What if our children had instant access to a library with thousands of books from countries all over the world — a place that invited them to drop by, read, and learn about one another (and without driving)? Imagine what they could find out about the world’s cultures, celebrations, languages, differences, and also about what they have in common.
Even in today’s fast-paced virtual world, these tips never seem to age. Help kids learn to make good choices.
1. Who made the site? Is it from a university or other institution? Is it for-profit or non-profit. Corporate? Look for an “about” link that describes the site.
2. When was the site made and how often is the site updated? Somewhere, usually at top or bottom it should tell. Is this site updated recently? If not this may be a reason to check out another website on your topic.
3. Is it possible to contact the webmaster or the sponsor of the site? Is there a “contact us” link somewhere on the page?
4. How much advertising is on the page, and how aggressive is it? Good sites that use advertising are careful to keep it from being “in your face.”
5. Does the site state its mission? Why was it set up?
If you haven’t read the article, GWU Launches Online Prep School, appearing in the January 22, 2011 Washington Post, check it out. The piece, by reporter Daniel de Vise describes the digital school, but he also explains how a dramatic shift — toward digital learning — is occurring world of education as more and more people take computer-based online learning courses. The article also examines whether online learning is a good learning tool in the world of adolescents. The jury is still out on this question, because of the strong organizational skills that are required to complete an online course. You can visit the GWU Online High School website and also the Stanford University Online High School website.
The websiteMarketingCharts.com offers some interesting charts as well as explanations that tell how people make use of social networking sites. Check outYounger See More Soc Net Benefit. Just a few paragraphs down on the same page is a section that describes the social networking habits of middle age and seniors — Older Soc Net Dramatically Rises.
Take a look, also, at some of the charts that depict all sorts of World Wide Web user statistics. Links to a few interesting charts are below.
Does someone in your house need an occasional grammar review? Do occasional questions about word use or punctuation come up as a family member writes important essays and reports? If so, check out Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. It’s amusing for kids and adults, too, but there’s a lot to learn along the way. We listen to these podcasts just for fun, and I know a family that downloads the “casts” to listen to on family car trips (okay, it’s my family).
Grammar Girl posts regular podcasts — free and never more than a couple of minutes long — and they are chock-full of interesting information about usage, punctuation rules, and accepted practices. She uses humorous examples, not unlike the understated but clever examples found in Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, a revered but unpretentious reference first published in 1918 and still widely used today.
Parents and teachers are always on the hunt for a reliable Internet site that children can visit time after time and be certain of the quality and reliability of the content. The Internet Public Library (ipl2) fits the bill, a resource that is just as good for adults as it is for children. With a motto of “Information You Can Trust” the IPL2 is a searchable, subject-categorized directory of authoritative websites with links to online texts, newspapers, and other resources. Librarians review everything in the collection.
The United States Library of Congress started with Thomas Jefferson’s personal library – 6,487 books. Now it’s an enormous collection of information on almost any topic a person wants to study. The library’s history page notes that “… it has become the largest repository of recorded knowledge in the world and a symbol of the vital connection between knowledge and democracy.”
The resourceful staff at the Library have a finger on the cultural pulse of the country, so not only do the collections include books, papers, music, film, historical documents, and images, but now the library is digitizing its collection. As of February 2009 there were 15.3 million digitized items and anyone can access and download this information to a computer. According to the Library of Congress blog (subscribers welcomed), if all of those digitized items could be saved to CD-ROM disks, the pile would be a mile high, and that was more than a year ago.