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Best of the Web

Members of the Education World Tech Team share their favorite educational Web sites -- and a few of their personal favorites too!

We asked members of the Education World Tech Team: What are your five favorite educational Web sites -- i.e. online resources that have helped you teach better in general, better teach a single topic or subject, provide better resources, or better engage students? This is what they told us.

PATRICK GREENE

JENNIFER WAGNER

  • Answers.com
    I truly love using this site to jumpstart ideas. The sign language option they have with some topics is a great additional tool for students.
  • Education World
    You can't go wrong with the navigation and ease of this site.
  • Discovery School
    Tons of usable information!!!
  • Pics4Learning
    A great Web site for royalty free, non-copyright-violating pictures to use in your classroom or for your personal education use.
  • Templates and Product and Technology Tutorials (lesson plan and tutorial ideas for educators) from Microsoft
    A wealth of great ideas, templates, and clipart to use or to tweak for your own use!

NICHOLAS LANGLIE

  • Slashdot
    This Web site provides the best cross section of general technology and science as it happens in our world today. Constantly updated and infinitely relevant, the site is a brilliantly executed resource of new material and information to keep educators on the relevant edge of what Slashdot calls "Stuff that Matters."
  • Education Week
    Whether you receive it in print or are a regular visitor to their Web site, Education Week is the de facto place to learn about the state of education in the United States as it happens. Whether it's coverage of teaching trends, pedagogy, or federal and state education policy, Education Week is always relevant and comprehensive. A particularly must-visit site for leaders of today and tomorrow.
  • The MASIE Center
    Always trying to stay on the bleeding edge of technological innovation and its applications for educational environments, the MASIE Center Web site is an indispensable resource; they work hard at this think tank and deliver again and again. If you are not on their Learning TRENDS e-mail list, you're at a disadvantage with regard to educational technology and the K-12 universe.
  • University of the State of New York State Education Department
    This great resource for educators provides a gold mine of information relative to rules, regulations, licensure, standards, resources for administrators, teachers and students, and much more. The New York State Education Department is exceptional, as might be the Web site from your home state. It's worth a look and provides an insight into your state values, and so on.
  • Yahoo.com
    "In the News," Yahoo's constantly updated and changing links to news as it happens is a constant stream of fresh information on current events that really can add to a teacher's ability to identify and engage students. Whether you use it because the information might be content-specific, or because it works as a part of your opening monologue as you try to connect and identify with students, this is a resource that can really enhance instruction. Many Web sites have a similar mechanism for delivering the news that are equally relevant; Yahoo just happens to be the one I prefer.
  • TeAchnology
    A fantastic place to look for ideas, whether you're incorporating technology or just looking for discipline-specific ideas, this Web site has it in a well organized way.

Personal Favorites

* LogoServer: A collection of team, league, and tournament logos of mostly minor league, semi-pro, historical, and obscure teams from a variety of sports. (Stew Pruslin)

* Apple: Updated daily. They continue to support education; from the Halls of Ivy to the one-room schoolhouse.

* Band of Brothers: Student projects based on World War II and the 2001 HBO series, "Band of Brothers." (Michael Hutchinson)

* Sigur Ros: A musical group from Iceland whose name means victory rose. (John Tiffany)

* LinkedIn: This is a professional networking site built on the premise of promoting online introductions, sort of along the idea of six degrees of separation. (Lucy Gray)
 

WALLY FULLER

Some of these sites might appear, on first visit, to be less than "educational," but their strength is in the resources provided to students and teachers.

  • Sounddogs
    I have students use this resource to add production music and sounds to their multimedia presentations. We have students create California Native American iMovies for their 8th grade humanities class. Finding background and production music without the copyright worries removes a huge burden. Royalty free music is provided at the site, and students and staff can explore moods and styles that will enhance their productions. The best audio resources for multimedia production.
  • Project Interactivate
    This truly interactive site is a java-based exploration of science and mathematics. Designed for middle school (grades 6-8) math and science, the site also has lessons for grades 3-5 -- based on NCTM standards. This site is designed to be used for group or individual exploration. The navigation flows quite easily and the lessons are complete, including instructions and handouts. We are training the math department in the use of this interactive curriculum teaching and learning tool using grant funding.
  • Four NETS for Better Searching
    As the trainer and teacher in the school's media center, I have seen mounds of wasted paper as students search the Internet (badly) for information for assigned projects. The main reason for that waste of paper and time is the lack of skills for using Internet browsers. I have used this simple WebQuest by Bernie Dodge (San Diego State University) to train students in the NETS method. This invaluable resource has saved hours of student frustration and stacks of printer paper. The site works best with each student or pair of students at their own computer. Simple but powerful!

