Commercial Collaborative Learning Services

CERTAIN SYSTEMS specialize in on-line collaborative learning. Students and teachers utilize these services to stay in contact with other students and teachers subscribing to the same system. The groups of learners are situated around a common goal (designed by either the service provider or the educators involved), such as surveying acid rain samples or raising fruitflies. The network is then used as the medium of information exchange and review.

AT&T Learning Network. A K-12 curriculum-based multimedia program. Matches 8 to 10 classes of students and teachers from around the world in "Learning Circles." Membership is required. Subscriptions vary, price TBD. Uses: project research and development exchange, discussion forums. Contact: Joan Fenwick, 1-800-367-7225.

The Jason Project. Famed explorer Robert Ballard leads this interactive fieldtrip program, where students spend two weeks on-line exploring and researching a real ŇadventureÓ with project scientists. The next trip, Jason VI: Planet Earth, begins in February of 1995, when explorers and students tackle the volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands. Curriculum material can be ordered from Mind Extension University at 1-800-777-MIND. Prices will be announced in November, 1994.

National Geographic Kids Network. A science and geography curriculum for 4th-6th graders. Students around the world conduct specifically assigned research, then exchange and compare their results electronically. Run by NGS/Technical Education Research Centers. Membership is required, $115 for tuition and telecommunications materials, $325-$375 for each project kit. Uses: Moderated student research exchange, collaberation. Contact: NGS Educational Services, 1-800-368-2728.

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