INSTRUCTIONAL MEDIA INITIATIVES Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York: CYBERCHASE: A WEBSITE FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS

INSTRUCTIONAL MEDIA INITIATIVES Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York: CYBERCHASE: A WEBSITE FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS

Donlevy, Jim

ABSTRACT

Cyberchase is a popular educational television program series airing on the Public Broadcasting System throughout the United States. The series focuses on mathematics in a highly engaging multimedia format designed to reach young people. As part of continuing program development, a Cyberchase website for parents and teachers has been developed to help maximize student learning. This short article describes the series, online Cyberchase resources and the website for parents and teachers.

INTRODUCTION

Cyberchase is an animated television series airing on public broadcasting stations throughout the United States. It focuses on mathematics for elementary-level students ages 8-11 and is designed to engage young people with math concepts in a highly stimulating multimedia format. As part of continuing program improvement, a website for parents and teachers has been added to existing online resources.

Building upon the success of the Cyberchase website for students, the website for parents and teachers offers sound advice to help busy adults navigate the series and its various episodes. This brief article describes the program series, online resources and the website for parents and teachers.

CYBERCHASE

The Cyberchase television series shows young people that math is all around us in everyday life. Each episode has an interesting story that involves the main characters in an adventure. As a team, using their wits, critical thinking and math skills, the characters overcome obstacles and solve various problems in entertaining ways.

Reinforcing the television series, the Cyberchase website for students offers numerous opportunities for learning about math concepts tied to the program series. The site contains basic information about the program and its various characters. It also features educational games, materials and resources related to each episode that demonstrate and extend key math concepts covered in the programs. Additionally, there are links to other websites to enrich learning opportunities for viewers.

THE WEBSITE FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS

The Cyberchase website for parents and teachers contains basic information about the show, a television schedule and practical tips on how to use the series. The website includes lessons and activities designed to reinforce student learning and a topic search to help parents and teachers access areas of special interest in math addressed in the various episodes. There also are links to additional resources for further learning options.

The math concepts covered in Cyberchase are explicitly related to the national mathematics standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The website for parents and teachers shows the relevant topics and math standards for each episode to encourage strong links between the school and home and to foster high standards. Among the various math concepts covered in the series are the following:

* Data analysis

* Measurement

* Numbers and operations

* Probability

* Reasoning and proof

* Representation.

The website provides background information on the series, answers frequently asked questions and offers advice on practical ways for busy parents to help children learn math; for example, by estimating bills in the grocery store, estimating time or distance when traveling or by estimating weights of various everyday items. The lessons and activities will be especially helpful to teachers as they attempt to provide stimulating classroom work or after school programs and to parents as they address math enrichment in the home or local community.

CONCLUSION

Cybercha.se continues to win favorable attention from viewers as it extends its multimedia reach into classrooms and homes throughout the United States. In addition to the Cyberchase website for students, the parent and teacher website offers clear guidance to parents and teaching professionals on how to make the most of each Cyberchase episode. With its online resources, the series provides a broad spectrum of support to help parents and teachers reinforce key math concepts and skills linked to national standards.

To access Cyberchase online materials contact: www.thirteen.org/cyberchase.

JIM DONLEVY, ED.D.

Direct Reprint Requests to:

Jim Donlevy, Ed.D., Superintendent

Greenburgh-North Castle UFSD

71 S. Broadway

Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522

Email :jdonle@ aol.com

Copyright Dr. Phillip J. Sleeman 2004

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