To sum up the year, I chose the following five sites (from the hundreds included in my column) as representative of the educational nature of the Internet circa 2002. They were chosen for the variety of their topics (biography, film, research, literature and geography) and their excellent use of the Internet media. Wishing you a new year full of wonder and educational opportunities.
The American Institute of Physics site explores Einstein's life through historical accounts, photographs and sound clips. The Brief Version (recommended for elementary students and anyone not wanting to read all one hundred pages of the Main Exhibit) can be traversed by following the Next Page link at the very bottom of each page. Clicking on any other links for more detail will take you into the Main Exhibit. To return to your tour through the Brief Version, use your browser back button, or start again at the home page.
National Geographic's Beyond the Movie (for middle school students and older)includes the author, the book, and the first film in its scope. Although the topics (such as the historical, cultural and mythological influences on Tolkien) sound very academic, National Geographic excels at making it very approachable. So is the evil ring a reference to the atomic bomb of World War II? "'An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience,' Tolkien acknowledged, but he strongly denied that his story was an allegory for World War I or II."
Wow! This amazing research tool actually answers the inevitable first question: "Where do I start?" Just answer the seven multiple-choice questions starting with "Are you a kid, pretty new to the Internet, or an Internet wizard?" and click "Show Me a Research Strategy." Noodle Quest is terrific because of the variety and quality of the research sites it unearths. Book mark Noodle Quest now.
"Read, download, and discover in the Public Domain." The legal term "public domain" refers to works not protected by copyright, such as anything published before 1923. For more details see "When Works Pass into the Public Domain". PD Reader brings us 930 texts by 370 authors in your choice of PDF, HTML or plain text. This large collection is nicely organized by title, author and genre.