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ERIC Database and online education

14 April 2004, 14:55 PM in Web/Tech

The US Government has announced a US$34.6 million contract to upgrade the ERIC education database.

With the new ERIC, individuals will be able to go to one website to search a comprehensive database of journal articles and document abstracts and descriptions and, for the first time, directly access full text. The database will include as much free full text as possible, and links will be provided to commercial sources so that individuals can purchase journal articles and other full text immediately. The US Department of Education has awarded a five-year, $34.6 million contract to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) of Rockville, Md., along with its subcontractors, to develop and operate a new database system for the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC).

[via Education Network Australia]

This is great to hear. As student teachers, we use ERIC extensively through the licence that the UWS library has with the EBSCO database. This gives us access to thousands of full-text journal articles that can be accessed directly off the internet, through an extensive search function. ERIC even links back into the UWS library database to see if the journal or book exists in the library if the full-text of the article isn't available online. This tool has saved me hours of research work.

ERIC is the sort of tool that really starts to open up the possibilities of the internet for education. This massive database of journals and other articles is a great example of the power that the net has to easily distribute large amounts of useful information. Similar sorts of databases (albeit on a much smaller scale) could be used by government and NGOs to distribute information to high school students for research projects, collaborative tasks and online lessons.

MSNBC has an article up at the moment on one 'Online School' running out of Florida: Florida Virtual School. The project is funded by the state government, and is free for residents, but anyone can use it after paying the tuition fees. The offer full high school tuition, or schools can choose to use parts of their content separately. This is a brilliant idea, and especially for remote students who either use the School of the air, home school or have to travel large distances to school.



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