The Knowledge Loom is an ongoing masterpiece managed by the Northeast & Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University (the LAB). The LAB began the site in 1998 when the United States Department of Education provided funding for the creation of a database of best practices in education. The Knowledge Loom now has an extensive list of partner organizations from universities, the government, and the private sector that provide content. It also integrates examples and research from school districts, individual schools, and teachers. The site uses modern technology to provide teachers with tested, real-life practices in education with a forum for discussion and participation.
Teachers, administrators, and professors of education can serve their students well by assimilating the wealth of content available on The Knowledge Loom. This Web site has rightfully won awards ranging from The Association of Educational Publishers to the Internet Scout Project. Dedicated to the sharing of practical, workable methods for fostering student learning, the site invites conversation among participants. Anyone can register to receive the full benefits of communicating what works in education.
The sites opening page provides the necessary links and directions to begin searching immediately. One can view the Spotlight Library, which features resource materials on a particular topic, highlighting the newest additions, or one can choose to search the entire database by clicking on Search the Collection. A variety of search options with clear instructions on how to begin is presented. Theme searching is recommended first, followed by five ways to limit search results. Keyword and full-text searching are also available. Results are displayed in a pre-designed format, showing Spotlight articles first, followed by Practices, Success Stories, and Resources. The LAB openly states the site is a work in-progress; stipulating that The Refine Your Search feature will expand in the future.
Some technical points need mentioning. Both browsers work fine, but the text displays slightly better using Internet Explorer as opposed to Netscape. Also, downloading software, such as QuickTime, may be necessary to take full advantage of the audio files that are incorporated in the featured items and resources. Even though there is no singular indication of the last update, the content and discussion dates show activity in the last quarter of 2001.
The Knowledge Loom is a valuable research tool for educators and should be included in the education resources of all universities with a School of Education.
Janice M. Krueger
University of the Pacific