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Social Science

Table of Contents

Software  

Program Title

Publisher

Rating

Instructional Area

Operating System

World View Social Studies

Plato Learning, Inc.

3

Social Studies

Windows

Gedonline

Diversfield Comp. Ser.

1.6

Science/Writing/ Reading/ Social Studies and Math

Windows

GED 2002 Teaching Strategies

Steck-Vaughn

4

Social Studies/Science Writing/Reading/ Math

Windows Macintosh

Plato

Plato Learning Inc.

2.9

Reading/Writing/ Math/Social Studies/ESL

Windows

Inspiration

Inspiration Software

4

Reading/Science/ Social Studies

Windows

New Brunswick Comm. College

New Brunswick Community College

3.25

Math/Reading/ Writing/Social Studies/Science/ Language

Windows

Internet Sites

 

 

 

 

Steck-Vaughn GED Practice.com

Steck-Vaughn

3

Social Studies

Internet

Daryl Cagle’s Professional Cartoonists Index

MSN

4

Social Studies / ESOL

Internet

EBSCOlearn

EBSCO

3.3

Science/Reading/ Social Studies

Internet

Plato on-line

Plato Learning Inc.

3.1

Reading/Writing/ Math/Social Studies/ESL

Internet

Newsweek Education Program

Newsweek

4

Reading/Social Studies

Internet

Info Please www.infoplease.com/homework  

Internet Site

4

Math/English/ Geography/
History

Internet

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Program Title

Steck-Vaughn GED Practice.com

Publisher

STECK-VAUGHN  http://www.steck-vaughn.com

Subject

SOCIAL STUDIES

Level

Low and High Adult

Program features

Bookmark

Computer Requirements

Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher OR

Netscape Navigator 3.0

Price

Free

Overall Rating

3  Good

 Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

2.5

Interesting Interface

2.5

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

4

Content

3

Age appropriate

3

Sound

0

Average

3

 

Description of Content:   This on-line program has between 15 to 18 questions per content area, so the Social Studies section has the five content areas of history, geography, economics, political science and behavioral science.  The questions within the content areas require the thinking skills of comprehension, application, analysis, and evaluation and are reflective of a typical pre or post-test. 

Navigation and Structure:   Navigation of the site was somewhat frustrating in that you had to answer a question, check your answer, go to summary and then go back in order to answer another question.  Sometimes you could go to answer a question after simply checking it, but this was not the norm.  The on-screen help of checking the answers is valuable, and the explanations were at a level appropriate to the skills level of the student. 

Instructional Applications:   This site could be used with students who are at the tail end of their studies.   It would be good for students who like answering questions that are reflective of GED content and knowledge and who like getting immediate feedback.  It could be used to reinforce prior knowledge of a student and to improve self-confidence at the end of their studies if they have mastered a subject.  

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Program Title

World View Social Studies

Publisher

Plato Learning, Inc.

Subject

Social Studies

Level

Low and High Adult

Program features

Management System, Printable records, Tests, Interactive

Computer Requirements

Windows 95 or above

Price

$2,400 per server – unlimited access

Overall Rating

3.2  Good

Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

3

Affordability

2

Content

4

Age appropriate

3

Sound

0

Average

3.2

 Description of Content:   This software is designed for an in-depth study of History.  The teacher can decide what region or continent to study in addition to what time period.  The program covers basic American, World, and European History, in addition to regional areas such as Africa, East Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and South and East Asia.  The program consists of reviews and tests, writing activities, document-based questions and projects, graded practice tests, glossary terms, chapter overviews, time lines and chronology, reference maps and biographies.  There is a remedial component that has easy to read selections with practice tests and mini lessons. 

Navigation and Structure:   This program is very user friendly both for teachers and for students.  Teachers and students have many choices and options to choose from within the program.  For instance, a teacher can make an assignment and the students can decide in what format they want to learn the lesson.  The program has easy to follow outlines and the structure is easy to navigate.  

Instructional Applications:   This program can be used for class participation or individual instruction.  It would be ideal for high school or middle school as an aid in classroom instruction.  The American History section could be very beneficial in helping with a Citizenship class.  This program is more in-depth than is needed for GED programs and most students would opt for more generalized study. 

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Program title

Daryl Cagle’s Professional Cartoonists Index

http://cagle.slate.msn.com

Publisher

MSN

Subject

Social Studies and ESOL

Level

Low Intermediate ABE

Program features

website

Computer Requirements

Internet access

Price

Free

Overall Rating

4    Excellent

Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

4

Average

4

Description of Content:   Excellent, provoking, offensive, diabolical, sadly truthful, and hilarious political cartoons will keep your students in class reading and discussing American political and contemporary culture, events, and ideas. 

