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RFC 1941

Frequently Asked Questions for Schools

Pages: 70
FYI 22
Obsoletes:  1578
Part 1 of 3 – Pages 1 to 25
None   None   Next

ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 1
Network Working Group                                         J. Sellers
Request for Comments: 1941                   Sterling Software/NASA IITA
FYI: 22                                                     J. Robichaux
Obsoletes: 1578                                                 InterNIC
Category: Informational                                         May 1996

                 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  This memo
   does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of
   this memo is unlimited.


   The goal of this FYI document, produced by the Internet School
   Networking (ISN) group in the User Services Area of the Internet
   Engineering Task Force (IETF), is to act as an introduction to the
   Internet for faculty, administration, and other school personnel in
   primary and secondary schools. The intended audience is educators who
   are recently connected to the Internet, who are accessing the
   Internet by some means other than a direct connection, or who are
   just beginning to consider Internet access as a resource for their
   schools.  Although the Internet Engineering Task Force is an
   international organization and this paper will be valuable to
   educators in many countries, it is limited in focus to
   internetworking in the United States.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction...................................................  2
   2. Acknowledgments................................................  3
   3. Questions About the Internet in an Educational Setting.........  3
   4. Questions About Getting the Internet into the School...........  7
   5. Questions About Using Internet Services........................ 17
   6. Questions About Classroom Resources, Projects, & Collaboration. 21
   7. Questions About Security and Ethics............................ 25
   8. Suggested Reading.............................................. 29
   9. Resources and Contacts......................................... 31
   10. References.................................................... 50
   11. Security Considerations....................................... 51
   12. Authors' Addresses............................................ 51
   Appendix A: Glossary of Terms Used in this Document............... 52
   Appendix B: Ways to Get Requests for Comments (RFCs).............. 60
   Appendix C: Examples of Educational Projects Using the Internet... 61
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1.  Introduction

   As more and more schools begin using technology to achieve
   educational goals, access to the worldwide network of computer
   networks known as the Internet is expanding. Help for schools in the
   form of printed materials, electronic resources, and people is also
   expanding. The Internet School Networking (ISN) group of the Internet
   Engineering Task Force (IETF) remains committed to articulating the
   advantages of Internet connections for schools and providing
   solutions to the challenges schools face in getting connected. The
   FYI (For Your Information) series, which is a subset of the IETF-
   produced RFCs (Requests for Comments) is one way to achieve these
   goals. (See Appendix A, "Glossary of Terms Used in This Document" for
   further explanation of "FYI" and "RFC.")

   While the IETF and ISN are international groups, the authors of this
   document are experienced only in bringing the Internet to schools in
   the United States. We are aware that culture and the national economy
   effect how one views the issues surrounding school networking. (To
   give just one example, in the United States, educational reform is an
   important reason for schools to get connected to the Internet. Other
   countries may not have the same incentive to transform the teacher's
   role to more of a guide toward knowledge and less of a sole provider
   of information.) So, while this document may have a U.S. flavor, we
   feel that the focus will not prevent it from being useful to those in
   other countries!

   Some of the questions educators have about the Internet are of a more
   general nature, and for those we recommend reading FYI 4, "Answers to
   Commonly Asked 'New Internet User' Questions." (For information on
   how to get this and other IETF documents of interest to the general
   Internet user, See Appendix B, "Ways to Get RFCs.")

   Remember that the Internet is a changing environment. Although we
   have tried to include only the most stable of network services and
   contacts, you may still find that something listed is unavailable or
   has changed.  The positive side of this constant change is that you
   will discover much on your own, and some of what you discover will be
   new since the writing of this document.

   This is an update of an earlier document (FYI 22/RFC 1578, "Answers
   to Commonly Asked 'Primary and Secondary School Internet User'
   Questions"), and renders that document obsolete. If future updates
   are produced, the RFC number will change again, and the FYI number
   (22) will remain the same.
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2.  Acknowledgments

   In addition to Ronald Elliott, Klaus Fueller, Raymond Harder, Ellen
   Hoffman, William Manning, April Marine, Michael Newell, and Anthony
   Rutkowski, all of whom contributed to the first version of this
   document, we would like to thank Sepideh Boroumand, Sandy Dueck, Jeff
   Gong, Bill Grenoble, Pat Kaspar, Ed Klein, Yermo Lamers, Gary Malkin,
   April Marine, Michael Newell, and Jan Wee for their invaluable
   suggestions and contributions to this version. Thanks also to Nathan
   Hickson for checking each of the entries in the formidable Section 9.

3.  Questions About the Internet in an Educational Setting

3.1  What is the Internet?

   The Internet is a large and rapidly growing worldwide network
   comprised of smaller computer networks, all linked by a common
   protocol, that enables computers of different types to exchange
   information. The networks are owned by countless commercial,
   research, government, and education organizations and individuals.
   The Internet allows the almost 5 million computers [1] and countless
   users of the system to collaborate easily and quickly either in pairs
   or in groups. Users are able to discover and access people and
   information, distribute information, and experiment with new
   technologies and services. The Internet has become a major global
   infrastructure used for education, research, professional learning,
   public service, and business.

   There is a confusing variety of types of Internet access. These types
   of access are distinguished either by the services one can use
   (telnet, Gopher, FTP or File Transfer Protocol, World Wide Web) or by
   the technology underlying the access (the protocol, or rules the
   computers must follow in order to communicate with one another). The
   Internet is most clearly defined by its technology, but other
   technologies now offer access to many of the same Internet services,
   most notably electronic mail and the World Wide Web. The most
   important question for a user today is probably not "Am I on the
   Internet?" but "Do I have access to the Internet services I want?"
   See Section 5, "Questions About Using Internet Services," for further
   discussion of telnet, Gopher, FTP, the World Wide Web, and electronic

   While there is no official governing body of the Internet, the
   Internet Society serves as the international organization for
   Internet cooperation and coordination. See Section 9, "Resources and
   Contacts" for Internet Society contact information.
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   For a more complete basic introduction to the Internet, see FYI 20,
   "What is the Internet?" cited in Section 8, "Suggested Reading." For
   information on how to retrieve FYI documents produced by the Internet
   Engineering Task Force, see Appendix B, "Ways to Get RFCs."

