Jack Kenny's serendipitous selections of websites for learning
ATLAS OF THE UNIVERSE
Want to get things into perspective? Think of this. Number of large galaxies within 15 billion light years = 10 billion. Number of stars in the visible universe = 30 billion trillion (3x10²²). That puts you in your place. The pages on this site are meant to give an idea of what our universe actually looks like. There are nine main maps on the page, “each one approximately 10 times the scale of the previous one. The first map shows the nearest stars and then the other maps slowly expand out until we have reached the scale of the entire visible universe.”
This Anthology of English Literature is split into four periods: medieval, renaissance, 17th century and restoration. The section on metaphysical poets is particularly good - just sample the material on John Donne. The Shakespeare section aims to present unique Shakespeare material unavailable elsewhere on the Internet. The Luminarium is attractive to look at and the texts are well presented. Some of the work has sound clips.
THE BIG SIX SKILLS
We have a numeracy strategy and a literacy strategy: why don't we have an information skills strategy? It is just as important. With the volume of information that we have around us now, everyone needs complex analytical skills. How aware are students of what is available, how to find it and how to use it? This American site defines information literacy and gives some clear guidelines on teaching the skills.
The Webby Awards, which have just been announced, are said to be the web equivalents of the Oscars. This site received a Webby award a few years ago. From the Institute of Human Origins, it presents itself as a journey through the story of human evolution. There are many good links and there are many intriguing images. In the Learning Center the lesson plans and activities are very high quality. This is an academic site and it will benefit from a fast connection. You would normally pay for information of this quality.
The main aim of the AccessArt web site is to provide pupils, teachers, artists, and the public with some of the ideas used by museums, galleries and arts organisations. AccessArt wants the ideas it presents to be as attractive as possible, to appeal to all ages and abilities. The user will reach the ideas through Online workshops which will be visual and interactive, rather than text based.