Navigation and Structure:   Cartoons are well organized with graphical links to topics.  Students can also use the search engine to find other cartoon topics.  Teachers may want to study the Teacher Guide and Teacher’s Tour of the Index for ideas on how to use this site.  Cartoons are printed easily or can be e-mailed for use in class assignments. 

Instructional Applications:    Online handouts will help students interact with this website in scavenger hunts, tic tac toe, and cartoon bingo as they infer the artists’ meaning and opinions and interpret symbolism in political cartoons.  Students can also use cartoons to inspire writing assignments. 

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Program Title

EBSCOlearn

Publisher

EBSCO Publishing

Contact for Adult Literacy providers:

Kali Reynolds @  KReynolds@epnet.com

Subject

Reading in the Content Areas

Level

Low ABE - GED

Program features

Visual: Graphic illustrations in some of the reading activities

Kinesthetic/tactile and web activities via manipulation of keyboard and mouse

Computer Requirements

EBSCOhost's browser requirements:

If you are using Lynx the minimum browser requirement is Lynx 2.6 and you must use the no frames version of EBSCOhost.

Price

Yearly subscription fee for adult literacy providers = $295

Overall Rating

3.3  Good

 Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

3

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

3

Content

3

Age appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

3.3

Description of Content:   EBSCOlearn is an online service that students may access via the Internet.  The Online Reader is a reading comprehension program designed to improve students' standardized test scores.  This program uses a variety of magazine articles, each accompanied by a test, to help students demonstrate literal or initial understanding, interpret passages, apply critical analysis, and utilize reading strategies.  Teachers assign topics based on grade level and content area. 

The EBSCOlearn package provides 3,600 reading assignments from all curriculum areas.  These assignments come from the Learning Online Package!  The articles are from outstanding resources:  News and World Report, Ranger Rick, Scientific American, Biography, and National Wildlife.  The product is a great way to provide teaching across the curriculum. 

Besides the EBSCOlearn package, the service also offers The Curriculum Reference Product Line.   This database gives a teacher access to over 38,300 articles in numerous areas:  Civics Collection, 7,500 full text articles; Earth & Space Science Database, over 7,700 full text articles; Language Arts Collection, over 6,100 full text articles; Physical Science Collection, over 7,000 full text articles; and World History Database, over 9,200 full text articles.  It appears that these articles are not ones that are assigned via Internet, but they can be accessed by the teacher, printed, and used in class.  It is a library at your fingertips.   

Navigation and Structure:  Teachers access the Internet via a teacher management site.  There they may search the database for articles based on specific grade level or content area.  Students may then, in turn, access these assignments via the Internet at school, home, the library, or even the South Pole!  A step-by-step sheet of directions needs to be provided to the student for easy access.  Tech support has been good since the service is interested in getting feedback from adult literacy personnel. 

Instructional Applications:   Although the lexile range is from 250 to 1300 (grade level 1 to 12), it appears that most articles begin at 520 (level 3) and above.  This program is a great way to introduce students to the Internet.  Students may work in pairs or individually if they are in the classroom.   Many ESL students enjoy the product because the Internet is the way in which they communicate with those in their homeland, so some are quite comfortable with it.  Once again the product engages the student in many forms of learning.  They become much more active learners.  

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Program Title

GEDonline

Publisher

Diversified Computer Services www.gedonline.org

Subject

GED 2002 training –Writing, Social, Studies, Science, Reading and

Math

Level

Student needs to be computer literate and internet savvy or have access to someone who can help him/her install the program.

Program features

Drill and practice activities

Chat Room

Email

Computer Requirements

Software:  Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, or NT; Internet Explorer 5.0 or above if using AOL access; Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above if accessing from other ISP; Web Player Plug-in Adobe Acrobat Reader

Hardware: No specs are given.  I would assume the minimum requirements for usage would be the following: Pentium I, 133 MHz,64 MB,56k modem

  • Previewing was done on a Pentium III 128 MB using Win 98

Price

Subscription rate:

  • $50 for 4 months
  • $10 per month for additional months
  • Practice test booklet PA $10
  • Practice test booklet PB $10
  • Practice test booklet PC $10