3.2  What are the benefits of using the Internet in the classroom?

   The Internet is an exciting classroom resource. It expands the
   classroom dramatically by delivering information, data, images, and
   even computer software from places otherwise impossible to reach, and
   it does this almost instantly. This access to up-to-the-minute
   information can make a student's education more relevant. Some of
   these materials are original sources which are too expensive or in
   other ways difficult for schools to own. Some information is news
   unfiltered by mass media, requiring students to critically assess its
   content and value.

   But the Internet is not strictly a place from which to gather
   something.  It is also a place to communicate, to make contact with
   people all over the world. The Internet brings into the classroom
   experts in every content area, new and old friends, and colleagues in
   education. And it allows students and teachers to leave the classroom
   by sharing ideas with people far away. The isolation inherent in the
   teaching profession is well-known among educators. By having Internet
   access to colleagues in other parts of the world, as well as to those
   who work outside of classrooms, educators are not as isolated.

   Your site can become a valuable source of information as well.
   Consider the expertise in your school which could be shared with
   others around the world. For guidance in finding schools with a
   presence on the Internet, see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."

   Use of the Internet shifts focus away from a teacher-as-expert model
   and toward one of shared responsibility for learning, making it a
   vital part of school reform. Many reform efforts attempt to move away
   from teacher isolation and toward teacher collaboration, away from
   learning in a school-only context and toward learning in a life
   context, away from an emphasis on knowing and toward an emphasis on
   learning, away from a focus on content and toward a focus on concepts
   [2]. The Internet can play an integral part in helping to achieve
   these shifts, since it is well-suited for use as a project resource.
   Information on the Internet, as in the rest of the world outside the
   classroom, is not divided into separate disciplines such as geometry,
   writing, geography, or painting.

   As a hands-on classroom tool, the use of the Internet encourages the
   kind of independence and autonomy that many educators agree is
   important to the learning process. Internet use itself can also be a
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   motivator for students. Additionally, because class, race, ability,
   and disability are removed as factors in communication while using
   the Internet, it is a natural tool for addressing the needs of all

   There are a number of resources you can use to convince others of the
   benefits of the Internet in the classroom. The NASA IITA (National
   Aeronautics and Space Administration Information Infrastructure
   Technology and Applications) K-12 Internet Initiative has produced an
   11-minute video describing the benefits to schools in using the
   Internet.  Its title is "Global Quest: The Internet in the
   Classroom." Another video appropriate for a mixed audience of
   stakeholders is "Experience the Power: Network Technology for
   Education," produced by the National Center for Education Statistics
   in the U.S. Department of Education. Several articles appearing in
   various periodicals make a strong case for using the Internet in the
   classroom. A particularly good one by Al Rogers of the Global
   SchoolNet Foundation is called, "Global Literacy in a Gutenberg
   Culture." Student essays can also give compelling testimony.  For
   information on the Rogers article, see Section 8, "Suggested
   Reading." Some student essays can be found on NASA's Quest server
   listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," as can information on
   the videos.

3.3  Will using the Internet replace teachers?

   Just as textbooks, periodicals, videos, guest speakers, and field
   trips are often used to support a curriculum, the Internet can be
   used as a tool for teaching and learning. This does not mean that it
   must be the sole instructional method in a classroom. Teachers will
   remain responsible for making educated and informed decisions about
   the best way to use the Internet as a tool, just as they do with
   other materials used in the classroom. They can also use the Internet
   to individualize student learning, making a student's classroom
   experiences more relevant.

3.4  Will this technology replace books?

   There is room in any school for all kinds of materials and resources.
   Books and other print materials will certainly continue to be
   important.  Internet resources have the advantage of tying together
   information from all over the globe, making them useful research
   tools. As mentioned before, they can also provide up-to-the-minute
   information and are therefore particularly relevant. In addition, you
   may be able to engage an expert in a dialog that clarifies or updates
   what you find in published materials.
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   One factor to consider is that much of the material published on the
   Internet lacks the authority imputed by an established publishing
   house or a reputable author, and may therefore be viewed as less
   reliable than books. For example, an encyclopedia or almanac found in
   a school library might reasonably be accepted as valid without
   question, while a source found on the Internet may require a more
   critical look. However, lack of authority is not always a negative.
   Reading an account of the fall of the Berlin Wall by a student in the
   local region the day it happened can be valuable even if the student
   is not a reputable author. Moreover, while it's true that with
   Internet materials it becomes increasingly important to evaluate
   where they came from, one of the hallmarks of a good education is the
   ability to assess information critically, whether the source be
   print, television, or some other media.

3.5  How can use of the Internet be integrated into the existing

   This is a key question. In order for the Internet to be used
   successfully in schools, it must be employed as a tool to teach
   content and to reach educational goals that have already been
   established. It cannot be seen as an end in itself.

   Individual teachers will first need to become familiar enough with
   the Internet to know how to do at least two things: find information
   on topics they consider important and locate people with like
   educational goals.  Sections 5 and 6, "Questions About Using Internet
   Services" and "Questions About Classroom Resources, Projects, and
   Collaboration" will give you some ideas about how to begin.

   Once they are familiar with how to find content on the Internet, most
   teachers can decide how to use Internet resources to help their
   students meet goals. For example, science teachers often teach about
   hurricanes and other weather phenomena in the normal course of
   instruction. With Internet access they can use information and
   satellite data pertaining to the most recent storm to make their
   points, rather than outdated examples from textbooks.

