We hope you enjoy the assortment, and take a few minutes to revisit some of our favorite sites from 2014–2015. As always, we look forward to providing new batches of fantastic resources throughout the upcoming year.
– Teaching History with 100 Objects
– Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions
– Interactives: Oceanus Magazine
– The Upshot
– Open Culture
– Neuropod Podcasts
– 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire
– Birds of North America
– Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet
– Made with Code
Feedback is always welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching History with 100 Objects may be funded by the United Kingdom’s Department of Education, but the resources available on the website will be useful to educators the world over. The 100 objects in question consist of historically significant Irish posters, English canons, Chinese tea pots, Viking scales, and many other fascinating objects. The site can be scouted in a number of convenient ways. Readers can search by topics, dates, places, or themes, or simply select an image from the homepage to get started. Each object is accompanied by a brief annotation, as well as additional categories, such as About the object, A bigger picture, Teaching ideas, and For the Classroom. Each category is packed with information, ideas, and suggestions for bringing history to life.
Over a century ago, it was not uncommon to find cocaine in treatments for asthma, cannabis offered up as a cure for colds, and other contentious substances offered as medical prescriptions. This engaging collection from the U.S. National Library of Medicine brings together sections on tobacco, alcohol, opium, and marijuana. Visitors can learn about how these substances were marketed and also view a selection of digitized items culled from its voluminous holdings, including advertisements, doctor’s prescriptions, and early government documents. In the Education section, educators can look over lesson plans, check out online activities, and explore online resources from the National Institutes of Health, such as, “A Guide to Safe Use of Pain Medicine” and “College Drinking: Changing the Culture.”
These educational interactives from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution provide excellent supports for dozens of ocean-related classroom activities. From the effects of Fukushima’s Fallout on Marine Life to Measuring River Chemistry, a variety of well designed, instructional tools are offered here. The visual and audio materials (slideshows, multi-step presentations, whale calls, etc.) are quite detailed and a number of them also link to the articles from Oceanus Magazine in which they were first featured. If these articles pique your interest, hundreds more can be found in the Archives as well as a select number of Digital Editions in the Print Issues section.
Launched this past spring, The Upshot is an analytical blog from The New York Times that focuses on politics, policy, and economics. The brain child of Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator David Leonhardt, the site is awash with interactive graphics and gripping narrative. The blog is continually updated, so you can start anywhere and find clear-headed, hard-hitting analysis on everything from the hardest places to live in the U.S. to the history of baseball. This first item can be found amongst the site’s “best and most popular interactive work,” located in the middle of the page. Just make sure you set aside a few hours, because one amazing interactive leads to another fascinating graph, which leads to a colorful thought experiment, and… well, you’ll see.
Perhaps the best way to describe Open Culture is to list what’s available: 1,100 free online courses, 700 free movies, 550 free audio books, 700 free eBooks, 1,000 free MOOCs, free educational material for 46 languages, and 200 free educational resources for kids. Founded in 2006 by Stanford University’s Dan Coleman, the site also contains great lectures by Toni Morrison and Bertrand Russell (among others) and great readings by notables such as T.S. Eliot and Anne Sexton. If readers are looking for art and images, the Met, the Getty, the British Library, and other museums and galleries are featured here. In essence, Open Culture gathers together all of the wonderful, disparate content from around the web, curates it, and presents it in an easily navigable and enchanting format.
If you are looking for the newest in neuroscience, and you’d like it in the form of punchy, approachable podcasts, look no further than Neuropod, a series of podcasts by “self-confessed neurogeek,” Kerri Smith. Smith, who holds a master’s degree in science communication from Imperial College London, provides an upbeat look at topics that run the gamut from psychosis to education to how the brain keeps time. Hosted by the Nature Publishing Group, podcasts have been published monthly since 2006 and the archives contain a host of wonderful material.
If you like your history presented visually and in a popular, Internet style, this site is for you. The set of 40 maps begins with an animated map, that depicts the rise and fall of the Roman Empire by landmass, from 500 BC to 476 AD. Map #3 provides an interesting insight into the size of the Roman Empire, relative to the transportation technologies of the day. Plotted by researchers at Stanford University, readers can use this map to determine travel time from London to Rome – about 3 weeks. There’s also a map on the route of Hannibal’s famous invasion of Rome with elephants. Compiled by editorial staff and artists at Vox Media, this map collection includes a few errata listed at the end. Many of the maps and sources are linked to Wikipedia articles, which in turn cite published histories – so it appears that Vox has done due diligence.
The Audubon field guides have sold over 18 million copies since Alfred A. Knopf published the first illustrated and descriptive books in 1934. This informative website, which features beautiful drawings and photographs as well as extensive descriptions of birds from around North America, is intuitive and pleasing to the eye. Readers can start by selecting the Featured Bird, by typing the name of a specific species into the search function, or by sorting the guide into taxonomic family or region. Each record then opens to provide detailed information, including facts about Habitat, Migration, and Feeding Behavior. Perhaps best of all, the Songs and Calls section (stocked from over 2,500 sound files created by Lang Elliott) lets readers experience the song of the Acadian Flycatcher or the rhythms of the Acorn Woodpecker among others.
This is one of those websites that might just stop you dead in your tracks. First off, it’s beautiful with incredible images of Antarctica, Everest, and smog-clouded cities. Then there are the figures: global temperature has increased 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1980, Arctic ice has decreased by 13 percent per decade, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg (so to speak). Check out News and Features for NASA’s coverage of climate related science or browse the Earth Blog, a pithy, readable blog chock full of important facts on our changing planet. Then take a look at What is Climate Change? and scout its four sections: Evidence, Causes, Effects, and Solutions.
Google.org, the charitable arm of the tech giant, has committed over $100 million to investments and grants in the last five years. While Google.org’s initial projects concerned plug-in vehicles, solar energy, and emergency response systems, the foundation has recently expanded into computer science education with its free Made with Code program. This program is designed to interest girls in the art and science of coding in order to develop a new generation of female programmers. Readers may like to start by watching the inspiring short video. Perhaps the most engaging aspect of the site is the Projects section, where beginning and intermediate coders will find engaging projects such as Music Mixer and Kaleidoscope. Uplifting stories of young women who have fallen in love with coding round out the site.
From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 2014. http://scout.wisc.edu/
Copyright Internet Scout, 2014. Internet Scout (http://scout.wisc.edu/), located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information and tools and services for finding information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this Scout Report in its entirety, provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.
|Managing Editor||Catherine Dixon|
|Contributing Editor||Debra Shapiro|
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|Internet Cataloger||Elzbieta Beck|
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|Software Engineer||Corey Halpin|
|Web Developer||Yizhe (Charles) Hu|
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|Technical Specialist||Zev Weiss|
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