Each year the Alabama Supercomputer Authority (ASA) files applications on behalf of the AREN Consortium consisting of Alabama Public School Systems and Alabama Public Libraries led by ASA in coordination with the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama Legislature, and the Office of the Governor. ASA was included in the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) wave one of funding commitment letters to E-rate Year 2005 school and library applicants. On Monday, June 27, USAC issued over 7,700 letters committing more than $265.2 million in universal service funding. The letter notifies ASA of a $3,354,305 funding commitment for the continuation of Priority One Internet access services to consortium school systems (134 Qty), continued Internet connectivity for 102 designated individual consortium schools (High, Middle, and Elementary Schools) and shared Internet access for all consortium schools & libraries.  For more information on the USAC funding visit the USAC SLD Website


Health Information Online Eight in ten Internet users have looked online for information on at least one of 16 health topics, with increased interest in diet, fitness, drugs, health insurance, experimental treatments, and particular doctors and hospitals. That translates to about 95 million American adults (18+) who use the Internet to find health information. Some demographic groups showed notable interest in specific topics - 59% of online women have read up on nutrition information online, for example, compared with 43% of online men. Thirty-eight percent of online parents have checked online for health insurance information, compared with 26% of Internet users who do not have children living at home. Forty-one percent of Internet users with a broadband connection at home have looked up a particular doctor or hospital, compared with 19% of Internet users with a dial-up connection at home. Read the full report:


Twenty Technology Skills Every Educator Should Have The T.H.E. Journal presents a list and summary of the 20 basic technology skills that all educators should now have. Not since the blackboard has a single piece of equipment (the computer) made such a difference in how we teach.

Study Identifies Factors Holding Back Digital Curriculum Factors such as too few classroom computers, poorly conceived professional development, and a lack of time to research and plan are holding back digital curriculum.


Radio JOVE: Planetary Radio Astronomy for Schools helps students and amateur scientists observe and analyze natural radio emissions of Jupiter and the Sun. Through the study of their magnetic fields and their plasma (charged particle) environments, we are better able to understand the Earth.

Seeing the Invisible offers a guide and workbook to help students discover that the sun emits light in wavelengths outside the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Activities allow students to view unique features of the Sun that are revealed only by certain spectral wavelengths of light.

Solar Storms and You is a series of 6 workbooks on solar activity and sunspots, solar wind, magnetic storms, aurora, and satellite design (Grades 7-9).

Timeline of the Universe is an online tutorial that traces the 15-billion-year history of the universe. It starts with the Big Bang and discusses the formation of elements in stars, planetary systems, Earth-like planets, and Jupiter-like planets. The chemistry of life is also examined.

Guide for Teaching About Coastal Wetlands helps students identify types of wetlands and understand the role of wetlands in controlling erosion, retaining water, filtering pollutants, and serving as nurseries for young organisms. The barrier islands, the Mississippi River, and the consequences of wetland loss are examined.

Imagine the Universe includes lesson plans on wavelengths and frequencies, sizes of stars, gamma-ray bursts, the binary number system, the probability of life elsewhere in the universe, analyzing images from digital satellite data, measuring periodic behavior, logarithmic plotting and classification of objects by their mathematical behavior, the origin of the elements and their identification in supernova remnants, and identifying elements using spectroscopy.

NOAA Ocean Explorer provides 165 lesson plans developed to bring entire classrooms on board for exploration and discovery. Topics include deep-sea hydrothermal vents and their spectacular animal communities, benthic creatures of the Northern Gulf of Mexico (one of Earth's most geologically complex regions), seafloor methane, unexplored deep reef habitats off the Carolinas, the Titanic, and the mystery of the Steamship Portland (lost in a 1898 storm off New England).

NRCS Soils includes soil surveys for each state, a manual for surveying soil, an urban soil primer for homeowners and local planning boards, and tools for educators -- lessons and information on soil taxonomy (the 12 orders of soil ), fundamental concepts about soil, soil biology, and soil risks and hazards.

Real-Time Information helps ensure that critical information needed by emergency forecasters and managers during extreme events is available. See live views of volcanoes around the world, weather images, geologic and mineral resource information, national flood-threat forecasts, and streamflow information.

Rocks and Images is an introduction to rock collecting. Read about the 3 kindsof rocks -- igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic -- and the Earth processes that formed them. Find out how to start a rock collection, where to find rocks, and the equipment you'll need.

Soil Science Home Page looks at soil fertility, nitrogen in soil, soil chemistry, soils as electrical systems, soils as filters, soil physics and particle sizes (silt, sand, and clay), microorganisms in soil, nutrients that plants need, soil morphology, judging soil by feel, structures and shapes of soil, and soil profile images from Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and other states. Learn how soil is formed and how long it takes to create an inch of soil.

Solar System Exploration features lesson plans on electro-magnetism, energy, exploration, gravity, pioneers, landforms, life, light, math ratios, matter, measurement, modeling, origin, planet surfaces, rocks and minerals, the scientific method, and triangulation. Classroom and informal learning activities focus on meteorites, comets, the sun, planet change and constancy, the search for life in the solar system, and missions to outer planets.