   When teachers become familiar with finding other people on the
   Internet, some of them already grouped into network "communities" of
   interest, they can gain experience in using the Internet from
   educators who have been using it longer; they can join existing
   projects, contribute to the evolution of proposed projects, and
   propose their own projects; and they can ask for and give help to
   solve problems in the classroom ranging from the content they teach,
   to addressing students as individuals, to mastering effective
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   Internet access supports project-based learning. A teacher in an
   individual classroom can use the data and information available on
   the Internet as a resource for classroom projects, and there are also
   a variety of projects which take place over the Internet in more than
   one classroom at a time. A project may be initiated by any educator
   with an idea. A popular example of an educator-initiated project is
   one which requires data to be collected from diverse sites around the
   world or at least around the country. For example, together students
   in various locations have tracked butterfly and bird migrations,
   compared bodies of water, and measured the north-south circumference
   of the Earth. Various organizations also run projects in which
   schools can participate. Among the many groups which have invited
   schools to participate in projects with a focus on a specific topic
   are the Global SchoolNet Foundation, The European Schools Project,
   the International Educational and Research Network (I*EARN), and
   groups associated with such federal agencies as the Department of
   Energy, the United States Geological Survey, and the National
   Aeronautics and Space Administration.

   The Internet can also be used for peer review of student materials;
   as a medium for publishing student newspapers, art exhibits, and
   science fairs; and in a global email pen-pal program for the
   discussion of classroom topics.

   It cannot be stressed enough that the key factor these Internet uses
   have in common is that they are supporting classroom curriculum, not
   defining it.

   Learning about the Internet and how to use it is an important goal
   for any school's Internet program, but in the classroom, the message
   needs to be emphasized over the medium.

   There are several sources of material for discussing curriculum
   infusion, including mailing lists, World Wide Web sites, and archives
   of sample lesson plans. Most of the mail lists, Internet computers,
   and organizations in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," address
   infusion of technology into the curriculum. See also Appendix C,
   "Examples of Educational Projects Using the Internet."

4.  Questions About Getting the Internet into the School

4.1  How much does it cost to connect to the Internet, and what kind of
     equipment does my school need to support the Internet connection?

   The cost of an Internet connection varies tremendously with the
   location of your site and the kind of connection that is appropriate
   to your needs.  In order to determine the cost to your school, you
   will need to answer a number of questions. For help in learning what
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   the questions are and getting answers to them, begin asking at local
   colleges, universities, technology companies, government agencies,
   community networks (often called "FreeNets"), local electronic
   bulletin board systems (BBS), Internet access providers, or
   technology consultants. See also Question 4.6.

   To give you an idea of possible cost and equipment needs, think of
   four groups of Internet users. We will call them basic individual
   users, advanced individual users, school networks, and school
   district networks.

   How you approach acquiring service depends on which category you feel
   best describes your needs. This discussion is based on experiences in
   the United States. (For more information on the Internet services
   you'll be reading about in this section, see Section 5, "Questions
   About Using Internet Services.")

   Basic users are individuals who want to access common Internet
   services such as the World Wide Web, Gopher, and email. There are two
   types of basic users: those who plan to be online for a few hours per
   week, and those who plan to be online for many hours per day.

   Basic individual users who require access to common Internet services
   such as Web pages, FTP sites, and email for only a few hours per week
   may be best served by one of the nationwide online services such as
   America Online, CompuServe, or Prodigy. These services have the
   advantage of providing the user with a simple setup and easy,
   graphics-based access screens which hide the complex commands
   required by some Internet services. They also provide value-added
   services not available via the general Internet, such as access to
   news magazines and encyclopedias.  Hardware required is generally a
   standard Windows-based PC or Macintosh and a 14.4 kilobits per second
   (Kbs) or higher modem. At the time of this writing, prices typically
   run around $10 per month for the first 5 hours of connect time, and
   $2-4 per hour thereafter.

   Basic individual users who access common Internet services for many
   hours per day should consider a "shell" account from a local Internet
   Service Provider (ISP). Shell accounts generally provide access to a
   Unix computer which is connected to the Internet, so those choosing
   this option should be prepared to learn a few Unix commands. Shell
   account users will get all the standard Internet services but at a
   cheaper rate, generally in the $30 per month range for 6 hours per
   day access plus $1-2 per hour for extra hours. Most shell account
   vendors do not provide nationwide access, and shell accounts do not
   have graphical user interfaces, so you cannot use Web browsers such
   as Netscape and Mosaic.  While you may be able to use Lynx, a text-
   based browser, some ISPs do not install it on their computer servers.
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   Many FreeNets also offer shell account access gratis, but they may
   not be able to offer much support.

   In the United States, there are a number of statewide educational
   networks, most of them with access to the Internet. To find out if
   there is a state education network in your area which gives basic
   user accounts to educators and/or students, contact the Consortium
   for School Networking (CoSN) or consult the document "Getting US
   Educators Online"  by Linda Conrad, listed in Section 8, "Suggested

   Advanced individual users are those who want graphical user
   interfaces to Internet services and who may want to use their
   computers to offer services to other Internet users. For example,
   they may want to create Web pages for others to access or put files
   online for others to retrieve. If you are an advanced user, you might
   consider getting a Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) or Point to
   Point Protocol (PPP) account from an Internet Service Provider. The
   interface is similar to that of nationwide online services available
   to basic users, but the performance is better and the cost is less
   for someone who wants to use the service for more than just a few
   hours per week.

   Setting up a SLIP or PPP account requires configuration and
   installation of Internet and SLIP/PPP software. Some ISPs only
   provide the software, some will install the software for you, and
   some preconfigure the software and send it on disk, with instructions
   to the user, via postal mail.  Again, hardware required is generally
   a standard Windows-based PC or Macintosh and a 14.4 Kbs or higher
   modem. Costs are generally comparable to basic shell accounts, but
   for 24-hour connections expect to pay $100 or more per month.

   If in your school you plan to have more than a few individual
   Internet users, you will need to consider a network with a high-speed
   dedicated line connected to the Internet. This school network is
   probably a small- or medium-sized network in a single building or a
   very few geographically close buildings. It may include only one or
   several LANs.