Overall Rating

1.9  Fair

 Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

2

Interesting Interface

2

Ease of loading software

2

Affordability

2

Content

2

Age appropriate

2

Sound

1

Average

1.9

Description of Content:  This online product is designed to give students practice before taking the GED tests.  It provides both an opportunity to practice for the tests and a diagnosis of how well a student might do on the tests.  Practice lessons provide little instruction and are brief.  The only feedback that is given in the language area if an error is made is, “No, the correct answer is #.”  No further instruction is given.  In order to have an essay scored, a student sends it by snail mail to the company for feedback.  The product does link to some interesting Internet sites in the Social Studies area but there are no questions.  The science area also does provide some visuals although there are times when one can go to a site and not be able to return by clicking the back arrow.  Comprehension questions range in number from two to ten depending upon the subject.  The reading area is limited in practice while the math area does appear to provide more instruction during a quiz. 

Navigation and Structure:  Once the fee is paid, a student is mailed the GED online CD, username, password, and a set of Steck-Vaughn official GED practice tests.  The student then “takes” a GED practice test by inputting the answers online.  The test is then scored immediately and recommendations are made.  If a student does not do well, he/she is recommended to go to practice lessons based on the following categories:  comprehension, application, analysis, and synthesis.  Navigation is not too difficult as long as a user has had some experience with Internet.   

Instructional Applications:  Higher-level students who want a real quick review and practice and who prefer using a computer should use this program.  Being comfortable using Internet is a must.  Visual effects can be very disconcerting for low-level readers.  Although the program says that there is a GED Chat room, this reviewer had difficulty accessing it, but when that was finally done, no one else was using it.   

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Program Title

GED 2002 Teaching Strategies Online Course

Publisher

Steck-Vaughn www.steck-vaughn.com

Subject

GED 2002  All Areas

Level

Low and High Adult GED

Program features

Visual – samples/charts

Auditory – video clips of experts giving advice

Kinesthetic-tactile – constant interaction with computer/tests and chat available

Computer Requirements

Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher Netscape is not supported
Windows 98 or higher
MacOS 9.0 or higher
Screen resolution 1024 X 768
266MHz or equivalent processor
16-bit Sound Card
Speakers or Headphones
Internet connection
Acrobat Reader 4.0 PDF Viewer
PC users: Windows Media Player
Mac users: QuickTime

Price

Subscription rate:

·         GED 2002 Teaching Strategies Online Course - Unlimited Access for 90 days     $60

·         GED 2002 Teaching Strategies Online Course - Unlimited Access for 180 days    $100

Overall Rating

4 excellent

 Evaluation Scale (scale score 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

4

Average

4

 Description of Content:   Steck-Vaughn has created this 16-hour online course to provide GED educators with key information, resources and teaching strategies to help them teach and prepare their students for the GED 2002 series of tests.  It includes an overview of the GED Tests, an explanation of the reason for changes, the history of the GED, and the changes made for the GED 2002.  The course then elaborates on all five tests specifically.  Finally, a section on “Teaching Across Content Areas” concludes the course. 

Navigation and Structure:    Steck-Vaughn provides a very user friendly, professional product that may be ordered online.  Once the fee is paid, a teacher is emailed a registration notification with a user name and password.  The teacher works through a series of clearly explained activities, which involve excellent samples, video clips, and printable worksheets.  At the end of each unit, the teacher takes an online test to assess understanding.  Links are accessible to explanations for those who may need review.  Scheduled chats are also available plus the ability to email questions and share ideas.  Sections exist for note-taking and scheduling assignments.  Finally, the program provides a list of sites for more information, materials, new ideas for lesson plans, and GED test preparation.  The Help Desk offers a live person answering the telephone or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Questions answered by the Help Desk include technical questions about the software or about computers in general. 

Instructional Applications:    This program is an excellent way to get ready to teach the GED 2002 whether one is a veteran GED teacher or a novice.  Teachers will find it a quick method for the following: Interpreting Visual Information; Decoding Edited American English; Demystifying Graphic Information; Teaching Higher Order Thinking Skills; Using the new 4-Point Essay Scoring Rubric

 Even though it is good if the teacher is comfortable with the Internet, the course is so professionally done that there is little room for confusion. The GED 2002 Teaching Strategies Online Course is a great way to review and assess one’s knowledge. 

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Program Title

Plato

Publisher

Plato Learning Inc.

