spacer Follow Our Web Site Evaluation Suggestions:
Grading the Web
Two Examples
Applying the Evaluation Criteria
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Two Case Studies

Let's apply the evaluation criteria we just outlined by examining several sites featured in the Selected Sites section of wNetSchool. As we look at these outstanding sites with a critical eye, we're focusing on the attributes and qualities that define the potential that the Web holds as a classroom resource.

As you click on the links below, a second browser window will open containing the Selected Site. After opening that page, resize your browser windows so both are legible.

At the top of the evaluation page note the link to the reviewed Web site and the wNetSchool rating. These evaluations include a site overview, a description of how the site can be used to support curriculum, and a mention of site design and maintenance issues.

Looking at Volcano World
Looking at the Royal Ontario Museum

Looking at Volcano World

The strength of Volcano World, a site that tracks volcanic activity on Earth as well as on other planets, lies in its use of real-time data. The "What's New on Volcano World" section, which is linked off the homepage, clearly describes what new content has been added. In addition to up-to-date text written in an appropriate non-scholarly voice, impressive photographs, satellite images, video clips, and other media (that you can't find in a textbook!) are added several times each week.

Volcano World successfully serves a wide audience, appealing to all ages and levels of interest. In addition to lesson plans for teachers and "Kid's Door" activity pages for students.

Volcano World offers several methods of browsing its content that employ tools unique to the Web. While the well-designed homepage offers a clear view of the site's content, several search engines are also available to assist the user in locating specific information. The "Ask a Volcanologist" section offers the opportunity to ask questions of volcano experts. (Previously-asked questions are searchable). A glossary is available for deciphering difficult terms. And you and your students can be updated on the latest volcanic activity without even visiting the Volcano World site, by signing up for e-mail "Eruption Alerts."

Looking at the Royal Ontario Museum

The Web site maintained by the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada's largest museum, is of note because of the range and depth of the information found there -- using the site is akin to taking a virtual field trip!

Sections contain rich options for further reading as well as graphic glossary entries. For example, in the section containing images from a traditional Islamic wedding, unfamiliar terms such as "Fez Stitch Embroidery" link to a page full of images and text describing the cultural significance of this type of embroidery. "Archaeological Analysis: Pieces of the Past," a detailed section describing aspects of an archeological dig accompanied by step-by-step images from the field, is a useful supplement to the online archeological dig simulation; both are appropriate for classroom use. "Make your own mummy" and "make your own relief carving" are two effective "offline" classroom activities with an Egyptian theme using decidedly non-electronic materials -- scissors, paint, and plasticene. Remember: good Web sites needn't offer resources that are unique to the Web; the resources just need to be good!
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