As 2007 drew to an end, I revisited dozens of sites to cull my favorites from the year's selections and to ponder the state of the educational Internet. Eleven years into my columnist gig, I find it easy to overlook virulent spam, spyware and viruses, and to be optimistic about the Internet's educational potential. Wishing you a warm and happy New Year!
The winner of several prestigious awards, Channel One has been broadcasting twelve-minute newscasts for teenagers into high schools and middle schools since 1990. Using video, news articles, quizzes, polls and games, the Channel One website is an excellent news site for teens. ChannelOne doesn't shy away from the tough stories (such as the war on terrorism) but it also likes to have fun, with a Student Life section with celebrity ("Name that Star") and life style ("Your Guide to the Prom") coverage.
DNA Interactive explores the exciting history of DNA science. Visit to examine the Timeline of DNA discovery, jump into the Code for a more in-depth lesson, or click on Manipulation to learn about the tools developed to work with DNA strands. With free registration, teachers can pick up lesson plans and worksheets. My favorite clicks are the PDF templates for making an origami DNA model in either color or black and white.
The Virtual Body (or "El Cuerpo Virtual" in Spanish) is a bilingual anatomy site suitable for all ages. It offers narrated multimedia anatomy lessons, animated illustrations, and educational games such as Build a Skeleton and Organize Your Organs. The site covers four anatomical topics: the brain, skeleton, heart and digestive tract. Within each topic, my favorite click is the Narrated Tour (sometimes called a Guided Tour.)
Log It, an activity mileage log, is my fitness pick of the year. Designed to motivate kids to become physically active, Log It records up to 25,000 physical activity steps per day, the equivalent of twelve and a half miles. "In addition to recording their steps or miles, they can participate in a virtual hike across the USA with their class, be involved in class competitions vs. other classes, set daily goals, view their own personal step log, and compare their steps with other kids of the same age and gender."
"Calculus is the lingua franca of mathematics, engineering, and all of the sciences. You want to speak it well, with genuine understanding. You want to carry out calculations involving realistic problems with confidence. You want to savor calculus, and appreciate all of the truly beautiful things that it reveals about the world around you. Prepare yourself to enjoy it." With a unique and playful style, William Mueller has created an outstanding precalculus site. Highlights include The Number e, and Am I Ready for Calculus?