Subject

Read, Write, Math, Social Studies, Life/Career, ESL

Level

Beginning Literacy – High Adult

Program features

Audio, Management system, Print rec, password, customize

Computer Requirements

Windows 95/98, Win NT 4.0/2000, CD-Rom

Price

Price varies, call 1-877-517-5280

Overall Rating

2.9   Good

 Evaluation Scale (scale score 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

2

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

2

Affordability

2

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

2

Average

2.9

Description of Content:    This software is designed to improve the knowledge and grade levels of students form K-Adult.  It covers a wide variety of subjects from ESL, Language, Math and Reading, to Social Studies, Science, Calculus, and Life and Career skills.  The program is knowledgeable and easy to read and use for the student.  There are tutorial sections that explain and apply basic concepts in addition to mastery tests.  If mastery tests are not passed, a new set of tutorial and mastery test questions are provided.  

Navigation and Structure:    The structure is fairly easy for the learner to navigate.  The programs provide encouragement and “kudos” for success by literally placing gold stars by assignments successfully completed.  Both half and full shaded boxes are placed next to assignments to help students keep track of completed assignments.  Feedback and hints are provided immediately after each question in the assignment.

The management system is quite entailed and requires some study to implement.  Assignments can be as classes or individual and can be a whole curriculum or set-up as bits and pieces. The reports show current use, time on task, grades, and mastery levels. Programs can be designed based on TABE (and other) conversion scores to provide individualized study. 

Instructional Applications:    This program can be used as a supplement for class instruction and is ideal for main study in a lab situation.  A program can be designed for each individual based on needs.  This is especially useful to an instructor with students at varying levels of proficiency.  This program is very conducive with students who prefer to use the computer.  This courseware will align with several standardized tests (i.e. TABE & others) so individual plans can be developed. 

Notes of concern:

The beginning English curriculum has some assignments that are bothersome to students because the talking section is slow and they cannot move easily to the next screen.

The Trigonometry curriculum is not ideal for self-instruction, but would be good combined with class instruction. 

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Program Title

Plato - Online

Publisher

Plato Learning Inc. www.plato.com

Subject

Read, Write, Math, Social Studies, Life/Career, ESL

Level

Low ABE- College Prep.

Program features

Audio, Management system, Print rec, password, customize

Computer Requirements

Internet Access, Win 95/98/00, CD-ROM

Price

$300/per access computer, per year – existing customers

Overall Rating

3.1  Good

 Evaluation Scale (scale score 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

2

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

2

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

2

Average

3.1

Description of Content:   This program is designed the same as the Plato stand-alone and network systems, except you access the program through the Internet.  The software is designed to improve the knowledge and grade levels of students from K – Adult.  It covers a wide variety of subjects from ESL, Language, Math and Reading, to Social Studies, Science, Calculus, and Life and Career skills.  The program is knowledgeable and easy to read and use for the student.  There are tutorial sections that explain and apply basic concepts in addition to mastery tests.  If mastery tests are not passed, a new set of tutorial and mastery test questions are provided. 

Navigation and Structure: The structure is fairly easy for the learner to navigate.  Assignments are chosen by the instructor and can be assigned as a class or individually.  Students would go through programs as they would regular Plato tutorial applications and mastery tests.  There is a status legend that lets students know if they have completed a section or if they have been locked out of a mastery test until they take the tutorial again.  The status legend also lets a student know if they have started a program or mastered it.  The status is located next to the assignments and is represented by an empty circle (not started), a half filled circle (in progress), a full circle (completed), a gold star (mastered), and a red lock (locked).

The management system is the same as for regular Plato. It is quite entailed and requires some study to implement. The reports show current use, time on task, grades, and mastery levels. Programs can be designed based on TABE (and other) conversion scores to provide individualized study. 

Instructional Applications:   This program can be used as a supplement for class instruction and is ideal for main study in a lab situation.  A program can be designed for each individual based on needs.  This is especially useful to an instructor with students at varying levels of proficiency.  This program is very conducive with students who prefer to use the computer.  This courseware will align with several standardized tests (i.e. TABE & others) so individual plans can be developed. 

Notes of concern:

The beginning English curriculum has some assignments that are bothersome to students because the talking section is slow and they cannot move easily to the next screen.

The Trigonometry curriculum is not ideal for self – instruction, but would be good combined with class instruction. 

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Program Title

Inspiration

Publisher

Inspiration Software

Subject

Reading, Science and Social Studies

Level

Beginning Literacy – High Adult

Program features

Inspiration is ideal for use in language arts, science and social studies, or anytime your students need to structure research or other thought processes.