BOB REICH

I've varied between sites I use to prepare to teach and those I use to teach.

  • 4Teachers
    This site includes many resources, including help in meeting diverse needs of students, creating rubrics for projects assigned in class, and creating online assessment tools that the students can complete either while in school or online at home. The resources all are available on the index page without having to hunt for them.
  • edHelper
    This site helps in the creation of assignments and exercises that help students learn and use information in many different ways. The same information can be used in a number of different assignment formats without having to re-create lists of terms or information.
  • The Particle Adventure
    I use this site when teaching about atoms and particles. The site explains and illustrates the material in a clear and concise manner. The explanations include graphics and animations that students can comprehend and understand. Teaching this material can be difficult because it requires students to think abstractly as they attempt to conceptualize things that they cannot see and touch.
  • Schoolscience
    This site provides many science illustrations and animations that are helpful to students. Depictions, with hyperlinks to in-depth explanations of aspects of the concept being investigated, provide deeper understanding of the material.
  • The Big Bang Time Machine
    My latest find is a great animation that helps explain the Big Bang Theory and the formation of the universe. The site allows users to control the flow of time with an explanation of the events that were occurring.

SALLY STEVENS

  • Education World
    Although Education World is rich in resources in all areas of education, I rely heavily on the Technology Integration section in my day-to-day teaching. My favorite areas are Lorrie Jackson's techtorials, and the numerous Hunt the Fact Monster activities and Scavenger Hunts. I distribute these worksheets and handouts to our teachers on a regular basis. I also look forward to receiving my weekly Education World newsletter and sharing the recommended Web sites with our teachers.
  • I Know That
    This site has numerous games and activities for grades prek-6, covering all areas of the curriculum. Each graphically rich game is accompanied by a Teacher's Guide. Users must register to access the site and there is a cost to access premium sites, however, the free areas offer more than enough to keep students actively engaged.
  • edHelper
    edHelper offers ready-made worksheets and tools to create worksheets for teachers and students in prek-12. Our teachers use this site daily. For a nominal cost, an entire school can have access to the premium features of the site, but much is available for free.
  • Google
    Google is been one of my long-time favorites. This site never stops growing. Our teachers have been using Google as a search engine, image finder, and translator for quite some time. Presently, we are using Google Earth, Picassa, and soon we will be using Blogger. All areas of Google remain free.
  • Dr. LeBeau's Home Page
    This site is one of the best resource sites for teachers and students alike. There are hundreds of links covering all subject areas, holidays, and technology. The site is updated regularly -- with "Blogs, Vlogs, Wikis and Podcasts" among those most recently added.

MICHAEL HUTCHISON

  • TAPPED IN
    This is a great online teacher "community" that provides educators with outstanding professional development activities. I "host" the Social Studies forum in TI, but several other groups, in a variety of subject areas, meet regularly. We've had a number of interesting "guests" in the forum, including Ken Burns, Joy Hakim (author of "Freedom: A History of Us"), and Ron Maxwell, director, writer, producer of "Gettysburg", and "Band of Brothers." Several university instructors also hold regular sessions in TI. TI is very user friendly, and works well for both Mac and PC users.
  • PBS TeacherSource
    This site is cool for a number of reasons. First, it gives teachers a heads up about upcoming PBS programming, and it can be customized for the user's subject area, grade level, and local PBS station. Second, it is also the repository of more than 3000 lesson plans in various subject areas, which can be matched to state and national standards. In addition, PBS puts out a great weekly e-mail newsletter (PBS Teacher Previews), which gives teachers a heads up on programming they might want to include in their classrooms. It's a real treasure trove of information. (By the way, teachers do not need to utilize the related PBS programming in order to use the lessons.
  • C-SPAN Classroom
    This site contains lesson plans as well as resource information for various levels of teaching government, civics, and history. The Classroom Web site hosts numerous contests throughout the year, as well as great give-aways for teachers. (For example, during the 2004 campaign, they gave teachers huge Electoral College maps.)
  • The Learning Page
    This Library of Congress site includes wonderful primary source materials for teachers of every grade level, as well as cool lesson plans any teacher can use. The site features links to history resources, as well as featured live chats, workshop opportunities, and downloadable handouts and materials for teachers. A great site!

