Origins as KIDS Report
In the summer of 1996, a small group of creative and dedicated people gathered in Boulder, Colorado, to brainstorm about an Internet project that would respond to the needs of K-12 students and teachers, who were finding the potential for this new communications tool exciting but unwieldy and overwhelming. The group sought to design a project that would facilitate selection of appropriate Web resources, relevant and meaningful to the curriculum, while simultaneously helping students develop lifelong critical thinking skills.
What emerged was a multi-faceted Web-based project -- the KIDS Report (Kids Identifying and Discovering Sites) -- in which students, under the supervision of teachers, discover, evaluate, and review useful curricular-related Internet resources. Those resources have been published online twice a month during the school year, building a collection of reports available everywhere.
The KIDS Report was originally conceived, developed, and funded by the Internet Scout Project, Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin- Madison, and funded by the National Science Foundation. Leadership for the project was transferred to the General Library System, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In the fall of 1998, the KIDS Report Project received generous interim funding from the Tashia and John Morgridge Foundation (via the University of Wisconsin Foundation and Cisco Systems). With this funding, KIDS grew to involve fifteen schools globally, including urban and rural schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and involving students, teachers, and librarians with a wide range of socioeconomic and racial ethnic backgrounds. KIDS Report contains reviews of hundreds of sites and became an important online collection providing a curriculum-appropriate alternative to Internet filtering.
Transformation to Internet Detectives
Following a four-year history as the KIDS Report, the project became institutionalized within the Madison Metropolitan School District. The name of the new MMSD initiative is Internet Detectives. It provides all middle school students in MMSD with the opportunity to develop evaluation skills and search strategies that will help students to become intelligent consumers of information. The Internet Detectives Web site contains a developing library of student-evaluated and curricular-related Internet resources. It also includes resources for teachers and a link to the archived library of evaluated Internet resources that existed on KIDS Report site.
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