Washington is one of five states selected to be a pioneer in developing and bringing the next generation of Internet materials, applications, and tools to K-12 schools and colleges.
The Washington K-20 Education Network will have direct access to the Internet2, the high-performance, next generation Internet (called “Abilene”), and more importantly, faculty and teachers in Washington’s schools will have opportunities to develop the next generation of Internet resources, applications, and tools – opportunities that were previously only available to faculty at major research institutions like the University of Washington.
In addition, schools and classroom teachers will have access to the latest tools for developing, organizing, and bringing into the classroom customized Web-based learning materials, computer-based learning tools, and multi-media content from learning centers, national museums and organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution and NASA, as well as the ability to cost-effectively employ high-quality interactive and streamed video among teachers, across the state’s classrooms, and to classrooms around the nation and the world.
As a result, “Connecting the K-20 Network to Abilene will keep Washington at the cutting edge in our efforts to bring students the highest quality, most diverse curriculum and learning tools that can be made available over the Internet,” said Governor Gary Locke.
The University of Washington has been the region’s lead institution in bringing Internet2 capabilities to the region, and also has been a key partner in the development of the K-20 network. The UW designed, is the network operations center for, and serves as the Internet Service Provider and Internet engineering group for Washington’s K20 network.
Among the many tools that K-12 and community college teachers will be able to use as part of this partnership is Catalyst, a national award-winning teaching and learning toolkit developed at the UW. Using a Web browser, with Catalyst teachers can quickly and easily place complex content on the Web and create on-line learning activities to fit specific teaching needs -without hiring a programmer or undergoing extensive training. Students can easily be given quizzes and surveys, participate in discussions, submit homework and review each other’s work.
myUW is sophisticated Web-based middleware that enables the “mass customization” of Web materials, allowing each teacher, class, and even every student to have fingertip access to a highly personalized workspace with private information and the necessary tools for easily accessing, sharing and publishing materials, collaborating, teaching, and learning more effectively.
Together, Catalyst and myUW provide a powerful combination: access to a wealth of information and tools, and the ability to easily assemble and tailor this information to the needs of individual students, teachers, and classes.
“Connecting the K-20 Network to Internet2 will literally open whole new worlds to Washington’s school children,” says Susannah Malarkey, executive director, the Technology Alliance. “For example, they will have the opportunity to observe and interpret scientific data and participate in science experiments in real time. This allows our middle school, high school and undergraduate students to really be scientific investigators. We are incredibly lucky to be able to participate in this cutting edge technology. All of Washington’s students can now be part of designing the future.”
Participation in the next generation Internet fabric also enables broad K-12 access to the new Virtual UW in the High School program, which provides UW college-level credit classes, including the new Fluency in Information Technology (or FIT) program, to students in high schools throughout the state.
“Not only will this development put the teachers, students and schools of Washington State at the forefront in using the educational tools that are currently available, it will put them in the position of helping to build the next generation of Internet content and tools,” says Louis Fox, UW vice provost for Educational Partnerships and Learning Technologies.
According to Doug Van Houweling, president and CEO of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development, which leads the Internet2 effort, “With UW leadership, the state of Washington continues to be a national pacesetter in successful K-20 networking; in working together across K-12 and higher education to help use technology and networks to improve teaching and learning; and in developing award winning state-of-the-art programs for helping teachers and administrators understand and make the best uses of new technologies.”
Some useful Web sites:
- Catalyst (A UW campus-wide initiative to help teachers teach and learners learn using technology): http://www.catalyst.washington.edu
- Gigapop (the Pacific Northwest’s access point to Internet 2): http://www
- The K-20 Network: http://www.washington.edu/k20/
- myUW (an educational portal): http://www.myuw.washington.edu
- Fluency in Information Technology (FIT): http://www.cs.washington.edu/education/courses/cse100/
- Smart Tools Academy (classes for school leaders to learn about the Internet in education): http://depts.washington.edu/academy
- UWired (a UW project that works to promote and support access to technology, fluency in information technology and resources, and innovation in teaching and learning through technology): http://www.washington.edu/uwired/
Selected comments on the expanded access to Internet2
Marty Smith, chair of the Education Task Force of the Technology Alliance, partner, Preston Gates & Ellis, and citizen board members if the K-20 Network Board: “This development is a tribute to the partnership created a decade ago involving the Technology Alliance, higher education, government and industry. Now, we are able to leverage the expertise gathered in the creation of the K-20 network to develop a richer context and applications that can be distributed throughout our schools.”
Joseph Olchefske, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools: “We’ve found Internet2 to be an invaluable tool as we work to ensure that all students in our district meet the high academic standards we have set for them. Expanding access to this cutting edge technology will go a long way toward bridging the digital divide and preparing our students for the extraordinary opportunities that await them.”
Earl Hale, executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: “Access to this high-performance network will allow the community and technical colleges to enrich our educational opportunities for students across the state. The colleges have been using the K-20 network to deliver Internet-based courses, but this means we can expand training in technical fields, enhance collaboration among faculty working at different colleges, and customize courses to better meet the diverse needs of the students we serve.”
Terry Bergeson, Superintendent of Public Instruction: “We’re very pleased that access to the opportunities of Internet2 has been approved. The K-12 community in Washington will make great use of the advanced educational and collaborative tools enabled by our partnership with the University of Washington. Washington’s K-20 network provides each of our schools the opportunity to be involved in the evolving Internet2 environment. Taking advantage of the I2 offerings immediately