Best of 1999

Best of 1999

Another year, another four thousand Web sites visited and considered. I’ve gleaned the following five sites (from the 255 sites that made it in my column this year) as representative of the educational nature of the Internet circa 1999. Not only do their topics vary (current events, geography, language, and science), but they each make use of the interactive nature of the media in a different way (including Web cams, opinion polls, quizzes and games). Wishing you a happy and safe new year.

6 Billion Human Beings5 stars

"Every second five people are born and two people die, a net gain of three people. At this rate, the world population is doubling every 40 years. However the United Nations estimates that we will only be 12 billion in 120 years. By visiting this Web site, you will understand why the world's population has exploded in recent years and why it might stabilize during the next century." This fascinating exhibit from the Mus�e de l'Homme of Paris, France, uses interactive features ("Tell me your age, and I'll tell you how many people were in the world when you were born.") to personalize your visit.

Africam5 stars

"Africam welcomes you to the world's first virtual game reserve." This amazing site is a treasure trove of thirteen cams located in five South African national parks and game reserves. Choose from cams at watering holes, wild dog cams, elephant cams, even mobile cams operated by park rangers. Have you ever dreamed of going on a photo safari? Snap a picture of any of the cams (use the right-hand button on your mouse and choose Save Image As) and email it to Africam for possible selection as Picture of the Day. The competition is tough, however, as they often receive 500 images a day.

Infection Detection Protection5 stars

"Microbes are the oldest form of life on Earth. Some types have existed for billions of years. These single-cell organisms are invisible to the eye, but they can be seen with microscopes. Microbes live in the water you drink, the food you eat, and the air you breathe. Right now, billions of microbes are swimming in your belly and crawling on your skin. Don't worry, over 95% of microbes are harmless." This entire exhibit (from the American Museum of Natural History) is fabulous, but the best clicks are the Shockwave games with names like Bacteria in the Cafeteria and Infection!

Junior Scholastic Online5 stars

Well designed and well written, Junior Scholastic Online combines original reporting with a news quiz (ten challenging questions), an opinion poll ("Do violent video games affect kids' behavior?), a geography game, a research helper, and links to additional news sources. Elementary and high- school students can find their own grade-appropriate versions by choosing Scholastic News Online in the drop down menu at the top of the page.

Word Central5 stars

"Check out all the stuff at Word Central. Look up words (fast) in the student dictionary. Or better still, build your own dictionary. Stump your friends with today's Daily Buzzword! Try all the games on the second floor." My favorite click on this Merriam-Webster site is Build Your Own Dictionary where you can submit your own made-up words and their definitions (every family has a few of their own made-up words, don't they?) Another fun click is the rhyming MadLibs-like game found in the Music Room's Verse Composer.

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Best of 1999." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 22 Dec. 1999. Web. 4 Sep. 2015. < >.

About This Page

By . Originally published December 22, 1999. Last modified December 22, 1999.

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