Government: An Interactive Approach
[Worldview Software (516) 681-1773]

         Worldview's Social Studies websites have been recipients of past awards sponsored by the ComputED Gazette. This year's entries have a new, streamlined interface that includes navigation buttons, multimedia enhancements, drop-down menus and popups, all of which add interest and increase interactivity.
US Government: An Interactive Approach is a very comprehensive high school/post-secondary program that gives an excellent overview, as well as in-depth study, of the various forms of government within the United States. It would enhance any classroom environment - traditional, advanced placement, community college or home school  - and provides tools to reinforce classroom lectures. The program could also lend itself to independent study or cooperative learning, allowing the teacher to design a learning experience that meets the needs of individuals or groups.
         Each component is easily accessed through icons on the bottom row - Chapters, Resources, Themes, Search, Progress and Help. When a component is chosen, a window opens with a navigation bar on the left. 
Chapters opens the Chapters Menu, giving access to relevant resources and offering varied learning options, including study questions to ensure comprehension. Auditory support for reading the chapters is available if needed, and each lesson is followed by a study question to ensure comprehension. Themes are a more advanced approach to analyzing and interpreting the unifying concepts. The Resources component provides a compilation of the chapters, with a tutorial and activities that delve into specific areas, offering greater detail and emphasis on critical thinking skills. The Help section is thorough, and describes the basic functions for maneuvering the site . Some links to Internet Projects are included, providing access to current data and in-depth research.
         Of special note are the study questions, projects and essays: The questions allow the learner to choose a format for responding (factual, conceptual, chronological or graphical). The projects provide an excellent opportunity for cooperative/collaborative learning. The essay section is a fine interdisciplinary approach to improving writing skills.   
         At the time of this writing, final revisions are under way to complete the Progress Tracker (an essential component of the program) and other website refinements.

StudySync (website)
[StudySync (978) 505-0957]

         Every now and then, an
EDDIES entry comes along that's so stunning, it takes one's breath away. This year that stand-out, winner in the High School Language Arts Website category, is StudySync.
         StudySync is, quite simply, flawless - from its extremely high production quality to its pedagogy and professional, highly engaging narrations. A web environment designed to prepare high school students for college-level coursework, StudySync offers exposure to dynamic college-level discourse while promoting critical thinking and writing skills. Students, guided by teachers, read narrated excerpts from over 300 classic and modern texts, e.g., Pygmalion, Classifying the Stars, All Creatures Great and Small, 1776; observe videos of college-age students' discussions; and submit essays of their own work. The program is designed to improve active collaboration, increase comprehension, and add depth of literary expression, allowing students to read reviews written by peers, and submit their own written dialogues in the Blast blog area.
StudySync is an impressive example of 21st Century innovation, and should be made available to all high school students.  It is a must-have for home school and AP courses. Whole-hearted congratulations to the team at StudySync. (Free 60 day trial is offered - see website for more information.)


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