   Most high speed connectivity is provided through a dedicated leased
   line, which is a permanent connection between two points. This allows
   you to have a high quality permanent Internet connection at all
   times. Most leased lines are provided by a telephone company, a cable
   television company, or a private network provider and cost $200 per
   month or more.  Typically the connection from your LAN or LANs is a
   digital leased line with a Channel Service Unit/Data Service Unit
   (CSU/DSU) which costs between $600 and $1000. Less frequently, the
   connection is an analog leased line with a modem which costs between
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 10
   $200 and $800. You will also need a router which costs roughly $1500.
   This is a substantially more difficult setup to manage. After you
   have determined the ways in which you believe you will use Internet
   access, you should contact several ISPs in your area and compare
   prices and services.

   School district networks are even more complex. If you have several
   locations which require connectivity, you should contact several ISPs
   and get bids for the service.

   The ISP world is changing very rapidly, especially at the low end. At
   the time of the first edition of this document, local ISPs were rare,
   small, and fairly expensive. At the time of this writing ISPs abound,
   offering a wide variety of services at reasonable prices.
   Additionally, several groups are working on low-cost solutions to
   school networking. Subscribe to the mail lists in Section 9,
   "Resources and Contacts," to keep abreast of new developments.

   "Getting US Educators Online" and "Connecting to the Internet: An
   O'Reilly Buyer's Guide" by Susan Estrada are both listed in Section
   8, "Suggested Reading." Other books about the Internet and how to get
   connected to it are available and new ones are being published. Check
   libraries, bookstores, and booksellers' catalogs. Two lists of
   Internet providers available via the World Wide Web can be found in
   Section 9, "Resources and Contacts" along with the Consortium for
   School Networking.  The global regional Network Information Centers
   (NICs) such as the Reseaux IP Europeens Network Coordination Centre
   (RIPE NCC) in Europe can also provide a list of service providers.
   The Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) in the Pacific
   Rim will have a similar list in the near future. These two NICs are
   listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."

4.2  What are the other costs associated with having Internet access?

   When budgeting for your school's Internet connection there are a
   number of factors to consider that might not seem immediately
   obvious. Technical support and training will incur additional ongoing
   costs, even if those costs show up only as someone's time. Equipment
   will need to be maintained and upgraded as time passes, and even when
   all teachers have received basic Internet training, they will most
   likely have questions as they explore and learn more on their own. A
   general rule for budget planning is this: for every dollar you spend
   on hardware and software, plan to spend three dollars to support the
   technology and those using it.

   It will be necessary for your school to have some technical expertise
   on-site. (See also Question 4.4.) Your network access provider may
   offer training and support for technical issues, and other groups
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 11
   also offer formal classes and seminars. If your school has designated
   technical personnel, they will be good candidates for such classes
   and seminars. If your school does not have designated technical
   personnel, a teacher or other staff member with a strong interest may
   take on the task of becoming the local expert, but a better solution
   is to have someone dedicated to this at least part time. Students can
   help local experts maintain equipment and do other tasks, which
   allows them to learn new skills at the same time.

   Training is an equally significant component to deployment of the
   Internet in schools. Most teachers learn about the Internet during
   the time they use to learn about any new teaching tool, which often
   means they "steal" time at lunch, on weekends, and before and after
   school to explore resources and pursue relationships via the
   Internet. When a school is committed to providing the Internet as an
   educational resource, the administration will make in-service time
   available. It will also ensure that someone at the school is
   sufficiently knowledgeable to field questions and help people as they
   risk trying new ways of teaching using Internet resources. Again,
   some students make excellent tutors.

   Some technical support and a variety of training materials can be
   found by using the Internet itself. You can send questions to people
   in the know and join discussion lists and news groups that discuss
   and answer questions about support and training. The Edtech mail list
   is one such list. Some World Wide Web sites offer technical support
   information.  Videos also help bridge the information gap. See
   Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," for a preliminary listing of
   these resources. Your local community may also have resources. These
   include colleges and universities, businesses, computer clubs and
   user groups, technology consultants, and government agencies.

4.3  How can my school afford access to the Internet?

   Although school budgets are impossibly tight in most cases, the cost
   of an Internet connection can be squeezed from the budget when its
   value becomes apparent. Costs for a low-end connection can be
   reasonable. (See the next question.) The challenge facing those
   advocating an Internet connection sometimes has less to do with the
   actual cost than it has with the difficulty of convincing
   administrators to spend money on an unfamiliar resource.

   In order to move the Internet connection closer to the top of your
   school's priority list, consider at least two possibilities. First,
   your school may be in the process of reform, as are many schools. As
   mentioned earlier, use of the Internet supports reform efforts, so
   framing Internet access as a component to systemic reform may help to
   persuade some people.  Second, to convince people of the value of a
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 12
   connection, an actual Internet demonstration can be more useful than
   words. While this may sound like a chicken-and-egg situation (I need
   Internet access to get Internet access), some organizations will
   provide guest accounts on an Internet-connected computer for people
   in schools who are trying to convince others of the value of an
   Internet connection. Another way to begin using Internet services is
   to sign up for one of the popular online services such as America
   Online, CompuServe, or Prodigy. Once subscribed, you can use these
   services either from home or from school. This method is recommended
   only as way to introduce yourself and others in your school community
   to the value of the Internet. It is not a good long-term solution to
   providing Internet access for a lot of users at one site such as a

   Contact local colleges, universities, technology companies, service
   providers, community networks, and government agencies for both guest
   accounts and funding ideas. For alternatives to your own school's
   budget or for supplements to it, look for funding in federal, state,
   and district budgets as well as from private grants. Work with
   equipment vendors to provide the hardware needed at low or no cost to
   your school, and consider forming a School/Community Technology
   Committee, or a joint School District/School/Community Technology
   Committee. Also investigate the possibility of a back-door connection
   to a local college or university.  Service providers often allow
   schools to connect to higher education sites at a lower cost.

   A number of sites on the Internet provide more information about
   grants and organizations that offer them. Two in particular that you
   may find useful are Grants Web, for grant information of all kinds,
   and the Foundation Center, for information on private and nonprofit
   organizations.  For information on where to find these sites on the
   Internet, see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."

