Beyond the Classroom Walls Project

Let's just cut the small talk and gimme the deal!
Background Or, Why am I Doing all of This?

Perhaps the most influential person when it comes to nurturing a love of things historical in the hearts of young people is the enthusiastic teacher who loves history herself. I can remember back to those days in the Sixth Grade, Mrs> Kunihiro read to us out of a joke book about Julius Caesar and Antony. We had a Romans club back then, and the biggest argument on the playground was "Who gets to be Marius' Mules and who will be the followers of Sulla?" Later Mrs. Orsini read to our Ninth Grade class about the Persian emperor making poor old captured Emperor Valerian bend down so he could put his foot on the emperor's neck whilst he mounted his horse.

As I matured, I learned to cherish the times I could escape to another world, reading National Geographic or a biography of a significant person in history, often tragic and misunderstood, and always struggling to swin against the current of contemporary events and attitudes.

When I became older, I enjoyed bringing in my coin collection to share with the school children in classrooms in which I worked as well as in any classroom in which I was welcome.

"... So this empress was very much beloved by her husband, the wise and powerful Antoninus Pius. When she died in A.D. 141, he even had her made into a god. He loved her so much that he made sure that the world would know and remember her name for thousands of years to come. And so, during this period of prosperity and power for the Roman Empire, so many millions of coins bearing the name and portrait of Faustina the Elder were struck that these are amongst the loveliest and most affordable coins a modern collector of ancient coins can obtain..."

And then there was this other empress who was not so well loved by her husband. All she got for her troubles was boiled alive in her bath. But that's another story...

My interests also extended to digital authoring which I shared with the students in the classrooms I often found myself. Though I have never held a formal teaching credential, I have always had the desire to share neat stuff with others, especially young people.

Today I am employed in an up - to - date complex of four university computer labs at the San Jose State University College of Education in Sweeney Hall. I am surrounded with wonderful toys. I got Magick. This is Magick of the kind that has a processor running at about 200 MHz, 64 Megs of RAM, and about a 2.5 Gig hard disk under the hood, not to mention scanners, Zip drives, and high end image editing, video editing, and multimedia authoring software lyin' around underfoot. I've discovered that the best way to enjoy Magick is to share it with other people, like the preservice teacher candidates and professors at the university who come to me for help, There are also many classroom teachers who would like to make use of the World Wide Web, multimedia, and other technology resources in their classrooms both as a source of material for student research and an enabling tool to allow their students to publish their work. (They always put more effort into it and do a MUCH better job if they know their work is going to be published and displayed to others). To this end, I have access to a couple of Internet and World Wide Web servers with enough disk space to provide home pages for the classes and classroom teachers with which I will be working. I am also working on a Master's Degree project, the object of which is to build a prototype for a fun and easy to use tool to access the enormous mountain of information our society has managed to amass over the past four thousand years or so. Simply stated, I want to make the reesearch for that history essay or any other kind of learning an adventure willingly embarked upon by students. That's how it was for me, only I had to develop a high degree of literacy at an early age in order to avail myself of the escape from the mundane world provided by my books. Let it now be that way for learners at all reading levels. Who knows, their reading might just improve with a little bit of enjoyable use. To this end, I have been taking classes, researching, and experimenting with putting together engaging Web pages with high visual impact and readable text with integrated support of visual and linguistic scaffolding. The content of the pilot project is history of ancient Rome and will soon include Celtic history centered around Sixteenth Century Scotland. A science connection will be addressed through an emphasis on ancient technology in a variety of areas from shipbuilding to architecture and metallurgy. The evolving Web site is to be made available to classroom teachers hopefully by mid August, 1997 for preview and and by the first day of school for fully functional access and use. Class home pages and student written historical articles will be put up as the various participating classrooms complete the composition and writing process. A version of the site on CD-ROM will be issued and updated from time to time. it will be made available to participating classrooms which have no connection to the Internet as funding for the project permits.

The Offer

Teachers and classrooms are encouraged to participate as much or as little as they feel best meets the needs of their students and their own busy schedule. I will not charge for the on - site visits during the period of the pilot project. I ask that those who want the resources on CD-ROM provide the blank media or a chack for $6.00. If you wish the media mailed to your site, please also include an extra $3.00 for postage and a protective mailer.

The Web Site

Each participating classroom with a live Web connection will receive a printed site guide with URL information on how to directly access the different areas of the site. All areas of the site are or will be hyperlinked both by general topic (bottom of each page) and through hyperlinks in context sprinkled throughout the body text. The site will, of course, be accessible to anyone with a Web connection but the URL information will only be given to participating groups at this time. The reason for this is that I do not yet completely know the actual limitations of the server, the university Ethernet LAN, router, gateway, and dedicated line. This is all part of the research, and we will find out soon enough at what level of use the system chokes and crashes! On a brigher note, Myron (the server) is scheduled for a 64 Meg RAM upgrade and an installation of Website Pro from O'reilly as paycheck permits. Bottom line: If you can possibly schedule your massive downloads of images and major surfing during hours when school kids are not trying to access the system to research their papers, please do so. Downloads ought to scream right along at oh, say three in the morning or so.

School Site Visits and Workshops

participating classrooms or groups of teachers may schedule up to four on - site visits during 1997 - 1998 school year. As I have a visual impairment that prevents me from driving (but NOT from using Photoshop!) I will need transportation provided if the school site is not within a ninety minute ride on public transportation from my home, currently in Cupertino. This is where the parent volunteers can be quite valuable. Additionally, it is sometimes necessary to bring a computer for an on - site demonstration.

The following workshops are to be offered. Schedules and syllabi will be posted here as they are prepared.

Web Mediated Educational materials: Making the Best Use of Your Existing Resources

Basic Web Authoring For Students: Publish Your History Essay or Group Project as an Encyclopedia Article

Return to Mary Queen of Scots Pre Construction Information Gathering Web Page