JOHN TIFFANY

  • NOVA
    I use NOVA programs in my classes and they offer a lot of useable activities and information as an accompaniment to the programs.
  • Spaceupdate
    This site offers a wide variety of Earth Science and astronomy related topics and information. A good place for current news stories, viewings, and pictures. It also offers a lot of interesting links.

BERNIE POOLE

  • The Educators Reference Desk
    This is the mother of all educational Web sites; it's been around for more than 25 years. It used to be called AskERIC, a federally funded Web resource for teachers. It includes thousands of peer-reviewed and indexed lesson plans for all age groups and K-12 subject areas. Like the EdIndex, it is well maintained and updated regularly to remain current as the Web expands in scope.
  • Google
    This has to be the mother of all search engines. The Web site is an essential tool for technology-using teachers and students alike because it works so efficiently to find information for the savvy searcher.
  • Education World
    Education World has been with us since 1996, the year the Web became a viable environment for teaching and learning. With the goal of making the Internet easier for educators to use, the founders of Education World wanted to create a home for educators on the Internet, a place where teachers could gather and share ideas. They wanted to create a complete online resource where educators could start each day to find the lesson plans and research materials they were looking for. They've succeeded. This is one Web site that every teacher should have bookmarked for quick access each day when preparing for the next day's work in the classroom.
  • RubiStar
    I love this website. It's managed by 4teachers.org, but funded by the U.S. Department of Education. A rubric is an essential tool to help students meet learning expectations by giving them a clear idea of what is expected of them in terms of quality work on learning tasks of all kinds. RubiStar makes creating analytical-style rubrics a snap by taking care of all the layout issues, as well as by recommending model categories and assessment criteria for an increasingly wide range of subject areas and assignments. Best of all, it's free!
  • FreeFoto.com
    This is the most interesting Web site I've discovered recently. Here you'll find more than 80,000 images with 129 sections organized into 2751 categories. According to the company, FreeFoto.com is the largest collection of free photographs for private non-commercial use on the Internet. The images are top quality and are a wonderful source of visual media for both teachers and students.

LUCY GRAY

  • Edutopia
    Edutopia is simply the best site for finding concrete information and examples of best practices and innovation in education. Their videos, blog, newsletter, and magazine are all superbly produced.
  • Librarian's Internet Index
    LII is a great site for general research.
  • The New York Times Learning Network
    There is a lot to explore in this Web site; I particularly like the online thematic crossword puzzles.
  • S.C.O.R.E.
    S.C.O.R.E. cyberguides are excellent resources for teaching literature throughout all grade levels.
  • 4Teachers
    This site has many free online tools that make a teacher's life easier.
  • Kaleidoscope
    Kaleidoscope provides an excellent digital literacy curriculum for many grade levels.
  • Scholastic
    There is so much at Scholastic for both teachers and kids. This is another site that is well worth exploring.
  • Starfall
    This site continues to grow and has really fun reading activities for little kids.
  • Internet4Classrooms
    This is a great general resource for teachers looking for assistance in integrating technology into their curricula.

Who Are They?

The Education World Tech Team includes more than 50 dedicated and knowledgeable educational-technology professionals who have volunteered to contribute to occasional articles that draw on their varied expertise and experience. The following Tech Team members contributed to this article:

* Wally Fuller, middle school technology teacher, Upper Lake Middle School, Upper Lake, California * Lucy Gray, MS computer science, The University of Chicago Lab Schools, Chicago, Illinois * Patrick Greene, PhD, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida * Michael Hutchison, social studies teacher, Lincoln High School, Vincennes, Indiana * Nicholas Langlie, coordinator for BOCES technology, WSWHE BOCES (Washington, Saratoga, Warren, Hamilton, Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services), Saratoga Springs, New York * Bernard John Poole, Associate Professor of Education and Instructional Technology, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Johnstown, Pennsylvania * Stew Pruslin, 3rd grade teacher, J. T. Hood School, North Reading, Massachusetts * Bob Reich, technology coordinator, The Janus School, Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania * Sally Stevens, instructional computer support, Linden Public Schools, Linden, New Jersey * John S. Tiffany, science teacher, Wauseon High School, Wauseon, Ohio * Jennifer Wagner, computer coordinator, Crossroad Christian School, Corona, California
 

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2006 Education World

Updated 05/31/2011

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