4.4  What organizational structure needs to be in place in order for my
     school to have Internet access?

   Schools and school districts have devised structures that vary
   widely, depending on a school's particular requirements. In many
   schools, the librarians/media specialists guide the development of
   the network and policies on its use and serve as the top of the
   structure within the school. In other schools, an interested teacher
   becomes the driving force behind getting the Internet into the school
   and may be the most appropriate person to see the project through.
   The school administration, if not the guiding force, needs to be
   behind the plan to bring the Internet into the school. And all other
   parties who might have a stake in the development should be brought
   in as early as possible, whether or not they are knowledgeable about
   the Internet. These might include area businesses, community leaders,
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 13
   teachers with Internet access at home, the librarian or media
   specialist, parents, and anyone in the school who finds the idea of
   bringing the Internet into the school appealing. In short, any
   organizational structure will do as long as it is clear and simple
   and includes the people who might have a stake in the process of
   bringing the Internet into the school.

   One way to ensure that an organizational structure develops and that
   the right people become involved is to invite a wide variety of
   people to create a technology plan for the school. The by-product of
   technology planning can be the development of an organizational
   structure, but of course the planning is useful in itself to help
   your school define and meet goals for Internet and other technology
   use. The National Center for Technology Planning hosts a collection
   of technology plans and planning aids for people who need help, new
   ideas, or solutions as they tackle technology planning in their
   schools or districts. Information on the National Center for
   Technology Planning can be found in Section 9, "Resources and

   No matter what the structure, there should be someone at the school
   who can take the lead in working with vendors and Internet Service
   Providers (ISPs). This person should be knowledgeable about - or
   willing to learn about - the technical aspects of connecting to the
   Internet, including knowledge about any networks the school already
   has in place. The lead person should have an alternate so that the
   school is not completely dependent on one person. If your school
   hires an independent consultant, someone at the school should be
   aware of everything the consultant does and should receive at least
   some training in the areas of the consultant's work.

   Another role that must be filled is that of in-house network
   administrator. Having an already busy teacher take on this role as an
   extra duty is a bad idea; a greater time commitment is needed.

4.5  What questions do I need to ask people who are selling network

   There are a number of questions you should ask. Anything you hear
   that you don't understand must be questioned. If a vendor knows the
   product and the process well, he or she should be able to explain in
   terms you can understand.

   You should also ask any kind of vendor how available they are and at
   what point they either stop helping you or begin charging by the
   hour. Get references from other customers, preferably including at
   least one school which has requirements similar to yours.
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 14
   Questions for LAN vendors:

      If the school has not yet purchased a Local Area Network (LAN),
      ask the LAN vendor how the product will interact with TCP/IP.
      (TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet
      Protocol, the technology which forms the basis of the Internet.)
      If necessary, arrange a meeting with the LAN vendor, the ISP, and
      any consultants that may be involved.

      Make a list of the school's requirements, including security, the
      number of computers on the LAN which will have Internet access,
      and the Internet services you want students and teachers to be
      able to use. (See Section 5, "Questions About Using Internet
      Services," for an introduction to the services.) Ask the vendors
      if they can provide services that will meet your requirements.

   Questions for Internet Service Providers:

      In general, ask the ISP what services are included with your
      purchase of Internet connectivity.

      Will they terminate the circuit in a router and leave you to your
      own resources to take care of the "LAN side" of the connection?

      Will they provide a primary domain name server for you?

      Will they register your domain name with the InterNIC?

      Are they providing you with all the IP addresses you need?

      Will they help you with security issues?

      Do they provide a newsfeed or a newsreading service? (Do you know
      the difference?)

      If they agree to do some work on the LAN side, what is the extent
      of that work? (Configure individual computers? Handle subnetting
      and routing issues?)

      Will they answer questions from your network administrator?

      Will a dedicated computer be needed as an Internet server for such
      things as domain name service, the World Wide Web, Gopher, and

      Do they provide any training sessions for your staff and are these
      sessions included in the connectivity price?
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 15
      Do they offer any other classes or seminars and are these included
      in the connectivity price?

      Does the ISP do their own training or do they contract to someone
      else, and if the latter, who is it? Check references on any

      Questions for Internet Service Providers furnishing dial-in

      There are some specific questions you should ask of an ISP who is
      providing dial-in connections. (See Question 4.7 for a further
      discussion on dialing in from home.)

      What is the charge per minute for connectivity?

      Is SLIP or PPP connectivity available?

      Will the ISP be providing software which allows you to use
      Internet services such as email and the World Wide Web or will
      they help you obtain it?

      Will they help you install it?

      Ask for references of other clients using dial-in service and when
      you check them, one of the questions to ask other customers is if
      they encounter lots of busy signals. (You can also check this
      yourself by trying the access provider's dial-in number at various
      times during the day. Just dial it by phone and see how many busy
      signals you get.)

4.6  How many of our computers should have Internet access and where
     in the school should they be located?

   You should make Internet access possible for as many of your school's
   computers as possible. Ideally, you have computers located throughout
   the school - in classrooms, the library, and laboratories - and they
   are all connected together with printers and other peripherals in one
   or more LANs. In that case, you acquire one dedicated Internet
   connection of 56 Kbs (Kilobits per second) or higher to serve the
   whole school.

   If your budget and existing computer equipment are both limited, you
   can use a dial-up service and a modem to access the Internet, but in
   most cases that will only be viable for one computer at a time. As
   use of the Internet catches on in your school, it will eventually be
   more effective for you to create the LAN with Internet access
   mentioned above than to keep adding modems in classrooms.
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 16
   If you must choose between Internet access in one lab in the school
   or Internet access for the same number of computers throughout the
   school, in order to get teachers to use the access you must make it
   available where they can most easily take advantage of it. This
   usually means that you make access available throughout the school.
   Although a computer lab is an easier maintenance set-up for the
   person in charge of keeping the equipment running and allows each
   individual (or pair) in an entire class to be using a computer at the
   same time, a computer located in the classroom is more convenient for
   both the teacher and the class. Internet resources can be more easily
   integrated into a classroom lesson, and the emphasis remains on using
   the Internet as an instructional tool. Since only one or two
   computers can usually be placed in each classroom, teachers will
   learn to allocate computer time creatively. And if you are able to
   provide only a few computers throughout the school, make sure that at
   least one of them is in the library where all students will have the
   chance to be exposed to the Internet as a resource.

