Future Directions

The lessons weve learned as result of running interactive projects so far point clearly to future directions. The central worth of the projects, putting kids and teachers into structured relationships with practicing scientists and engineers, has been proven by participant feedback. Just as clearly, the technologies of project administration need to be refined further. As we indicated earlier, part of this is technical, and this years projects will make extensive use of an HTML forms interface to all project functions for those participants who can make use of it, while retaining the textonly email access for those with lowend connectivity. We hope that such an interface will make it simpler for participants to make use of the numerous project components--Listservs, newsgroups, email, multimedia, database searches, and survey completion--while reducing the perceived complexity.

We intend to investigate further the potential role of students and teachers working together as project moderators, Smart Filters, and experts. This years projects have begun with a concerted effort to recruit and train people interested in filling these roles. In addition to the large, open projects of last year, we will experiment with smaller Mentor Circle projects which we hope will grow organically at their own rate. We hope to be able to report on our 1995 experiences next year.

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