, mostly concerning the US. Divided in topic and sub-topics, users can learn a lot about the Constitution and the Supreme Court, Economy and Free Speech, and many more issues of vital importance for citizen participation in today’s life. The Annenberg Classroom content is provided by its several-partner network, including the National Constitution Center, Student-Voices, FactCheck.org and others, thus providing a vast collection of inter-related info and resources. Each topic or section offers in fact access to a series of resources directly provided from or pointing to the various partner organizations. Aiming at teachers and student of any level, this website features a great level of usability, including many graphical elements, photos and visual aids, as well as window and roll-over menus: a dynamic structure providing a positive experience for any user. It also features an advanced search facility and many audio, video, and full-text lesson packages ready for free downloading. Among its interactive features, users can freely join various discussion fora, ask the expert or a Supreme Court Justice or browse a comprehensive library, spanning from history to language arts to science and technology.
A comprehensive collection of educational resources and teaching aids
Center for Distributed Learning
Knowledge, applications and tools supporting learning processes
Founded in 1997, the Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) at the California State University aims at disseminating best practices for e-learning among educational communities by identifying learning related problems and applying technology to support good teaching. In this respect, it offers various demonstration projects and interesting multimedia tools to help people with little experience in planning and developing learning objects. The website is organized in three sections concerning the professional development, the digital content and the e-learning framework. In each section, projects’ related materials, and software demos can be easily browsed for free while software applications are available only to the CDL’s community and partners. Links to other external resources and related webpages are available as well. The website also include Merlot, a free and open webresource designed for faculty and students of higher education, that offers links to online learning materials. Particular emphasys is given to the e-portfolio concept as the mailstone of the teaching commons. Participation is free but registration is required. The CDL has been recognized for its contributions to education by such organizations as the New Media Consortium.
Digital Opportunity Channel
An initiative to promote discussion over ICTs and the digital divide
The Digital Opportunity Channel is a joint venture between two international organizations, OneWorld and Digital Divide Network, aimed at promoting discussion about the use of information technologies to encourage sustainable human development and reduce poverty. The website is maintained by the OneWorld International Governance Group (IGG) that includes members from around the world. The website represents a helpful source of information for researchers interested in global development and digital divide that can find here news updates and resources on e-government, governance and, more in general, about Icts impact on politics and society. The website offers free access service to current news on digital opportunities providing also research reports and papers in pdf format and discussion forums. Although easy to navigate and search – also thanks to an extremely sophisticated search engine and two browsing modes, by topic or country – the webpages information density may prove sometimes intimidating for the average user.
A large collection of selected links to e-learning resources
Founded in 1994 and still managed by Jane Knight, author and analyst working in the e-learning world for over 20 years, the e-Learning Centre provides a Resource Area containing a large collection of links to e-learning resources, which are freely accessible to the public, a (password-protected) Subscribers Area containing resources that add value to the core materials at the website, and a range of other services, e.g. a Guide to e-Learning and an e-Learning Job Centre. Started as a a collection of bookmarks, the project has grown to hundreds of pages linking to thousands of links about e-learning. The links in the Resource Area are categorised into five main sections: Library, Showcase, Products and Services, Events, Bookshop. The e-Learning Center also provides a comprehensive listing of conferences, articles, tools, associations and everything else users might need to know about e-learning in a clear and friendly web structure. Materials are mostly provided free of charge, although some contents are available by paying a reasonable fee.
Resources to transform education through information technologies
EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. Membership is open to institutions of higher education, corporations serving the higher education information technology market, and other related associations and organizations. The current membership comprises more than 2,200 colleges, universities, and educational organizations, including 250 corporations, with 17,000 active members. The association’s activities include print and electronic publications, e-tools, research projects and more. Managed by an experienced team, with offices in Boulder and Washington, this website is a very useful tool for those who want to learn how to improve high education teaching methodologies by using the ICTs. Full access to the site requires an institutional affiliation, but a large amount of material is freely available, including full books in pdf format.
