It’s time for another year end list, this time focusing on social studies. You might also be interested in:
And, of course, there are 500 other “The Best…” lists, too.
As is the case in all my lists, some of these sites might have been around prior to 2009, but they were new to me this year.
Here are my ranked choices for The Best Social Studies Websites — 2010 (that are accessible to English Language Learners):
Number fifteen: The Lottery Of Life is a neat site from Save The Children. It gives you a chance to see how your life might have looked if you had been born in another country.
Number fourteen: Vote Easy is a very accessible interactive that lets users identify their opinion on several key public policy issues, and then compares those positions with those of local candidates. It’s probably the best site of its kind that I’ve seen, and is certainly accessible to English Language Learners.
Number thirteen: LIFE recently unveiled a neat new feature that lets you search for any photos in its archives and create an online timeline/slideshow that you can share with a unique url address. Their Photo Timeline lets you use their original captions or you can edit them and create your own, as well as writing your own description for your whole creation. After you log-in (you can do so using your Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, or Google accounts — it would be nice if they allowed on site registration, but I guess you can’t have everything!), it’s just a matter of searching and dragging the photos to your timeline/slideshow.
Number twelve: At the BBC’s Dimensions site you identify an event or object (The Great Wall Of China, a battle, etc.), then type in a zipcode, and then it will overlay the dimensions of that event or object to the zip code you picked.
Number eleven: “Finishing The Dream” is a new collection of 100 videos from NBC News related to the Civil Rights Movement.
Number ten: Numbeo shows the cost-of-living in just about every country in the world, and many cities in the United States.
Number nine: The BBC has developed what they call the News Globe. It has a virtual globe globe that you spin, and there are points on it. When you place your cursor on the points a short introduction to a news story based on that location shows-up, and you can click on it to go to the complete report. You type in a query for the types of news you’re looking for.
Number eight: “A Moment In Time” is the compilation of photos that the New York Times organized. Thousands of people from all over the world took a picture at the same moment on May 2nd. It’s an amazing collection. The photos can certainly be used in class to have English Language Learners describe and discuss them. Also, teachers can have their students use the same idea on a smaller scale and develop their own “moments in time.”
Number seven: Earth Pulse: State Of The Earth 2010 is an impressive effort from National Geographic. It has a number of features, including a photo gallery and interactive quiz. Most impressive, though, is an interactive Vital Statistics Map that lets you compare global trends on many topics.
Number six: Critical Past is a new site that has 57,000 “historic” videos from 1893 to the 1990’s — many of them appear to be old newsreels. It seems to be designed to sell them for download, but anyone can view them online for free. It has a very nice search feature.
Number five: “Timelines: Sources From History” is a nifty interactive from the British Library that lets you explore items from its collection using text, video and images. It’s very engaging. The only negative I see is that you can save favorites, but only to a PDF that you can then print-out. There doesn’t appear to be anyway to save it online. That seems a little strange, but maybe I’m missing something.
Number four: The BBC’s “A History Of The World.” is a neat interactive timeline display of historical objects with images and commentary. Not only is it an accessible and engaging way to learn more about world history, but after a quick site registration you can contribute your own historical object choice to the collection and write about it.
Number three: Zinn Education Project: Teaching a People’s History is a collaboration between Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change! As their announcement states:
The new site features over 75 free, downloadable teaching activities for middle- and high- school students to bring a people’s history to the classroom. These are the best U.S. history-teaching articles from the Rethinking Schools archives. The site also lists hundreds of recommended books, films, and websites. The teaching activities and resources are organized by theme, time period, and grade level.
Though teachers would have to modify the materials to make them accessible to English Language Learners, the site is truly extraordinary.
Number two: Docs Teach from the U.S. National Archives lets you easily create online activities using primary sources. Plus, you can access the interactives that others have created, too. It’s super-easy to register. Creating the interactives is not as intuitive as I would like, but it’s still pretty easy.
Number one: The Time Map Of World History is a super-cool interactive and accessible way to learn about…world history. Using a map and accessible text, it starts at 3500 BC.
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You might also want to explore the 500 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.