   Networking all computers campus-wide can be expensive. You may want
   to investigate initially giving one lab, the library, and a few
   classrooms dial-up access, assuming phone lines are available. Even a
   connection to only one classroom as a demonstration may help you to
   garner more support for creating a campus-wide local area network
   that is routed to the Internet through a dedicated line.

4.7  Can people get on the Internet from home?

   This depends on your network access provider. It is certainly a
   possibility and is definitely desirable for the educators at your
   school.  To make it possible for teachers and other staff to dial in
   to the school network (and then out to the Internet) from home, you
   will need to employ, at the least, multiple phone lines and modems.
   Talk to your service provider about other technical requirements.

   Many teachers like to be able to learn at home as well as on school
   grounds, and having the ability to explore when they have the time is
   invaluable. One school district we know of made low-interest loans
   available to teachers so that they could buy home computers. When the
   technology was later made available in their classrooms, they already
   had some experience and were comfortable beginning to use it in day-
   to-day instruction.

   The question of whether or not to make the option to dial in from
   home available to students is more difficult. On one hand, a school
   may not be able to escape the idea that it is responsible for how
   students use the Internet access it provides, even though the school
   has no control over the home environment. On the other hand,
   particularly in high school, much schoolwork is done at home. Since
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 17
   most classrooms don't have enough computers for all students to
   access the Internet at once, it is even more likely that work will
   not be completed during class time. Having Internet access from home
   becomes more important.

   Discussion of whether or not you want to make this option available
   to students - even if it is technically possible - should involve as
   many school partners as possible, including faculty, administration,
   parents, and other community members. It might take place in a public
   forum such as a school/community meeting.

5.  Questions About Using Internet Services

   The way to find people, information, software, and anything else on
   the Internet is generally to use either printed or electronic guides
   and Internet services. In this section we will concentrate on the
   services.  (See Section 6, "Questions about Classroom Resources,
   Projects, and Collaboration," for information on guides.) We answer
   more questions about the World Wide Web than about other online
   services for three reasons.  First, the World Wide Web is the
   Internet tool coming into most prominence at the time of this
   writing. Second, many (if not all) of the other services are included
   seamlessly in the Web; that is, they're there, but you may or may not
   realize you're using them. Third, making your way around the Internet
   using the World Wide Web is easy; for people not interested in
   computers, access to the Internet and has become less frustrating.

   This is not to say that finding what you want is always simple. The
   Internet is like a vast library without a comprehensive card catalog.
   New ways to do indexing and searching are being devised and employed,
   and you'll need some time to learn how to use them.

5.1  What is the World Wide Web?

   The World Wide Web (WWW) is a project initiated by the European
   Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) located in Geneva, Switzerland
   and currently driven by the World Wide Web Consortium. When exploring
   the World Wide Web, users navigate through documents by selecting
   highlighted text that leads to another document or location. The
   highlighted text can be called a "pointer," a "link," or an "anchor."
   This navigation results in a three-dimensional exploration of
   documents instead of a flat text document. The World Wide Web
   incorporates different media into its documents, including text,
   sound, graphics, and moving images.

   The World Wide Web presents either a graphical or a text interface to
   numerous Internet resources. Not only can users access documents
   specifically designed for the Web, they can also view documents on
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 18
   Gopher servers, use FTP to download files, and launch a telnet
   session. Some World Wide Web clients also allow for the use of email
   and Usenet news.  This is an easy-to-use, nonthreatening way to
   approach the Internet, and does not require in-depth technical
   knowledge. (See Question 5.5 for a discussion of these other

5.2  How do I connect to the World Wide Web?

   First, you will need at least a SLIP or PPP connection. (See Question
   4.1 for more information; SLIP or PPP is the "advanced individual
   user" solution described there.) Accessing the Web is like using any
   other service on the Internet: you run a client on your computer
   which accesses a server, in this case a Web server, running on
   another computer. In Web terms, the client is called a browser. The
   browser retrieves and reads documents from Web servers. Information
   providers establish Web servers for use by network users, and when
   you become proficient at using the Internet, you may want to become
   exactly that kind of information provider.

   Most Web browsers share common features. One feature is the hotlist,
   or bookmark. This allows you to mark your favorite sites. Your
   browser will store these sites and their addresses and allow you to
   revisit them later by simply selecting the name of a site from a
   menu. Another feature common to most browsers allows you to save the
   current file to your local disk.  Some browsers keep a tally of the
   sites you've visited recently and allow you to revisit them without
   typing in the location again. Every browser is different, so it pays
   to explore your own client software and learn its features through
   practice. Most people, even those with little computer experience,
   find that it's easy to learn to use a browser just by exploring on
   their own.

   Each document contained on Web servers across the Internet has a
   unique address. This is called a URL, a uniform resource locator.
   Browsers negotiate URLs just like mail software negotiates email
   addresses. Users can type in the URL for the browser to access. URLs
   are also embedded in a Web document's text, providing a seamless link
   to another location or document.

5.3  How is the World Wide Web linked?

   The Web functions as a distributed hypermedia system. The purpose of
   this system is to allow the exchange of information across the
   Internet in the form of hypertext documents called Web pages or home
   pages. Hypertext is text with pointers or links to further
   information in various formats (text, graphic, video), allowing you
   to branch off to another document for more information on a given
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 19
   topic, and then return to the same location in the original document
   with ease. Pointers in a Web document are analogous to HyperCard
   stacks or Microsoft help files in which you click on an option (a
   pointer or a link) and the program moves you to another document, or

   Documents published on the Web are constructed in hypertext markup
   language, or HTML. This is a simple language that allows you to
   format text, insert images and sound, and create links in a document.
   Tutorials on creating Web services are available at the NCSA Mosaic
   Home Page, the automatic starting place for Web exploration when
   using the Mosaic client.  There are also Web page creation resources
   listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."