A publication devoted to e-learning trends, papers and research in Europe
This website is a collection of articles, reviews and other material aimed to address the current situation about e-learning trends, innovation and practices throughout the EU countries. It gathers papers and articles proposed by a vast community aimed to promote the use of ICT for lifelong education in Europe. A publication of the portal elearningeuropa.info, this e-journal actively promotes the use of ICT for lifelong learning in Europe’s different communities. Each article summary is available in 19 European languages. Topics cover innovation, trends, problems about a wide array of e-learning projects and activities throughout the EU. The editorial board is also in charge of accepting and peer-reviewing the proposed papers, covering such issues as Communities of Practice, Inclusive Learning, local projects and many more. Each papers’ issue, published five times a year, can be freely downloaded in pdf format. While articles and summaries are quickly displayed on-screen, these entire issues are freely provided in pdf format, along with the past issues for the current year. Under a simple and effective design, this website has a high user accessibility: each page has a printer-friendly version and can be emailed to friend and many useful Web 2.0 tools are available. Also provided is a powerful keyword-based search facility.
The e-learning initiative of the European Commission
Elearningeuropa.info is an initiative of the European Commission aimed at promoting the use of multimedia technologies and internet in educational programs. The portal is part of the eLearning Programme, managed by the Directorate General for Education and Culture and its Multimedia Unit. It features several areas devoted to fostering elearning in schools, universities, workplaces and, generally, to enhance lifelong learning. The portal also provides information about elearning initiatives, programs and practices in Europe. It is an open, public and free resource. Elearningeuropa.info promotes a collaborative strategy through a participation area in order to share experiences and to debate about e-learning. It also provides a Forum to debate on ICT contribution as related to the objectives established in the Millenium Declaration. After a free registration, users can navigate in a personal area, save and archive materials, resources and articles. Users can easily locate contents and retrieve materials through a simple website architecture organized by sections and topics.
An innovative project fostering new approaches to ICT-based learning
FutureLab is a not-for-profit organization based in Bristol, UK. Working in partnership with government and industry groups, they have created a wide range of resources for people interested in bringing new technologies to the classroom.The overall material is derived from a pool of partners focused on innovation in learning, mostly related to the UK landscape, with projects covering such topics as digital divided, classroom resources, teacher skills and other content, always trying to get the best from ICT-based technologies to foster the learning process. Faithful to its main mission, its website has a fresh, fun and comprehensive outlook: extremely easy to navigate, user-oriented, plenty of visual aids. Very important (and innovative) is its embrace of the Web 2.0 approach, providing many tools — open comments, “tag clouds”, a blog, article submissions, etc. — aimed at promoting users’ direct involvement. The site is always up-to-date, particularly about new projects and upcoming events, also related to external organizations. The entire content is completely open and free to the public, with FutureLab’s bi-annual magazine freely available as pdf files (and as hard copies as well) and many other paper available as on-screen text format. Among its many areas, the “Showcase” and “Research” sections address also the role of technology in preschools.
Information & resources about PS graduate programs worldwide
This website enlists a variety of Political Science Graduate Programs in the United States and elsewhere in the world, divided in several regional areas and also including Distance/Online Programs. It is part of the GradSchools.com network, the leading online resource for information about graduate schools, with almost 59,000 programs listed. Launched in November 1996, the main site contains a unique and comprehensive directory categorized by curriculum and subdivided by geography. These listings on GradSchools.com are updated each night, allowing program administrators to appropriately modify their descriptions. These databases are managed by Educational Directories Unlimited, Inc., a family of services dedicated to building a bridge between students and educators by offering comprehensive online directories of higher education programs. This PS-related database features specific pages with a short description, a direct link and email address of the chosen state or institutions, along with any relevant information. A simple design allows to easily locate and/search for the desired country or school, while a dedicated Info Center (covering the entire GradSchools.com network) has articles, blogs, and many more resources.
IMS Global Learning Consortium
Material and resources focused on leadership in learning through technology
Focused on the interoperability in the learning markets worldwide, the IMS/GLC is a global and nonprofit association with more than 50 Contributing Members and affiliates: hardware and software vendors, educational institutions, publishers, government agencies, multimedia content providers, etc. Its main goal is to provide a neutral forum in which members work together to advocate the use of technology to support and transform education and learning. Some material is explicitly aimed at IT professionals and corporation executives while research papers can be useful to non-professional users too. Based on a sophisticated outline and managed by a professional team, the IMS website features — among its many options — many links pointing to both internal and external resources, a good use of graphical elements and dynamic features to sustain its usability, and options such as sitemap, RSS Feed, and a powerful keyword search. While most content is free and open to the public, a free registration to the IMS Community enables users to download specification charts and other pdf files. Membership in the IMS itself is reserved to a few fee-based levels. Drawing from a variety of sources around the world, overall this website is constantly updated and very useful for anybody involved in trends, practices and other issues related to IT-based learning projects.