Chief Operating Officer
Alabama Supercomputer Authority
686 Discovery Dr.
Huntsville, AL 35806 USA
v: (205) 971-9408
f: (205) 971-7473
Innovative or improved ways of doing things
The Alabama Supercomputer Authority is a public non-profit corporation established by the State of Alabama in 1987. The Authority provides super-computer resources over a high speed network throughout the state to all the state universities. We also provide access to Internet. We also support a precollege program with over 24 high schools. Below are described several ways our participating high school teachers utilize Internet.
Two-time participant in SuperQuest
Regarding activities involving the Internet that I use in my class:
- Ask the Scientist: sponsored by NCSA, U of Illinois. My students serve as the “scientist” and answer questions posed by middle and elementary school students. The questions are sent to us by NCSA via an Internet connection. Students respond with the answers plus give their references. It gives students a chance for independent research as well as serve as a learning experience.
- World School for Adventure Learning: I have a separate class account set up on the Internet for students. One class of Bio I (9th grade) students are participating. They are receiving information from scientists who are involved in a trek across part of northern Canada. They relay the information about their position, weather, animal life and their own personal feelings about the trip. Students chart their positions on a map as well as log in research statistics. In addition, different groups are working on creative writing assignments, researching questions asked by the expedition and completing a newsletter about the project. Students have been very excited about participating. They are able to combine a study of the environment with a study of animals of the Arctic as well as gain an idea of what true research is all about.
- Cooperative venture with another high school Biology I class. Using an Internet connection, I established a teacher contact at Central HS in Little Rock, Ark. We worked out a cooperative curriculum involving each school’s outside environment. We use the same lesson plans and share information with each other. Students began by sharing information about themselves, the school and our city. We are using a book called “Biology Outdoor-” to coordinate our efforts. It has been a learning experience for both of our schools. Student were able to participate in a hands on science experience in another state. They found that they shared many similarities
- SeaSim – an environmental simulation offered on the Internet by the Univ. of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Students in my AP class are participating with teams from both high schools and universities around the world. The purpose is for the teams to cooperate with each other in working out a treaty that protects the resources of the oceans.
This exercise involves the students in critical thinking skills as well as having to work independently at time and cooperatively in other situations. It has been a very positive experience for the entire class.
All of the above activities involve many different forms of learning. Students have to first learn how to login and use the Internet. Iii addition, they use a word processor to write up their work. Research skills have improved tremendously. However, the biggest benefit has been that students have enjoyed doing each of these – they were learning and working at the same time and having a good time in the process.
I will be involved in these projects next year (except for SeaSim – last semester that it is offered). My goal is to involve every student in at least one project on the Internet.
We use our connection to Internet to access data bases of information for students working on research papers. Our students are required to write a research paper in Honors English 11, all Senior English classes and in all Biology classes. They come to the computer lab and we help them try to find references for their papers which is of great benefit to our students since our resources are quiet limited. Other students in my supercomputing class use Internet to correspond with other students across the US. We are hoping to incorporate this into the French classes next year, possible by having French students, who also have Internet access, for “key pals”.
My Advanced Placement United States History class is participating in a simulation through the University of Michigan via Internet. We are playing the role of the European Community in trying to “deal” with the Arab-Israeli conflict. I also have great plans to use the Internet for research next school year with my advanced classes. Hope this helps.
Andalusia High School