Cuneiform Tablets: From the Reign of Gudea of Lagash to Shalmanassar III presents clay tablets, cones, and brick fragments inscribed using the ancient writing system known as cuneiform. The Sumerians invented this writing system, which uses a wedge-shaped reed stylus to make impressions in clay. These 38 cuneiform tablets include school tablets, accounting records, and commemorative inscriptions. They are dated from the reign of Gudea of Lagash (2144-2124 B.C.) to Shalmanassar III (858-824 B.C.).

American Journeys provides eyewitness accounts of North American exploration, from the Vikings in Canada (1000) to the diaries of mountain men (1800). Read the words of ship captains, fur traders, Indians, missionaries, and settlers as they lived through the founding moments of American history. Highlights include Christopher Columbus stepping ashore (1492), Indians' first resistance (1493), Pilgrims landing in Plymouth (1620), and more. Suggestions for research projects are included.

Land Use History of North America examines how we have used land since the 1700s and how the land has changed. Topics include population settlement and farmland, urban sprawl and soil resources, flora species, urbanization in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, landcover changes in the Great Lakes region, vegetation along the upper Mississippi River, biodiversity in the Yellowstone ecosystem, and landscape changes in the Southwest. is a primary source of U.S. maps and geographic information. Zoom in on your state and make your own map by selecting features to display: cities and counties, roads and rivers, population and 109th congressional districts, crops and livestock, amphibians and butterflies, air and water quality, earthquakes and land cover, forest types, and more. Print a U.S. map (with or without names of states and capitals). Find an aerial photo of your neighborhood.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped offers a free library service, NLS Talking Books, to help people of all ages whose low vision, blindness, or physical handicap makes it difficult for them to read a standard printed page. Books and magazines on cassettes and in braille, as well as audio equipment, are mailed to individuals at no cost.

Agricultural Fact Book provides a statistical look at food consumption, farms, and rural places in America. Topics include eating out, fruit and vegetable consumption, meat consumption, refined grain v.whole grain, sweeteners, and food expenditures and prices. Learn about diversity and specialization among American farms and population changes in rural America.  offers an animated tour of the Agriculture Department's recommended nutrition pyramid. Explore the food groups. Assess your food intake and physical activity levels. See a sample menu of how these nutrition recommendations can be integrated into a weekly menu. Use a food tracking worksheet to improve your eating habits.



Work is now underway to create the Encyclopedia of Alabama, a comprehensive online reference work on the state’s history, culture, geography, and natural environment. Scheduled for public launch on the Web in 2007, EOA will be a continually updated and expanded resource, enhanced with graphics, video, and audio, and available to anyone with Internet access at no cost to the user.

Dr. Joseph Morton sent the following information to Superintendents on June 29, 2005:

An addition to the omnibus spending bill signed into law on December 8, 2004 Public Law 108-447 submitted by Senator Robert Byrd (R-W.V.) requires that September 17 be designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.  All educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution on September 17 of each year.  If this date falls on a weekend or a holiday, schools must schedule a program immediately before or after that date.  The date of the fulfillment of this requirement will be included as a part of comprehensive monitoring.


In order to assist with the implementation of this requirement, a list of Web-based resources has been enclosed (see below) and is also available through the Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) in the Teacher Zone section.  In addition, these sites will be available on the Alabama State Department of Education’s Web site under “Hot Topics” by the first of August.  This list is not exhaustive nor is it meant as an endorsement of any particular site or product.  It is hoped that this will provide some helpful information that may be of use to your teachers.

Suggested Web Sites for Constitution Day and Citizenship Day


Library of Congress


The National Archives


The Avalon Project:  Yale Law School


The James Madison Center:  James Madison University


National Constitution Center


The Emory School of Law

On-line copy of the Federalist Papers


The Smithsonian Institute:  The American Presidency:  A Glorious Burden


PBS:  Africans in America


The American Colonist’s Library


The Thomas Jefferson Digital Archive


Center for Civic Education


The Bill of Rights Institute


The Freedom Forum


Digital History:   Interpreting Primary Sources




The Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History


The New York Historical Society: Alexander Hamilton


Congressional Update:  The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education is expected to begin action on its FY06 appropriations bill on July 14. Please contact Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Jeff Sessions and ask for fulll restoration of federal funds for Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) to the FY04 level of $700 million. It is critical that you communicate personal examples of how education technology is making a difference, especially in NCLB compliance, in your school districts. Inaction could mean losing all EETT funds!  The House recently passed its version of the Labor, HHS and Education appropriations bill which provided $55.7 billion for education programs. Most importantly, $300 million was provided for EETT, which is a $196 million cut from FY05. The President proposed eliminating the program in his FY06 Budget Request.

Included in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as Title II, Part D, EETT provides states and districts with funding to purchase hardware and software, engage in technology professional development and develop innovative technology programs. A number of recent studies documented that states and districts primarily use EETT funds to implement two key goals of NCLB – improving student achievement and ensuring that all teachers are highly qualified – by purchasing curricular materials and establishing professional development programs.

To voice your support for education technology, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Senator's' office.


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