Frequently Asked Questions
What's it all about?
It's about empowerment. Helping fellow educators and their students develop the skills they need in order to experiment with new ways of teaching and learning. It's about fulfilling potential, being able to do things for yourself, think for yourself and feel good about your own achievements.
This site contains free scripts and forums to help teachers and their students make quizzes, games, puzzles and other interactive resources for internet-based projects. We will also host other projects and resources to enable international collaboration and showcase what can be done with imagination and effort.
What is the Interactivities Forum?
The forum is a group of approximately 100 educators around the world who are interested in the development of web-based interactive multimedia in the classroom. It includes people who are at the cutting edge of integrating this aspect of information and communications technology into their curriculum from elementary schools to college level.
Who is behind it?
The main moderator for the forum is David Hellam, currently a computer studies teacher at Kuwait English School. However, successful internet projects tend to involve a team of dedicated individuals. This forum is no exception. If you wish to be further involved in the work of the forum, moderate a special interest group, host a collaborative project here or add some resources to the site, you will be welcome.
Why a Forum?
The inspiration for the forum came in late 1999. At that time, all sorts of teachers were all asking the same questions in different forums: How do you put quizzes and other interactive elements onto an educational website?
Some of the advice was good. Some wasn't. But one thing was clear. There was a significant number of people around the world, all engaged in similar projects, but with little communication going on between them.
The Interactivities Forum was an attempt to bring together a wide range of expertise to assist in extending the boundaries of what is possible, both in the classroom and for preparing resources to reinforce and investigate the curriculum at all levels.
How can I participate in this forum?
Go to the Forum area of the site and subscribe to the forum that best suits your needs. You will then receive between 1 and 50 emails per week from other subscribers. You can choose to reply to an individual subscriber offlist, or to the whole forum. You may also add your own resources for others to download and add the addresses of useful resources to the database for others to find.
Why don't you get a real job?
For many of us, teaching is a vocation. It may not be rewarded as highly as it deserves. It may be horrendously underfunded in many parts of the world. It may be undervalued by politicians, but it's essential work. Some members of the forum do work in dot-com industries.
Aren't there more important things you should be doing?
There are few more important things than helping young people learn how to solve problems and think for themselves in order to discover who they are.
It is our conviction that this approach to the curriculum can result in significant gains in understanding of subject matter and greater levels of enthusiasm as well as improved mathematical and thinking skills.
How do you find the time to do this?
Good question. Some of us don't have to worry about continually increasing workload, large class sizes and poorly thouht-out government initiatives. It is a question of priorities for many of us, but many of us have learned to juggle commitments. Sometimes, something just doesn't get done immediately, if at all.
Will you design a website for me?
Individual members of the Forum might be interested in specific projects. It is best to contact them privately. Remeber two things though. Many of us are full-time educators. We are therefore, by definition, very busy. Also, some of our members are bound by non-disclosure agreements and other contractual obligations.
I have a great idea, would you be interested?
That depends. Before posting any commercial announcements in any forum, contact the moderator to discuss it. You are welcome to bring up good ideas for collaborative projects.
What makes a good interactivity?
Good question. There are several answers. Some of our favourites include:
A resource that allows you to do something easily that would be difficult, time-consuming or impossible using more conventional tools.
A resource that responds with feedback based on different user input.
A resource that is open-ended, or makes good use of randomness to allow people to investigate it in different ways.
A resource that becomes more useful the more people use it.
The .org TLD is historically used by non-profit organisations. The forum is not a for-profit commercial venture. What do you find on this site? Interactive Stuff! Hence the name.
Why the tree logo?
Like a tree, the resources here have their roots in projects designed by teachers and their students in the classroom, for other teachers and students to use in theirs. The trunk is made up of the word if, to remind us of the central importance of modelling in building thinking skills. There are many different branches on a tree just as there are a variety of tools available to build interactivity. As it grows, a tree provides shelter and resources for those who need them. So, there you are, there is a reason for the logo.
Is this stuff really free?
Yes. But if you wish to use the resources available for download here, there is a license agreement you're expected to agree to. The license agreement is an attempt to ensure that the resources are used in the way that they are intended to be and that individual authors are not held liable for any problems encountered in their use.
Can I link to you?
You may freeliy link to the site's home page and to any of the collaborative projects hosted here. However, do not link directly to the resources hosted at the ftp site or the databases.
What awards have you won?
The Forum itself hasn't won any major awards yet. However, the educators involved here have been particiapnts, coaches, judges, finalists and winners of: ThinkQuest, ThinkQuest Junior, The International Schools' CyberFair, the AT&T Virtual Classroom, the UK's Science Museum's STEM Project, the Webby Awards, the BECTa School Website Awards, the TwinSite2000 Project and a number of other national and international programs.
What are your future plans?
Accessibility is an issue that needs to be addressed if this site is to deliver interactive multimedia for all. Also, the digital divide in developed countries and the problem of lack of universal access in the developing world are issues that should be considered.
Watch this space for news of initiatives to make the material on this site more widely available.