If you want to a see a blank look on a student’s face, ask him about the Dewey Decimal library classification system. For better or for worse, the Internet often becomes an alternative to a library’s card catalogs. But how can you trust what you read on the Web?
“Frankly, this is my main concern, along with stumbling onto inappropriate material,” admits Bonnie Marks, a mother of two. “Just because someone publishes something on their home page, it doesn’t make it gospelâ€”many kids don’t know this.”
Learning where to go and how to appropriately use information that is on the Internet can be challenging to both parents and students. The following is a look at some of the most comprehensiveâ€”and reliableâ€”educational Web sites a student can bookmark and use to research school projects and homework assignments.
The free MSN Encarta site features more than 4,500 articles pooled from Microsoft Encarta, the award-winning electronic reference library, and comes with dictionaries, maps, fast facts, interactive quizzes, handy homework tools, and more.
Since 1995, Refdesk.com, which stands for “reference desk,” has served as a one-click springboard to many of the Web’s top dictionaries, encyclopedias, calculators, atlases, news headlines, and search engines. The site also includes a handy “homework helper” section that provides help in all subjects to students in every grade.
Ever wanted to know why earthquakes happen? How CD burners work? What the sun is made of? These questions, and a large amount of others related to computers/electronics, automobiles, science, entertainment, and people, are all answered at this award-winning Web site. Simply type a query into the search window or peruse the topics by category. Extras include free newsletters, surveys, and printable versions of all answers.
This site features an almanac, atlas, dictionary and encyclopedia made especially for kids, as well as handy search engine and layout designed for easy fact-finding. Check out fun features such as Biographies of the Presidents, the Geography Hall of Fame, and the Tallest Buildings Slideshow.
Consider Download.com the ultimate file repository that links to literally tens of thousands of downloadable free or shareware programs. This includes utilities for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux, Internet tools, desktop dictionaries and language translators, Pocket PC and Palm applications, and of course, computer games. Visitors can search by typing in a keyword or by perusing the many sections.
The Web’s answer to those black- and yellow-striped Cliff Notes is Novelguide.com, a reliable and free source for literary analysis of classic and contemporary books such as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground. The site offers character profiles, metaphor and theme analysis, and author biographies.
This site provides help in a number of mathematics-related subjects, including basic grade-school math, calculus, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. Practice exercises are automatically graded, plus this free site also features a glossary, calculators, homework tips, math games, and lesson plans for teachers.
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Perfect for language studies, this handy Web site automatically converts text from one language into another, such as English to Simplified Chinese or French to English. Simply type and paste up to 10,000 characters (about 1,800 words) into the search window and then select the desired language. Alternatively, you can cut and paste a Web URL to convert the entire site.
This Web site can be filed in the “where was this when I was a kid?” category. On the aptly named Shakespeare Online site, visitors can read every play or poem from the world’s most celebrated writer and, more importantly, make some sense of his works with free analysis, Old English language translations, and famous quotes.
Science classesÂ—including the ubiquitous science projectâ€”aren’t as easy for some to grasp as for others. At Science Made Simple, kids of all ages can get detailed answers to many of science’s questions, read current news articles related to science, get ideas on school projects, and take advantage of unit conversion tables. Users can also find out if their school’s textbooks pass the test.
Article written by Marc Saltzman and adapted from an original piece from Microsoft Home Magazine.