5.4  Where do I get a World Wide Web browser?

   The two most common graphical Web browsers at the time of this
   writing are Netscape and Mosaic. Netscape is a commercial product but
   is currently free for educational use. Mosaic is free.  Both of these
   packages are available for Macintosh, PC, and Unix platforms through
   the Internet. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts," for details.

   For those users with lower-speed connections that cannot accommodate
   full graphical browsers, there is a text-based browser available for
   Unix systems called Lynx. A public-access Lynx client is accessible
   through telnet at the server of the World Wide Web Consortium, which
   is listed in Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."

   Many commercial online services, such as CompuServe, Prodigy, and
   America Online, include a Web browser as part of their offerings.
   More and more often, Web browsers are being included as part of the
   standard connection software provided by the Internet Service

5.5  What are the other services on the Internet?

   There are a number of other services to help you get around on the
   Internet. The most common ones are described here. For more
   information, see "EFF's (Extended) Guide to the Internet" by the
   Electronic Frontier Foundation, and "The Whole Internet User's Guide
   and Catalog" by Ed Krol, both of which are listed in Section 8,
   "Suggested Reading," in addition to the Glossary entries mentioned
   for each tool.

   Email.  Email is probably the most basic tool on the Internet. It is
   short for electronic mail and may be used in a couple of ways. You
   can send messages back and forth with just one person, or you can
   participate with a group of people who discuss topics of common
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 20
   interest. These groups are called mail lists. You join and leave the
   lists by sending email to one address, and you post messages to all
   the people on the list by sending email to a slightly different
   address. Sometimes a human does the list registration and sometimes a
   software program does it. For more information see the entries for
   email and mailing lists in the Glossary.  A list of mail lists
   related to primary and secondary education can be found in Section 9,
   "Resources and Contacts."

   Network News.  Also known as Usenet News or Net News. Reading news is
   similar to joining an email list, but instead of the messages coming
   to your mailbox, you use news reader software to read messages on a
   computer where they are accumulated. For more information see the
   entry for Usenet News in the Glossary.

   FTP.  FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and just as the name
   implies, it allows you to transfer files from one computer to
   another. It is the name for both the protocol and the program. A
   special kind of FTP, Anonymous FTP, allows you to access the many
   public archives on the Internet. FTP is not used by itself as much as
   it used to be, since people often use Web browsers and Gopher clients
   which incorporate FTP when they want to retrieve files. For more
   information see the entries for Anonymous FTP and FTP in the

   Telnet.  Telnet allows you to log into a computer somewhere else on
   the Internet and use the services there. For example, if you don't
   have a Gopher client or a Web browser, there are some public access
   sites that you can telnet to in order to use a Gopher client or a
   text-based Web browser.

   Gopher.  Gopher is a tool that lets you browse for information on the
   Internet using menus. If you know what you're looking for and have an
   idea about where to find it, Gopher can make your search easier. And
   when you have located something of interest, whether it's a document,
   a data set, or a picture, Gopher will retrieve it for you. For more
   information see the entry for Gopher in the Glossary.

   Searching and Indexing Tools.  Archie is a tool for searching FTP
   sites; Veronica (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Network Index to
   Computerized Archives, which works the same way Archie does) is a
   tool for searching Gopherspace; WAIS (Wide Area Information Service;
   pronounced "wayz") is a tool for searching indexed databases, whether
   the databases are full of numbers, text, or graphics files; and
   Yahoo, Lycos, and WebCrawler are some of the many searching and
   indexing tools available on and for the World Wide Web. For more
   information see the entries for Archie, Gopher, WAIS, WWW, and
   Veronica in the Glossary.
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 21
   Videoconferencing. At the time of this writing, schools are beginning
   to participate in conferences, meetings, and collaborative activities
   via video. The two services or applications used are Multicast
   Backbone (MBONE) and CU-SeeMe, both of which allow for desktop
   videoconferencing, or videoconferencing via computer.

   MBONE is an option for videoconferencing using several operating
   systems at the time of this writing: Unix, Windows NT, Windows 95,
   and Mac Operating System 7.5.2. It requires that your Internet
   service provider be a part of the MBONE, which depends on a
   specialized routing strategy.  Ask your service provider if they are
   equipped to support MBONE traffic.  If so, you will need to work
   fairly closely with your provider to establish working configurations
   for your network. More information on MBONE is available at the MBONE
   Information Web. (See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts.")

   CU-SeeMe, developed by Cornell University, also presents conferencing
   capabilities over an IP network. You may participate in a CU-SeeMe
   videoconference as a sender, a recipient, or both. Through use of
   reflectors, multiple sites may participate in any given conference.
   For any of these activities, you'll need a PC or a Macintosh with a
   connection to the Internet and CU-SeeMe software. Additionally, if
   you'd like to send video and audio, you will need a video camera and
   a video board in your computer. Full information on the hardware
   requirements is available at the CU-SeeMe Web site; there is also a
   mailing list for CU-SeeMe information. For guidance and discussion
   about using CU-SeeMe as an instructional tool, the Global SchoolNet
   Foundation hosts a mail list called cu-seeme-schools which announces
   opportunities for participation in CU-SeeMe events. For information
   on the Web site and mailing lists, see Section 9, "Resources and

6.  Questions About Classroom Resources, Projects, and Collaboration

6.1  How can I find specific projects using the Internet that are
     already developed?

   When you have learned to use some of the Internet services discussed
   in Section 5, "Questions About Using Internet Services," particularly
   the search tools, you will be able to answer that question more fully
   for yourself. In the meantime, since there are several resources on
   the Internet that are directed specifically at the primary and
   secondary school communities, here are some ideas to get you started.
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 22
   Computer Information Servers:

      Global SchoolNet.  The Global SchoolNet Foundation's World Wide
      Web site contains a wealth of valuable information and materials,
      including help setting up projects by learning what has worked
      best based on others' experience. The GSN site also contains a
      landmark registry of projects in which schools can participate.