Computer Requirements

Windows 95,98,NT, 2000, XP/8 MB RAM/20MB hard drive space for all components/CD ROM/ Not necessary but recommended: Windows compatible printer and Browser

Price

$69

Overall Rating

4   Excellent

 Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

4

Average

4

Description of Content:     Content includes providing visual aid for students to Brainstorm, Plan, Organize, Outline, Pre-write, Diagram, Concept Mapping and Webbing.  The Content Covers many areas for students however helps give structure and organization for projects. 

Navigation and Structure:    Inspiration has made navigation simple.  The student can either start with an idea and diagram it down to focus on key points or the program will help the student brainstorm ideas starting simple with a subject such as vacation.  It can also show relations to other ideas.  The program makes the concepts visual to the student helping them put their thoughts together and produce essays and book reports with ease.  This is a great program. 

Instructional Applications:    This program would be great at providing instructional help for students.  I think that many times good ideas and concepts get lost in the process.  This is one of the best learning and organizing pieces of software.  

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Program Title

Newsweek Education Programs

Publisher

Newsweek www.newsweek.education.com

Subject

Reading and Social Studies

Level

Low and High Adult

Program features

Print Option, Audio, On-screen help, easy to read command bar, simple scan procedure, save option

Computer Requirements

Any computer with access to the Internet

Price

Free

Overall Rating

4

 Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

0

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

4

Description of Content:    This site helps the teacher make the most of Newsweek in the classroom.  All resources are free to teachers with classroom orders of 15 copies or more.  Teachers have access to teaching tools such as maps, graphics, and of course worksheets.  Each week the teacher receives lessons, a guide, and quiz for the current week of Newsweek.  The lessons are patterned to curriculum standards with activities generated to graphic interpretation, linking the past with the present, and understanding how the media networks with sources of information.  

Ordering Newsweek can be done online for 57˘ per issue with a minimum order of 15 copies or more.  

Navigation and Structure:  Typical website navigation in a well-structured layout that features several links to lesson plans, worksheets, maps, and electronic field trips. 

Instructional applications:   Excellent source for generating student interest in Reading, Political Science, Economics, Geography, and History.  The web site can be used for internet projects and online research, with online activities to support the information. 

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Program Title

New Brunswick Community College - Saint John Distance Courses

Publisher

New Brunswick Community College  

www.saintjohn.nbcc.nb.ca

Subject

GED Preparation: Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies and Language

Level

Low and High Adult

Program features

Password security

Email help

Audio components

Video components

Print records mailed

Computer Requirements

Pentium II 266
56k modem
Windows 95, 98, 2000
Internet Explorer 5
Windows Media Player 6.4
Macromedia Flash Player 3
PowerPoint 97 or PowerPoint Viewer

Price

Cost for distance courses is per course and ranges from $25 – $60 for current courses. 

Overall Rating

3.3  Good

 Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

3.5

Interesting Interface

3.5

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

3

Content

3

Age appropriate

3.5

Sound

3

Average

3.3

Description of Content:     This course gives an overview of the GED tests, some test-taking strategies, and the chance for students to evaluate their skills. Based on results of the Official GED Practice tests (which are sent out by mail), students discover approximately how they would score on the real tests and what things they need to study. This is only a preparation course. The course consists of 4 online lessons that introduce the various tests, online practice items, and the Official GED Practice tests. 

Navigation and Structure:    It is easy to navigate and the feedback is appropriate.  The reading level of the directions is easily comprehended and assistance is available. 

Instructional Applications:    This course is ideal for the self-motivated student who prefers to study and prepare at home in front of a computer rather than in a classroom setting. 

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Program Title        

Info Please

Publisher

Internet Site www.infoplease.com/homework

Subject

Math, English, Geography, History and weather

Level

Beginning Literacy - GED

Program Features

All in one reference site containing an Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Atlas, Almanac, and Searchable Database.  Contains a variety of tips from tips on searching to tips on study skills and listening and writing skills.

 

Computer Requirements

Internet Access

Price

Free

Overall Rating

4   Excellent

 Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1 = not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age Appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

4

 Description of Content:    This free website contains virtually any topic a student could possibly want.   It includes an Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Atlas, and an Almanac.   This site is an excellent resource tool that anyone can use.  It also contains other features like quizzes, crosswords, and a Frequently Asked Questions board. 

Navigation and Structure:     On the homepage, a student can choose from a host of options.  Topics like Maps can be found under the Atlas heading or U.S. History,  year by year, can be accessed through the Timelines section.  This site is very well planned out and provides the user with easy access to a variety of information. 

Instructional  Applications:    Offering up to the minute information, instructors can offer this website to students who may want an additional resource for homework. 

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