Site URL: epicalendar.com
Content: EpiCalendar.com is a month-by-month online calendar resource that highlights health-related landmarks in history. Each event has a mini-description, giving readers a basic understanding of the topic and leaving the door open for further external research. There is also a video introduction to epidemiology, which is the study of health-related events (think Avian flu outbreak, The Black Plague, etc.) in a society.
Design: The site has a side tool bar and embedded menus within the various pages. Each event is accompanied by a supporting photo or graphic. The fact that the dates are on calendars marked as September 2010 – August 2011 seems a bit awkward, since the dates are from history, not those years. Aside from that, it’s fairly clear to locate and navigate the month-by-month calendars. Also, the calendars can be downloaded for printing or incorporating into Outlook or Google Calendar.
Review: This site is appropriate for high school health and science classes. Although light on information, it’s still rather useful. As a tool to spark discussion, EpiCalendar excels. Created by the Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the College Board, it’s meant to inspire and get kids thinking about epidemiology. It definitely does that. And while the important dates are accompanied only by short descriptions, that’s not a bad thing. It opens the door for research and dialogue as a class.
Bottom Line: EpiCalendar could be a great addition to a health, public health or science curriculum. Though it doesn’t include a teacher’s guide or lesson plan, there are some clear ways to use this. Students might explore the pertinent dates in history for the current month and choose one about which to write a short paper. Or teachers could divide students into groups to create presentations about assigned dates. Educators also can use the site as a jumping off point to encourage students to enter the Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition, a national scholarship competition that awards prizes up to $50,000.