      EdWeb.  Andy Carvin's EdWeb is an excellent source of K-12

      CoSN.  The Consortium for School Networking maintains an Internet

      NASA.  NASA's Spacelink and Quest are directed at primary and
      secondary school educators, and both house lesson plans,
      Internet-based curriculum units, and interactive projects and
      activities. Many NASA projects also maintain computer information

      Empire Internet Schoolhouse.  The New York State Education and
      Research Network (NYSERNet) hosts the Empire Internet Schoolhouse,
      an extension of its Bridging the Gap program.

      K-12 Schools on the Internet.  Gleason Sackman of North Dakota's
      SENDIT network for K-12 educators maintains an active list of K-12
      schools on the Internet.

      National School Network Testbed.  The Bolt Beranek and Newman
      (BBN) project called the National School Network Testbed provides
      links to numerous schools and projects.

      Internet School Networking.  The Web pages for the group which
      brings you this paper contain a collection of documents and case
      studies on projects.

   Mail lists:

      Many people on electronic mailing lists such as Ednet, Kidsphere,
      and the Consortium for School Networking Discussion List post
      their projects and ask for partners and collaborators.

   News groups:

      The K12 hierarchy of Usenet News has several groups where
      educators post these invitations as well. For subscription to
      these and other electronic lists and for names of news groups see
      Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 23

      There are also a number of conferences worth looking in to. The
      National Education Computing Conference (NECC) and Tel-Ed, both
      held annually, are conferences sponsored by the International
      Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The Internet Society
      (INET) conference is the annual conference for the Internet
      Society. See Section 9, "Resources and Contacts" for contact
      information for these organizations.

      Specific computer information servers, mail lists, news groups,
      and conference sponsors are listed in Section 9, "Resources and
      Contacts."  A number of Web sites also provide favorite
      "bookmarks," or lists of sites for educators. Bookmarks are not
      included in Section 9, but you will quickly find them if you begin
      at any of the Web server entry points listed here.

6.2  What are some examples of how the Internet is being used in
     classrooms now?

   Projects which use the Internet sometimes request sites from all over
   the world to contribute data from the local area then compile that
   data for use by all. Weather patterns, pollutants in water or air,
   and Monarch butterfly migration are some of the data that have been
   collected over the Internet. In Appendix C, "Examples of Educational
   Projects Using the Internet," you will find several examples
   collected from various online servers and electronic mailing lists
   pertaining to education, each from a different content area and
   representing different ways of using the Internet. Some of the
   projects require only that you be able to use email, some require
   that you have access to the most advanced Internet services, and some
   offer varying levels of participation.

   There are a number of specific projects you may find interesting:

   KIDS.  KIDS is a project managed by the nonprofit KIDLINK Society. It
   includes discussion lists and services, some of them only for people
   who are ten through fifteen years old.

   Academy One. Academy One is part of the National Public Telecomputing
   Network (NPTN) and usually has a number of projects running at a

   I*EARN.  The International Education and Research Network (I*EARN), a
   project of the nonprofit Copen Family Fund, facilitates
   telecommunications in schools around the world.
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 24
   Chatback Trust.  Initiated to provide email for schools in the United
   Kingdom and around the world with students who have mental or
   physical difficulty with communicating, Chatback Trust and Chatback
   International maintain a network server that you may want to

   ESP.  The European Schools Project (ESP) involves approximately 200
   schools in 20 countries and has as its goal building a support system
   for secondary school educators.

   Electronic Field Trips.  The online interactive projects on NASA's
   Quest server and the JASON Project are designed especially to provide
   classroom contact with real science and scientists.

   For contact information on these groups and computer information
   servers refer to Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."

6.3  Are there any guides to using the Internet in schools that list all
     these resources in one place?

   Printed guides to using the Internet in education are appearing along
   with the new books on the Internet and you can expect to see more in
   the near future. The problem with paper resource guides is that the
   Internet is a changing environment so they become outdated quickly.
   Most (like this document) try to list only the most stable resource
   sites, and even if not everything you try is available, these guides
   can be particularly helpful if you are new to the Internet. Try the
   books entitled "Education on the Internet," "Teaching with the
   Internet:  Putting Teachers Before Technology," and "Brave New
   Schools" listed in Section 8, "Suggested Reading," for a sampling of
   those available at the time of this writing.  Check bookstores,
   libraries, and booksellers' catalogs for others.

   One answer to the problem of printed Internet guides is the
   newsletter.  Two we recommend are specifically for primary and
   secondary school educators interested in networking and contain
   information on new services on the Internet that are of interest to
   educators, projects for collaboration, conferences, new books and
   publications, essays, and practical tutorials on using network tools
   and services. NetTeach News is published ten times a year and is
   available both hardcopy and via email.  Classroom Connect is
   published nine times a year. Information on subscribing and related
   online services for both newsletters can be found in Section 9,
   "Resources and Contacts."

   Internet computers which act as guides to the Internet for educators
   are, among others, BBN's Copernicus server, the Global SchoolNet
   server, NASA's Quest server, the University of Illinois College of
ToP   noToC   RFC1941 - Page 25
   Education's Learning Resource Server, and Web66. All are listed in
   Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."

6.4  How can I add my own contributions to the Internet?

   In addition to sharing your knowledge and expertise on the electronic
   mail lists and news groups mentioned, as you gain experience you may
   find you have the knowledge and inclination to put up a Web page for
   your own site.  Many K-12 schools are maintaining Web pages, either
   on Web servers they set up at the school or on a computer at another
   site, to publish student projects and information about their
   schools. Gleason Sackman's Hot List of K-12 Internet School Sites and
   Web66 offer a comprehensive listing of these schools and provide
   links to their home pages. These pages may give you ideas about ways
   your school can use the World Wide Web to contribute to the K-12
   Internet community. There are also a number of sites which give
   instruction in how to publish on the Web and how to maintain Web
   sites, including Web66, the National Center for Supercomputing
   Applications (NCSA), and the Geometry Forum. For the Internet
   locations of these resources see Section 9, "Resources and Contacts."

(page 25 continued on part 2)

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