Find more than three dozen pseudo-sites to use for media literacy lessons throughout the year.
Web surfers can choose from hundreds of millions of Web pages -- at sites created by experts, pseudo-experts, enthusiasts, fanatics, and the just plain ignorant.
With so many exemplary resources -- and so much artfully packaged trash -- available, how do you know which is which? More importantly, how do you teach your students to tell the difference?
The pseudo-sites below might help.
Note: Web sites, especially sites designed to amuse or confuse, can include material that might not be appropriate for your students. As always, preview all sites thoroughly before introducing them to your class.
Britain for Americans
Why not include in your next study of the American Revolution an authentic look at modern British culture? This site, created by a knowledgeable Brit, is designed specifically to help Americans understand the strange culture from which our country arose. The site includes a geography section, which contains brief discussions on Ireland and Scotland, as well; and sections on British transportation and food and drink. The language section includes comparisons of "British spelling" and "Correct spelling" that should prove useful for incorporating language arts into an interdisciplinary unit on Britain. You might want to skip the music section, however, since class time is short and most British music is American in origin anyway. In general, however, this site is informative, clearly written, and easy to understand.
General Delivery University This Web site, which provides a comprehensive look over of one of the world's most overlooked virtual universities, should prove to be a welcome surprise to all high school level educators -- teachers and guidance counselors in particular. The site offers a thorough discussion of university Rules and Regulations, including a sample Scholastic Ineptitude Test, a link to the school newspaper, and a discussion of the school's history. In addition, the site provides a complete course offering for each of the university's academic programs, from the College of Urban Agriculture to the School of Divinity of the Church of Generic Beliefs. No high school educator will want to miss making students aware of this university that has as its goal "to provide the opportunity for the acquisition of the appearance of a comprehensive education and semi-useful skills, without the necessity of wasting a lot of time attending boring classes, and without the exorbitant cost of tuition."
Although, at first glance, you might assume that this is "just another hospital Web site," the resources offered by Rye Hospital are, in fact, so diverse, that the site is certain to be useful in a variety of academic settings, including classes in science, health, physical fitness, safety, sex education, technology. and more. RYT Hospital, moreover, includes a number of interactive resources and activities designed to answer that age-old student question, "But how does this apply to real life?" In the GenoChoice section of the site, for example, students can create a clone embryo of themselves, while at Male Pregnancy, they can join physicians and scientists around the world in monitoring the first pregnant male. In addition, students can explore sections on Head Transplantations and Nanodocs, and learn about the development of NurseBots for the elderly.
Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
The perfect place to visit on Earth Day, this site features a through discussion of the physical characteristics, habitat, reproductive cycle, and more of the solitary cephalopod known as the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. The site offers rare photographs of actual tree octopi, as well as photos of their habitat, and a map of their spawning range. More information about cephalopods and about other animals that live in the coniferous Olympic forests is included. Students also might enjoy exploring the site's links to other environmental and conservation resources. (For more Earth Day info, be sure to visit the DHMO Homepage.)
MORE TO EXPLORE
For even more great sites, visit Education World's Site Reviews Archives.
Last updated 10/19/2011