Several federal agencies are teaming up to educate the public about cyber security. On Guard Online is a site overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, and it contains a number of student- and teacher-friendly features, including games, videos, and articles that teach safe Internet use. The interactive game Friend Finder teaches safe social-networking practices, and the game Cyber Criminal shows how to avoid harmful spyware, malware, and phishing intrusions. Parents and teachers will want to read the Net Cetera guidebook. This PDF packet has a number of tips and techniques for talking about Internet safety with children.
Schoolwide Network is a search-engine site where educators can find video and document files that focus specifically on staff development. The site is managed by a team of educators with advanced teaching backgrounds, and they monitor the site daily for content control. Teachers who are new to the site can create accounts and begin sharing their own professional-development materials, videos, and guides. The site is organized so that files are ranked and categorized by their popularity. Additional sidebar tools help filter content by subject area and grade level.
Museum websites can be some of the best educational resources for classrooms use. In some cases, a museum’s online site can rival an in-person visit. Instead of searching individual museum websites for art, history, or cultural artifacts, students and teachers can turn to the Museum of Online Museums (MoOM) for works found everywhere from the Smithsonian to the Musée d’Orsay. The site archives exhibits at internationally renowned museums, and every two or three months it adds new exhibits and works of art to the site’s database. Depending on the museum link provided, you can view a single work of art, watch a slideshow of an entire collection, or virtually tour a museum’s exhibition space.
With a name like Shmoop, it may be hard to take this website seriously, but it serves as a resource for high school students in search of study-aid materials. Shmoop covers several different subject areas, including core subjects such as literature, history, and biology. The learning guides contain summary reviews, quizzes, and vocabulary identifications to help students absorb core concepts. The guides are written by certified educators, who write the content to engage a teenage audience. Shmoop’s materials are also transferable to mobile devices such as iPhones, Kindles, or Nooks. The site recently launched a teacher-resource center; that page gives educators access to free teaching guides for both language arts and history courses.
Compiled by Tim Ebner
A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2010 edition of Digital Directions as Top Picks