Net Xpress: Educational Web sites combine information with fun

September 27, 2004|SHEILA J. CLARK

The Internet can prove to be a powerful tool for education. While it puts a wealth of information right at your fingertips, one needs to know how to locate and use the information that is available.

The Internet is seen by some as a replacement for traditional learning tools; however, it shouldn't be viewed as such. The Internet more accurately is positioned as an enhancement of as well as a supplement to the traditional tools.

The Internet also is thought of as a source of information overload. There is a ton of information to access from it and sometimes weeding out the good stuff from the rest can be a tedious task.

In the end, a sensible balance can be found between keeping the task from becoming an overwhelming one and finding good, solid information. Finding that balance really is quite simple: Use well-known sources when you are searching for information on the Internet.


If, for example, your search is for education-oriented information, go to folks such as KET, the sites of the publishers of your classroom materials and ones of other leaders in the educational field. When it comes to combining the Internet with education and fun, the previously mentioned sites are great but so are the millions of others that have found ways to make learning entertaining.

A great example of the latter is one of my new, favorite, online stops for educational fun, a site called Surfing the Net with Kids. This site is the vision of Barbara J. Feldman, who describes herself as "a syndicated newspaper columnist, mother, wife and Net surfer supreme." Her vision has created a site that is jam-packed with fun that has an educational twist.

The site is divided into 10 major topics, and among those site visitors will find art, crafts, music, computers, Internet, games, hobbies, geography, social studies, history, holidays, science, language arts, reference and math. There also are topics for parents and teachers and a separate section catering specifically to preschool and kindergarten ages.

The site has a great games section that includes the above-mentioned subjects in addition to arcade, word, Harry Potter and trivia games, printable games, screensavers and more.

For kids who will be studying the 50 states during the course of this school year - yes, this one's for all you fourth- and fifth-graders out there - be sure to check out the American Games section. Once you are there, go to the U.S. Geography section, where you'll find two interactive games to help you learn your states - a word search and a mix and match game.

This site as a whole is a balance of great educational information combined with fun, and it comes jam-packed with plenty of both.

MSN Live online events

Sept. 27: Singer/songwriter John Waite chats at 7 p.m.

VoIP update

* Great news! The rebate for J&R Music and Computer World's Packet8 promotion for the free voice over IP adapter I mentioned last week has been extended. The rebate now will run through Dec. 31. Learn more here or here.

* Speaking of VoIP, J&R also has that AT&T 6100 900MHz Cordless Telephone with PC Connectivity I spoke about in a column back in late June that allows you to make regular calls as well as VoIP calls. It is currently listed in its system for $19.88. Check it out.

E-mail me at sheila@; fax me at (859) 236-9566; or write me snail-mail at The Advocate-Messenger, P.O. Box 149, Danville, KY 40423-0149.

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