Foundation for Thousands of Companies, Universities, Utilities and Government Agencies Worldwide
SAN DIEGO -- November 19 -- Last year, a school in Tasmanialearned more about its closest neighbor, Indonesia, by exchanging folktales with children their own age via electronic mail. A high schoolin Reykjavik, Iceland, upon discovering that very little informationexisted on their homeland on the Internet, decided to create an entirewebsite for Iceland through the eyes of students.
This is what happens when you combine talented young minds fromall over the world and the limitless opportunities of cyberspace. Thiscombination of education and creativity was the result of the inauguralInternational Schools CyberFair.
Today marks the kick-off of the second annual globallearning project which last year brought together more than 10,000students from 360 schools in 30 countries to showcase the highlights oftheir local communities with their very own websites.
Believed to be the largest event of its kind ever held on theInternet, the International Schools CyberFair is already beingconsidered for the Guinness Book of World Records.
Results: Education and Global RelationshipsSponsored by Cisco Systems, MCI and Networks Solutions andmanaged by the Global SchoolNet Foundation, the event encouragesschools to create curricular content on the Internet which is useablearound the world to share what is unique about their place. Theprogram is aimed at teaching schools more about the World Wide Web,demonstrating to educators the value of the Internet in the classroom,facilitating cooperation among students and encouraging positiverelationships between schools and their communities.
Program Structure and JudgingSchools are asked to investigate one of eight categories toshowcase their local communities, including local leaders, communitygroups and special populations, business and community organizations,local specialties, local attractions, historical landmarks,environmental awareness, and local music and art. The schools conductresearch projects involving the community and its resources, andpublish the results on the World Wide Web.
Entries are evaluated based on a combination of presentation andcontent, first in a peer review process and then by a judging panel ofinternational industry experts. The best sites are announced duringan online ceremony where students and educators may participate via theInternet, videoconferencing connections and audio teleconferencing.
1996: International Schools CyberFair BenchmarkLast year's event produced entries from all corners of theUnited States and around the world, including Canada, Japan, Italy,Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Romania andMalaysia, to name a few.
Working within a theme of "share and unite," the websites havefeatured interviews, taped music, photographs and original art, andcovered a diverse range of cultures and topics.
Children in Oceanside, Calif., assisted a Catholic nun topublish 30 years of historical information on the California missions,including an original journal written by the padres in the 1600s. Elementary school students in Bermuda offered a virtual tour of theirisland, featuring information ranging from their history and system ofgovernment to the famed Bermuda Triangle and Bermuda shorts.
The program offers a unique opportunity for the young people tomake a contribution to their communities. As "student ambassadors,"the participants work together with their chambers of commerce, localartists, business people and others to assemble the information to telltheir stories.
"The response has been phenomenal," said Yvonne Andres,president of the Global SchoolNet Foundation. "Students and teachersfrom around the globe are sharing their communities with the rest ofthe world through the power of online communications. With knowledgebeing shared on a world-wide basis, it is truly amazing what we all canlearn." "The International Schools CyberFair celebrates the unityof the human spirit, the strength of its diversity and the excitementof discovery," said Cheryl Vitali, a teacher at Alta Elementary Schoolin Reedley, Calif., who participated in last year's event. "It wasdefinitely a highlight of my teaching career."
Registration InformationThe goals for this year's event is to triple the number ofstudent participants from last year. Registration for theInternational Schools CyberFair '97 begins today. Studentskindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to participate. Official registration forms for the event can be found athttp://www.gsn.org/gsn/cb, theInternational Schools CyberFair '97 website.
Schools will have until March 7, 1997 to submit their entries. Peer review will take place between March 17 and April 15, 1997,followed by an online awards ceremony to be held the week of May 12,1997. A collection of entries from the International Schools CyberFair'96 may also be found by touring the site.
Technology Leaders Support International Schools CyberFair"Connecting the fascinating and exciting technology of theInternet with a world full of eager students and teachers isCyberFair's greatest accomplishment," said MCI Senior Vice PresidentVint Cerf, considered to be a founding father of the Internet. "MCI isproud to be a part of the International Schools CyberFair, which unitesstudents, teachers and their communities in a unique learningenvironment and is leaving a growing legacy of useful curricularmaterial that can be shared by everyone."
"The International Schools CyberFair is a fabulousdemonstration of the powerful synergy delivered by Internet technologyin the classroom. Not only do children and teachers learn a great dealabout the Internet, many of them also begin establishing relationshipswith their extended communities. Global communication for theeducation community would not happen without help from a definedactivity like the International Schools CyberFair," said Tracy LaQueyParker, education marketing manager of Cisco Systems. "Werecognize that successful integration of the Internet technology intoclassroom curriculum can be a challenging task," said Tom Newell,manager, information and education programs, of Networks Solutions Inc. "The impact of projects such as International Schools CyberFair '97 ispivotal to that integration."
Winners will receive prizes provided by the executive sponsors,MCI, Cisco Systems and Network Solutions Inc., as well as associatesponsors which include Microsoft, Fractal Design, Educorp, Roger WagnerPublishers and Wacom Technology. Every school which enters willreceive a gift of free software for participating.
Quick Facts on Global SchoolNet Foundation and KeySponsorsGlobal SchoolNet Foundation (GSN) is a nonprofit educational organizationheadquartered in San Diego. GSN is dedicated to harnessing the powerand tools of the National Information Infrastructure to transcenddistance and time, and to provide ongoing opportunities to supportself-directed learning both inside and outside of the schoolenvironment. GSN extends education beyond the constraints of physical,philosophical or monetary barriers.
Network Solutions Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SanDiego-based Science Applications International Corporation, isinternationally known as the Domain Name Registrar for the InterNICunder a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Itprovides Internet Protocol (IP) address allocation, worldwideregistration, online service, database management and help desk supportpertaining to IP addresses and names within the .com, .org, .edu, .netand .gov domains. As a pioneer in the technology of Internetinfrastructure, Network Solutions offers a full range of Internetservices that support clients in re-engineering their currentoperations for the electronic business environment.
Cisco Systems, headquartered in San Jose, is the leadingglobal supplier of internetworking solutions for corporate intranetsand the global Internet. The company supplies high-performance,Multimedia and multiprotocal internetworking products, includingrouters, LAN and WAN switches, dial-up/remote access servers, Internetaccess and network management software. These products, integrated byCisco IOS software, link geographically dispersed LANs, WANs and IBMnetworks. Cisco solutions form the internetworking foundation forthousands of companies, universities, utilities and government agenciesworldwide.
MCI, headquartered in Washington, D.C., provides a full range of integratedcommunication services to more than 20 million customers. Creditedwith opening up the U.S. long distance market for competition, MCI isnow leading the charge to bring competition to the $100 billion localmarket, offering American consumers for the first time the freedom tochoose their local carrier. With quarterly annualized revenue of morethan $18 billion, MCI is one of the world's largest and fastest growing telecommunications companies in the world.
For more information onthe International Schools CyberFair '97, call the Global SchoolNetFoundation at (619) 721-2972, or email the organization email@example.com. For information on sponsorship, contact GregFitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org.