Wisewire REVIEWS CONTINUED
[Wisewire (410) 467-7835] - Website
Wisewire is a unique online marketplace that houses nearly 50,000 learning objects, playlists, assessments, teaching guides and contributions. While its emphasis is on middle and high school math, science, social studies and language arts, content is also provided for the earlier grades as well as higher education.
Educators can easily search and explore digital teaching resources not only by grade level and subject, but also by discipline, topic, language, and content type. Additionally, items can be sorted by question type, as well as Depth of Knowledge (DoK) level in order to structure effective and thoughtful assessments. The Wisewire website/store offers both free downloads and premium standards-based learning materials in a wide range of formats including worksheets and printables, lesson plans, videos, simulations, technology-enhanced assessments, activities, and more.
A closer look at this elegant website: Tabs provide access to Elementary, Middle, High School and Higher Education, as well as links to Explore, Create, Adapt and Search. In a module on Middle School Earth and Space Science, student resources link to activities and high quality videos (embedded, or via Youtube.com). A lesson on The Greenhouse Effect utilizes text and colorful illustrations, and a Preview link has the corresponding video tutorial that teaches about fossil fuels (how oil, gas and coal affect the environment).
The Educator Dashboard provides access to two critical areas: Dashboard (Activity & Assignments) and Create (Publish Content). A User Guide and Help link are provided, and the left navigation bar lists Your Assignments (Assign an Assessment, Review Assignments, Track Students, Manage Groups) and Your Activity (Your Items, Your Favorites, Created by You, Practiced by You).
Finally, we should mention the easy-to-use Create/Publish Content templates which require just a simple mouse click to create impressive documents. Assessments provides a variety of formats to choose from, such as multiple choice, multiple select, matching columns, drop down menus, radio buttons, and more. Wisewire does all the work!
World Religions Online
[Infobase (800) 322-8755] - (Website)
Back in the day, databases were found primarily in libraries - dry lists of names, dates, numbers - and only used, with some difficulty, by people doing research. But in the 21st century, databases have become much, much more.
Infobase's World Religions Online is a prime example. In an era when religion is prominent and in the daily news, the need for good, comparative information is essential. Packed with videos, slideshows, sacred music, maps, graphics, and complete sacred texts - from the King James Version of the Bible to the Koran - World Religions Online provides detailed, in-depth articles discussing not only the differences between religions, but also the differences within religions. From Shintoism, African tribal rituals, Mormonism, to Islam, World Religions Online is filled with an enormous amount of excellent information.
Most useful in a secondary school setting*, as well as post-secondary and beyond, World Religions Online has features never dreamt of in the 20th century library, including topic centers, religious holidays and observances, and religion in the news. Users can browse through all resources, search for a single word, or sample within a text or video. Topics are organized coherently in convenient units, and cover a wide array of subject matter. There are a few typos to contend with and sometimes the text reader stumbles over some punctuation marks, but these quibbles are easily dealt with.
When questions about religion arise - "What's the difference between Shia and Shite and why do they hate each other," or "Are Mormons Christians," or "Why are people from certain Muslim countries banned from the United States" - it doesn't matter if it's a World Religions class or 7th grade Language Arts. Educators can turn to World Religions Online for cogent and comprehensive answers.
*The Supreme Court ruled that teaching about religion in public schools is covered under the First Amendment as long as the lesson(s) are comparative, academic, and nonjudgmental. However, teaching religion is not.