One of the primary goals of the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission was to increase the overall awareness of the centennial and related centennial events. To assist in achieving that goal, the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission legislation enabled it to develop and maintain a public Web page that included activities related to the centennial of flight celebration and the history of aviation. The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission Web page, www.centennialofflight.gov, was continually updated with educational and historical information, events, sights and sounds, and U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission information. The site itself was intended to be the single point of entry for activities and information related to the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, and it contained information for everyone from aviation novices to educators to industry experts. The number of hits to the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission Web site in December 2003 was nearly 3.7 million.
The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission was specifically required to provide recommendations and advice on the most effective ways to "maintain, publish, and distribute a calendar or register of national and international programs and projects concerning, and provide a central clearinghouse for information and coordination regarding dates, events, and places of historical and commemorative significance regarding aviation history in general and the centennial of powered flight in particular." This searchable and self-submitting calendar was one of the primary features of the Web site. Visitors to www.centennialofflight.gov were able to find the most comprehensive calendar of events on Centennial-related activities. In total, since June 2001, more than 994 different centennial events appeared on the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission Web site Calendar of Events.
In December 2002, the Web site was redesigned to make it more user friendly. Kids, educators, enthusiasts and the media were able to find a wealth of information organized by categories of interest. After choosing one of the four categories, visitors were directed to interesting short essays on flight, the Wright brothers and aerospace; video clips about the Wright gliders; free posters and bookmarks available for download; or the latest news on the national celebration. The information in each section was designed to appeal to each specific audience. The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission used a competitive procurement process to add new material to the Web site. These contracts were awarded to organizations that provided credible, historical and educational information electronically to enhance the content of the site. This procurement was advertised a total of four times.
The homepage featured several "links of the day," including an educational essay, an aviation fact of the day and an aviation-related link that changed daily. The Weather Contest of the Century drew interest from K-12 classroom teachers and students from across the country. Thousands of students conducted research and made predictions about temperature, wind speed and direction, and additional climatic conditions in Kill Devil Hills on December 17, 2003 - the actual 100th anniversary of the first flight. The contest winners were listed on the Commission Web site.
Web site content included:
About the Commission -
Information on the legislation, the Commissioners and Advisory Board members, news, the National Plans, meeting minutes and status reports.
Calendar of Events -
A comprehensive list of activities, symposiums, exhibits, air shows, educational activities and more that took place through March 2004.
Wright Brothers' History -
This section houses the Library of Congress bibliography of Wright-related resources as well as the Chronology and Flight Log; the Brunsman articles; interactive learning modules from The Wright Experience; short informative essays including "Kitty Hawk by Rail," "Charles E. Taylor" and "The 1899 Kite;" as well as a series of links to other Wright brothers information sources.
History of Flight -
A comprehensive library of essays and images on the history of flight. This section also includes a timeline which links to more detailed information about aviation events from before the Wright brothers to the present day.
Sights and Sounds -
An assortment of images, movies and special collections that capture the accomplishments of the Wright brothers and others who made significant contributions throughout the history of aviation and aerospace. As part of the NASA Art Program, a centennial song, "Way Up There," was commissioned and later nominated for a Grammy Award. "In the Studio with Dr. Robert T. McCall," who created the Centennial of Flight mural celebrating 100 years of aviation accomplishments, was recently added to the Sights & Sounds category.
Licensed Products -
View collections of souvenirs and gift items to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight. The companies listed are all official licensees of the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.
Resources that will help educators and their students celebrate 100 years of flight. Teachers can download Wright brothers posters and a Centennial of Flight bookmark, view live Web casts, and access an Educational Resources Center Matrix representing more than 50 government, industry and labor organizations promoting aviation and aerospace education. When the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission Web site is archived, most of the thousands of links listed under the Educational Resources Center will be made available on the National Coalition for Aviation Education Web site at www.aviationeducation.org.
Related Links -
Suggested Web sites to visit for information about aviation, aerospace, international celebrations and much more.
The Web site has been well recognized by several organizations as an outstanding site for educators and students. It was selected for inclusion on EDSITEment (edsitement.neh.gov) as one of the best online resources for education in the humanities. EDSITEment is a partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Trust for the Humanities and the MarcoPolo Education Foundation and serves as a gateway to the highest quality humanities-related educational content on the Internet.
The Web site also was chosen to be included in the Digital Dozen, a list of exemplary Web sites for educators selected by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. Foundation Web Design included the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission's Web site in the Web Resources section, which gives readers examples of great Web sites. The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission's Educational Resources Matrix was selected as a "Best Bet" on the USA Today Education Web site in July 2001 and was chosen by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to link to its site, a popular and well respected source of information for many teachers and students. The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission's Web site was mentioned in the March 2001 edition of Popular Science's feature "Web Watch."
The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission Web site has been submitted for consideration for the Pirelli INTERNETional Award 2003. The Pirelli Award is an international multimedia award for the diffusion of scientific and technological culture entirely carried out on the Internet. In 2001, the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission Web site was one of 20 finalists from more than 1,000 entries.
Google (www.google.com) celebrated the Centennial of Flight by showing a Wright Flyer on its homepage. The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission site was featured as the "Web Site of the Day" in the Transportation Communications Newsletter. The newsletter covers all aspects of communications in the transportation field and currently is subscribed to by more than 4,900 transportation professionals around the world.
The Commission has received many letters from educators complimenting the educational resources found on the Web site. One letter read:
As an elementary librarian in New Castle, Del., I want to express my gratitude for your wonderful site. The week before Christmas typically presents a huge challenge to keep children's interest. This year, I decided to highlight the Centennial of Flight for my fourth and fifth grade classes. I showed four of the movie clips from your site. I was amazed that in each class, the majority of the students were totally captivated by the story of the Wright brothers' discovery of the secrets of flight which began the exciting century of discovery culminating with space exploration. The clear presentation of the concepts of flight kept the interest of the students, and the length of each clip was just right to keep them involved. I showed the 1899 kite, the1900 glider and then skipped to the 1903 flight ending with the Tribute of 100 Years of Flight to show them how the Wrights initiated the journey of modern aviation. I hope that you keep this site available because it is such a valuable educational resource. Thanks for a wonderful job!
I wanted to let you know that I have built a full, one-year course in aeronautics based on your Web site. The information available seems to be endless. I certainly hope you plan to leave the site up for a long time. Thank you so much for this invaluable information.
First Coast Technical Institute
St. Augustine, Fla.
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