Those of us who spend a great deal of time online often stumble across valuable Web sites that contain unique resources we think many educators would like to know about. The list below represents nine of those sites; online resources guaranteed to save you time and effort as you search for new ways to integrate technology into your curriculum. Included: Sites that provide a gold mine of useful education resources.
Experts estimate that thousands of new sites are added to the Web every day. That constant growth makes it nearly impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff, much less to keep track of all the excellent educational sites available at any given time.
Those of us who spend a great deal of time online, however, often stumble across little-known, but valuable, Web sites that contain unique resources we think many educators would like to know about. The list below represents some of those sites; each provides online resources guaranteed to save you time and effort as you search for new ways to integrate technology into your curriculum.
4 2 eXplore
The philosophy of this site is "When you're learning about something new, it's nice to have more than one resource to explore." The sites title is somewhat deceptive, however; way more than the four promised resources are provided for each listed topic! The site, provided by eduScapes, introduces a new topic each week. The current eclectic list of more than 200 topics includes advertising, calligraphy, Charles Dickens, knots, Mesopotamia, potato, Salem witch trials, tessellations, tobacco, Vietnam War, water, 100th Day, and much, much more! Clicking a topic brings up a page containing The Basics -- both an easy and hard definition of the selected topic; 4 2 eXplore -- four subtopics, each with a number of educationally appropriate links; Be An Explorer -- several suggested activities related to the selected topic, along with online resources necessary for completing each activity; More 2 eXplore -- additional links on the selected topic, including Web Sites by Kids for Kids; and Words 2 eXplore -- vocabulary words related to the topic, often with links to relevant Web sites. Why spend your own time searching for relevant, educationally-appropriate Web sites when 4 2 eXplore has done it for you?
This is a small site with limited resources -- most of them related to Saskatchewan -- but the idea has so much potential that I had to include it. The site provides "free images, movies, and sounds from Saskatchewan and around the world." All the media resources provided may be used in lessons, projects, reports, and so on, by educators and students free of charge as long as the resources are properly credited. Although most of the 3,732 resources currently available are related to Saskatchewan (the rest are related to various places in Canada and the United States), visitors are encouraged to help the site grow by contributing additional photographs, movies, and audio files. If they do so, this small site could become a major resource for educators -- one uncomplicated by copyright questions or permission requests. The site also provides options for creating virtual tours, additional tips for using the existing images, and the opportunity for visitors to request specific images.
Expand your students perspectives and perceptions by exposing them to some of the thousands of online newspapers listed at this site! Invite them to compare coverage of major news events in The Saudi Gazette, The Washington Post, and the London Globe; practice their foreign language skills by reading Le Parisien or El Mundo; learn more about their Canadian neighbors by browsing the Ottawa Sun; get a local slant on state issues by logging on to The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, or The Dallas Morning News; compare costs of living by studying classified pages from across the country; or even check out the weather around the world. (Why is it hot in December in Australia anyway?) Short of a world tour, theres no better way to introduce your students to the culture, politics, climate, and life style of their neighbors -- both near and far.
Hotlist of K-12 School Sites
Educational CyberPlayGround provides this hotlist of K-12 school Web sites from across the United States. Simply click a state on the U.S. map to find a list of elementary, middle, and secondary schools with an online presence. Click a schools name to go immediately to its Web site. Whether youre looking for ideas for creating your own school or classroom Web site, pen pals to participate in an online project, a teaching job in another city or state, information about a particular school, or an idea of how your school compares to others in the country, this is a great place to visit. The site also includes links to each states school districts, education associations, and state education standards. While youre there, why not add your schools site to the list?
GEC Computers in the Classroom
You might not be aware of this site, maintained by the Greater Essex County District School Board in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, because most of the resources provided are relevant only to educators in that school district. Two of its most important resources, however, are relevant to every teacher and they make a visit to this extensive site well worth a click or two. The WebQuest locator, for example is worth its weight in gold, no matter where, what, or who you teach. This extensive list of WebQuests can be accessed by division (primary, junior, intermediate, or senior), by subject, or by curriculum area. Best of all, the links to all 730 WebQuests in the database have been recently verified! My favorite site feature, however, is the monthly Computers in the Classroom Newsletter, which is e-mailed to subscribers free of charge. The lengthy newsletter, written in friendly, easy-to-read language, contains lots of worthwhile information for teachers interested in incorporating technology into their classrooms, including tips on using a variety of technology tools, suggestions for creative lessons and activities, and links to terrific Web site discoveries. You wont want to miss an issue -- and you dont have to. All past issues are archived on the site.
Numbers from 1-10 in more than 4,500 languages
OK, you can count to 10 in English, Spanish, French, and German. But can you count to 10 in Bijago, Chinook, Aleut, Middle English, or Russian? This site, which includes the numerals from 1 to 10 in at least 4,000 languages Ive never even heard of, is sure to stimulate your students interest in geography or history and to provide a fun activity to extend almost any social studies activity. Unfortunately, the site provides little pronunciation guidance -- but then, who will know the difference?
UT Library Online
I dont know about you, but Im always looking for a map to use in some classroom activity or another. It usually takes hours of searching to locate a map with the appropriate labels (or absence of labels) I need for the particular activity I have in mind. No longer! This extensive list of links to maps and map sites is the answer to a social studies teachers prayer. The site, maintained by the University of Texas at Austin, contains links to general map sites, as well as to sites containing country maps, state maps, city maps, weather maps, historical maps, and outline maps. In addition, the sites Cartographic Reference Resources section provides links to gazetteers, distance calculators, time zone guides, sun and moon rise/set calculators, tide predictors, map projections, map scale calculators, and glossaries and map guides. If you cant find the map you want here, chances are you wont find it anywhere!
Way Back Machine
Is there anything more frustrating for a dedicated denizen of cyberspace than to type a search term into your favorite search engine, find exactly the resource you need, and click the promised link -- only to find it dead and gone? Considering that Web sites have an average life span of 19 months, that frustration occurs pretty regularly for those of us who are regular users of Web resources! This site promises to banish that frustration forever, however, by making it possible to surf the more than 10 billion pages stored in its Web archive. And it really works! Remember those dead links at the real time data site above? Enter the URL of the one you were hoping to find into this sites search engine, click Take Me Back, and watch the Way Back Machine find it for you. Even if the search is unsuccessful, this archive locator will promise to find the lost site on its next crawl through cyberspace!
Copyright © 2003 Education World